Pastor – Laura S. Sugg
The Rev. Dr. Laura S. Sugg became pastor of WPC in June 2014. Laura enjoys movies, anything performed on a stage, photography, travel, and adventures with her family–almost all of whom live in the Denver area. Laura’s higher education is an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia; seminary at Yale University Divinity School; and her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology (Celtic Christianity) is from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
“My hope is to listen to the Spirit and to the congregation. Together we can move into this next chapter at WPC confident that there are ways to continue the great traditions of this caring place as well as fresh ways to reach out in love to the community and to serve in God’s world.”
Director of Christian Education, Children and Youth – Linda Valo
Linda Valo graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver, with a degree in Behavioral Science. She enjoys working with children and has done so for the last fourteen years as a volunteer facilitator in Sunday School, VBS, music camp, and for the last two years has been writing Sunday School curriculum for middle school. Linda is married, she and her husband have five children, twelve grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Choir Director – Katie Sakanai
Katie Sakanai is an experienced musician and teacher who was raised in the Presbyterian church in Wysox, PA. She is a multi-instrumentalist who sings and plays trombone, guitar, ukulele and piano. In addition to WPC, she also teaches private music lessons and preschool music classes.
She has 12 years of experience teaching middle and high school Chorus and Band, and she has also been music director for high school musicals and a cappella groups. As a musician, she has performed in the Thornton Community Band, the former Altezza Chamber Chorale, and a jazz combo.
She majored in Music and Russian language and literature at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. After graduation she studied Russian classical music and opera on a Fulbright scholarship to Russia at the Gnesin Institute in Moscow. She received her Masters in Music Education with an emphasis in conducting from Colorado State University.
Katie has a great love for classical music, jazz and the American songbook, and indie folk. She and her husband Jon live in Wheat Ridge and have two daughters, Adelaide and Corinne. She enjoys making music with them as well as spending time in the great outdoors. Her other hobbies include reading and knitting!
Administrative Assistant – Jenny Garner
A New York native, Jenny moved to Denver in 1987. She is married with a daughter and son. She has been a member of First Avenue Presbyterian Church for many years. She spends her spare time walking in the Greenbelt, singing with her church choir and reading.
Church Treasurer – Eileen Gardner, C.P.A.
Eileen grew up in Wheat Ridge, was baptized and confirmed (joining the church as a young teenager) in the church here, and graduated from Wheat Ridge High School. She attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs, then transferred to the Univ of Colorado Boulder to finish her BA in International Affairs. However, since she continually kept getting jobs in accounting and then developed her own tax practice, she subsequently got her BS in accounting from Metro State and then her Certificate in Public Accounting from the State of Colorado. Eileen has been treasurer at WPC since 2006, after having finished terms as deacon and elder. She has helped to modernize the accounting system and procedures in the office and now does all of the work on QuickBooks and uses internet banking to manage current funds. In addition to her treasurer duties, she is a long time member of both the chancel choir and the handbell choir. Eileen is married to Kerry, also a long time member. They have three children.
Assistant Church Treasurer – Betsy Smith
Betsy Smith, whose career, in addition to many accounting positions in the early days, worked 12+ years as a paralegal, in many capacities from personal injury, estates and divorces to corporate defense and franchising, and 14 years as an escrow closer, is our part-time assistant treasurer.
Organist and Hand Bell Choir Director – Julie Pulliam
Organist and Handbell Choir Director – Julie Pulliam
Julie, a Minnesota native, came to WPC in October 1980. She taught classroom and music in the public schools for twenty five years in Ketchikan, Alaska, Adams County District 12, CO, and the Boulder Valley School District, CO. Her education includes a B.S. in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota; B.A. in Organ Performance and Choral Education from Metropolitan State University, Denver; Organ Study at the University of London, England, and an M.A. from Regis University, Denver. Julie and her husband, Wallace, have three grown children and four grandchildren. Julie enjoys playing the new Rodgers Digital organ, reading, gardening, traveling, and golfing.
Pianist – Betty Niquette
Church pianist, Betty Niquette, is a native of Hempstead, Long Island, NY. She received her B.S. in nursing from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. She has worked in many fields of nursing including hospital nursing, public health, and home health, and as office manager in a private physician’s office in Wheat Ridge for 25 years. In her spare time Betty enjoys playing the piano, knitting, sewing and babysitting grandchildren. She has been a member of WPC since 1978, and has served as a deacon and elder. She spends a lot of time preparing piano/organ duets.