Our Staff

Dr. Rick SommersPastor/Head of Staff

Dr. Richard N. Sommers


Born in Virginia, Rick grew up primarily in the Carolinas.  After graduating from Duke University with a degree in Marine Biology, Rick worked for a public school system in North Carolina for three years.  He then entered Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, and eventually earned the degree of Doctor of Ministry.  Rick’s previous pastorates have included serving as Pastor of the Augusta Stone Presbyterian Church in Ft. Defiance, Virginia (1987-1991); Associate Pastor at the American Church in Paris, France (1991-1996); and Pastor/Head of Staff at the Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia (1996-2007).

Rick is married to Teresa Rhodes and they have one son, Richard, a teacher in Atlanta.  Rick’s hobbies include sports, travel and reading.

staff_BrownAssociate Pastor

Rev. Don Brown


Born in Ridgewood, NJ, Don grew up in Paramus and lived there until leaving for College. After graduating from Gordon College with degrees in Accounting and Business Administration, Don worked in Corporate Finance in Boston and Fort Lauderdale. He held the position of Manager of International Treasury at Alamo Rent-A-Car and Sr. Treasury Manager at Spherion Corp.  Don graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando FL in 2004 and moved back to NJ in January 2005 to become the Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of West Caldwell. He remained there until the union with the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell this past year when he became our Associate Pastor.

Don has two daughters, Emily and Peri. When not working he enjoys the adventure of finding new restaurants, exploring NY and watching sports.

Pastor of Communication and Spiritual Engagement

Rev. Todd Shumpert


Todd was born and raised in Smyrna, Georgia, in the suburbs of Atlanta. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, studying music and drama. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Todd served churches in Georgia and New York as pastor and associate pastor, respectively, before coming to New Jersey to serve as the Director of Spiritual Life and College Chaplain at nearby Bloomfield College (one of our Presbyterian colleges). Rev. Shumpert was serving as the pastor of the Pleasantdale Church in West Orange when our two churches united; he joined the FPC staff as part of that union. Todd still enjoys “treading the boards” in local community theatre productions. He and his wife, Nicole, are raising their two little girls in Bloomfield.

Rev. Barbara Jo Piercy

Minister of Music

Rev. Barbara Jo Piercy


Rev. Barbara Jo Piercy is the Minister of Music at First Presbyterian Church, where she is responsible for the administration of the church music program and concert series.  She is the director of choirs for children and youth and the primary keyboard player for worship services.  In addition, she has extensive training and experience in planning liturgy for worship.  Barbara graduated from Carroll College, a Presbyterian college in Waukesha, WI with a BA in Sacred Music and Organ Performance and received a MM degree in organ performance at the University of Illinois.  She completed several years of doctoral work in sacred music at Indiana University before moving to Caldwell.  In 2000, Barbara completed a Master of Divinity degree from Drew Seminary in Madison, NJ and was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament PC(USA) in 2003.

Picture1Building Manager / Head Sexton

Chris White


Chris grew up in Caldwell and has a background in building management as well as a number of construction skills. Chris is a husband to Anabela and father to daughters Alyssa and Eliana.



Office Manager

Christine Brunner


Christine was born in New Jersey and is a resident of Denville, NJ. After completing business school, she gained extensive experience working within companies that range from a large publicly traded corporation to a privately owned corporation, and most recently a family owned franchise enterprise. An active participant in community service projects, she helped facilitate the construction of a new children’s park in the role of treasurer and committee member and is continually involved in various school and local service projects. A former Girl Scout leader, she enjoys hiking, camping, travel, and gardening. Christine and her husband Eric have two daughters, Abigail and Rachel.

Sunday Morning Receptionist

Brittany Heun

Brittany was born and raised in Caldwell. She has been coming to The First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell since she was 1, and has been a full member since her confirmation in 2008. Brittany has been active in church life from running the sports section of Youth Club with her sister Kaitlyn in 2008, to being a member of the church’s many youth choirs for 15 years. She has worked as a Camp Counselor at Camp Caldwell, run by the Caldwell Community Center, every summer since 2011. Brittany graduated Montclair State University in the spring of 2016, with a BA in History, minoring in Religious Studies.

staff_PiercyNAssociate Director of Music

Noel Piercy


Noel holds degrees in music education, organ performance, and choral conducting from Olivet University, the University of Illinois, and Indiana University. He is the director of the adult choirs and handbell choirs and offers musical assistance to the youth choirs. He is also a noted vocal coach in the Essex County area. Noel teaches 5th & 6th grade general music and chorus in the Franklin Township School District and is a published composer of handbell music.

senior-pic-2016Sunday Sexton

Kaitlyn Heun

Kaitlyn was born and raised in Caldwell and has been an active full time member of the congregation since her confirmation in 2008. She recently graduated Montclair State University in the Spring of 2016 with a BS, with Teaching Certification, in Physical Education and Health. Kaitlyn has been involved with the church on many levels including being the Youth Intern, Pittsburgh Project advisor, Sunday School Teacher, and being involved in the choir for 15 years.

Adjunct Staff

staff_CarlsonDirector, Weekday Nursery School

Kathleen Carlson


Before stepping into her current role at the weekday nursery school, Kathleen was the teacher of the school’s Kindergarten Enrichment Program. She earned a masters from New York University in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and is a certified teacher of preschool through twelfth grade. Kathleen lives in Verona with her husband, Bruce and their two children, Evan and Kate.

Superintendent, Prospect Hill Cemetery

David Hicock