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Yorkville Preshool

Meet-the-staff

Church Staff

Erik Gauss, Senior Pastor
Send An Email: egauss@hiscross.org

Pastor Erik Gauss

  • "In Jesus, We do not have a high priest (or God/Savior) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but rather, we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are yet was without sin." Hebrews 4:15
  • Graduated in 1999 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a B.S. degree in Biology
  • Married his awesome bride Alicia (Stuber) in 2000
  • Received his Master of Divinity, from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 2003
  • Has three daughters; Isabel born, in 2003; Amelia, born in 2005 and Olivia born in 2007
  • Served 3 years as Associate Pastor - St. John in Darien, IL - where he initiated and oversaw small group ministries
  • Joined Cross staff in September 2006


Matt Conrad, Pastor of Human Care & Missions
Send An Email: mconrad@hiscross.org

Pastor Matt Conrad

  • "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
  • Graduated from University of Michigan in 2000 with a B.A. degree in Anthropology
  • Married Danelle in 2003, right before their vicarage at Peace Lutheran Church in Arvada, CO
  • Attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and graduated with Masters of Divinity in 2005
  • My first call was as Associate Pastor, to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gretna, NE; where I served for 3.5 years in charge of discipleship and assimilation
  • Took a call in 2009 to serve as sole Pastor to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Skokie, IL
  • Joined Cross Staff in July 2015 as Pastor of Human Care and Missions
  • Have three great children : Nathan (born in 2007), Myanna (born in 2010) and Isaiah (born in 2013)
  • Love to camp, cook (especially Chinese), LEGO and Star Wars!

Nathan Fisher, Director of Worship
Send An Email: nfisher@hiscross.org

Nathan Fisher

  • "...be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.| Ephesians 5:18b-21
  • Graduated from University of Illinois, at Springfield, with a B.A. in Liberal Studies
  • Married to wife Jessi in 1999, and father to Elijah, Caleb, and Ephraim
  • Worked as a Financial Consultant from 2001-2009
  • Served as a Worship Leader for Sanctuary 1010 (a second site ministry of Immanuel Lutheran, Downers Grove) from 2003-2009
  • Served as Music Director for Sanctuary Manhattan, a mission plant congregation in Manhattan, IL from 2009-2012
  • Joined Cross staff as Director of Worship in 2012
  • Interests include: fishing, camping, and sports

Bill Ziech, Director of Discipleship
Send An Email: bziech@hiscross.org

Bill Ziech

  • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Psychology
  • Graduated from Wheaton College with a M.A. in Clinical Psychology & a Certificate in Advanced Biblical Studies
  • Completed required certification program in Senior High & Junior High Ministry through Group Publishing
  • Certified Youth Ministry Consultant
  • Trained National Speaker
  • Has almost 30 years of experience in Youth Ministry
  • Married Marianne in 1986 & they have 3 children; Jacob, Eric and Kaila
  • Bill has a passion to run in races from 5K's and beyond!!

David Thanepohn, Youth Leader
Send An Email: dthanepohn@hiscross.org

David Thanepohn

  • "For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy1:7
  • Life-long member at Cross.
  • Served on the Youth Leadership Team during High School at Cross.
  • Served as the H2H (Jr. High) Youth Leader from 2008-2011.
  • Led Worship for the Youth Groups from 2008-2012
  • Was interim Director of Worship at Cross in 2012
  • Served as Production Worship Leader at First Christian Church in Greenville, IL in 2013-2014
  • Joined staff as Youth Leader 2014
  • Loves leading worship, Batman, playing with his dog Zeke, Chick-fil-a, and working with the Youth.
  • Has gone on many mission trips and loves to use his "goofy" and serious God given gifts to serve god however possible.

Kayla Olson, Coordinator of Children & New Family Ministries
Send An Email: kolson@hiscross.org

Kayla Olson

  • "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?" Matthew 6:25
  • Currently finishing up Studies in Elementary Education and Director of Christian Education at Concordia University, Chicago
  • Served at Immanuel Lutheran - Downers Grove, as a Director of Christian Education fieldworker for 3 years
  • Was involved in teaching Sunday School, leading Youth Group, directing VBS and accompanying the Youth Group on missions trips
  • Passionate about helping students discover the importance of God's love in their lives
  • Grew up in the Delavan, IL - a small town south of Peoria
  • Have a wide variety of hobbies including knitting, cycling, reading Sci-Fi and attempting to play sports

Alicia Gauss, Nursery Director
Send An Email: agauss@hiscross.org

Alicia Gauss

  • "...neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39
  • Graduated from Concordia University, Wisconsin in 1999, with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education
  • Married husband Erik, in 2000
  • Mom to three girls: Isabel (2003), Amelia (2005), and Olivia (2007)
  • Taught preschool at St. Mark in Houston, TX.; Grace in St. Petersburg, FL; and directed St. Paul's Early Childhood Center in Des Peres, MO
  • Joined Cross when Erik became Pastor of Discipleship in October 2006


Kathy Braden, Caring Hands Thrift Store Manager
Send An Email: kbraden@hiscross.org

kathy braden, RN

  • "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, |Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,| but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.| James 2: 15-17
  • Caring Hands Thrift Shop Manager
  • Member of Cross' North Campus Team
  • Over 25 years experience as office manager, front end manager, cashier and interior designer
  • Graduate of Joliet Junior College with Associates Degree in Interior Design
  • Stephen Minister
  • Member of Kendall & Grundy Department of Community Action Board
  • Member of Cross Lutheran Church Worker Scholarship Committee
  • Member of Cross Lutheran since 1978
  • Joined Cross staff in July 2006
  • Married 30+ years to Dave and proud grandmother of 3
  • Always ready to travel to see our children in California or New Orleans

Mary Pat Bretthauer, CLM Interim Coordinator of Care Ministries
Send An Email: mbretthauer@hiscross.org

Mary Pat Bretthauer

  • "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
  • Graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in 1974 with a BS Degree in Biology
  • Completed evening course work in Business Management and Organizational Behavior at College of DuPage in 1992-93
  • Worked in the area of Loss Prevention & Property Protection for 19 years as supervisor and manager till company had to restructure
  • Joined Cross, with Husband Rex, in April 1996
  • Hired as Director of Operations for Cross in January, 2000
  • Moved into the area of Assimilation as of January 2006
  • Trained Stephen Minister - with H.E.R.O.E.S. Training to support Military families
  • Completed the LCMS Certified Lay Ministry Program in 2010
  • LERT (Lutheran Early Response Team) trained
  • As of July 1, 2016 transitioned as Interim Coordinator of Care Ministries
  • Interests: camping, hiking, snow shoeing and fitness with her husband, Rex

Mary Konrath, Business Manager
Send An Email: marykonrath@hiscross.org

Mary Konrath

  • "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.| Philippians 4:13b-14
  • Grew up in Cicero, IL and the Dutch Christian Reformed Church. Attended Timothy Christian School but spent much of my teen years with friends from the local Lutheran Church (Faith Lutheran) and attended their youth group and retreats
  • Joined Word of Life Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL in 1988 where both my children were baptized
  • Became a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, IL in 1995 and was very active in the Drama Ministry
  • Earned an Addictions Counseling Certification from College of DuPage in 1992
  • Entered the field of Human Resources in 1996 with Ameritech and moved to Ty Inc. in 1999 and in 2001 became the Employee Relations Administrator until 2006
  • Earned a Professional in Human Resources Certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in May of 2006
  • Joined staff at Cross as Business Manager in June of 2006 and also joined the drama team
  • Married to Al and have 2 sons, Boomer and Peter

Pam Hahn, Financial Assistant and Treasurer
Send An Email: phahn@hiscross.org

Pam Hahn

  • "Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us our generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.| 2 Corinthians 10:10, 11
  • Graduated from Delta University, MI in 1985 with an Associates in Business
  • Graduated from Concordia University, MI in 1988 with a Bachelors in Secondary Education
  • Member of Cross Lutheran since 1990
  • Married to Jeff, and mother to Micah, Josiah & Rebekah
  • Volunteer of Cross for over 20 years - in past areas of Hot Lunch program and as basketball coach
  • Currently is leading Confirmation class & coaching volleyball
  • Joined Cross staff in the fall of 2007, as Financial Assistant
  • Hobbies are Prayer Shawl Ministry to help comfort the sick and hurting, gardening, softball & bowling

Diane Andermann, Church Secretary
Send An Email: dandermann@hiscross.org

Diane Andermann

  • "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
  • Oswego native; graduate of Oswego High School (when there was only one!)
  • Honors graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy
  • Certified Public Accountant and Notary Public
  • Financial and systems manager for U.S. and international corporations for over twenty years
  • Wife to husband, John; bookkeeper for his farming and excavating businesses
  • Member of Cross since 2005; actively involved in financial, funeral, international missions and narration ministries
  • Part-time church secretary at Cross since 2010


School Staff

Susan Lopez, Principal
Send An Email: slopez@hiscross.org

Principal Susan Lopez

  • "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
  • Graduated from Concordia College St. Paul, MN in 1975 with a B.A. in education
  • Working on her M.A. in School Leadership from Concordia University, River Forest in 2001
  • First call was to Trinity Lutheran Sauk Rapids, MN to teach grade one
  • In 1976 a call from Cross to teach grades 1-3 was received
  • A new call was issued in 1987 to be principal and teacher at Cross
  • Called to full-time principal in 2002
  • Sue has served as secretary for NID Principals' Conference
  • Accreditation Visitor Team Member
  • Member of the NID Teacher|s Conference Arrangements Committee
  • Enjoys traveling

Candy Nolan, School Secretary
Send An Email: cnolan@hiscross.org

Candy Nolan

  • "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions; it is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:4-5
  • Graduated from Concordia, River Forest in 1984 with a B.S. degree in Computer Science
  • Have been truly blessed with a wonderful husband, Jim and two great children, David and Katie
  • Been a part of the Cross family since 1997
  • Joined Cross staff as part time School Secretary in 2006



Laura Laesch, School Secretary
Send An Email: llaesch@hiscross.org

Laura Laesch

  • "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
  • Married Jim in 1971
  • Mother of 4, and grandma of 6
  • Missionary with Lutheran Bible Translators in Liberia for 13 years
  • Joined Cross staff as part time School Secretary in August of 2006




Jeffrey S. Hahn, 8th grade Homeroom Teacher, 5th-8th Math & Athletic Director
Send An Email: jhahn@hiscross.org

Jeff Hahn

  • "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." Romans 1:16
  • Graduated from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, MI, 1989, with a B.S. in Education
  • Joined Cross School Staff in 1989
  • Athletic Director and coaches basketball





Kamela Stone, 7th grade Homeroom Teacher, 5th-8th grade Science Teacher.
Send An Email: kstone@hiscross.org

Kamela Stone

  • "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1.
  • Earned a B.A. in Education from Concordia University, Seward, NE, 1998
  • Joined Cross in 1998
  • Volleyball Coach, Girls Basketball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director




Karen R. Schumm, 6th grade Homeroom Teacher, 5th-8th grade English Teacher, Spring Musical Director
Send An Email: kschumm@hiscross.org

Karen Schumm

  • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Earned Associate Degree at Concordia College, Ann Arbor, MI., 1978; B.A. in Education at Concordia University, River Forest, IL, 1981; M.S. Ed. at Northern Illinois University, 1994
  • Joined Cross staff in 1980
  • Currently involved as Winterim Coordinator, Scripture Reader, and Director of 5th-8th Grade Musical
  • Served 3 years as a member of the Peru Mission Team



Mary Neyer, 5th grade Homeroom Teacher, 5th-8th grade Reading Teacher
Send An Email: mneyer@hiscross.org

Mary Neyer

  • "He came to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many people." Mark 10:45
  • Attended Concordia St. Paul, MN for two years and graduated with a B.A. in Education from Concordia River Forest, IL in 1989 with emphasis in Youth Ministry
  • Married to Gary and blessed together with 3 sons, Joshua, Jacob & Jonathan
  • Trained Stephens Minister




Sonya Lutze, 4th grade Teacher
Send An Email: slutze@hiscross.org

Sonya Lutze

  • "He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress. I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:2
  • Earned a B.A. in Education from Concordia University, Seward, NE, in 1996
  • Taught at Zion (Matteson, IL) from 1996-1999 and St. Luke|s (Montgomery, IL) from 1999-2004
  • Joined Cross Staff in July of 2004
  • Family Reading Night Coordinator and 3rd & 4th grade Choir Director
  • Director of Cross Cares Program


Barb Pinnow, 3rd grade Teacher
Send An Email: bpinnow@hiscross.org

Barbara Pinnow

  • "I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
  • Ms. Pinnow earned a B.A. in 1984 and M.S. Education in 1994 from Concordia University, River Forest, IL
  • Joined Cross staff in 1984
  • NID Teacher|s Conference Presenter
  • Enjoys gardening and quilting




Miriam Ulrich, 2nd grade Teacher
Send An Email: mulrich@hiscross.org

Miriam Ulrich

  • "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
  • Earned a B.S. in Education from Concordia University, River Forest, IL, in 2002
  • Joined Cross Staff in August of 2002
  • Is the Director of the 1st/2nd Grade and 5th-8th Grade Choir
  • Enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with family.



Alissa Bocek, 1st Grade Teacher
Send An Email: abocek@hiscross.org

Alissa Bocek

  • "It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers; to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ|| Ephesians 4:11-12
  • Graduated from Concordia University River Forest, IL in December 2005 with a BA in Elementary Education
  • Been a life long disciple of Cross Church
  • Married to Josh, and mother to Colin, Liam, Carter & Lainey
  • Joined Cross Staff in 2006
  • Coached Volleyball


Jessi Fisher, Kindergarten Teacher
Send An Email: jfisher@hiscross.org

Jessi Fisher

  • "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
  • Graduated from Concordia University, River Forest, IL in 2000 with a double major , B.A. in Elementary Education and D.C.E. (Director of Christian Education)
  • Has taught both in the public and Lutheran school systems, with last call being at St. Paul, Chicago, IL
  • Joined Cross staff in 2015 , started worshiping at Cross in 2012
  • Happily married to Nathan, with three boys: Elijah (2003), Caleb (2005) and Ephraim (2007)
  • Enjoys running, exercise classes, spending time with friends and family, and outdoor activities


Karen L. Biermann - Miller, Kindergarten Teacher
Send An Email: kmiller@hiscross.org

Karen Biermann-Miller

  • "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
  • Earned B.A. in Education from Concordia College, St Paul, MN, 1987 and M.S. Ed. from Northern Illinois University, 1992
  • Joined Cross staff in 1987
  • Children's Choir Director, Spring Musical Director
  • Praise Team Member
  • Swim Instructor


Alicia Gauss, Preschool Teacher
Send An Email: agauss@hiscross.org

Alicia Gauss

  • "..neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39
  • Graduated from Concordia University, Wisconsin in 1999, with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education
  • Married husband Erik, in 2000
  • Mom to three girls: Isabel (2003), Amelia (2005), and Olivia (2007)
  • Taught preschool at St. Mark in Houston, TX.; Grace in St. Petersburg, FL; and directed St. Paul's Early Childhood Center in Des Peres, MO
  • Joined Cross when Erik became Pastor of Discipleship in October 2006
  • Praise Team Member
  • Serves as Nursery Director

Kimberly Robbins, Preschool Teacher
Send An Email: krobbins@hiscross.org

Kimberly Robbins

  • "Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:6
  • Graduated from Aurora University with a BA in Elementary Education in 2004
  • Married a wonderful husband Ken in Oct. 2005, and blessed with two beautiful daughters, Laci and Emily
  • Previously taught Preschool for 6 years at the YMCA.
  • Join Cross Teacher team in August of 2012



Cathy Schmeckpeper, Preschool Teacher
Send An Email: cschmeckpeper@hiscross.org

Cathy Schmeckpeper

  • "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
  • Graduated from Concordia University, River Forest, IL in 1997 with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education
  • Taught second grade in Chicago Heights, IL and preschool in Naperville, IL
  • Joined Cross staff in 2015
  • Married to Ryan, mother to three boys (Jack, Logan and Maxwell)



Hillary Weis, Preschool Teacher
Send An Email: hweis@hiscross.org

Hillary Weis

  • "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • Graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2002 with a BA Degree in Elementary Education
  • Studied at AIU Online and graduated in December 2005 with an MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Currently spends her days when not here at Cross spending time with her husband, Mike, and four children, Analise, Vivienne, Rainer, and Evangeline
  • Joined Cross staff as Part-time Preschool Teacher in August 2016
  • Interests are in reading, gardening, and crafting


Jessica Mouis, Special Ed Teacher
Send An Email: jmouis@hiscross.org

Jessica Mouis

  • "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
  • Graduate from Concordia University in Seward, NE in December 2000 with a B.A. in Elementary Education and a Specialty in Special Education
  • Called to Lutheran Special Education Ministries (LSEM) of Chicago in January 2001 and placed here at Cross Lutheran School, Yorkville and at St. Paul|s Lutheran in Aurora. During my time with LSEM, I also worked at Bethany Lutheran in Naperville in the fall of 2001 while continuing on at Cross Lutheran School.
  • Called to Cross Lutheran School full time in August of 2005
  • Coordinator of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing for the school
  • Married and mother of three


Missouri Synod LCMS

Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church and School
8609 Route 47 • Yorkville, IL 60560 • (630) 553-7335 (Church) • (630) 553-7861 (School)