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

  • 16 years teaching experience
  • 8th year at FCA
  • BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Married with 3 daughters, 2 in 4th and 8th grade at FCA and 1 attending the 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

  • 10 years teaching experience
  • 5th 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 7 years with 2 chihuahuas

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
  • 14th year at FCA
  • Studied Accounting at University of Houston
  • Early Childhood Certified through Pinellas county
  • Married 25 years with 2 boys in 11th 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: “Returning to FCA is very exciting! This 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 42 years with 2 children and 3 grandchildren, including a granddaughter in 1st and a grandson in 3rd grade at FCA

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! God answered all my prayers, especially now that my daughter is teaching 5th grade and my grandchildren are here!!”


Preschool Faculty


VPK Teacher/Extended Care - Jackie Vivian: ms.vivian@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 6 years experience in Preschool
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • AA Degree with Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • AA Degree in Theology (Will be graduating in June 2014 with Bachelors in Theology)
  • Engaged to be married in Spring 2014

Favorite Scripture: John 14:12-14 – “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

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 - June Hermansen: ms.hermansen@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 11 years teaching experience
  • 5th year at FCA
  • FL Staff Credential
  • Early Childhood Education Training at Pinellas Tech Center

Favorite Scripture: Philippians 4:7 - “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Quote: “Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that I was called to be a Preschool teacher.  I am thankful I get to help “mold” tomorrow’s future.  We are so very blessed to have a wonderful school where we can learn and grow in a Christian environment.”


VPK Teacher – Gina Walsh: mrs.walsh@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 24 years substituting/teaching experience
  • 4th year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • BA in Elementary Education at Caldwell College-Caldwell, NJ
  • Married for 18 years with 1 daughter in 12th grade

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

Quote: “I am so excited to be returning to our school. This will be my 4th year with the First Christian family and am looking forward to sharing all your child’s first experiences.”


VPK Teacher  - Lauren Letourneau: mrs.letourneau@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • 4th year at FCA
  • AS Degree in Early Childhood Education
  • AA Degree with Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • 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 - Lauren Wheeler: mrs.wheeler@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 3 years teaching experience
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Bachelor’s of Christian Education with specialization in cross-cultural ministry
  • Married for 3 years

Favorite Scripture: Philippians 2:6-11 - “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

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.”


Preschool Teacher’s Aide - Laurie Tupponce: mrs.tupponce@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 10 years experience at FCA
  • BS in Accounting from Johnson & Wales University
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Blessed with an amazing husband and married for 23 years. We also have an amazing daughter in 8th grade at FCA.

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!”


2′s Teacher - Jessie Butler: ms.butler@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Early Childhood Education Training
  • Has a beautiful two-year old son who attends FCA’s preschool

Favorite Scripture: Psalm 91:2- “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him.”

Quote:  “This year is my first 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!”


Preschool Teacher’s Aide  - Becky Caple: mrs.caple@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 2nd 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!”


Preschool Teacher’s Aide  - Jes Staltare: ms.staltare@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 1st year at FCA
  • Graduating with her Bachelor’s in Psychology from University of Tampa  in May 2014

Favorite Scripture: Hebrews 6:19 – “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”

Quote: “I want to enrich the lives of children and help them grow closer to Christ!”


Elementary School Faculty

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

  • 7 years teaching experience
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education at Ball State University
  • Married for 20 years with 2 kids, Noah in 12th grade and Mallory in 8th grade

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
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • BA in Communications from Florida Atlantic University
  • MA in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University
  • Has a daughter, Isabella, who will join the FCA family this year in the 2 year old class

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 11 years with a daughter in 4th grade at FCA

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: “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!”


Second Grade – Patience Dussault: mrs.dussault@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 9 years teaching experience
  • 6th year teaching at FCA
  • BA in History (Minors in Speech, Education, and Bible) at Clearwater Christian College
  • Married for 18 years to her awesome husband, Ryan and her beautiful daughter, Morgan, is in 6th grade at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Hebrews 12:12 – “So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.”

Quote: “It is a joy for me each day to teach my students to love God and to love His people. Every subject we study, whether it is math or science or writing, is an opportunity for me to point them to Jesus and His work on the cross for us. I believe this is going to be a great year for my students! We have plans to memorize addition and subtraction facts as well as some multiplication and division. We will also learn many rules of phonics which will give us great skills for spelling and writing. Lots of fun field trips will also reinforce what we are learning in history, health and science. Second grade is a super year for learning and fun! ”


Third Grade -Brenda Aguayo:  mrs.aguayo@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 5 years teaching experience at FCA
  • BA in Business Administration
  • Juris Doctorate
  • PHCC Educator Preparation Institute
  • Married for 15 years with two daughters, ages 10 and 12

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.”


Fourth Grade – Jennifer Johnson: mrs.johnson@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 12 years teaching experience
  • 9th year at FCA
  • BA in Education
  • Married for 18 years to Dave with 2 children, a son in 12th grade who plays hockey and a daughter in 11th grade who plays softball

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

Quote: “I knew as a young girl that I wanted to be an educator. I chose to be a christian educator not only because I love working with children, but because of the love I have for my Lord and my desire to share Him with others. I am truly blessed to be teaching at FCA.”


Fifth Grade - Kristie Capo: mrs.capo@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 6 years teaching experience
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education with ESOL endorsement from St. Petersburg College
  • Married for 10 years with 2 children, a daughter in 1st grade and a son in 3rd grade at FCA

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: “From a small child playing school with anyone that would join me, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I am so blessed that God has directed my path and led me to what I love to do. I am so excited to be a part of the FCA family and not only teach my students what they need to move on to the next grade level, but help nurture and guide them in their walk with Jesus Christ! Giving them lots of hugs along the way!”


Middle School Faculty


Middle School History & Language Arts (6th-Homeroom)  - Autumn Stradley: mrs.stradley@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 6 years teaching experience
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • BA in Elementary Education and ESE at Harding University
  • MA in Reading Education K-12
  • Married for 10 years with 3 daughters who attend 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 Science & Math (7th & 8th-Homeroom) – Len Mortensen:  mr.mortensen@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 15+ years teaching experience
  • 4th year at FCA
  • BA in Elementary Education (concentrations in Science and Math)
  • Married 25+ years with 5 grown sons

Favorite Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-18 – “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power…”

Quote: “I returned to teaching when my children needed extra attention for their learning differences. I saw many similarities to my own challenges in school and I did not want them to be plagued by experiences that I had gone through. I believe the process of learning should be meeting the student where their needs are, not the systems expectations. FCA is a blessing beyond measure for me to be able to serve God’s plan for my life in Education.”


Middle School Science & Math (6th grade)/Physical Education & Athletic Director  - Alex Stern: mr.stern@firstchristianacademy.com

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  • 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 Bible/Elementary Physical Education - Lisa Griner: mrs.griner@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 4th year teaching experience at FCA
  • BA in Psychology from USF
  • Married for 18 years with 2 children, a son in 3rd grade at FCA and a daughter going into 10th 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!”


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

  • 4th 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, 3 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  - Tammy Larkins: mrs.larkins@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 15+ years ministry experience (working with children and youth)
  • 1st year at FCA
  • St. Petersburg College and Trinity College
  • Director of Children’s Ministry at West Coast Word Church
  • Married to Jimmy for 18 years, with two children, a daughter in Kindergarten and a son in 2nd grade at FCA

Favorite Scripture: Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”

Quote: “After years of not being able to conceive God introduced my husband and I to Pastors Aaron and Angie Derksen of West Coast Word Church.  They encouraged us to put our faith and trust in God and His timing. They shared scriptures with us concerning children and infertility. How loved I felt when I realized that Jesus was thinking of me oh so long ago and that He loved me and my situation enough to put the answers right in my Bible!  I was finally able to let go and trust God in His timing. Three years later we were miraculously pregnant and now have our two incredible children, Cayden and Andie. It may have taken 10 years to have our own children but during those years God opened my heart to teaching in a way that I am so very thankful for.”


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

  • 13 years teaching experience
  • 1st year at FCA
  • Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University
  • BA in Psychology from St. John’s University
  • Married to her best friend for 8 years, and blessed with one child who attends 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 Computers  – Karen Tatjes: mrs.tatjes@firstchristianacademy.com

  • 11 years teaching experience
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education at Auburn University, California Lutheran University/UC Santa Barbara
  • 3 daughters, a senior at ELHS and twins at USF

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

  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Married 50 years in December with 2 daughters 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.”


Lunch Coordinator/Elementary Teacher’s Aide – Jean Smith: mrs.smith@firstchristianacademy.comSONY DSC

  • 4th year at FCA
  • Background in Desktop Publishing
  • Married 22 years with 3 children, 2 daughters, ages 21 and 17, and a son, age 12

Favorite Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:15- “He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them..”

Quote: “I am blessed that I am here to serve, not only “nutritional” food to the children, but also “spiritual” food! It is also a blessing to be an aide for the teachers at FCA, who put their hearts into teaching the children everyday!”


 Kindergarten Teacher’s Aide  - Kelly Bell: mrs.bell@firstchristianacademy.com

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  • 4 years teaching experience (3 years in classroom & 4 years as Children’s Pastor)
  • 1st year at FCA
  • BS in Elementary Education from Florida State University
  • Married to Clayton Bell for 11 years and has a daughter, Caroline, who is in Kindergarten 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!”