Meet The Team
Dr. Scott Porter
Dr. Porter has been the principal at GCS since 2017. He was born and raised in California and has lived in numerous states and countries while serving in the US Air Force, until he retired in 2006. Dr. Porter is married and has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. He and his wife enjoy spending as much time with them as possible. Dr. Porter holds a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Education, a Master’s degree in Ministry, and a Doctorate degree in Ministry. Dr. Porter is also ordained through the Church of the Nazarene and has served in different roles for churches where he has lived. He feels God’s called him to the school and loves seeing kids grow in their knowledge of God as well as starting to own their own faith as they grow in loving God and loving others.
Mrs. Tammy Porter
Ms. Tammy has been at GSC since 2017. She loves collaborating with the administrative team and finds great joy working with the GCS students, families and staff. Tammy has lived all over the world (see Dr. Porters Bio ) She has four amazing adult children and many beautiful grandchildren. Tammy worked in youth ministry for over 20 years and has over 8 years of experience working in Kindergarten classrooms. Ms. Tammy helps oversee all events, as well as the day to day school operations, and helps with social media. She especially loves spoiling the students and GCS staff.
Mrs. Ella Santiago
Mrs. Ella has been at Genesis since 2017. She was born and raised in Florida, and is married, with 2 girls and 1 boy. Ella enjoys cooking, sewing, singing and crafting. Besides working in the front office, she assists with student needs, fundraising, admin needs, admissions and events. She has a servants heart, and also volunteers at her own church.
Mrs. Christen Peterson
Mrs. Peterson has been at Genesis since 2018. Christen was born and raised in California. She is married to a Pastor, and they have 3 children. Christen has a Bachelor's Degree in Business/Marketing and a minor in PR. She has over 15 years of experience in Ministry, was a Youth Director with her husband for several years, and also served in church leadership for over 10 years. Christen has over 7 years of experience volunteering with Animal Rescue groups, and organizing community outreach/fundraising events. She also loves writing and has had several parenting articles published. She assists with admissions, design, improving processes, events, developing strategic plans, social media, and creating content.
Mrs. Cassia Merlos
Mrs. Merlos has a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. Teaching is her passion, and she’s thrilled to be the VPK Director at Genesis! She was born and raised in Brazil and has been living in the U.S. since 2008. Cassia is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. She’s married and has three children! She loves spending time with her family, playing soccer, cooking, crafting, and reading. Cassia currently holds a Florida Care Professional Credential, and a Director Credential with VPK Endorsement.
Mrs. Elizabeth Gonzalez
Mrs. Gonzalez began teaching K4/VPK at Genesis in 2015. She was born in Cuba and moved to the USA in 2007. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is that she gets to teach children while having fun at the same time through games, music, and art! Elizabeth absolutely loves that she is able to teach about Jesus! Her favorite hobbies are photography, drawing, and painting! She is married and has two wonderful children.
Mrs. Heidi Stromback
Mrs. Stromback joined the staff at Genesis Christian School in February of 2021. She has a Master’s degree with 25+ years of experience teaching Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades. Her passion is teaching reading, and she also loves to teach her students songs in sign language. She and her husband recently moved to Florida from Minnesota. They have a son, a daughter, and a son-in-law who are all Pharmacists in the Midwest. When she’s not teaching, Mrs. Stromback loves to go boating, fishing, and traveling.
Ms. Hayes graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 2011 and has taught both 1st grade and Kindergarten over the years. Ms. Hayes is married and has 2 boys who attend school at GCS. She is thrilled she can teach Christian principles and set a biblical foundation in the classroom. Ms. Hayes loves kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing with her boys.
Mrs. Karen Wilkey
Mrs. Wilkey began teaching Second Grade at Genesis in 2013. She has a Bachelor's degree in Christian Education and over 30 years of teaching experience! Her students, past and present, describe her as a kind and caring teacher, who makes learning fun! Mrs. Wilkey is an extremely important member of the GCS team!
Mrs. Jamie Kopp
Mrs. Kopp joined GCS in 2019 as our Third Grade teacher. She was born in Virginia and moved to Florida from South Carolina seven years ago. Mrs. Kopp has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology a Master's in Elementary Education and has been teaching for 15 years. Mrs. Kopp loves reading mysteries and children’s books. She also enjoys boating and traveling in her RV with her husband. She has three children and four grandchildren. She loves her third-grade students!
Mrs. Debra Denson
4th Grade/Curriculum Director
Mrs. Denson started here at Genesis Christian School in 1999! Mrs. Denson graduated from St. Leo College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. Mrs. Denson's students, past and present, describe her as a kind and caring teacher, who makes learning fun. Another highlight is the chick hatching she does with her class in the spring. Mrs. Denson also leads worship for our K4-4th grade chapel and coordinates our yearly spelling bee!
Mr. Don Rattey
Mr. Rattey has been teaching Fifth Grade here at Genesis since 2018. He was born and raised in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He is married with 5 children. Mr. Rattey loves sports and was a coach for 33 years. He coached football and baseball, as well as basketball. Mr. Rattey says his favorite thing about teaching at Genesis is that he gets to share Christ with his students every day.
5th - 8th Grade
Mr. Matt Short
5th - 8th Grade
Pastor Short is one of our middle school teachers. He was born in Ohio and moved to Florida in 2019. He is married to his wife, Alyssa, and has two little girls. He has a Bachelor’s degree in music and likes to read, write, play the piano, and paint. He says what he appreciates most about being at GCS is the family atmosphere among the staff, students, and families and we are thankful and blessed that he is a part of our GCS family.
Coach C. has been with us as a P.E. teacher since 2020! She is also the Head Softball Coach at Port Charlotte High School. Morgan has her Bachelor's in Exercise Science, and is a student favorite!
Ms. Laurie is our Aftercare Director! She moved down to Florida from Chicago in 2013 and her favorite food is pasta! Ms. Laurie loves creating things with metal and also likes diamond art. She has been with Genesis for several years and has a big heart for the kids here.
Ms. Kathy is in charge of our lunchroom and has a grandson who attends Genesis. Ms. Kathy started working at Genesis in 2021 and enjoys being able to see the kids every day.
Ms. Katelan is our VPK Teacher Assistant and works with Ms. Laurie in aftercare. She was born in Georgia and raised in Colorado. Ms. Katelan enjoys going to the beach with her kids, and her favorite food is tacos!