Meet FCA Teachers and Faculty

Susan Kunsman

Susan Kunsman

Administrator/Principal
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 28 years experience in education
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Carson-Newman College
  • Masters Degree in Education from Wesleyan University, IN
  • Has two children that are married and living in KY and one grandson Elijah Paul

"Let all that you do be done with love."
1 Corinthians 16:14

Tifanee Wright

Tifanee Wright

Preschool Administrator
  • 8th 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 10 years with a one-year-old son, Matai

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

Debra Triola

Debra Triola

Administrative Assistant
  • 6th year at FCA
  • 30+ years secretarial experience
  • Married with 2 children and 3 grandchildren

“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’.” Luke 10:27

Sherry Fenech

Sherry Fenech

Front Desk Secretary
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Married 30 years with 4 children: Sean, 27, Eric, 25, Cory, 22, and Abby, 16
  • Excited to have a daughter-in-law soon!

“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.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

DeeDra Leopardi

DeeDra Leopardi

Bookkeeper
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • St. Petersburg College
  • Married 15 years with one son, Jaxon Alexander, who is in Kindergarten at FCA

“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.” Jeremiah 29:11

Visit First Christian Academy!

Want to learn more about what life at a Christian school like First Christian Academy can mean for your family? Visit our campus today! To schedule a tour, call (727) 943.7411 and visit here to learn about how to apply at FCA! We look forward to speaking with you!

Elementary School Faculty

JD Banse

JD Banse

Kindergarten
  • 1st year at FCA
  • Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Management & Organizational Leadership from St. Petersburg College
  • Married for 15 years
  • Has four boys – 8th grade, 6th grade, 4th grade & Kindergarten

"The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news." Luke 1:19

Cara Coleman

Cara Coleman

Kindergarten
  • 6th year at FCA
  • 10 years teaching experience
  • BS in Elementary Education at Ball State University
  • Married to Robert for 23 years with 2 children, Noah who is 20 and Mallory who is 17

" I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4

Erika Vizzi

Erika Vizzi

Kindergarten
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 1 year teaching experience
  • BS in Elementary Education from Clearwater Christian College
  • Married 5 years with a daughter, Olivia Grace, in preschool at FCA

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

Olivia Cadwallader

Olivia Cadwallader

First Grade
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • Bachelor’s in Sociology from Florida State University

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

Gina Walsh

Gina Walsh

First Grade
  • 7th year at FCA
  • 26 years teaching experience
  • Bachelors in Elementary Education
  • Married 21 years with 1 daughter who is a junior at The New School

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

Vickie Hajash

Vickie Hajash

Second Grade
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 13+ years teaching experience
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Married with one son who recently graduated college

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Kerri Shaw

Kerri Shaw

Second Grade
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • 3 years teaching experience
  • BS in Elementary Education with ESOL and Reading Endorsements
  • Married to James for 6 years with 2 boys who attend FCA, Gabe who is kindergarten and Joseph who is in preschool

“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.” John 16:33

Diana Campbell

Diana Campbell

Third Grade
  • 1st year at FCA
  • Samford University Bachelor of Arts in Theatre
  • The State College of Florida Associate of Arts in General Sciences

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Joy Campbell

Joy Campbell

Third Grade
  • 1st year at FCA
  • Batchelor’s Degree
  • Has a twin sister, who also teaches at FCA
  • "I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live." Psalm 116:1-2

Donna Benitez

Donna Benitez

Fourth Grade
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 37 years teaching experience
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree, ACSI Certification
  • Married 45 years with 4 children and 7 of the best grandchildren!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Brenda Aguayo

Brenda Aguayo

Fifth Grade
  • 9th year at FCA
  • 9 years teaching experience
  • BA in Business Administration, Juris Doctorate
  • Married for 18 years with two daughters, Sofia in 10th grade & Andrea in 8th grade

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

Toni Hapsis

Toni Hapsis

Sixth Grade
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 31 years experience in education – in the classroom and at the administrative level – both in the US and internationally
  • Graduated from Seton Hall University and obtained a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Masters in Administration and Supervision
  • Credentialed in the state of NJ, CA, and FL
  • Married 9 years with a beautiful daughter who is in preschool at FCA

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

Elementary Assistants and Enrichment Teachers

Kelly Bell

Kelly Bell

Kindergarten/First Grade Assistant
  • 4th year at FCA
  • 7 years teaching experience
  • BS in Elementary Education from Florida State University
  • Married to Clayton Bell for 14 years and has a daughter, Caroline, who is in the 3rd grade at FCA

“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.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Jan Hardee

Jan Hardee

Second Grade-Sixth Grade Assistant
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • High School Diploma, Junior College
  • Married for 24 years
  • 1 daughter, Kelly, who is also a faculty member at FCA

"For no word from God will ever fail." Luke 1:37

Nicolle Brusky

Nicolle Brusky

Art Teacher
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • 2 years teaching experience
  • Salem State University
  • Married 10 years with a wonderful daughter Grace

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Lisa Griner

Lisa Griner

Sixth Grade Bible/Physical Education Teacher
  • 8th year at FCA
  • 8 years teaching experience
  • BA in Psychology from USF
  • Married for 21 years with 2 children, a son in 6th grade at FCA and a daughter starting college

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

Bethany Schwartz

Bethany Schwartz

Music Teacher
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 5 years teaching experience
  • Bachelor of Science in Education from Martin Luther College
  • Married for 11 years with 3 children – Elise, Tyler & Natalie

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day." Psalm 96:1-2

Sally Stuart

Sally Stuart

Spanish Teacher
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 12 years teaching experience
  • Bachelors & Masters Degrees from Columbia International University
  • Married 38 years with a son, 3 daughters & 7 grandchildren

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Karen Tatjes

Karen Tatjes

Computers Teacher/Librarian/Cafeteria Manager
  • 6th year at FCA
  • 14 years teaching experience
  • BS in Elementary Education from Auburn University
  • 3 daughters: 22-year-old twins attending USF & a 20-year-old working locally

“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.” Isaiah 40:31

Visit First Christian Academy!

Want to learn more about what life at a Christian school like First Christian Academy can mean for your family? Visit our campus today! To schedule a tour, call (727) 943.7411 and visit here to learn about how to apply at FCA! We look forward to speaking with you!

Preschool Faculty

Sarah Fenech

Sarah Fenech

1’s Teacher
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • 4 years teaching experience
  • Continuing Education at St. Petersburg College

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Jackie Butler

Jackie Butler

2’s Teacher
  • 6th year at FCA
  • 9 years experience in Preschool
  • AA Degree with Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Bachelors Degree in Theology
  • Married for 2.5 years and expecting her first child in March 2017

"To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us," Ephesians 3:19-20

Amanda Daniels

Amanda Daniels

1‘s and 2’s Assistant
  • 1st year at FCA
  • Bachelors Degree
  • Married for 17 years
  • Has three sons who attend FCA: one in Kindergarten, one in 3rd grade and one in 4th grade

"Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." Proverbs 22:6

Jes Staltare

Jes Staltare

3’s Teacher
  • 4th year at FCA
  • 6 years experience in Preschool
  • BA in Psychology from University of Tampa
  • Bride-to-be August 2017

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:" Proverbs 31:25-28

Samantha Bastin

Samantha Bastin

3’s Assistant
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 1 year experience in Preschool
  • Associate in Arts Degree
  • Married for 10 years with two children, Ashlee who is 6 and Zach who is 5

"Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others." Galatians 6:4-5

Lauren Letourneau

Lauren Letourneau

3-Day VPK Teacher
  • 7th year at FCA
  • 10 years experience in Preschool
  • AA & AS Degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Married for 7 years with 1 daughter in 1st grade at FCA

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Jamey Seifried

Jamey Seifried

3-Day VPK Teacher
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 15 years teaching experience
  • AA Degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Married for 14 years with a daughter, Bryana, in 10th grade and a son, Jameson, in 7th grade

"I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:8

Linda Norris

Linda Norris

5-Day VPK Teacher
  • 1st year at FCA
  • 7 years experience in Preschool
  • CDA, Staff Credential & FL Directors credential
  • Continuing Education AA, BA in Early Childhood PK–3 with ESE Endorsement
  • Married for 26 years with a 13-year-old daughter

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Angela Patrikis

Angela Patrikis

5-Day VPK Teacher
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • 6 years experience in Preschool
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Degree from Nassau Community College
  • Married for 24 years with a wonderful husband and blessed with two great children off in college

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Ashley Pierce

Ashley Pierce

5-Day VPK Teacher
  • 2nd year at FCA
  • 8 years experience in Preschool
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • AA in Early Childhood Education and BA in Political Science
  • Married for 5 years with two children, Peyton who is 2 and Luke who is 2 months

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Lauren Wheeler

Lauren Wheeler

VPK Assistant
  • 5th year at FCA
  • 6 years experience in Preschool
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Bachelor’s in Christian Education with specialization in Cross-Cultural Ministry
  • Married to Patrick for 7 years and has a sweet little girl, Lyla, who is 1.5 years old

"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.” John 16:33

Laurie Tupponce

Laurie Tupponce

VPK Assistant
  • 12th year at FCA
  • 12 years experience in Preschool
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • BS in Accounting from Johnson & Wales University
  • Married to Dan for over 25 years and has a daughter, Coreen, who attends Calvary High School

“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.” John 3:16

Joyce  Charles

Joyce Charles

Floating Assistant
  • 3rd year at FCA
  • 7 years experience in Preschool
  • Early Childhood Education Training & FL Staff Credential
  • Married for 14 years with 1 daughter, Molly, who is in the 4th grade at FCA

“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.” Isaiah 41:10

Visit First Christian Academy!

Want to learn more about what life at a Christian school like First Christian Academy can mean for your family? Visit our campus today! To schedule a tour, call (727) 943.7411 and visit here to learn about how to apply at FCA! We look forward to speaking with you!