Michelle Witt 

Minister to Preschool

Michelle Witt joined the Next-gen ministry team at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in November 2015 as the Minister to Preschool. She graduated from Tarleton State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education and is currently pursuing a Masters in Family Ministry from Dallas Baptist University. She has over a decade of experience serving in preschool and children’s ministry in a variety of roles.
Michelle has a passion to serve families of preschoolers. She believes that it is never too early to start sharing God’s love and truth with children. She has a desire for parents to have confidence in knowing that their children are well taken care of spiritually, physically, and emotionally, so that they too are being poured into and encouraged as members of the body of Christ.
Michelle is the proud wife of Pete Witt and mom to Ashlee, Molly, and Hannah. Her favorite things to do are cook for her college community group, read, and enjoy Sunday afternoon naps on the couch. Stop by the children’s building any time to serve alongside and get to know Michelle better!

254-752-1655 ext 9312


Kari Behm
Family Avenue Ministry Assistant

Kari Behm joined the team at Columbus Avenue in February 2013. She grew up in Greenville, Texas, and moved to Waco in 1994 after she married her husband, Greg. They have three terrific sons, Blake, Andrew, Matthew, and three beautiful grandchildren, Chloie, Travis, and Oliver. Kari enjoys audiobooks, watching movies and spending time with her children & grandchildren.

254/752-1655 ext. 9134


Elizabeth Updegrove
Preschool Associate

Eilizabeth Updegrove first joinded the Columbus Avenue Family as a Preschool Childcare Worker in 2012.  She is the oldest of four daughters, and was born and raised in Corsicana, Texas.  Elizabeth received her Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology from Baylor University in 2015 and now works as a Speech Pathologist for Waco ISD.  She has a passion for working with children and serving their families.  In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys visiting her family's farm, reading, doings arts and crafts, and being outdoors.





Ashley Garrett
Child Development Center Director

Ashley was born and raised just west of here in Early, Texas. Ashley grew up on a large show goat operation. Being with her family and involved in the agriculture world has always been important to her. She says, “kids of all kinds are her passion.” Ashley has worked in childcare for over 8 years and has a true passion for it.  Ashley loves the Lord and loves to serve. What a better combination than being the Director of the Columbus Avenue CDC? She is excited to feel “back at home” since Waco is the home to a lot of her family. She is excited to grow Columbus CDC and Church together, to best serve this awesome community. Above all she thanks the good Lord above for giving her the ability to do what she loves the most.  She is the proud fiancé of Conner Johnson, who just became a Waco Fireman. They are so excited to join the community, and serve it well.

254-752-1655 ext 9127


Ruth Calero
Child Development Center Assistant Director

Ruth Calero was born in Dénia, Spain in 1979 and she is the youngest of her family. Ruth is the wife, daughter and sister of a pastor. Apart from her architectual degrees, she also has experience working in preschool, children’s and youth ministry in Denia's Trinistry Baptist Church. Her passion is to serve God. She has been married to David Villarreal since 2009, and they have 3 precious children. Ruth has worked in the Columbus Avenue CDC since 2015 and was promoted in September 2016 to Assistant Director of the CDC.  She likes to cook, craft and enjoys time with her family.

(254)752-9000 ext.1924


Amy Patterson
Parent's Day Out Director

Amy has been a member of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church since 2009. She joined the PDO staff in January as a teacher in the Ladybug Class. She is a Preschool Sunday School teacher and a ColumbusU volunteer. Amy and her husband, Ryan, have 2 children, Emma and Noah, both graduates of the Columbus PDO program. The Patterson family enjoys cheering on the Baylor Bears!

(254)752-9000 ext. 9136