Meet Our Staff

Head of Staff

Reverend Laura Brewster

Appointed to Northwest Hills UMC in June of 2016, Laura was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. She earned her Bachelor of Journalism from UT and spent the next few years working in TV news where she felt God using her to highlight important issues such as poverty and racism. Eventually, she felt God calling her to share the Good News instead of reporting bad news. She earned a Master of Divinity (cum laude) from Perkins School of Theology, SMU, and has been serving local churches since then. Laura is married to Scott Clear and their daughter, Rachel, is a graduate student at U.T.

Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

Reverend Dr. Ray Kiser

Ray is a retired elder in the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, serving part-time with Northwest Hills UMC, where he formerly served as Senior Pastor from 1988 to 1997.  He studied for Christian ministry at Duke University and Yale Divinity School and earned a Ph.D. in Theology and Personality at the Claremont School of Theology.  He and his wife Stacy live in Lakeway, and they have three young adult children:  Christopher, Sarah, and Grace.

Office Manager

Olivia Piacenza

Olivia brings over 15 years of administrative, operations, and program experience to our staff. She oversees the coordination of facility use and daily office administration, assists administrative/program staff and volunteers, maintains membership/visitor records and events calendars, assists with publications and website updates and serves as the staff liaison to the Board of Trustees. Olivia’s background is in nonprofit trauma-related work and she loves bringing people together in support of Christ’s mission.

Business Manager

Michelle McMinn

Michelle grew up in the Austin area and received a Master’s in Accounting at Texas A&M.  Michelle is a CPA and has a diverse work background, but recently her work has been in church accounting because she loves using her gifts to serve the church.  The United Methodist Church and mission are dear to her as she is a lifelong Methodist and a clergy spouse.  Her husband David serves as the Director of the Texas Wesley and they enjoy serving together along with their two young daughters, Sophie and Amelia.

Director of Youth and Digital Ministries

Tyler Steele

Tyler, a native of the Texas Hill Country, is a student at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary working toward a Masters of Divinity.  While earning his undergraduate degree in Social Work, Tyler had the blessing and privilege to serve as the Youth Director at Gruene UMC in New Braunfels, Texas, before continuing to work with youth in school social work and residential foster care settings.   He and his wife, Mandy, share their home with two beautiful boys: their dog, Mulligan, and their cat, Jack.  He enjoys reading fantasy novels, spending time outdoors, and all things related to the world’s greatest basketball team: the Dallas Mavericks.

Director, My Friends House Preschool

Keri Forte

Keri is a third-generation teacher, with 25 years of experience. She received her Early Childhood Degree at a community college in California where she has spent most of her life, until recently moving to this beautiful area in Austin which she loves! She is happily married with 3 wonderful boys. Working with families and teachers is her passion, and she is so excited to serve in this community!

Praise Worship Leader

Jordan Burchill

Jordan Burchill is the contemporary worship leader at Northwest Hills. He grew up leading worship in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, and has been a worship leader and full-time musician for the past 12 years. Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in jazz guitar at the University of North Texas and is also a gifted singer-songwriter. He has won numerous awards for his songwriting and recently one of his songs was featured in an Academy Award-winning film. When he’s not serving his church family at Northwest Hills, you can find him performing with his wife as their duo Beth // James, playing locally in Austin and touring the country.

Director of Music

Nathan Nagir

Nathan comes to us from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. At Northwest Hills, he directs the chancel choir and handbell choir at the Traditional Service. Nathan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from The University of the West Indies and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Texas State University. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Texas at Austin where he directs the University Chorus and Tenor/Bass Chorus.

Pianist and Organist

Dr. Mirim Kim

Mirim is the pianist and organist at Northwest Hills UMC and serves primarily at our traditional service. Originally from South Korea, she has served as a church pianist since 2004. Mirim graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in the spring of 2020 with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano. She currently resides in Austin with her husband.

Praise Worship Bassist

Mike St. Clair

Praise Worship Drummer

Jimmy Milner

Part-time Custodian

Ronnie Hawkins

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