Principal - Kathan Steinorth: mrs.steinorth@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 16 years teaching experience
  • 10th year at FCA
  • BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • 3 daughters, 1 in 5th grade at FCA, 1 in 9th grade, and 1 who just graduated from University of Florida

Favorite Scripture: James 1:22 – “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Quote: “God has given me an amazing opportunity to be the administrator at FCA. It is truly a blessing each day to share Christ’s love with our students and families.”


Preschool Director –  Tifanee Wright: mrs.wright@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 11 years teaching experience
  • 6th 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 8 years with 2 chihuahuas and a baby boy due in 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

  • 15 years teaching experience
  • 15th year at FCA
  • Studied Accounting at University of Houston
  • Early Childhood Certified through Pinellas county
  • Married 25 years with 2 boys in 12th grade and a sophomore at UCF

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: mrs.triola@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 4th year at FCA
  • 30+ years secretarial experience
  • Married for 43 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!”


Preschool Faculty


VPK Teacher/Chapel Coordinator - Jackie Butler: mrs.butler@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 8 years experience in Preschool
  • 4th year at FCA
  • AA Degree with Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Bachelors Degree in Theology
  • First year of marriage. No children, 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 - Joyce Gelinas: ms.gelinas@firstchristianacademy.comMs. Gelinas

  • 1st year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • BS in Special Education K-12/Elementary Education with ESOL & Reading Endorsements
  • Has 2 daughters, a 10 year old and 12 year old

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: “God answered my prayer in allowing me to teach in a Christian School within my home church First Baptist Church of New Port Richey. I love teaching VPK, because it is the beginning! My goal as a VPK teacher is to inspire your children to yearn to learn throughout their lifetime.”


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

  • 4 years teaching experience
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Bachelor’s in Christian Education with specialization in cross-cultural ministry
  • I’ve been married to my best friend, Patrick, for 5 years!

Favorite Scripture: Philippians 2:1-4 – “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

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: mrs.letourneau@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 8 years teaching experience
  • 5th year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • AA & AS Degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Married for 5 years with 1 daughter, in VPK 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 - Mariah Weingarten: ms.weingarten@firstchristianacademy.comMs. Weingarten

  • 12 years experience working with children
  • 1st year at FCA
  • BA in Environmental Studies with minors in Biology & Interdisciplinary Studies from Florida Gulf Coast University

Favorite Scripture: Colossians 3:1-2 – “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”

Quote: I have always had a heart for children. I have been working with children since I was twelve years old. Every summer I would volunteer at Educational Programs for children and I’ve always loved it. God has truly given me a passion for little ones! I am so excited to be teaching at FCA and I know God brought me here! I am so grateful for all of the support from everyone here at FCA and all of my friends and family. I am excited for a wonderful year!”


2’s Co-Teacher – Jessie Butler: ms.butler@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 4th year at FCA
  • 2nd year teaching
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Has a precious three-year old son who attends FCA’s Preschool

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:  “This year is my second year teaching at FCA, and I am so excited! I’m so blessed and thankful to be apart of First Christian Academy. I can’t wait to teach these children about Jesus and see them grow and learn!”


2’s Co-Teacher – Joyce Charles: mrs.charles@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 5 years experience
  • 1st year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Married for 12 years with 1 daughter, Molly, who is 7 1/2 years old and in the 4th 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 Tupponce: mrs.tupponce@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 11 years experience at FCA
  • BS in Accounting from Johnson & Wales University
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • My husband, Dan, and I have been married for 24 years. We have a lovely daughter, Coreen, who will be a Freshman 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.comSONY DSC

  • 3rd year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Married 8 years with 2 boys, ages 4 years and 8 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!”


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

  • 2nd 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.”


Elementary School Faculty

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

  • 8 years teaching experience
  • 4th year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education at Ball State University
  • Married for 21 years with 2 kids, Noah a freshman at Ozark Christian College and Mallory in 9th grade 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 absolutely love being used by God to teach His children! I love to experience the joy of making a difference in each child’s academic and spiritual life. As a teacher, I get to laugh everyday, be a life long learner, and enjoy a variety of children and their unique personalities. I am truly blessed to be a teacher at FCA.”


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

  • 8 years teaching experience
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • BA in Communications from Florida Atlantic University
  • MA in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University
  • Has a 3-year old daughter, Isabella

Favorite Scripture:  Joshua 1:9- “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

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.”


First Grade - Melissa Riordan: mrs.riordan@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 6 years teaching experience at FCA
  • Bachelors from USF in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Psychology and Criminology)
  • Married for 12 years with a daughter, Natalie, in 5th grade at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Isaiah 41:13 – “For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

Quote: “For most of my adult life, I have been teaching children both educationally and spiritually. God has led me to an opportunity here at First Christian Academy where I can do what I love in an environment that promotes the Christian family and individual. Teaching, for me, is that job where you get up every morning know that you are doing what God wants you to do and loving every minute of it!”


First Grade - Gina Walsh: mrs.walsh@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 20+ years teaching experience
  • 5th year at FCA
  • Bachelors in Elementary Education
  • Married with 1 daughter who is  a freshman in College

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: “I have a passion for working with children and seeing them grow academically and spiritually. I love working at First Christian Academy and feel very blessed and fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful school in our community.”


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

  • 13 years teaching experience
  • 1st year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education from Mississippi College
  • Married to Jeremy for 13 years with 3 kids Skylar in 6th, Sawyer in 2nd, and Saxton in the 2’s

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.”


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

  • 1st year teaching at FCA
  • Bachelor’s in Elementary Education endorsed with ESOL & Reading from St. Petersburg College
  • Married for 8 months!

Favorite Scripture: Psalm 61:2 – “From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.”

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
  • 1st year at FCA
  • BA at Bob Jones University
  • Married to Mike for 35 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 this year, Education is my calling. Teaching is my gift. Children are my joy. Serving the Lord is my passion.”


Fifth Grade/Athletic Director  – Alex Stern: mr.stern@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • BA in Interdisciplinary Social Science from USF

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 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 Faculty


Middle School (5th Grade Reading)  - Autumn Stradley: mrs.stradley@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 8 years teaching experience
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • BA in Elementary Education and ESE at Harding University
  • MA in Reading Education K-12
  • Married for 11 years with 3 daughters who are in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade at FCA

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

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.”


Middle School Bible/Elementary & MS Physical Education - Lisa Griner: mrs.griner@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 4th year teaching experience at FCA
  • BA in Psychology from USF
  • Married for 19 years with 2 children, a son in 4th grade at FCA and a daughter who is 15

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!”


Middle School Technology  – Sean Caldwell:  mr.caldwell@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 5th year teaching at FCA
  • Graduated from the Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania
  • Masters Degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.
  • Business owner in the broadcasting & communication industry
  • Keeper of the electronic arsenal
  • Married and father of 4 children, 1 at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 16:16 – “How much better is wisdom than gold!  And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Quote: “I love God’s Word and have a passion for technology.  We’re combining them together to prepare the middle-school for a life where the tools we use can help us learn, accomplish, and bring glory to God.”


Enrichment Faculty


Elementary/Middle School Art  – Brenda Aguayo:  mrs.aguayo@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 6 years teaching experience at FCA
  • BA in Business Administration
  • Juris Doctorate
  • PHCC Educator Preparation Institute
  • Married for 16 years with two daughters, ages 11 and 13

Favorite Scripture: Psalms 118:24 – “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Quote: “I heard once that if you do what you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. Through teaching, I have been able to understand what that means. It gives me great satisfaction to help my students to grow in their academic skills, and Christian character. At the end of the day, I do go home tired, but with a big smile on my face and a happy heart.”


Elementary/Middle School Spanish  –  Carmen Strickling:  mrs.strickling@firstchristianacademy.comfair-10

  • 14 years teaching experience
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University
  • BA in Psychology from St. John’s University
  • Married to her best friend for 9 years, and blessed with one child who is in the 1st 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/Middle School Music -  Diann Jackson:  mrs.jackson@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • 1st year teaching at FCA
  • Radiography Degree
  • Married for 26 years with 3 children and 4 grandchildren

Favorite Scripture: Deuteronomy 31:6 – “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.””

Quote: “It warms my heart to help the children grow in knowledge. FCA provides a wonderful Christian family environment for students and faculty! It’s a blessing to be a part of the school.”


Elementary Computers/Cafeteria Coordinator  – Karen Tatjes: mrs.tatjes@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 12 years teaching experience
  • 4th year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education at Auburn University, California Lutheran University/UC Santa Barbara
  • 3 daughters

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!”


Elementary Library Studies – Ann Gilman:  mrs.gilman@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 40 years teaching experience in Church
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • Married 50 years with 2 daughters, both in Education, and 5 grandchildren

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 have been teaching children in Sunday School for 45 years. I love to tell them how much Jesus loves them and is always with them.”


Elementary Teacher’s Aide/Cafeteria Assistant  – Jan Hardee: mrs.hardee@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 1st year at FCA
  • Married 22 years with 1 daughter, Kelly Bell

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: “I love children and it’s a double bonus that I can assist in a Christian environment. I feel it will help me in my journey with God. So happy to be here!”


ElementaryTeacher’s Aide  – Kelly Bell: mrs.bell@firstchristianacademy.com

SONY DSC

  • 5 years teaching experience (4 years in classroom & 4 years as Children’s Pastor)
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education from Florida State University
  • Married to Clayton Bell for 12 years and has a daughter, Caroline, who is in the 1st 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 I get to be a part of that and help the wonderful teachers at FCA!”