Transforming our Nation One Child at a Time.

+618 874 6505

564  Veronica Ave

East St. Louis, IL 62205

Meet the Board of Directors for Uni-Pres Kindercottage!

Dr. Phil Wilhem, President..

Dr. Phil Wilhelm has been lifelong member of the United Church of Christ.  He currently serves as Director of Music at O’Fallon UCC and has been in that role for nearly 20 years.  Phil has served on both the board of the Illinois South Conference and the former Executive Council of the National Setting.  He attended the LIFE program Eden in its early years. Phil has a lifelong service in education.  He taught in the public school system before going to McKendree University, where he trained future teachers.  Phil retired early to pursue other interests, but continues to adjunct for Illinois State University.   Phil has a Bachelors and Masters degree in music and a PhD in education.  He has been a supporter of Kindercottage for many years and is honored to be serving on the board of directors.

Judy Brickey, Vice President

Judy Brickey is retired from IBM Corporation.  Prior to joining IBM she was a secondary school teacher for a number of years, teaching Junior High in Collinsville, IL.  She began her career at IBM, in administration, later becoming a Systems Engineer focusing on midrange computers, eventually she became a technical sales representative.  Judy is married and has a daughter and son-in-law who have blessed her with a granddaughter, who is now a Freshman in college. Judy is an active member of St. John United Church of Christ in Collinsville.  She enjoys working with the staff at Kindercottage as they continue their mission of providing well deserved services to the children and families of East St. Louis.

Rev. Mike Southcombe, Secretary

Mike Southcombe is currently serving as the Transitional Pastor at St. Paul UCC in Waterloo. Mike served as pastor at St. John’s UCC in Brighton for over 15 years and at St. John UCC in Wood River for 7 years. Married to Sue (Sprague) Southcombe for 43 years, they have 3 children, all married, and 4 grandchildren. Mike is currently on the Board for UniPres Kindercottage and a member of the ISC Conference Council. He has served as Board member and Chair of the Hitz Memorial Nursing Home, as board member and chair of the Hoyleton Ministries Board; has served as Moderator of the Illinois South Conference; served on various committees of the ISC; is one of the conference’s church interpersonal and major conflict mediators and has been a PRN Chaplain at SSM DePaul and Alton Memorial Hospitals for 23 years, primarily in Trauma and ICU chaplaincy. During that time, he has done Advanced Units of CPE at SLU, Cardinal Glennon and Christian Hospital. He says he is “excited to become a Transitional Minister, to serve congregations in a time of discernment, adjustment and to nurture new visions and dreams.”

Dr. Carla Monroe-Posey, Treasurer

Carla Monroe-Posey, PhD, is a licensed clinical social worker and administrator.  Currently, she is executive director at St. Vincent Home for Children, a nonprofit organization in North St. Louis County serving troubled teens and their families.  Carla is married to her high school sweetheart, Doug Posey, who helps edit the Kindercottage newsletter.  They have two grown sons, both happily married, four grandsons and one granddaughter.  Carla is a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Lebanon, IL and first joined the Kindercottage Board in 2006.  She is passionately dedicated to Kindercottage and its mission of educating and serving preschoolers because she knows the difference Kindercottage makes in the lives of its kids and their families.

Johann Ellerbrake

Johann Ellerbrake attended high school in the Washington DC area. After graduating from high school, she attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs Ohio. She earned an undergraduate degree in Physical Therapy from Washington University and an MA in Management from Webster University. Johann is married to Richard Ellerbrake and they live in Lebanon IL. They have two adult sons, Chris and Steve, four grandchildren, and two great grand children. She has worked as a Physical Therapist at Barnes Jewish, Deaconess, and Christian Welfare Hospitals, as well as Mamie O Stookey School. In addition, Johann has served as Executive Director for both Rankin Jordan Pediatrics Bridge Hospital and Mamie O Stookey School. She also is a consultant at Southwest Regional Special Education Association, President of Illinois South Conference Board of Directors, former President of UPKC Board of Directors, board member of Puentes De Esperanza, President Greater St. Louis Lead Poisoning Council, member of UCC Board for Homeland Ministries, Chair of Evangelism & Church Growth Committees, board member United Congregations of the Metro East (UCM). 


Rev. Kris Avise-Rouse

Rev. Kristofer K. Avise-Rouse (Eden ’06) is the Pastor and Teacher of Epiphany United Church of Christ, St. Louis, Missouri AND Campus Chaplain at Every Child’s Hope (formerly Evangelical Children’s Home). Having grown up all over the country from Iowa to California and Texas to Boston, Kris has lived in the St. Louis Metro for most of their adult life. Kris has a Bachelor degree in media communication from Webster Univ., St. Louis and a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis. Kris is married to Nicole Avise-Rouse (south St. Louis city born and raised) and they have two adult sons Kristian and Casey. In their free time Kris enjoys knitting, reading, disc golf, video games, cooking, boats, and coffee.

Laura Coracy

I live in Collinsville and am married to my husband Mike who is a financial advisor and we have a daughter Anna, who is a freshman at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.  I have been an Early Childhood Special Education teacher in Granite City, IL for 24 years. My family and I currently attend church at First Christian Church in Edwardsville and previously attended at St. John Evangelical Church in Collinsville. I am now serving for a fourth year on the Kindercottage Board. I feel honored to be a part of such an amazing organization that does so much for both young children and their families.

Donna Crider

Donna was born and raised in Charlestown, Indiana. She graduated from Indiana State University in Terre Haute with a B.A. in elementary education.  Donna married Mike Crider in June 1970.  While Mike was working on his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Kentucky in Lexington (Go Cats!), Donna taught 5th grade and earned an MA in elementary education at UK.  Mike’s work as a college professor has led them to Purdue, the University of Toledo, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and now SIUE. In 1983, Donna and Mike adopted their son Jeremy.  He is a family practice physician working with the underserved population in Birmingham, Alabama.  His wife is a veterinarian, and they have two adopted boys, Jacob (6) and Jesse (4). Donna was raised in the Methodist Church, but her family moved to the Presbyterian Church when she was 12.  She is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and has been involved with Presbyterian Women on the local, presbytery and synod levels.  Mission has beena special interest for her.  Donna also is a member of P.E.O., DAR, and Bread for the World.


Rev. Joy Myers

I have spent a lot of time volunteering in my life. Married for 48 years, my spouse, Ron, retired from the Illinois Toll Hiway Authority in 2007 when I received a call to be Associate Pastor in Edwardsville, IL.  A late bloomer, I graduated from college (Northern Illinois University) in 1989 with a teaching degree (BS Ed and again in 1996 with a Master’s degree in Education (MS Ed – Instructional Technology/Instructional Design).  Going to Seminary in 1997 and graduating from McCormick Theological Seminary in 2000 then beginning work as Associate Pastor at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva, IL.  I was actually ordained before graduation!  I became Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church Edwardsville in the fall of 2006 retiring from that position Dec 2015.  Currently I serve as part-time Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy. I’ve spent time as a timer and record keeper for my children’s swim team breathing in chlorine!  I’ve served on boards of directors for several organizations and currently serve on the board at Uni-Pres Kindercottage in East St Louis.  Ron and I served as Foster parents through the Dept of Children and Family Services in Illinois and adopted two children.  Our daughter lives in Southern Missouri after losing her husband of 20 years in 2015.  Our son died in 1995.

Rev. Paul Thompson

Paul H. Thompson, Jr. was born in 1948 in Sharon, Pennsylvania. He attended and graduated from McPherson College in 1971 with a B.A. in English. In August 1971, he married Marilyn Dyson at Waterloo, Iowa. On January 31, 1978 their first daughter Susannah was born at Omaha, Nebraska. From February 1978 until August 1984, he served Brentford United Church of Christ, Mellette United Methodist Church, and Mansfield Presbyterian Church in South Dakota. During their time there, their second daughter Rebekah was born on August 21 1982 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In August 1984, they moved to Wakarusa, Indiana where Paul served Zion United Church of Christ, Wakarusa and St. John United Church of Christ, Woodland. He served St. John United Church of Christ in Maeystown, Illinois from August 1990 until September 2003 when he moved to St. John United Church of Christ, Minier, Illinois from where he retired June, 2014. In retirement, he lives in Red Bud and belongs to Zion United Church of Christ in Waterloo.

Roger Watson

Roger Watson was born in East St. Louis in 1939 and is a graduate of the East St. Louis Sr. High School. He was a member of the United Church of Christ in East. St. Louis until about 1967. He was employed by the Illinois Department of Transportation and worked on highway construction projects in and around East St. Louis until his retirement. He is presently a resident of Edwardsville and an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Edwardsville, Illinois.