Genesis Christian School Staff
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 Genesis since 2017. She was born in California, and has lived in Alaska, New Zealand, Texas, Egypt, Ohio, and Florida! Ms. Tammy is married, a mother of 4 children and has 6 grandchildren. She has over 20 years of experience in youth ministry and has a passion for teaching about kindness and growing in the Lord. Some of the areas she works in include: fundraising, event planning, chapel, staff contentment, PR, social media, and student needs. Ms. Tammy is excited to be part of the GCS team!
Mrs. Chrystal Harvey
Mrs. Harvey started at Genesis in 2017. She was born in Trinidad, and moved to Brooklyn NY in 1997. After graduating college in 2007, Chrystal moved to Florida and married her college sweetheart in 2010. They have 3 beautiful girls, who also attend Genesis! Mrs. Harvey has a deep desire to love and serve the Lord, and she enjoys being at Genesis, as she considers it her home away from home.
Mrs. Christen Peterson
Mrs. Peterson has been at Genesis since 2018. Christen was born and raised in California, and loves the beach! She is married to a Pastor, and they have 3 children. Christen has over 15 years of experience in Ministry, was a Youth Director with her husband for several years, and was in church leadership for over 10 years. She also has several years of experience volunteering with Animal Rescue groups, and volunteering in the community. Christen has her Bachelor's degree in Marketing/Business, and loves being creative! She created our web-page, helps with social media, PR, and graphic design, and Admissions. Christen also enjoys photography, writing, the outdoors, and Publix cupcakes!
Mrs. Elizabeth Gonzalez
VPK Director/Lead Teacher
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. Cassia Merlos
Mrs. Merlos has a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. She teaches Kindergarten, and is also our VPK director. Teaching is her passion, and she’s thrilled to be a Kindergarten teacher 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 and writing, cooking, crafting, walking, and reading. Cassia currently holds a Florida Care Professional Credential, and a Director Credential.
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.
Mrs. Karen Wilkey
Mrs. Wilkey began teaching Second Grade at Genesis in 2013. She has a Bachelor's degree in Christian Education and over thirty years of teaching experience! Her students, past and present, describe her as a kind and caring teacher, who makes learning fun! Second graders have a natural curiosity about God's creation, so don't be surprised to frequently find playground lizards, or insects joining the class for identification and close observation. Mrs. Wilkey is an extremely important member of the GCS Faculty and 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. She has both a degree in psychology and 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.
Mr. Bill Ingham
6th - 8th Grade
Mr. Ingham is one of our middle school teachers. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Florida in 2004 with his wife Ruth. They have four children and 10 grandchildren! Mr. Ingham likes to say he has been teaching “since the dark ages.” He has a degree in education and a Master’s in ministry. He also enjoys being with his family as well as reading, shooting, building, and repairing things. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “Faithful is he that calleth you who will also do it.”
Mr. Matt Short
6th - 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. Pastor Short is also a worship Pastor here in the area. 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.
This is Coach C's first year as a P.E. teacher at Genesis! She is also the Head Softball Coach at Port Charlotte High School, and has her Bachelor's in Exercise Science.
Mr. Paul Von Gillern
Paul has been working for Genesis since 2017. He works in aftercare and does general maintenance around the school. He is also an amazing handyman with a servants heart. Paul likes anything to do with cars, and has 2 children whom he loves dearly, that attend GCS.
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 one boy. Ella enjoys cooking, sewing, singing and crafting. Besides working in the lunchroom and aftercare, she assists with student needs, fundraising, admin needs and events.