Directory

Living Curriculum Influencers across our TFA campus

At The First Academy, from the classroom to the field, our faculty, staff, and leadership embody the Living Curriculum.

Directory

Leadership

Will Cohen

Assistant Head of School for Campus Operations

Will Cohen

Assistant Head of School for Campus Operations

Will Cohen, Assistant Head of School for Campus Operations

Mr. Will Cohen was born and raised in Orlando and has been serving at The First Academy since June 2012. Mr. Cohen served three years as the Assistant Director of Athletics and Assistant Baseball Coach. He then served as The First Academy’s Director of Athletics for nine years. Mr. Cohen currently serves as the Assistant Head of School for Campus Operations.

Mr. Cohen spent seven years at TFA as a student, graduating with The First Academy’s Class of 2008. After graduation, Mr. Cohen received his Bachelor of Science in Sports Administration from Samford University in Birmingham, AL. From Mr. Cohen’s experience as a student and staff member; the teachers, coaches, and administrators have had and continue to have an immeasurable impact on his life. He is blessed to partner with faculty, staff, and families to aid in helping our campus safe and day-to-day operations running smoothly.

Mr. Cohen believes that the students, families, faculty, and staff make TFA the best Christ-centered school in America.

M.Ed., Colson Fellow

Sarah Donovan

Assistant Head of School for PK-12 Programs & Parent Relations

M.Ed., Colson Fellow

Sarah Donovan

Assistant Head of School for PK-12 Programs & Parent Relations

Sarah Donovan, Assistant Head of School for PK-12 Programs & Parent Relations

As the former Director of The Extended Educational Programs and Admissions Director, Mrs. Sarah Donovan served as the leader of The First Academy Preschool, The Classical School (hybrid homeschool program), The First Hope (unique abilities program), and Admissions Department. More recently Mrs. Donovan worked as the Director of Global Programming at ASU Prep, where she cultivated global relationships and business partnerships. Mrs. Donovan was raised in the rolling hills of northern Pennsylvania, and attended Penn State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Kindergarten Education. She continued her studies of Early Childhood Education at the University of Chichester in West Sussex, England. Mrs. Donovan earned her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Central Florida. She then went on to obtain a Masters in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Stetson University. Mrs. Donovan’s endorsements include Exceptional Student Education and English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Mrs. Donovan previously served in the Orange County Public School district for ten years as an assistant principal, curriculum and instructional coach, and classroom teacher. She was honored as one of the district’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ and also received the ‘You Make a Difference Award’.

Mrs. Donovan has a passion for sparking a love of learning and leading in students. She is honored to serve with a team who shares the same joy and dedication to serving children for Christ. Mrs. Donovan and her husband Hart are proud parents of their daughter, Elle, who attends The First Academy Lower School. They enjoy spending time together boating on the water.

SHRM-CP

Leighann Harris

Senior Director of Finance & Business Development

SHRM-CP

Leighann Harris

Senior Director of Finance & Business Development

Leighann Harris, Senior Director Finance & Business Development

With 17 years of public accounting under her belt, Mrs. Harris joined the business office at The First Academy in 2012. She began her career as an auditor with the international accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP where she specialized in banking, manufacturing, and publicly-held companies. She then worked in local and regional public accounting firms where she specialized in not-for-profit and government accounting, auditing and tax compliance. Mrs. Harris earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with minor in Computer Science from Oral Roberts University and is a certified public accountant in California and Maryland.

Mrs. Harris is married to her husband, Lt. Colonel Scott Harris, and is proud to serve beside him during his 28 years on active duty with the United States Marine Corp. After serving in many different duty stations across the United States, they are happy to be back in Florida where they were born and raised. She has three children who are all TFA graduates. Mrs. Harris says, “Being a part of The First Academy has been a tremendous blessing to me and my family and I look forward continuing to serve in advancing the mission here at TFA.”

Ed.D.

Dr. Natalie Holter

Middle School Principal

Ed.D.

Dr. Natalie Holter

Middle School Principal

Dr. Natalie Holter, Middle School Principal

Dr. Natalie Holter is a Central Florida native who has been working in education for the last 20 years. She joined The First Academy in 2011 as the 12th-grade English and AP Literature teacher. In this role, she inaugurated the Senior Thesis project, the capstone graduation project that asks students to find the intersection between God and seemingly secular topics. As a certified SAT/ACT expert, she also launched a number of test preparation initiatives to help students improve their scores. She was recognized as “Christian Teacher of the Year” in 2014.

In 2018 she transitioned to the Middle School, first as its Academic Dean and later as its Principal. In this capacity, she directs the daily operations of the division. Her primary focus is ensuring a strong academic foundation and healthy emotional/social development in order to lay the best groundwork possible for student success in high school. She also coordinates the Learning ie program, focused on providing accommodations for students with learning differences. Her passion is building supportive relationships with her students and mentoring faculty to be the best teachers they can be.

Dr. Holter earned her Bachelor of Arts in History from Yale University, her Master of Liberal Studies in Humanities from Rollins College, and her Doctorate in Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Central Florida. She was also blessed to attend Oxford University for one summer on a scholarship she won to pursue a more in-depth study of English literature. She is the proud mom of two TFA students, one of whom has attended since Kindergarten and the other since pre-Kindergarten.

M.Ed.

Jennifer Jackson

Lower School Principal

M.Ed.

Jennifer Jackson

Lower School Principal

Jennifer Jackson, Lower School Principal

Mrs. Jennifer Jackson joined The First Academy in 2010 as the Learning-i.e. Coordinator. In this role, she facilitated enrichment classes for academically talented and gifted students with an emphasis on critical thinking and technology. Mrs. Jackson also coordinated accommodation plans for students with learning differences. In addition, she assisted with TFA’s initial application for accreditation with the Florida Council of Independent Schools as well as the Florida Kindergarten Council in 2012 and remains involved with the accreditation process at TFA. Before joining The First Academy, she served 13 years in Florida public schools. Her roles in both Alachua and Orange counties included the following: special education teacher, elementary education teacher, curriculum resource teacher, and reading coach. She draws from all of her previous experience in her current role as the Lower School principal.

Mrs. Jackson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Furman University as well as a Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Georgia. She holds endorsements in Gifted, Reading, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Mrs. Jackson firmly believes that all students can learn and succeed in a loving environment with high expectations. She also values the importance that Christian education plays in partnership with church and home. Being in the Lower School classrooms on a regular basis is a priority for Mrs. Jackson and plays a critical role in her leadership.

In 2014, TFA faculty and families selected Mrs. Jackson as the Christian Educator of the Year. Her experience as a classroom teacher at TFA gives her a unique insight and passion for serving the students, teachers, and families in Lower School.

Mrs. Jackson and her husband Jay have been married for 25 years and are blessed to have two daughters. Both Sarah and Lauren have attended The First Academy since Kindergarten.

Joyce Kwak

Upper School Principal

Joyce Kwak

Upper School Principal

Mrs. Kwak holds a degree in Organizational Communication from Rollins College and is pursuing her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. Before joining TFA in 2007, she served as an Admission Counselor at Rollins College in Winter Park.

Since 2007, Mrs. Kwak has served in the Upper School Guidance Department. Her dedication to developing and implementing a cohesive college preparation program for students and parents earned her the title of Director of College Guidance in 2016.

Mrs. Kwak has been married to her husband, Eugene, for over 15 years and is the mom of two wonderful TFA students- Evelyn and Ewan. The Kwak family is also very involved in Harvest Church of Winter Garden, where Mrs. Kwak is an Education and Fellowship Committee Lead and a House Church Leader. 

MDIV

Matt McGee

Assistant Head of School for Extended Education Programs & Spiritual Formation

MDIV

Matt McGee

Assistant Head of School for Extended Education Programs & Spiritual Formation

Matt McGee is an alumnus of The First Academy, Class of 2002. After graduating from TFA, he earned his Bachelor’s degree from The University of Central Florida. Matt then went on to earn his Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously served at The First Academy as Director of Institutional Advancement and then as Assistant Head of School for Advancement & Spiritual Formation from 2013-2016. For the last seven years, Matt and his wife, Jennifer, have served churches through an international non-profit in several countries throughout Asia. Upon returning to Florida in 2022, Matt felt called to return to TFA to utilize his expertise in advancing gospel ministry and education. Matt and Jennifer have been married for ten years and have 3 students at TFA: Anna, Judson, and Elijah.

MEA

Brian Rose

Assistant Head of School for Development

MEA

Brian Rose

Assistant Head of School for Development

Brian Rose, Assistant Head of School for Development

Born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania, Mr. Brian Rose attended Hobe Sound Bible College and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Social Studies. He went on to earn a Master of Education Administration from Columbia International University. He began his educational career in 1985 at Jupiter Christian School in south Florida then served 5 years at the Whitefield Academy in Louisville, KY.

In July 2005, Mr. Rose became Assistant Head of School at The First Academy. Married to his wife, Debra, since 1984; they are proud parents of two TFA Alumni – Michael (2011) and Lyndee (2013).

Gissel Valois

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Gissel Valois

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Gissel Valois, Director of Strategic Initiatives

Gissel Valois has worked at The First Academy for more than 9 years. She currently serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Management and Leadership Team. Mrs. Valois serves TFA in many ways, including assisting the Human Resources team with professional development and handbook management. Mrs. Valois supports many campus-wide initiatives and events; she also leads the Diversity task force guiding the responses of TFA in the areas of racial harmony and campus unity.

In August of 2021, Mrs. Valois led the implementation of the first ever food service program at The First Academy, Flik Dining services. The program has been a tremendous success and our students and staff are truly grateful to have fresh meals prepared and served on campus. Mrs. Valois oversees all of our campus catering requests and the day-to-day menu selections for our dining services.

Mrs. Valois earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Office Systems Management from the University of Montclair State. Prior to working at TFA, she worked as an Executive Administrator and Project Coordinator in the Margin & Risk Department for Merrill Lynch in New York.

Mrs. Valois and her husband Juan have been married for 17 years and are blessed to have two daughters. Both Brianna and Jianna are proud TFA students.

Ph.D

Dr. Steve Whitaker

Head of School

Ph.D

Dr. Steve Whitaker

Head of School

Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School

Dr. Steve D. Whitaker has served as the Head of School at The First Academy since July 2003. During his tenure, the school has advanced a bold spiritual formation agenda, experienced outstanding enrollment growth, and has witnessed remarkable scholastic achievements. Multiple capital campaigns led to major renovations and expansion of the Lower School, the building of a new Upper and Middle School, the opening of the Tennis Center, a renovation of the Boyd-Moline Library, a Black Box Theatre, a new $10.5 million Field House/Gymnasium Facility, and the addition of the Gather Space and Royal Eatery. The First Academy families have generously pledged over $55 million to fund these initiatives.

Dr. Whitaker has written on a variety of topics, including school culture, Christian living, generous giving, and Biblical worldview issues. He recently published a book entitled In God We Trust: Five Anchor Points for Turbulent Times. His past and present activities include serving on the ACSI Executive Board, FHSAA Board of Directors, FCIS Board of Directors, ABHE Board of Directors, and Charter Member for Council for Educational Standards and Accountability. In 2010, Dr. Whitaker founded Neighborhood Charter Schools, seeking to support urban churches in establishing charter schools for severely disadvantaged students.

After completing his Bachelor degree in South Florida, Dr. Whitaker received a Master of Education from MidAmerica Nazarene University and a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Louisville. He also earned his PhD from the University of Louisville in Higher Education Administration. He is married to Tricia and has three marvelous children (Amanda, Stephen, and Caleb).

Directors

Director of The First Hope

Angel Alexander

Director of The First Hope

Angel Alexander

Director of Athletics and Football Coach

Jeff Conaway

M.ED

Director of Athletics and Football Coach

Jeff Conaway

M.ED

Director of Auxiliary Programs

Corey Gilchrist

M.A.

Director of Auxiliary Programs

Corey Gilchrist

M.A.

Director of Operations

Rob Hensley

MDiv

Director of Operations

Rob Hensley

MDiv

Preschool Director

Jillian Jackson

Preschool Director

Jillian Jackson

Director of Human Resources

Gloria Leeks

SHRM-CP

Director of Human Resources

Gloria Leeks

SHRM-CP

Director of Communications & Special Events

Christina Richart

Director of Communications & Special Events

Christina Richart

Senior Director of School Growth & Improvement

TJ Ross

M.A.

Senior Director of School Growth & Improvement

TJ Ross

M.A.

Director of Admissions

Kristi Summers

Director of Admissions

Kristi Summers

Director of The Classical School

Robyn Whipple

Director of The Classical School

Robyn Whipple

Director of the Writing Center

Amanda Whitaker

M.S., Colson Fellow

Director of the Writing Center

Amanda Whitaker

M.S., Colson Fellow

Director of Technology

William Zavala

M.A.

Director of Technology

William Zavala

M.A.

Preschool

Preschool Coordinator

Angela Collins

Preschool Coordinator

Angela Collins

Preschool Teacher

Alexis Hopkins

Preschool Teacher

Alexis Hopkins

Preschool Director

Jillian Jackson

Preschool Director

Jillian Jackson

Preschool Assistant

Lawanda Jackson

Preschool Assistant

Lawanda Jackson

Preschool Assistant

Jennifer Lajoie

Preschool Assistant

Jennifer Lajoie

Preschool Teacher

Miao Li

Preschool Teacher

Miao Li

Preschool Teacher

Peyton Moseler

Preschool Teacher

Peyton Moseler

Preschool Assistant

Lesslie Santiago

Preschool Assistant

Lesslie Santiago

Preschool Teacher

Natalia Villegas-Munoz

Preschool Teacher

Natalia Villegas-Munoz

Lower School

Lower School Teacher

Melissa Adams

Lower School Teacher

Melissa Adams

Lower School Teacher

Kay Bastian

Lower School Teacher

Kay Bastian

Lower School Teacher

Nicole Begley

Lower School Teacher

Nicole Begley

Lower School Teacher

Ashley Boyd

Lower School Teacher

Ashley Boyd

Lower School Teacher

Amber Brown

M.Ed.

Lower School Teacher

Amber Brown

M.Ed.

Lower School Teacher

Shelli Bryant

Lower School Teacher

Shelli Bryant

Lower School Teacher

Tammy Burns

Lower School Teacher

Tammy Burns

Lower School Teacher

Barbara Camblin

M.S.

Lower School Teacher

Barbara Camblin

M.S.

Lower School Teacher

Nell Chase

Lower School Teacher

Nell Chase

Administrative Assistant

Kerry-Ann Cole

Administrative Assistant

Kerry-Ann Cole

Lower School Teacher

Elaine Connell

M.A.

Lower School Teacher

Elaine Connell

M.A.

Lower School Assistant

Amanda Cospito

Lower School Assistant

Amanda Cospito

Lower School Media Specialist

Lisa DeBoom

M.Ed.

Lower School Media Specialist

Lisa DeBoom

M.Ed.

The Academies Coordinator

Nan Dix

The Academies Coordinator

Nan Dix

Lower School Teacher & Aftercare Lead

Lori Dowling

Lower School Teacher & Aftercare Lead

Lori Dowling

Lower School Teacher

Angela Faver

M.A.

Lower School Teacher

Angela Faver

M.A.

School Nurse

Sherrie Goesling

School Nurse

Sherrie Goesling

Lower School Assistant

Morgan Honea

Lower School Assistant

Morgan Honea

M.Ed.

Jennifer Jackson

Lower School Principal

M.Ed.

Jennifer Jackson

Lower School Principal

Jennifer Jackson, Lower School Principal

Mrs. Jennifer Jackson joined The First Academy in 2010 as the Learning-i.e. Coordinator. In this role, she facilitated enrichment classes for academically talented and gifted students with an emphasis on critical thinking and technology. Mrs. Jackson also coordinated accommodation plans for students with learning differences. In addition, she assisted with TFA’s initial application for accreditation with the Florida Council of Independent Schools as well as the Florida Kindergarten Council in 2012 and remains involved with the accreditation process at TFA. Before joining The First Academy, she served 13 years in Florida public schools. Her roles in both Alachua and Orange counties included the following: special education teacher, elementary education teacher, curriculum resource teacher, and reading coach. She draws from all of her previous experience in her current role as the Lower School principal.

Mrs. Jackson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Furman University as well as a Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Georgia. She holds endorsements in Gifted, Reading, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Mrs. Jackson firmly believes that all students can learn and succeed in a loving environment with high expectations. She also values the importance that Christian education plays in partnership with church and home. Being in the Lower School classrooms on a regular basis is a priority for Mrs. Jackson and plays a critical role in her leadership.

In 2014, TFA faculty and families selected Mrs. Jackson as the Christian Educator of the Year. Her experience as a classroom teacher at TFA gives her a unique insight and passion for serving the students, teachers, and families in Lower School.

Mrs. Jackson and her husband Jay have been married for 25 years and are blessed to have two daughters. Both Sarah and Lauren have attended The First Academy since Kindergarten.

Lower School Teacher

Melanie Lader

Lower School Teacher

Melanie Lader

Lower School Teacher

Chrissie Land

Colson Fellow

Lower School Teacher

Chrissie Land

Colson Fellow

Lower School Teacher

Kristen Leader

M.S.

Lower School Teacher

Kristen Leader

M.S.

Clinic & Lower School Assistant

Haley Lee

Clinic & Lower School Assistant

Haley Lee

Lower School Teacher

Yahaira Loperena

M.S.Ed.

Lower School Teacher

Yahaira Loperena

M.S.Ed.

Lower School Assistant

Susan Lowder

Lower School Assistant

Susan Lowder

Lower School Teacher

Kathy Martin

Lower School Teacher

Kathy Martin

LS Assistant Principal

Ardis Meloon

M.A.

LS Assistant Principal

Ardis Meloon

M.A.

Lower School Teacher

Dr. Ashlee Mikels

Ed.D.

Lower School Teacher

Dr. Ashlee Mikels

Ed.D.

Lower School Teacher

Jenia Norris

MAT

Lower School Teacher

Jenia Norris

MAT

Lower School Receptionist

Amanda Okubo

Lower School Receptionist

Amanda Okubo

Lower School Teacher

Katherine Owen

Lower School Teacher

Katherine Owen

Lower School Assistant

Krisdil Pettay

Lower School Assistant

Krisdil Pettay

Lower School Teacher

Jill Pierce

Lower School Teacher

Jill Pierce

School Nurse

Melissa Pifer

School Nurse

Melissa Pifer

Lower School Teacher

Becky Render

M.S.

Lower School Teacher

Becky Render

M.S.

Lower School Assistant

Kelleen Reser

Lower School Assistant

Kelleen Reser

Lower School Teacher

Carrie Roehrig

Lower School Teacher

Carrie Roehrig

Lower School Teacher

Sarah Rosario

Ed.S., Colson Fellow

Lower School Teacher

Sarah Rosario

Ed.S., Colson Fellow

Lower School Teacher

Neia Santiago

Lower School Teacher

Neia Santiago

Lower School Teacher

Debi Savage

Lower School Teacher

Debi Savage

Lower School Teacher

Sharonda Snyder

Lower School Teacher

Sharonda Snyder

Lower School Assistant

Brittany Stacks

Lower School Assistant

Brittany Stacks

Lower School Teacher

Christine Torres

Lower School Teacher

Christine Torres

Lower School Teacher

Kayla Uth

Lower School Teacher

Kayla Uth

Lower School Assistant

Judith Voegler

Lower School Assistant

Judith Voegler

Lower School Teacher

Judy Williams

M.Ed.

Lower School Teacher

Judy Williams

M.Ed.

Middle School

Middle School Assistant Principal & Football Coach

Chris Bryant

M.A.

Middle School Assistant Principal & Football Coach

Chris Bryant

M.A.

Middle School Teacher

Young Chang

Middle School Teacher

Young Chang

Middle & Upper School Dean

Stephanie Clark

M.S.

Middle & Upper School Dean

Stephanie Clark

M.S.

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Cynthia Collins

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Cynthia Collins

Middle School Teacher

Paula Diehl

Middle School Teacher

Paula Diehl

Middle School Teacher

Dr. Tim Dix

D.Min.

Middle School Teacher

Dr. Tim Dix

D.Min.

Middle School Teacher

Laura Durnil

Middle School Teacher

Laura Durnil

Middle School Teacher & Chapel Coordinator

Allison Hodges

Middle School Teacher & Chapel Coordinator

Allison Hodges

Ed.D.

Dr. Natalie Holter

Middle School Principal

Ed.D.

Dr. Natalie Holter

Middle School Principal

Dr. Natalie Holter, Middle School Principal

Dr. Natalie Holter is a Central Florida native who has been working in education for the last 20 years. She joined The First Academy in 2011 as the 12th-grade English and AP Literature teacher. In this role, she inaugurated the Senior Thesis project, the capstone graduation project that asks students to find the intersection between God and seemingly secular topics. As a certified SAT/ACT expert, she also launched a number of test preparation initiatives to help students improve their scores. She was recognized as “Christian Teacher of the Year” in 2014.

In 2018 she transitioned to the Middle School, first as its Academic Dean and later as its Principal. In this capacity, she directs the daily operations of the division. Her primary focus is ensuring a strong academic foundation and healthy emotional/social development in order to lay the best groundwork possible for student success in high school. She also coordinates the Learning ie program, focused on providing accommodations for students with learning differences. Her passion is building supportive relationships with her students and mentoring faculty to be the best teachers they can be.

Dr. Holter earned her Bachelor of Arts in History from Yale University, her Master of Liberal Studies in Humanities from Rollins College, and her Doctorate in Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Central Florida. She was also blessed to attend Oxford University for one summer on a scholarship she won to pursue a more in-depth study of English literature. She is the proud mom of two TFA students, one of whom has attended since Kindergarten and the other since pre-Kindergarten.

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Erin Mazza

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Erin Mazza

Middle School Teacher

Abbie Nestler

M.S.

Middle School Teacher

Abbie Nestler

M.S.

PE Teacher & Cheerleading Coach

Adrienne Pilz

PE Teacher & Cheerleading Coach

Adrienne Pilz

Middle School Teacher

Christy Requejo

Middle School Teacher

Christy Requejo

Middle School Teacher

Jeff Rossmeissl

M.A.

Middle School Teacher

Jeff Rossmeissl

M.A.

Middle School Assistant

Roena Ruffin-Austin

Middle School Assistant

Roena Ruffin-Austin

Middle School Teacher

Shannon Rymer

Middle School Teacher

Shannon Rymer

Middle School Teacher

Jennifer Suttle

M.S.

Middle School Teacher

Jennifer Suttle

M.S.

Middle School Teacher

Atlee Swartz

Middle School Teacher

Atlee Swartz

Middle School Teacher

Terra Townsend

Middle School Teacher

Terra Townsend

Middle School Teacher

Kristin Tyler

Middle School Teacher

Kristin Tyler

Middle School Teacher

Kari Ursu

MLA

Middle School Teacher

Kari Ursu

MLA

Middle School Teacher

Kristin Worley

Middle School Teacher

Kristin Worley

Upper School

Upper School Teacher

David Blackwell

MDiv

Upper School Teacher

David Blackwell

MDiv

Academic Dean & Upper School Teacher

Letizia Branz

Ed.S., Colson Fellow

Academic Dean & Upper School Teacher

Letizia Branz

Ed.S., Colson Fellow

Middle & Upper School Dean

Stephanie Clark

M.S.

Middle & Upper School Dean

Stephanie Clark

M.S.

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Cynthia Collins

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Cynthia Collins

Upper School Teacher

Jessica Damron

M.Ed.

Upper School Teacher

Jessica Damron

M.Ed.

Upper School Teacher

Yvonne Englund

M.S.

Upper School Teacher

Yvonne Englund

M.S.

Upper School College Advisor

Susan Gentry

M.S.

Upper School College Advisor

Susan Gentry

M.S.

Administrative Assistant

Mary Gooseman

Administrative Assistant

Mary Gooseman

Upper School Teacher

Neil Harrison

M.S.

Upper School Teacher

Neil Harrison

M.S.

Upper School Teacher & Football Coach

Roger Harvey

M.A.

Upper School Teacher & Football Coach

Roger Harvey

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Vanda Harvey

Upper School Teacher

Vanda Harvey

Upper School Teacher & Cross Country Coach

Chad Hudson

Colson Fellow

Upper School Teacher & Cross Country Coach

Chad Hudson

Colson Fellow

Upper School Teacher

Steve Kavanagh

MDiv, Colson Fellow

Upper School Teacher

Steve Kavanagh

MDiv, Colson Fellow

Joyce Kwak

Upper School Principal

Joyce Kwak

Upper School Principal

Mrs. Kwak holds a degree in Organizational Communication from Rollins College and is pursuing her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. Before joining TFA in 2007, she served as an Admission Counselor at Rollins College in Winter Park.

Since 2007, Mrs. Kwak has served in the Upper School Guidance Department. Her dedication to developing and implementing a cohesive college preparation program for students and parents earned her the title of Director of College Guidance in 2016.

Mrs. Kwak has been married to her husband, Eugene, for over 15 years and is the mom of two wonderful TFA students- Evelyn and Ewan. The Kwak family is also very involved in Harvest Church of Winter Garden, where Mrs. Kwak is an Education and Fellowship Committee Lead and a House Church Leader. 

Upper School Teacher

Michelle Lindo

Upper School Teacher

Michelle Lindo

Upper School Teacher & Basketball Coach

Keith Manning

MDiv

Upper School Teacher & Basketball Coach

Keith Manning

MDiv

Upper School Teacher

Elizabeth Markowitz

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Elizabeth Markowitz

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Michelle Mason

Upper School Teacher

Michelle Mason

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Erin Mazza

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Erin Mazza

Upper School Teacher

Jeffrey McConkey

M.S.

Upper School Teacher

Jeffrey McConkey

M.S.

Upper School College Advisor

Grayson Merritt

Upper School College Advisor

Grayson Merritt

Upper School Teacher

Sean Mikels

Upper School Teacher

Sean Mikels

Upper School Teacher

Kim Moseler

Upper School Teacher

Kim Moseler

Upper School Teacher

Dave Oliver

Upper School Teacher

Dave Oliver

Upper School Teacher

Sandra Peabody

Upper School Teacher

Sandra Peabody

Upper School Teacher

Florence Pierre-Louis

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Florence Pierre-Louis

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Jason Porrata

Upper School Teacher

Jason Porrata

US Assistant Principal & Lacrosse Coach

Reed Reynolds

M.S.

US Assistant Principal & Lacrosse Coach

Reed Reynolds

M.S.

Upper School Teacher

Dr. Kelly Scott

Ed.D

Upper School Teacher

Dr. Kelly Scott

Ed.D

Campus Pastor & Upper School Teacher

Dr. Scott Toenges

D.Min., Colson Fellow

Campus Pastor & Upper School Teacher

Dr. Scott Toenges

D.Min., Colson Fellow

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Darryl Tolbert

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Darryl Tolbert

Upper School Teacher

Seth Ury

Upper School Teacher

Seth Ury

Upper School Teacher

Casey Vaughn

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Casey Vaughn

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Cherith Walton

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Cherith Walton

M.A.

Upper School Teacher & Wrestling Coach

Michael Weeldreyer

Colson Fellow

Upper School Teacher & Wrestling Coach

Michael Weeldreyer

Colson Fellow

Upper School Receptionist

Andrea Wyatt Cheatham

Upper School Receptionist

Andrea Wyatt Cheatham

The Classical School

TCS Program Coordinator

Christine Day

TCS Program Coordinator

Christine Day

TCS Teacher

Crystal Fitzgerald

TCS Teacher

Crystal Fitzgerald

TCS Teacher

Misty Gooding

M.S.

TCS Teacher

Misty Gooding

M.S.

TCS Teacher

Malia Gunnarsson

TCS Teacher

Malia Gunnarsson

TCS Teacher

Silvana Hacker

TCS Teacher

Silvana Hacker

TCS Teacher

Justin Harris

TCS Teacher

Justin Harris

TCS Teacher

Melissa Joynes

TCS Teacher

Melissa Joynes

Instructional Assistant

Sue Lamp

Instructional Assistant

Sue Lamp

TCS Teacher

Megan Marchetti

TCS Teacher

Megan Marchetti

TCS Teacher

Jennifer McDaniel

M.S.

TCS Teacher

Jennifer McDaniel

M.S.

TCS Teacher

Isaac Philips

TCS Teacher

Isaac Philips

TCS Teacher

Christy Rayle

M.A.

TCS Teacher

Christy Rayle

M.A.

TCS Teacher

Cheli Sigler

TCS Teacher

Cheli Sigler

TCS Teacher

Kathy Truex

TCS Teacher

Kathy Truex

TCS Teacher

Jennifer Utreras

TCS Teacher

Jennifer Utreras

Director of The Classical School

Robyn Whipple

Director of The Classical School

Robyn Whipple

TCS Teacher

Sarah Wilson

TCS Teacher

Sarah Wilson

The First Hope

Director of The First Hope

Angel Alexander

Director of The First Hope

Angel Alexander

Art Program Coordinator

Carole Bearhs

Art Program Coordinator

Carole Bearhs

Lead Teacher

Matt Buchanan

Lead Teacher

Matt Buchanan

Front Desk & Marketing Coordinator

Nancy Grindle

Front Desk & Marketing Coordinator

Nancy Grindle

TFH Lead Teacher

Laura Johnson

TFH Lead Teacher

Laura Johnson

TFH Lead Teacher

Paula Katutis

TFH Lead Teacher

Paula Katutis

Instructional Aide

Shelby Millikan

Instructional Aide

Shelby Millikan

Alyssa Northrup

Alyssa Northrup

TFH Lead Teacher

Michelle Owen

TFH Lead Teacher

Michelle Owen

TFH Lead Teacher

Michelle Rhein

TFH Lead Teacher

Michelle Rhein

Work Program Assistant

Dawn Romero

Work Program Assistant

Dawn Romero

Instructional Aide

Lyndsey Schemm

Instructional Aide

Lyndsey Schemm

Athletics

Soccer Coach

Joshua Andone

Soccer Coach

Joshua Andone

Concessions Coordinator

David Brock

Concessions Coordinator

David Brock

Middle School Assistant Principal & Football Coach

Chris Bryant

M.A.

Middle School Assistant Principal & Football Coach

Chris Bryant

M.A.

Sports Information & MS Athletics Coordinator

Bo Burgess

Sports Information & MS Athletics Coordinator

Bo Burgess

Director of Athletics and Football Coach

Jeff Conaway

M.ED

Director of Athletics and Football Coach

Jeff Conaway

M.ED

Softball Coach

Jake Gangelhoff

Softball Coach

Jake Gangelhoff

Softball Coach

Kaley Gangelhoff

Softball Coach

Kaley Gangelhoff

Athletic Trainer

Emily Gibson

Athletic Trainer

Emily Gibson

Associate Director of Athletics & Football Coach

Jacob Gill

Associate Director of Athletics & Football Coach

Jacob Gill

Associate Director of Athletics & Basketball Coach

Kevin Hall

Associate Director of Athletics & Basketball Coach

Kevin Hall

Soccer Coach

Mark Hansen

Soccer Coach

Mark Hansen

Upper School Teacher & Football Coach

Roger Harvey

M.A.

Upper School Teacher & Football Coach

Roger Harvey

M.A.

Upper School Teacher & Cross Country Coach

Chad Hudson

Colson Fellow

Upper School Teacher & Cross Country Coach

Chad Hudson

Colson Fellow

Golf Coach

Victoria Huffmier

Golf Coach

Victoria Huffmier

Head Athletic Trainer

Jessica Kenning

MAT

Head Athletic Trainer

Jessica Kenning

MAT

Upper School Teacher & Basketball Coach

Keith Manning

MDiv

Upper School Teacher & Basketball Coach

Keith Manning

MDiv

Operations Specialist & Track Coach

Dean Middleton

Operations Specialist & Track Coach

Dean Middleton

Football Coach

Chris Miller

Football Coach

Chris Miller

Tennis Coach

Bob Newsome

Tennis Coach

Bob Newsome

Athletics Coordinator

William Pikalow

Athletics Coordinator

William Pikalow

PE Teacher & Cheerleading Coach

Adrienne Pilz

PE Teacher & Cheerleading Coach

Adrienne Pilz

US Assistant Principal & Lacrosse Coach

Reed Reynolds

M.S.

US Assistant Principal & Lacrosse Coach

Reed Reynolds

M.S.

PSAC Manager & Football Coach

Jordan Richards

PSAC Manager & Football Coach

Jordan Richards

Golf Coach

Robin Rosado

Golf Coach

Robin Rosado

Volleyball Coach

Amanda Serpa

Volleyball Coach

Amanda Serpa

Administrative Assistant

Danielle Shelburne

Administrative Assistant

Danielle Shelburne

Assistant Director of Athletics & Weightlifting Coach

Trey Tyler

Assistant Director of Athletics & Weightlifting Coach

Trey Tyler

Upper School Teacher & Wrestling Coach

Michael Weeldreyer

Colson Fellow

Upper School Teacher & Wrestling Coach

Michael Weeldreyer

Colson Fellow

Advancement

Admissions Coordinator

Liz Butler

M.A.

Admissions Coordinator

Liz Butler

M.A.

M.Ed., Colson Fellow

Sarah Donovan

Assistant Head of School for PK-12 Programs & Parent Relations

M.Ed., Colson Fellow

Sarah Donovan

Assistant Head of School for PK-12 Programs & Parent Relations

Sarah Donovan, Assistant Head of School for PK-12 Programs & Parent Relations

As the former Director of The Extended Educational Programs and Admissions Director, Mrs. Sarah Donovan served as the leader of The First Academy Preschool, The Classical School (hybrid homeschool program), The First Hope (unique abilities program), and Admissions Department. More recently Mrs. Donovan worked as the Director of Global Programming at ASU Prep, where she cultivated global relationships and business partnerships. Mrs. Donovan was raised in the rolling hills of northern Pennsylvania, and attended Penn State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Kindergarten Education. She continued her studies of Early Childhood Education at the University of Chichester in West Sussex, England. Mrs. Donovan earned her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Central Florida. She then went on to obtain a Masters in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Stetson University. Mrs. Donovan’s endorsements include Exceptional Student Education and English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Mrs. Donovan previously served in the Orange County Public School district for ten years as an assistant principal, curriculum and instructional coach, and classroom teacher. She was honored as one of the district’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ and also received the ‘You Make a Difference Award’.

Mrs. Donovan has a passion for sparking a love of learning and leading in students. She is honored to serve with a team who shares the same joy and dedication to serving children for Christ. Mrs. Donovan and her husband Hart are proud parents of their daughter, Elle, who attends The First Academy Lower School. They enjoy spending time together boating on the water.

Admissions Specialist, PDSO

Joe Fana

M.Ed., Colson Fellow

Admissions Specialist, PDSO

Joe Fana

M.Ed., Colson Fellow

Creative Marketing & Alumni Manager

Megan Fleming

M.Ed.

Creative Marketing & Alumni Manager

Megan Fleming

M.Ed.

Admissions Assistant

Tiffany Grimes

Admissions Assistant

Tiffany Grimes

Director of Communications & Special Events

Christina Richart

Director of Communications & Special Events

Christina Richart

Executive Administrative Assistant

Olivia Rodriguez

Executive Administrative Assistant

Olivia Rodriguez

Senior Director of School Growth & Improvement

TJ Ross

M.A.

Senior Director of School Growth & Improvement

TJ Ross

M.A.

Director of Admissions

Kristi Summers

Director of Admissions

Kristi Summers

Aftercare

Aftercare Assistant

Tristan Davison

Aftercare Assistant

Tristan Davison

The Academies Coordinator

Nan Dix

The Academies Coordinator

Nan Dix

Lower School Teacher & Aftercare Lead

Lori Dowling

Lower School Teacher & Aftercare Lead

Lori Dowling

Aftercare Assistant

Chris Mixner

Aftercare Assistant

Chris Mixner

Aftercare Assistant

Bella Morton

Aftercare Assistant

Bella Morton

Aftercare Assistant

Kelli Piel

Aftercare Assistant

Kelli Piel

Arts

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Cynthia Collins

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Cynthia Collins

Middle School Teacher & Chapel Coordinator

Allison Hodges

Middle School Teacher & Chapel Coordinator

Allison Hodges

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Erin Mazza

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Erin Mazza

Upper School Teacher

Kim Moseler

Upper School Teacher

Kim Moseler

Upper School Teacher

Jason Porrata

Upper School Teacher

Jason Porrata

Lower School Teacher

Debi Savage

Lower School Teacher

Debi Savage

Middle School Teacher

Atlee Swartz

Middle School Teacher

Atlee Swartz

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Darryl Tolbert

Middle & Upper School Teacher

Darryl Tolbert

Lower School Teacher

Christine Torres

Lower School Teacher

Christine Torres

Upper School Teacher

Casey Vaughn

M.A.

Upper School Teacher

Casey Vaughn

M.A.

Library

Lower School Media Specialist

Lisa DeBoom

M.Ed.

Lower School Media Specialist

Lisa DeBoom

M.Ed.

Director of the Writing Center

Amanda Whitaker

M.S., Colson Fellow

Director of the Writing Center

Amanda Whitaker

M.S., Colson Fellow

Finance & Human Resources

Accounting Specialist

Amanda Baldessari

MBA

Accounting Specialist

Amanda Baldessari

MBA

School Store Manager

Patty Billsborough

School Store Manager

Patty Billsborough

Concessions Coordinator

David Brock

Concessions Coordinator

David Brock

The Academies Coordinator

Nan Dix

The Academies Coordinator

Nan Dix

Human Resources Coordinator

Michon Friedman

Human Resources Coordinator

Michon Friedman

Tuition Management & Accounts Receivable Specialist

Larissa Galloway

Tuition Management & Accounts Receivable Specialist

Larissa Galloway

Director of Auxiliary Programs

Corey Gilchrist

M.A.

Director of Auxiliary Programs

Corey Gilchrist

M.A.

SHRM-CP

Leighann Harris

Senior Director of Finance & Business Development

SHRM-CP

Leighann Harris

Senior Director of Finance & Business Development

Leighann Harris, Senior Director Finance & Business Development

With 17 years of public accounting under her belt, Mrs. Harris joined the business office at The First Academy in 2012. She began her career as an auditor with the international accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP where she specialized in banking, manufacturing, and publicly-held companies. She then worked in local and regional public accounting firms where she specialized in not-for-profit and government accounting, auditing and tax compliance. Mrs. Harris earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with minor in Computer Science from Oral Roberts University and is a certified public accountant in California and Maryland.

Mrs. Harris is married to her husband, Lt. Colonel Scott Harris, and is proud to serve beside him during his 28 years on active duty with the United States Marine Corp. After serving in many different duty stations across the United States, they are happy to be back in Florida where they were born and raised. She has three children who are all TFA graduates. Mrs. Harris says, “Being a part of The First Academy has been a tremendous blessing to me and my family and I look forward continuing to serve in advancing the mission here at TFA.”

Director of Human Resources

Gloria Leeks

SHRM-CP

Director of Human Resources

Gloria Leeks

SHRM-CP

Accounts Payable Specialist

Diane Powers

Accounts Payable Specialist

Diane Powers

Operations & Technology

Operations Coordinator

Michele Fetterhoff

Operations Coordinator

Michele Fetterhoff

Director of Operations

Rob Hensley

MDiv

Director of Operations

Rob Hensley

MDiv

Operations Specialist & Track Coach

Dean Middleton

Operations Specialist & Track Coach

Dean Middleton

Director of Technology

William Zavala

M.A.

Director of Technology

William Zavala

M.A.