Rector, The Rev. Jimmy Grace
Jimmy is a native Houstonian. He graduated from Episcopal High School in 1994 and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Art History at Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas. Jimmy served as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Trinity Episcopal Church, Houston, from 1999 until 2002. He then began studies at Virginia Theological Seminary, where he graduated in 2005. He was ordained into the Episcopal Church that same year, and served as Associate Rector at Epiphany, Houston from 2005 to 2010. During this time he was also President of the Board for Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHOS). In 2010, Jimmy accepted a call to serve as Canon for Formation and Worship at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston. Following four years of service there, in 2015 Jimmy accepted a call to serve as Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Houston. Jimmy is married to his wife Marla and they have three sons, James, William, and Henry.
Curate, The Rev. Bradley Varnell
Bradley comes to St. Andrew’s by way of Duke Divinity School where he completed his Master of Divinity degree with a Certificate in Anglican Studies in May 2019. Prior to Duke, he received his undergraduate degree in Religion and Philosophy at Baylor University where he was active in campus leadership. Raised a Southern Baptist, Bradley joined the Episcopal Church as a senior in high school and is passionate about following Christ in the Anglican tradition and hopes to share that passion with others as curate. He enjoys time with friends and family, reading, exploring new bars and restaurants, and bad TV.
Priest Intern, Jeff Bohanski
Jeff Bohanski is joining St. Andrew’s this year as a bivocational priest intern starting on September 15. He is part of the Iona School of Ministry which trains people for lay ministry, bivocational diaconate ministry, and bivocational priestly ministry. He is in his senior and final year on the priest track in this program. Jeff’s primary vocation is in elementary education. He teaches first grade at the Rice School/La Escuela Rice. He has been teaching for thirty years. The majority of his career has been in HISD.
Head of School, Nancy Simpson
Nancy holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Education and Counseling from the University North Texas and has completed the coursework for a Master of Liberal Studies at Rice University. She has more than 25 years of experience in private school leadership. Nancy enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading, music, gardening and bike riding. An animal lover, she also makes time for her two dogs, cat and horse. Nancy serves on the boards of The Summerhouse and the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools. She lives in the Heights and is an active member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
Parish Administrator and Ministry Coordinator, Trish Mehrkam
Trish Mehrkam was hired as secretary for the parish in 1999. Her responsibilities have steadily increased over the years, serving three priests and two interim priests at St. Andrew’s. Trish was promoted to Parish Administrator by The Rev. Barbara Lewis, and The Rev. Jimmy Grace has added the responsibilities and title of Ministry Coordinator. In 2018 Trish began working at St. Andrew's full-time. Trish is married to husband Tom and they have one daughter, Celine-Marie. Trish and Tom enjoy RVing as often as they can to relax and get back to nature.
Coordinator for Special Needs and Family Faith Formation, Lisa Puccio
Lisa Puccio joined the St. Andrew’s staff in January 2015 to begin a weekly Rhythms of Grace service for special needs families and to develop a new Sunday school program for the parish. She has worked in family ministry for more than 15 years and serves on the diocesan formation advisory committee. Lisa is a member of the board of directors of Forma, a national association of Christian educators and formation professionals that celebrates and upholds the diverse ministries of Christian formation across the Episcopal Church. Since 2011 Lisa has volunteered with Kids4Peace, where she has helped to lead groups of Muslim, Jewish and Christian children from Jerusalem and the United States to build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change. Lisa and her husband Mike have have four grown children.
Director of Music & Organist, John Kirk
From a young age, music was a large part of John’s life—music was always playing at home and in the car, a year of obligatory piano lessons, singing in musicals and choir in high school, playing double bass in jazz band, playing in a band throughout high school and college, and vibrant congregational singing in the Lutheran church in which he grew up. John attended Capital University, studying both religion and double bass. He started taking organ lessons and soon found himself spending more and more time at the organ console and less time behind the bass, and so he added yet another musical interest. After college, John moved to Houston through Teach for America and eventually began studying organ, voice, and church music with Robert Brewer and assisting in the music program at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany as a Choir/Organ scholar. In church music, John found the energy and conviction of rock music combined with the craftsmanship and interest of classical music, all within a context that focused on something bigger than music itself. Following his work at Epiphany, John was Music Director of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Dickinson, Texas and Organ Intern at St. Philip Presbyterian in Houston, Texas. He earned a master’s degree in Organ Performance from the University of Houston's Moores School of Music, where he studied with Robert Bates and Sigurd Øgaard. He and his wife, Sally, have two a joyful daughters, Fiona and Joni.
Organist Emeritus, Dr. William H. Gilbert
Bill served as the Parish Organist and Choirmaster from 1987-2015.
Facilities Manager, Byron Pineda
Byron was born in the city of Guatemala in Central America. He attended college earning an accounting degree and began a career as a mathematics professor. He also was certified in carpentry and as a shoemaker. After moving to New York City, he worked as a laboratory assistant in the NYU Hospital in Manhattan. He earned achieved his high school equivalency diploma, and later moved to Florida where he became a US citizen and and owned a landscaping business. He moved to Houston and was certified as an electrician.