Julie S. Klopke grew up in a strong Christian home with her parents and younger sister in an area called Gages Lake, IL. which is very close to the Wisconsin/Illinois border and north of Chicago. She attended Concordia College/University in River Forest/Chicago where she earned a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education (1982), a MA in Early Childhood Education (2001), and a School Leadership state certification (2007).
Her first call was to be the director/teacher of St. Luke’s Nursery School (1982-1987). During that time at St. Luke’s she married Paul J. Klopke, who also has certification as a LCMS Director of Christian Education and an Elementary Education teacher. Paul and Julie served at St. Luke’s together from 1984-1987 when they moved to St. Louis so Paul could attend Concordia Seminary. During their seminary years, Julie taught 1st grade at Zion Lutheran School, St. Louis, and 1st & 2nd grade at St. Paul Lutheran School in Wood River, Illinois and art at Mt. Olive Lutheran School, in Omaha, NB, as well as serving as a home daycare provider.
Following Paul’s graduation from the seminary, the Klopke’s moved to southern Illinois where he served as a pastor of a dual parish in Carmi and McLeansboro, During that time, Julie worked as the Pre-K At-Risk Coordinator and Teacher in the Carmi-White County Public Schools.
From 1997-2023, Julie was blessed to serve as the Early Childhood Director & Teacher/Assistant Principal at St. Peter Lutheran Church & School in Arlington Heights, IL.
Julie & Paul are blessed with two grown, married children, Philip (Kyrie) and Jillian (Matthew) and one grandson, Porter. Their children and grandson all live in the Nashville, Tennessee area.
In addition to her parish ministry roles, Julie has been serving as an early childhood consultant for the Northern Illinois District- LCMS, speaker and board member for Lutheran Education Association, and on National Lutheran School Accreditation Committee.
Julie’s past times include connecting and being with her family especially with her children and grandson. She also enjoys reading children’s books, gardening, and scrapbooking.
Pastor Troy Countryman
Pastor Troy Countryman
Pastor Troy was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Lutheran parochial education was an important part of his childhood, as he was blessed to attend Holy Cross Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School. After graduating with a BS in Industrial Management from Purdue University in 2000, he worked four years at Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company in Indianapolis.
During his time at Eli Lilly, Pastor Troy met his wife, Andrea. Andrea is a native of Anderson Indiana, and a graduate of Indiana University. In addition to vocations as a wife and mother, Andrea is currently working toward a nursing degree.
Pastor Troy and Andrea were married at Carmel Lutheran Church in 2003. Thanks to the encouragement of Andrea as well as his pastors, Pastor Troy began seminary education at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 2004. Upon seminary graduation in 2008, he was called to St. John’s Lutheran Church and School in Mattoon, Illinois, where he served as Associate Pastor and then Senior Pastor until accepting the call to serve at St. John, Indianapolis.
Pastor Troy and Andrea have been blessed with three children (two daughters and a son).
Favorite family pastimes include hiking, living room dance parties, and travel.
Statement to the congregation: “For me, life in the Church is quite simple, it’s about relationships. The primary relationship is with our Triune God, and every other relationship is centered in Christ Jesus.”
Favorite verse of Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:20 – “For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
Pastor Luke Wattx
Pastor Luke Watt
Mr. Huntington was born in Owatonna, MN, but he has moved many times in his life. He spent his formative years in Indianapolis, graduating from Emmaus Lutheran School and then Lutheran High School. He earned a B.A. from Concordia University Wisconsin in elementary education and computer science. Before teaching at St. John, he has served previously at Hope Lutheran School in Plant City, Florida, Calvary Lutheran School in Indianapolis, and Our Shepherd Lutheran School in Avon.
Mr. Huntington's favorite subject in school was math, so he is very happy teaching what he loves. He hopes to instill at least a little of that love for math into his students while guiding them to be successful. He also enjoys teaching economics and personal finance. He was awarded the Olin W. Davis Award for Exemplary Teaching of Economics in 2006 by the Indiana Council for Economic Education.
He is married to Leslie, who is also a Lutheran school teacher in Indianapolis. They live in Greenwood with their son. In his spare time, Mr. Huntington enjoys board games, video games, and reading.
Mr. Timothy Galligar was born in Champagne-Urbana, IL but spent most of his youth in Chicago, St. Louis, and Columbus, IN. Mr. Galligar earned his B.A. in secondary education, history, and ESL from Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, WI.
After getting married in 2015, he and his wife Amanda moved to Tacoma, WA to this his first three years at Peace Lutheran School in Bremerton, WA. After which, he has been serving at St. John Lutheran Church and School.
Tim and Amanda are happy to be back in Indiana and closer to family. Mr. Galligar is passionate about social studies, geography, and history. he works to make these three areas relevant to students' lives and hopes to instill a life-long love of things past. When he is not teaching, he loves to play board games, attend concerts, and cook.
Miss Thomas was born in Fort Wayne, IN. She holds a B.A. degree from Concordia University and has 10 years of experience teaching in Lutheran secondary education. Her previous position was in St. Petersburg, FL.
As a Lutheran educator, Miss Thomas feels her primary mission is to serve as a Christian witness to the students, parents, and other individuals she comes into contact with. This mission is incorporated into everything she does in the classroom, from praying with students to glorifying God by teaching about His marvelous creation. She believes her ministry is not limited to the classroom and likes to be involved in sports, music, drama, and other areas of the students' lives.
Miss Thomas is an avid reader and she loves being outside. In her spare time, you might be able to find her on one of the area bicycle trails.
Mrs. McCartney earned her B.A. from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. She is currently in her 33rd year of teaching, all at St John Lutheran School. She serves as the Kdg-2nd Grade choir director and is also an organist at St. John Lutheran Church.
Mrs. McCartney and her husband, Bill, have three children and three grandchildren. She enjoys her family and friends and also enjoys traveling, gardening, and reading.
Mrs. Pamela Johnson
Mrs. Pamela Johnson
Mrs.Johnson was born and raised in Montague, Michigan, where she was baptized, confirmed, and married at St. James Lutheran Church. She attended Concordia Lutheran Junior College (now Concordia Ann Arbor) where she received her Associate of Arts degree, Concordia Nebraska, and Concordia Chicago, where in 1976 she received her B.A. in Education, D.P.M., and in 1998 her M.A. Mrs. Johnson is in her 31st year of teaching and has been at St. John since 1992.
She has also served congregations and schools in Montague, Chicago, and Evansville. Besides enjoying her fourth grade students, she serves St. John as Director of Music, adult and children's choir director, and organist. She is blessed with sharing life with her husband Paul, and their four daughters and their families, including five grandchildren. She enjoys traveling (with only 2 states left to visit), playing the organ and piano, reading, knitting, tennis, and waiting each fall to cheer on the Michigan football team.
Miss Jamie McCormick was born and raised in Mount Pulaski, IL. She is the oldest of 3 girls and the daughter of a Lutheran School teacher and a farmer. She graduated from Concordia University in Seward, NE in 2002 with her B.S. in Education. After graduation, she went west to teach at Bethlehem Lutheran School in Carson City, NV. She spent 15 years there before moving to Las Vegas to teach at Faith Lutheran Academy and Lamb of God Lutheran.
Miss McCormick is excited to begin her ministry at St John. When she is not teaching or at a sporting event, she enjoys reading, hiking, and playing card games.
Mrs. Emily Rode was raised mainly in Indianapolis, Indiana and graduated from Lutheran High School. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Valparaiso University.
She previously taught at Trinity Lutheran School in Indianapolis and Triton Central Elementary School in Fairland, Indiana. She was also a preschool aide and substitute here at St. John.
Mrs. Emily Rode met her husband Aaron at Lutheran High School and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Kendall, and a son, Andrew. When she is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and being outdoors.
Mrs. Klick is a May 2016 graduate of Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, IL where she majored in elementary education and completed her student teaching at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere, IL.
Emily is married to Ben, a Rose Hulman graduate who works as a civil engineer at Bowen Engineering in Indianapolis.
Emily grew up in Marengo, IL and attended Zion Lutheran School. Emily is the oldest of three children.
Mrs. Klick's interests include reading, volunteering, and she is looking forward to biking (with Ben) on the cool paths available in Indy.
Miss Jennifer Tinkey was raised in Warsaw, IN. She received her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University, Chicago. Before coming to St. John, Miss Tinkey taught at St. Paul Lutheran School in Napoleon, OH.
When not teaching, Miss Tinkey enjoys painting, biking, and being outside. You might even find her playing the keyboard during our New Song Service on Sunday mornings.
Miss Tinkey has a twin sister, Elizabeth, who is a teacher in Illinois, and a younger sister, Jamielynn, who is a missionary in the Dominican Republic.
Miss Rachel Miller was raised in Greenwood, IN and attended Calvary Lutheran school from pre-k through 8th grade and graduated from Lutheran High school in 2015. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Hanover College, in Madison Indiana. Before starting at St. John, Miss Miller worked at a daycare in Carmel and had been nannying for families around Indianapolis.
During Miss Miller’s free time she enjoys being outside, finding new adventures, and traveling to new places. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family while she is at home.
Miss Miller has an older sister, Kalynne who works in Indy, a younger sister, Elise who is also attending Hanover college, and a younger brother, Blake who will be a freshman at Lutheran High school this fall.
Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten Teacher's Aidex
Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten Teacher's Aide
Kat Wiegand has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Boston University. She has worked for Ernst & Young in Connecticut and PepsiCo in New York, prior to moving to Indiana for her husband’s job transfer.
She has used her skills in budgeting, planning and forecasting at prior Lutheran congregations and schools as their treasurer or budget manager. Before coming to St. John, her last role was as Treasurer on the Evansville Lutheran School Association Board in Evansville, Indiana.
Kat’s husband, Phil, is a Sox Consultant here in Indianapolis. Their family has two children who attend St. John Lutheran School and one at Lutheran High School, plus two older daughters in college and beyond. Kat enjoys genealogy, history, movies, reading, traveling, long walks and bible studies. You can always find Kat with her head in a book or checking out the latest movie!
Lori Reno Howard
Principal Assistant/Admissions Coordinatorx
Lori Reno Howard
Principal Assistant/Admissions Coordinator
Mrs. Reno-Howard earned her Bachelors Degree from Indiana University and has been employed at St. John since 2005. She is married to Kenny Howard Sr., together they have 6 children, and 1 grand-daughter they absolutely adore.
The two of them are very much looking forward to the next chapter of their lives together enjoying many blessings of family, traveling, and home.
Shannon Velzen graduated from Indiana Business College (now Harrison College) with an Associate Degree in Business Management in 1987. She has worked as an accountant, paralegal and administrative assistant at various central Indiana businesses, before finding a truly enjoyable job here at St. John in 2006.
In 1998 Shannon met and married Patrick Velzen, an Engineer with Ryobi Die Casting. A short three years later their first child, a little girl, was born and just a few years after that their family was rounded out with the addition of a son. Both of their children attended school at St. John. The children would insist that you not forget their three dogs and gecko that think they are also "children." When not chasing around children or animals or keeping Patrick in line Shannon loves reading "books" on her Kindle, enjoying family movie nights and traveling (especially their family trips to Disney).
Heidi Mielke was born and raised in Randolph, New Jersey. Heidi attended Concordia University River Forest (now Chicago) and graduated with her degree in teaching. After graduation, Heidi served as the Director of Christian Education for 15 years at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Indianapolis.
While at Concordia, Heidi met her husband, Matthew. Matthew is a native of Danville, Illinois and enjoy his profession as a Real Estate Agent. Together, they have 5 kids.
Heidi and her family enjoy traveling, hiking, and watching the kids in all of their various activities.