Elementary

Michelle Taylor

Kindergarten Teacher • Elementary

Michelle Taylor

Kindergarten Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Lakeland, FL

  • I have a passion for critical thinking and hands on learning and love to engage young learners in ways that respect the importance of play while also raising the bar academically.  
  • My primary goal in all of that is to teach my students that God is the center of every life and academic endeavor and help them to seek after Him in all that they do.
  • My husband, Ryan, and I are life long Lakelanders and feel blessed to be raising our three children here as well.  
  • I enjoy spending time outside, baking, traveling, crafting, and reading. 

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Southeastern University. 
  • I am trained and certified in Orton Gillingham, a multi-sensory approach to teaching reading.  
  • I am ESOL endorsed. 

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • I have 18 years of experience in working with young children in early education. 
  • Preschool at Covenant Child Development Center (2001-2011) 
  • Kindergarten at South McKeel Academy (2011-2019). 

Julie VanWinkle

Kindergarten Teacher • Elementary

Julie VanWinkle

Kindergarten Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Lakeland, FL

  • As an educator I love to creatively educate all children throughout the day using a blend of experiential learning as well as individual, partner, and team learning. It is my desire to challenge those that need challenging as well as work with and help develop those that need a little extra encouragement.  
  • It is also my desire  to share my relationship with God as well help the children to grow in their own personal relationship with God. 
  • I am married to Clint VanWinkle and we have three children.
  • Hobbies include traveling, reading, gardening, and hanging out with family and dogs

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science Valparaiso University, Indiana
  • Kindermusik educator 2005-2009

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • 1992-1996 Kindergarten Teacher Hope Lutheran, Pompano Beach, FL
  • 1996-1999 Kindergarten Teacher  St. Paul Lutheran
  • 2011-present Kindergarten Teacher , St. Paul Lutheran

Kelley Souther

KINDERGARTEN ASSISTANT • Elementary

Kelley Souther

KINDERGARTEN ASSISTANT • Elementary

Amber R Conner

First Grade Teacher • Elementary

Amber R Conner

First Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Lakeland, FL

  • I desired to teach at Christian school to help guide young students in their faith. Watching them learn and grow as tiny disciples is truly a gift. 
  • I am married with two daughters and an Aussiedoodle named Lincoln. 
  • I enjoy decorating, baking, reading, and hiking.

Education:

  • University of South Florida Bachelor’s degree in education focused on early childhood 

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • South McKeel Academy from 2011-2017

Lorie Langley Flores

First Grade Teacher • Elementary

Lorie Langley Flores

First Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace:  Huntington, WV

  • One of my favorite things about teaching at St. Paul is the faith connection I can share with each of my students.   I also love seeing our St. Paul students with their families at church each week.  My passion is teaching students to read and becoming lifelong readers.   
  • I have two adult children, Samantha and Michael, who attended St. Paul Lutheran School from K-8 grade.  We have been members of St. Paul Lutheran Church for the past 15 years. 
  • In my spare time I love to spend time at the beach, reading, and making quilts.

Education: 

  • B.A. in Psychology, Southeastern University, Lakeland, FL
  • M.A. in Psychology, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL  
  • Reading Endorsement
  • Lutheran Teacher Colloquy
  • Florida Department of Education:  Elementary Education K-6, Family and Consumer Science 6-12, Reading Endorsement K-12

Experience prior to serving at SPLS:

  • Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a child therapist for 15 years with a specialization in child abuse. I have been a part of the St. Paul family for 13 years. 

Leah Horsman

Second Grade Teacher • Elementary

Leah Horsman

Second Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace:  Stuart, FL

  • It is a joy to work with a faculty and staff that truly foster an atmosphere where Christ’s word is taught and daily lived out.
  • My husband is the pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bartow.  We have four children – three of whom are SPLS graduates, and the last one is happily attending the 5th grade at SPLS.
  • There is so much to explore and ways to enjoy God’s beautiful creation here in Central Florida.  My family and I love to visit Bok Tower, Winter Haven chain of lakes, and beaches that are not too far away.

Education:

  • BA in Child Development, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN
  • Specialized Training:  Colloquy

Experience prior to serving at SPLS:

  • I am a member of the faculty here at SPLS, having taught PreK4, Kindergarten and now 2nd grade; prior to that I was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years.

Amy E Smith

Second Grade Teacher • Elementary

Amy E Smith

Second Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Lakeland, FL

  • The call to be a teacher was placed on my heart at a very young age. As far back as I can remember, I proclaimed I was going to be a teacher. I was drawn to teaching at a Christian school for the fact that I could live out my faith daily in my work and relationships.  
  • Married with three sons
  • In my free time I enjoy baking healthy homemade foods for my family and friends. This includes everything from homemade cereal and breads to cakes and cookies.
  • Education: 
  • BA Elementary Education University of South Florida
  • 30 Hours of Orton Gillingham Training 

Experience prior to serving at SPLS:  

  • Before my employment at SPLS, I worked as a substitute teacher for Polk County Schools, including a time at Kathleen Middle School where I served as a full-time substitute. 
  • I began my role at SPLS in fifth grade; where I served for five years before moving to second grade. 

Laura Jane Brickey

Third Grade Teacher • Elementary

Laura Jane Brickey

Third Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace:  Indianapolis, IN

  • I believe that St. Paul Lutheran Church and School is an ideal place for me to teach the Gospel and share the love of Jesus on a daily basis.
  • Married to Kevin since 2003.   Two sons who are students at SPLS.
  • I enjoy spending time with friends and family.  Supporting our church -SPLS Art, Food, Writing Notes, Travel, Spending time outdoors.

Education:  

  • B.A. in Art Communications Florida Southern College Lakeland, FL 1993

Experience prior to serving at SPLS:  

  • The Ledger (1993-2000)  Retail Advertising Sales and Promotions Department Lakeland, FL 
  • Citrus Industry Magazine  (2000-2004) 
  • Sales Director and Citrus Expo Trade Show Manager Bartow, FL 
  • R. Bruce Wagner Elementary School, Lakeland, FL  – Fourth Grade Teacher (2004-2006)
  • St. Paul Lutheran School Lakeland, FL – Fifth Grade Teacher (2006-2011)
  • St. Paul Lutheran School Lakeland, FL – Assistant in First and Second Grade Classrooms (2014-2016)
  • St. Paul Lutheran School Lakeland, FL – Third Grade Teacher (2016-present)

Denise Ann Gosch

Third Grade Teacher • Elementary

Denise Ann Gosch

Third Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace:  Battle Creek, Iowa  (Hometown of Mapleton, Iowa)

  • I can’t imagine myself being anything other than a Christian educator. Each day is unique with so many opportunities to share the love, forgiveness, and grace of God. There is so much joy in being able to talk about Christ and share His Word with the students.  
  • I am single (never married) and the Lord has blessed me with two adopted daughters, Cambria (19) and Tianh (14).
  • My favorite hobby is spending time with my girls. We especially enjoy traveling and going to Disney together. We also love just being home together. Travel and missions are important to me, and we have had the opportunity to travel to several countries – Cambodia (4 times), Vietnam (3 times), England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. I especially enjoyed the mission opportunities in SE Asia. It is my prayer that we will one day be able to resume travel/mission experiences. Upon retirement, my dream would be to work in an orphanage in SE Asia.
  • This is my 27th year as a 3rd grade teacher at St. Paul Lutheran, and I have experienced so many changes throughout the years – teaching at the South Florida Ave. site, the construction of our current school and church, moving to our new campus, getting to know new teachers, learning from my colleagues and experiences, and still being in love with teaching and learning new ways to reach the students.

Education:  

  • BS in Elementary Education from Concordia University – Seward, NE

Experience prior to serving at St. Paul:

  • 1988-1994  1st grade teacher at Our Savior Lutheran School in Lake Worth, FL
  • Director of Summer Camp at OSL
  • Director of Singles’ Ministry at OSL
  • Bus Driver at OSL

Jodi M Tucker

Fourth Grade Teacher • Elementary

Jodi M Tucker

Fourth Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Indianapolis, IN

  • It is a tremendous privilege to work and serve in a Christian school.  Our classrooms are places focused on eternal truths, grace, and forgiveness. It is a joy to be able to explore God’s magnificent creation together and approach everything we learn and do with a Biblical worldview. 
  • I married my husband, James, in 2005. We have four children who also attend St. Paul Lutheran School.
  • Our family enjoys cooking, traveling, and running road races together. 

Education: 

  • BA in Elementary Education with minors in psychology and Lutheran Confessions from Concordia University St. Paul, MN (2001)
  • MA in Reading from University of South Florida (2005)
  • MA in Mathematics Education (K-6) from Western Governors University (2020)

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • I started teaching at St. Paul after graduating college in 2001 and have been here ever since!  I spent 9 years teaching 2nd grade and the rest of my years have been in 4th grade. 

Debra Wagner

Fourth Grade Teacher • Elementary

Debra Wagner

Fourth Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Savannah, Ga.

  • I feel called to share God’s grace and to help students to appreciate His Creation and our responsibility to help care for it.
  • I am single with one daughter
  • I enjoy gardening and bird watching

Education: 

  • BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Ed. Florida Southern College
  • MA Elem. Ed University of FloridaBA Florida Southern Elem. and Early Ch Ag In the Classroom 
  • Project Learning Tree
  • Green School

Experience prior to serving at SPLS:

  • PreSchool 2-4 year olds in Winter Haven
  • Title 1 teacher at Eagle Lake Elementary
  • Second grade at Kathleen Elementary in Lakeland
  • Thirty-one years teaching 4th and 5th grade at St. Paul Lutheran School

Perris L Davidson

Fifth Grade Teacher • Elementary

Perris L Davidson

Fifth Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Lakeland, FL

  • I love being able to talk with my students about Christ and pray with them when they are struggling. 
  • I am married with three children.
  • I enjoy crafting, traveling, and going to the beach. 

Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from University of South Florida
  • Master’s degree in elementary education from Southeastern University

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • Polk County School Board 2012-2016
  • SPLS Early Childhood Enrichment Center  Program 

Stephanie A Finley

Fifth Grade Teacher • Elementary

Stephanie A Finley

Fifth Grade Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Lakeland, Fl. 

  • I grew up in the church and enjoy being a member of St Paul Lutheran Church.
  • My husband and I have four children.
  • I love to read historical fiction novels and spend time traveling with my family.

Education:

  • Bachelor’s Degree- Elementary Education from University of South Florida
  • Master’s Degree- Literacy Education from Southeastern University
  • Enrolled in Phd program at Liberty University- Special Education with focus in high incidence disabilities
  • ESOL endorsement
  • Certified in Elementary Education K-6 and Reading K-12

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • One year in Polk County Public Schools
  • Eleven years at SPLS

Daniel C Bates

Music & Band Teacher • ECEC and Pre-K, Elementary, Middle

Daniel C Bates

Music & Band Teacher • ECEC and Pre-K, Elementary, Middle

Birthplace: Lakeland, Fl

  • I love being able to share my faith with students and help guide them toward a life of service to God. Leading them by example in how to use music for God’s glory is a blessing I don’t take for granted!
  • My wife, Denise, is also an educator. We have two sons who attend SPLS.
  • Hobbies/Interests/Talents: 
  • Talents and interests related to music include sharing my music at church, and performing with small ensembles for paid gigs. I also enjoy making music with family at gatherings and for personal entertainment.  
  • Other hobbies include archery, knifemaking, reading, and occasionally video games. 
  • Since having children, my most common pastimes include answering questions and changing diapers, however my favorite pastimes include sleeping for longer than 6 hours and bingeing netflix. 

Education: 

  • Masters of Arts in Teaching, Bachelor of Music Performance
  • Both degrees from Florida Southern College
  • Music Adjudicator Training: Florida Bandmasters Association

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • SPLS is my first full-time position. I have been here since 2012.

Amanda Girau-Perez

Spanish Teacher • ECEC and Pre-K, Elementary, Middle

Amanda Girau-Perez

Spanish Teacher • ECEC and Pre-K, Elementary, Middle

Birthplace: San Juan, Puerto Rico

  • It is a blessing being a Christian educator at SPLS because I can share with my students my faith in God with freedom and even include the Bible in my teaching whenever it is relevant. 
  • I am the proud mother of three boys.
  • I enjoy singing, playing the flute, and watercolor painting.

Education:

  • Bachelor’s Degree University of Puerto Rico with a major in Elementary Education K-3

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • Spanish Teacher at Clarksville Academy, TN.
  • Temporary Spanish Teacher at Northern Valley Regional High in NJ.
  • Learning coach at Huntington Learning Center.
  • Four years of homeschool teacher for two of my sons.  

Sherry Loveridge

Art Teacher • Elementary, Middle

Sherry Loveridge

Art Teacher • Elementary, Middle

Birthplace: Tecumseh, Michigan

  • God led me to SPLS. I was a stay at home mom after 10 years teaching in public schools, looking for a preschool for my son. God knows what is best for you as it was a perfect fit. To be able to celebrate Jesus and teach is the best gift of all and fills my heart every day!
  • I am raising one son.
  • I love the beach; painting; mixed media; cooking; volunteering; and experiencing different cultures 
  • Education:
  • Bachelor of Arts Education – Eastern Michigan University in K-12 art education
  • Continuing education for Adobe Photoshop; Illustrator: InDesign

Experience prior to serving at SPLS: 

  • 10 years art teacher in Polk County Schools

Wendy Petterson

Media Specialist • ECEC and Pre-K, Elementary, Middle

Wendy Petterson

Media Specialist • ECEC and Pre-K, Elementary, Middle

Karyn Scarpa

Physical Education Teacher • ECEC and Pre-K, Elementary, Middle

Karyn Scarpa

Physical Education Teacher • ECEC and Pre-K, Elementary, Middle

Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • St. Paul has played a large role in my Christian growth after moving to central Florida from Canada. I have been blessed by a huge family of believers.  My belief in Lutheran schools as a leader in Christian education brought me to St. Paul first as our church and then as my daughters’ school and finally as my career choice.  Sharing my days and beliefs in Jesus as our savior and teaching children to care for their bodies has been very fulfilling.
  • I have three daughters. All attended St. Paul and GJHS and are college graduates.
  • I enjoy barefoot waterskiing, dog training, paddleboarding, home remodeling, Airbnb hosting, property managing, traveling Canada/Australia, and watching my daughter play professional soccer.

Education:

  • BPHE, Bachelor of Physical & Health Education, Queen’s University
  • Bachelor of Arts (English major), credits toward MBA, Florida Southern College
  • NCCP, Basketball  NCCP, Waterskiing, St. John’s Ambulance Certification, Level 3 Water Ski Coach, State of Florida Coaching Certificate

Experience prior to serving at SPLS:

  • Vanguard School, Lake Wales, Florida

Katie Bates Sherman

Piano Teacher • Elementary

Katie Bates Sherman

Piano Teacher • Elementary

Birthplace: Lakeland, FL

  • I love having the opportunity to share my faith with my students on a daily basis.
  • I am married to Ken with two sons who both attend SPLS.
  • I am a pianist and love playing in church as well as singing with the praise band. 
  • I love spending time with my family, especially at Disney! 
  • I love shopping, reading, and exercising when I have time. 

Education: 

  • Bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College Music Education
  • Master’s degree from University of South Florida Reading Education
  • Thirty hours in Orton Gillingham 
  • Twelve hours in Accadience Learning (DIBELS)
  • Working on Lutheran Teacher Colloquy through Concordia University online

Experience Prior to St. Paul:

  • Elementary music specialist in Polk County for 1 year 
  • Elementary music special in Lynchburg, VA for 1 year
  • Pre-K 4 teacher, Azalea Park Baptist School, 1 year
  • First grade teacher and music teacher, Family Christian Academy 3 year
  • Third grade teacher, SPLS
  • Second grade teacher, SPLS
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