Principal – Cara Coleman: mrs.coleman@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • 5th year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education at Ball State University
  • Married for 22 years with 2 kids, Noah is a student at Missouri Southern State University and Mallory is a sophomore at Mitchell High School

Favorite Scripture:  3 John 1:4- “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.”

Quote: “I am truly blessed to be serving the families of FCA as the Administrator this year. I have been a teacher and a parent at FCA throughout the years. I believe that I have been called to this position to serve God, our teachers, parents and students at our school by having the insight from everyone’s perspective. I look forward to supporting our teachers to attempt to do more than merely instruct the student’s mind. I want to help our teachers to engage the heart, cultivated an insatiable love of learning, and led our students on the path to continually explore the truth of God in both His Word and His world.”

Preschool Director –  Tifanee Wright:

  • 7th year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training with FL Director’s Credential and Staff Credential
  • Studied Praise & Worship at Faith Bible College – Kansas City, MO
  • Married for 9 years with a beautiful baby boy, Matai, born February 2015

Favorite Scripture:  Psalm 104:33 – “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Quote: “I honestly believe that I was born to change lives.  From the time I was a little girl I had a passion inside of me for others. I am pleased that I am one of the chosen to speak for those whose voice is almost too small to be heard.  I count it as a blessing to make a difference in young lives every day.”

Bookkeeper  –  Barbara Fair:  mrs.fair@firstchristianacademy.comfair-10

  • 16th year at FCA
  • Studied Accounting at University of Houston
  • Early Childhood Certified through Pinellas county
  • Married 26 years with 2 boys in college

Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Quote: “FCA has been like a second home to me. I have been so blessed by the many children and families I’ve met over the years. I look forward to meeting new families and seeing all the “old” families. I pray that I can be a blessing to the families this year.”

Principal’s Secretary – Debbie Triola:

  • 5th year at FCA
  • 30+ years secretarial experience
  • Married for 44 years with 2 children and 3 grandchildren

Favorite Scripture: Luke 10:27 – “He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and,’Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Quote: “I am so blessed to work at First Christian Academy!”

Front Desk Secretary – Sherry Fenech: mrs.fenech@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02828

  • 1st year at FCA
  • Married 29 years with 4 children: Sean, 27, Eric, 24, Cory, 21, and Abby, 15.

Favorite Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Quote: “I made the decision 27 years ago to be a stay at home mom and raise our family. I was truly blessed to be able to stay at home with my children. Throughout the years, I always helped out friends and family with their kids, and loved every minute of it. When I was presented the opportunity to work at FCA, I was so excited. This new job gives me the opportunity to work but also be involved with the kids. I couldn’t be happier right now and I am excited to learn and to see what each new day brings!”

Preschool Faculty

VPK Teacher/Chapel Coordinator – Jackie Butler: mrs.butler@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02815

  • 8 years experience in Preschool
  • 5th year at FCA
  • AA Degree with Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Bachelors Degree in Theology
  • Married 1.5 years No children just yet, one cat, Chloe :)

Favorite Scripture: Mark 11:24 – “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”

Quote: “Working with children is a passion of mine. I love watching them grow and excel in their faith. I am honored to be able to help them in their daily work.”

VPK Teacher – Angela Patrikis: mrs.patrikis@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02830

  • 5 years experience in Preschool
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Degree from Nassau Community College
  • Married for 24 great years with two children, John and Nina, who are both in college this year

Favorite Scripture: II Corinthians 5:7 – “For we live by faith not by sight.”

Quote: “I believe I was put on this journey to teach because there is so much joy watching children grow educationally and spiritually.”

VPK Teacher – Lauren Wheeler: mrs.wheeler@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 5 years experience in Preschool
  • 4th year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Bachelor’s in Christian Education with specialization in cross-cultural ministry
  • I’ve been married to my best friend, Patrick, for 5 years and we have a little girl who was born March 2015.

Favorite Scripture: John 16:33 – ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Quote: “I love teaching preschoolers because everything is new and exciting in their eyes. They are eager to learn and have such a contagious joy in what they do. I feel so blessed to be able to share the love of Jesus while educating young hearts and minds. Also, teaching preschoolers reminds me that I am to approach my Heavenly Father with faith like a child.”

VPK Teacher  – Lauren Letourneau:

  • 9 years experience in Preschool
  • 6th year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • AA & AS Degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Married for 6 years with 1 daughter, in Kindergarten at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 3: 5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Quote: “I can remember being a little girl and knowing that I always wanted to teach children one day. Just to see the look on a child’s face when they have mastered a skill or learned something new is just priceless to me!”

3’s Teacher  – Jes Staltare: ms.staltare@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 6 years experience in Preschool
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • BA in Psychology from University of Tampa

Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 31:25 – “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

Quote: “I want to enrich the lives of children through learning and play. I enjoy watching them grow and helping to open their minds to endless possibilities.”

3’s Teacher – Jessie Butler:

  • 4 years experience in Preschool
  • 4th year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Has a 4 year old boy who is in VPK at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Psalm 46:10- “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

Quote:  “It’s the most amazing experience to work with children everyday and watch them learn and grow. I have such a passion to work with kids. They bring so much joy to my heart.”

2’s Teacher – Ashley Pierce: mrs.pierce@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02821

  • 6 years experience in Preschool
  • 1st year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • AA in Early Childhood Education and BS in Political Science
  • Married for almost 4 years! I have a 10 month old daughter Peyton and 2 fur kids, Hannah & Huck

Favorite Scripture: John 13:34-35- “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Quote:  “Teaching has always been a passion of mine! My favorite thing about teaching is the learning process with it! Everyone learns together. I love to teach kids about the impact they can have in this world, whether through them teaching, making history, or even making the world a better place!”

2’s Assistant– Sarah Fenech: ms.fenech@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02823

  • 3 years experience in Preschool
  • 1st year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & Staff Credential
  • Pursuing a degree in Elementary Education at SPC

Favorite Scripture: Luke 6:35-36 – “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Quote:  “Growing up, I had a lot of younger family members and I was always the volunteer to keep them entertained. On top of that I applied for the preschool program at my high school. I participated in it for four years and to finish it off, I had the opportunity to work there. This program really sparked my interest in becoming a teacher and it is the reason I am going to school for Elementary Education.”

3’s Assistant– Joyce Charles: mrs.charles@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 6 years experience in Preschool
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Married for 13 years with 1 daughter, Molly, who is 8 1/2 years old and in the 5th grade

Favorite Scripture: Isaiah 41:10 – “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Quote:  “I love kids and feel they need to be loved and educated about God’s love. It’s very fulfilling to see them learn and develop in knowledge, understanding, and to see their little faces when completing a goal. I was told year ago by a prophet that my calling would be working with children, so I am grateful God has fulfilled that in me.”

Preschool Teacher’s Aide: VPK 5-Day  – Laurie

  • 11th year at FCA
  • BS in Accounting from Johnson & Wales University
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • My husband, Dan, and I have been married for 25 years. We have a lovely daughter, Coreen, who will be a sophomore at Calvary High School this year.

Favorite Scripture: John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Quote: “We have been with the FCA family since Coreen began Preschool at the age of 3. What a blessing our journey has been!”

Preschool Teacher’s Aide: VPK 3-Day  – Becky Caple: mrs.caple@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02825

  • 4th year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Married 10 years with 2 boys, ages 6 years and 10 years.

Favorite Scripture: Philippians 4:13 – “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

Quote: “For years I have been told by educators and friends that I should become a preschool teacher because of the displayed passion I have for teaching young children, even my own two children. God has opened this door and I have been blessed to be able to work within a loving, Christian environment, doing what I love…teaching our future! I have been so blessed to be able to teach at FCA!”

Elementary School Faculty

Kindergarten – Nicole LiVecchi: ms.livecchi@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • 4th year at FCA
  • BA in Communications from Florida Atlantic University
  • MA in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University
  • Has a 4-year old daughter, Isabella

Favorite Scripture:  Psalm 56:3- “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Quote: “I am a teacher because I truly feel that this is what I am destined to do. I have both a love for learning and children. When I am in a classroom I am my happiest and there is no other place I would rather be. This will be my second year at FCA and I feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful family.”

Kindergarten  – Kelly Bell:


  • 6 years teaching experience
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education from Florida State University
  • Married to Clayton Bell for 13 years and has a daughter, Caroline, who is in the 2nd grade at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Quote: “Watching a child learn or understand something for the first time is a priceless moment. I love that as a new teacher at FCA, I not only get to instill a love for learning at a young age, but also get to share and express God’s love to my class.”

First Grade – Gina Walsh:

  • 25 years teaching experience
  • 6th year at FCA
  • Bachelors in Elementary Education
  • Married 20 years with 1 daughter who is a sophomore at The New School

Favorite Scripture: John 4:8 – “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Quote: “My mother always told me ever since I was a little girl all I ever wanted to do was to work with children. Even though I have taken some time off and have thought about pursuing another career, I’ve always come back teaching. I believe this is my true calling and I am exactly where God wants me to be.”

First Grade – Olivia Cadwallader: ms.cadwallader@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02817

  • 1st year at FCA
  • Bachelors in Sociology from Florida State University

Favorite Scripture: Psalms 37:4 – “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Quote: “I have been working with children since I was 15 years old! Throughout my 8 year journey as a swim instructor, I began to realize that working with children is what God has planned for me to do. I love making a difference in each and every one of their lives as well as help guide them to be more Christ like! Influencing children in a positive way and seeing them grow daily is such a blessing to me!”

Second Grade – Carly Schrader: mrs.schrader@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 15 years teaching experience
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education from Mississippi College
  • Married to Jeremy for 14 years with 4 kids Skylar in 7th, Sawyer in 4th, Saxton in PreK 3’s and our newborn, Sailor.

Favorite Scripture: Ephesians 5:1-2 – “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”

Quote: “From a very young age, I felt called to work with kids. My prayer was always for God to provide me with as many children as He saw fit…He did so with teaching! I am blessed daily with this career and look forward to an exciting year.”

Second Grade – Kerri Shaw:

  • 1 year teaching experience
  • 1st year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Educationwith ESOL and Reading Endorsements
  • Married to James for 5 years with 2 children, Gabe who is 4 years old and attends VPK at FCA and Joseph who is 4 months old.

Favorite Scripture: John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Quote: “This is my first year teaching at FCA and I am so excited to be teaching in a Christian Environment! I love children and seeing the light bulb turn on. Hearing “Oh I get it!” fills me with so much joy. I truly believe God created me to be a teacher!”


Third Grade – Breann Reynolds: mrs.reynolds@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 2nd year teaching at FCA
  • Bachelor’s in Elementary Education endorsed with ESOL & Reading from St. Petersburg College
  • Newly Married!

Favorite Scripture: Matthew 17:20- “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.””

Quote: “I became a teacher because I love to inspire students to achieve their best academically, socially, and spiritually! I want to encourage students to develop a love for learning and to have sharp academic skills! I also want students to know that Christ is the center of their everyday lives.”

Fourth Grade – Jeanette Shumate: mrs.shumate@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 30+ years teaching experience
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • BA at Bob Jones University
  • Married to Mike for 36 years with 3 married daughters and 5 grandchildren

Favorite Scripture: Matthew 6:33 – “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Quote: “I am so excited and blessed to be a part of the First Christian Academy family. I love children and I am so thankful for the wonderful opportunity to be teaching the 4th grade again this year, Education is my calling. Teaching is my gift. Children are my joy. Serving the Lord is my passion.”

Fifth Grade  – Brenda Aguayo:  mrs.aguayo@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 7 years teaching experience at FCA
  • BA in Business Administration
  • Juris Doctorate
  • PHCC Educator Preparation Institute
  • Married for 17 years with two daughters: Sofia, age 14, in 9th grade & Andrea, age 12, in 7th grade

Favorite Scripture: Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Quote: “Teaching fills my life with joy and purpose. I love children and feel privileged to participate in their academic and spiritual growth.”

Middle School Faculty

Middle School/Athletic Director  – Alex Stern: mr.stern@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 10 years teaching experience
  • 5th year at FCA
  • BA in Interdisciplinary Social Science from USF

Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Quote: “I enjoy teaching for the same reasons that I enjoy coaching athletics. It’s the joy of helping kids understand a concept and seeing them actually understand and use what they learned. It’s a great feeling to see a child grow both in the classroom setting and in athletics. Seeing them improve either day to day, week to week, or even month to month is a wonderful feeling because I have made an impact on that persons life.”

Middle School  – Autumn Stradley: mrs.stradley@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • 4th year at FCA
  • BA in Elementary Education and ESE at Harding University
  • MA in Reading Education K-12 from USF
  • Married for 12 years with 3 daughters who are in 2nd, 4th, and 6th grade at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Colossians 3:17 – ” And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Quote: “I teach because I feel as though God has given me the talent of instructing children. I teach Middle School because this age is fun, creative, and I love conversing and laughing with this precious age.”

Enrichment Faculty

Middle School Bible/Elementary Physical Education – Lisa Griner:

  • 6th year teaching experience at FCA
  • BA in Psychology from USF
  • Married for 20 years with 2 children, a son in 5th grade at FCA and a daughter in 12th grade

Favorite Scripture: 1 Peter 4:8 – “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Quote:“I am teaching Bible to our Middle School students because I want to share God’s word with them. I want them to know the most important relationship they will ever make is with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What a privilege it is to guide them as we seek His truths, His promises and His love!”

Elementary Music  – Brittany Franek:  ms.franek@firstchristianacademy.comDSCN0068

  • 8 years teaching experience
  • 1st year at FCA
  • AA Degree from PHSC
  • The oldest of 3 children

Favorite Scripture:  Deuteronomy 7:6- “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”

Quote: “God has created me to bring him honor and praise. Teaching music to others is one of the ways I can lay my gift at His feet. At first, I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough to teach, or say the right thing, but remembering why I teach continues to reassure me that God will equip each of us to do what He has called us to, and that is what I hope my students learn more than anything else.”

Elementary/Middle School Art  – Nicolle Brusky:  mrs.brusky@firstchristianacademy.comNicolle Brusky

  • 1st year teaching experience
  • Salem State University
  • Married for 9 years with one daughter, Grace, who is in the 1st Grade at FCA

Favorite Scripture:  James 1:19 – “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

Quote: “It is truly a blessing to be a part of the amazing learning environment at FCA. The children are wonderful and it’s such a joy to see them grow in their creativity and learn about the love God has for them through art.”

K-6th Grade Spanish  –  Carmen Strickling:  mrs.strickling@firstchristianacademy.comfair-10

  • 15 years teaching experience
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University
  • BA in Psychology from St. John’s University
  • Married to her best friend for 10 years, and blessed with one child who is in the 2nd grade at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Quote: “This is one of my favorite quotes from Forest E. Witcraft: A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove..but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

Elementary Library  – DeeDra Leopardi: mrs.leopardi@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02829

  • 1st year at FCA
  • St. Petersburg College
  • Married 13 years with one son, Jaxon Alexander, whom will be attending Kindergarten at FCA this year.

Favorite Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Quote: “I am extremely excited to be the librarian here at FCA. It allows me to pursue two of my great loves. Children and books. I feel literacy and the word of God are two extraordinary gifts we can provide to our children. I am blessed to be a part of both here at FCA.”

Elementary Computers/Cafeteria Manager  – Karen Tatjes: mrs.tatjes@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02928

  • 15 years teaching experience
  • 5th year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education at Auburn University, California Lutheran University/UC Santa Barbara
  • 3 daughters: 21 year old twins who are seniors at USF & a 19 year old daughter working locally

Favorite Scripture: Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Quote: “Ever since I can remember I have wanted to work with children and to teach. God has truly blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of FCA. I receive so much joy from teaching and watching them learn and grow. A good friend told me years ago, the rewards from teaching are eternal. She was right!”

3rd – MS Teacher’s Aide  – Jan Hardee: mrs.hardee@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02820

  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Married 24 years with 1 daughter, Kelly Bell

Favorite Scripture: Luke 6:37 – “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Quote: “I enjoy being around children. I love their innocence and they give such big hugs! My heart seems to be full at the end of the day because I get to watch them learn and grow with God.”

K- 2nd  Teacher’s Aide  – Kim Johnson: mrs.johnson@firstchristianacademy.comDSC02816

  • 1st year at FCA
  • Married to my husband Trevor for 7 years and have 2 daughters at FCA in Kindergarten & 1st grade

Favorite Scripture: Psalm 23:1 – “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”

Quote: “I am so blessed to join the wonderful staff at FCA this year! Each day I am able to help the teachers touch children’s lives.”