Meet Our Teachers

KAREN BECK, Director and Teacher - 16 years with UHP

Karen became a part of the UHP community while living in Eagle Heights from 1998-2002. Her two children, Ellie and Alex, attended UHP. Karen was the Treasurer Board Member, a Parent Helper, and a Substitute Teacher before the Board hired her as the Director.

Karen loves to garden. She has two rain gardens filled with native perennials to help replenish ground water and keep the lakes clean as well as for pollinators. She has a love for insects, bugs, and being outside. She is a backyard beekeeper and has Walking Stick Insects in the classroom. She enjoys sharing her passion for insects, nature, science, math, and building with the kids! Plus, she loves singing and doing process art and projects with the children.

Karen also enjoys kayak camping in the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin and tent camping in the Porcupine Mountains, Michigan.

Karen has been teaching for over 16 years. Her most recent accomplishment was earning her initial PreK - 3 teaching license through Concordia College receiving it in June 2020.

Susan Valko aka - Zsuzsanna - MWF Morning Teacher - Joined the UHP Community as a parent helper and Board Member when her children attended UHP - Starting to teach at UHP this year.

My name is Susan Valko (43), but if you are ready for a challenge you can call me Zsuzsanna, which is my original name. I was born and raised in a small town called Pécs in Hungary and after I finished my studies and worked a little bit there (as a management consultant doing IT related projects which sounds boring, but once I got to drive a trolley bus!) we decided to move to Toronto, Canada. We spent three great years there and then decided to move again, this time to Madison!

I have three children (fun fact: each one was born in a different country) – my younger daughter Blanka (11) doesn’t like that she is usually mentioned last when I talk about my family, so I’ll start with her: she loves to do gymnastics and loves to plays Among Us, my son Barnus (16) loves soccer and he is learning to drive a car, my older daughter Bori (13) is a KPOP fan and she also loves to do gymnastics.

I have three pets in my house a dog called Bodza, who is not sure about dogs, but loves all people and his favorite food is lettuce, a bunny called Bamboo who is a sweet boy and his favorite activity is to sit on top of his box and a guinea pig called Potato who lives in a “pig-loo” and he makes the best meep-meep sounds ever!

I have been working with young children for more than 12 years, first as a parent helper and board member at UHP (both Barnus and Bori went there when they were little) then as a music teacher and later as a gymnastics instructor and coach. I’ve developed my own preschool gymnastics program called GymMonkeys and led it for 5 years, it was a hoot! Currently I work at Capital Gymnastics in Verona as a team coach in the afternoons. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to teach preschool at UHP in the mornings starting in the fall!

Some of my favorite things besides coaching gymnastics and teaching preschool are: doing gymnastics, learning to throw pottery, working in my backyard, kayaking, yoga, crocheting, working on arts and craft projects with my kids, traveling and going on hikes with my family and enjoying our backyard hammock with a good book.

Lindsy Giese - TR with Lunch Bunch Teacher - 2 years with UHP

Hello UHP families! My name is Lindsy Giese and I am so pleased to be a part of the teaching staff for the 2021-2022 school year. This is my second year on staff at UHP. Last year I served as a substitute teacher and am beyond excited to get back in the classroom with the kids!

I have been a substitute teacher for the MMSD school district for the last three years, specifically in elementary schools. I also am a training coach for Tri 4 schools. This is a non-profit organization that provides multi-sport events and programming to schools and communities. Along with those experiences I have TONS of experience volunteering for the various sports, activities, and school events my two children have been part of through the years.

My husband Matt and my two children, Sam (14) and Charlie (10) have lived in Madison since 2001. My kids both attend Madison schools and love being a part of their community. In my spare time, I love to watch my kids participate in their sporting events and spend as much time outdoors as possible. I love to run, bike, and take my dog Murphy for lots and lots of walks! Can’t wait to meet you all soon!

Renee Deschard - Substitute Teacher - 1 year with UHP

Renee has two children who attend UHP and is also the Fundraising Chair on the UHP Board. Renee was a public school librarian for 8 years in Wisconsin and is looking forward to working with children again (and reading fun stories!). Her favorite past times are dancing, listening to music, singing and playing tennis. Her favorite children's book author is Mo Willems.

Sara Quigle, T/TH Morning Teacher and Lunch Bunch Teacher - 5 years with UHP

Sara has been involved at the school in a variety of ways over the years with her two boys, now both alumni. Through her work as a Parent Helper and a Board Member, she has become a strong advocate for UHP's mission as a cooperative. She brings great warmth and fun to this team of teachers and helps continue UHP's tradition of bringing community and family together. I feel fortunate to be a part of this wonderful community and am really looking forward to sharing my enthusiasm of art and music with the class.

LAURA SCHROEDER, 11 years with UHP


Hello UHP Families -

I hope this letter finds you all healthy and happy. I still find it hard to find the words to thank you all for the continued support and love over the last few months. Your generosity, meals, gift cards, letters, texts, emails, and more has helped my family get through some very hard times. My health is moving in the right direction.

After trying to figure out the best options for myself, my family, and the preschool I have decided to resign my positions at the end of the Spring semester. UHP has been and will always be such a wonderful time in my life. I have had so much joy in getting to know all the staff, children and families over the last 10 years. UHP has such an amazing future because of the staff, children, and families. I look forward to watching UHP continue to grow and flourish with its commitment to social and emotional development for children.

Again I say Thank you. Thank you for the years of trust with your children. Thank you for believing in a preschool that wants children to grow through play. Thank you for being part of a parent cooperative and showing such an interest in your child’s education. Thank you for all the fun times when you would Parent Help or be in the classroom. Thank you for all the laughs. Thank you for letting me hold all your babies. Thank you for helping my passion and dreams for early childhood education come true.

I look forward to still hearing from you all and watching your children grow.

So Much Love - Laura