Director of Religious Exploration for Children and Youth
Betsy Lowry, Ed.D.
Betsy joined WSUU as the Director of Religious Exploration in January 2013, having recently moved from the Washington DC area. She is passionately committed to working with children, youth and adults, and she brings a depth of experience from a variety of educational contexts. She started her career working with children with disabilities in camp settings; as a music director; and as a special education teacher in public schools. As a facilitator for the school reform program “Success for All,” Betsy provided leadership consultation and professional development to challenged schools in urban and rural settings across the country in the early 1990’s. After another public school experience teaching eighth grade English, Betsy joined the Center for Technology in Education at Johns Hopkins University, where she remained for fourteen years, becoming the Associate Director and earning a doctoral degree in education. There she built and collaborated with strong and dedicated teams of educators and researchers to develop, evaluate and disseminate programs incorporating assistive, instructional and leadership technologies. From this experience she also brings a skill set in nonprofit organizational management, grant writing, and moving products from inception to the marketplace. While at Hopkins, Betsy served the School of Education as an Assistant Professor, Director of Online Learning and Distance Education, and Assistant Dean.
In Alexandria, Virginia, Betsy was actively involved in the Religious Education program at her UU church, as a teacher, consultant, musician and chair of the Religious Education Council. Most recently here at Westside, before being appointed RE Director, she was co-chair of our Children/Youth Religious Exploration Council, and she enjoys contributing to the rich, multigenerational music program.
Bertram comes to us with an extensive background in choral conducting and voice coaching. Bert earned a Bachelor of Music from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master of Music from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has been a private studio voice instructor since 1984 and is a self-described “voice geek.” He formed Seattle Glee Clubs, a non-profit choral and musical theater organization for amateurs in 1993 and served as choral conductor for the Seattle Women’s Glee Club, the West Seattle Glee Club, The Olio Players theatrical troupe and the Offbeat Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
As Westside’s Music Director/Choral Conductor, Bert leads the WSUU rhythm section and conducts The Chorale, The Chalice Singers, the Celebration Singers and the Summer Choir. He has also been the Conductor/Artistic Director for Westside UU’s resident ensemble, Earthrise Chamber Choir, since the fall of 2011.
An experienced performer, Bert has an extensive choral and jazz ensemble background, and has presented numerous recitals of art song, standards, and show tunes. He enjoys a broad range of experience with music genres: classical, opera, jazz, sacred, blues, pop, musical theater, rock, gospel, rhythm and blues, and folk music. He held the position of bass section leader for the Seattle Jewish Chorale from 2010 – 2013.
Nursery Care Teacher
Julie Vance is our Infant/Toddler Teacher. She has been working with Westside Congregation since 2005. Julie has a beautiful gift for connecting with our youngest ones; helping them feel safe and cared for so their parents can attend the service. She has a partner, Michael and a son, Dexter. Julie worked at Community School of West Seattle for five years. Julie sees working with children is such a gift—always renewing and inspiring her.
Carie is a contract bookkeeper who began work with Westside in the fall of 2011. She has owned and operated a bookkeeping service in West Seattle for 10 years. Carie provides bookkeeping services to numerous churches, other non-profit organizations and for-profit small businesses. She and her husband live in West Seattle and have one adult daughter.
Shannon began this position in fall 2013. Previously she served as our Associate Director of Religious Exploration for Children and Youth. As our Administrative Assistant, she does many tasks, including producing our orders of service, brochures, and eNews; she managing the messages coming into our office, keeping the congregational/building calendar, and updating our membership database and directories.