Meet the Staff



Rev. Laura Brewster

Senior Pastor

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 ever since. Laura is married to Scott Clear and their daughter, Rachel, is a graduate student at U.T.


Rev. Dr. Ray Kiser

Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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.




Olivia Piacenza

Office Manager

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 loves bringing people together in support of Christ’s mission.


Pamala Detrich

Business Manager

Pam has been serving the church as our Business Manager for almost two decades! She came to us with extensive experience and a degree in Business Administration. Her areas of responsibility include overseeing contributions and pledge campaigns, accounting, essential human resource functions such as payroll and legal compliance, and supports and tracks program and administrative budgets.



Taylor McLean

Director of Youth Ministries

Taylor has had the joy of serving this congregation since 2017 while she was in graduate school. She recently earned a Master of Science in Social Work from UT and a Master of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is passionate about social justice and service and, before moving to Austin, she participated in a year of service through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She loves a bad joke and a strong cup of coffee.


Alicia Curtis

Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

Alicia is a recent MSSW graduate from the University of Texas. Her alma mater for undergrad is Hope College in Holland, MI. In addition to having lived in four other states before making it down to Texas, Alicia has a heart for building community, diving into the word, and volunteering in various capacities. Her favorite games are cards but loves trying new games so come prepared for fun on game nights!


Keri Forte

My Friend's House Preschool Director

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 my 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!



Jordan Burchill

Praise Worship Leader

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.


Nathan Nagir

Director of Music

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.

Mike St. Clair (2)

Mike St. Clair

Praise Worship Bassist

Jimmy Milner (3)

Jimmy Milner

Praise Worship Drummer

Mirim Kim Headshot 2019 Jan

Dr. Mirim Kim

Pianist and Organist

Mirim serves primarily at our traditional service. Originally from South Korea, she has served as a church pianist since 2004. She 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.



Ronnie Hawkins

Part-time custodian

Theador Barron

Full-time Custodian