Bishop Robert Schnase is announcing the appointment of Rev. Laura Merrill as superintendent of the Capital District of the Rio Texas Conference, effective July 1, 2021. Merrill currently serves as Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Clergy Excellence. She joined the conference staff as director of connectional ministries in 2016, after six years as superintendent of El Valle District. She grew up in Austin and attended public schools there: Lanier (now Juan Navarro) High School, Burnet Junior High School, and Walnut Creek Elementary School. She earned a B.A. in International Studies from Southwestern University and graduated first in her class from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 1995. Laura is the daughter and granddaughter of United Methodist pastors, both of whom served in Austin churches.