Matthew Porter came to Geneva in 2019 and teaches video production in the rhetoric school. A graduate of Apopka High School, Valencia College, and Samford University, Matthew worked as a freelance writer, director, and producer for his first decade after college. During that time, he wrote and directed an award-winning film, Blackwater Elegy, starring Tony-winner John Cullum (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Northern Exposure) and Emmy-nominee Barry Corbin (War Games, Modern Family). He also directed and produced a documentary for Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) shot in Russia, South Africa, Jamaica, and Chicago. Matthew later served as director of video for an international ad agency where he led a team of producers and editors in creating original branded content for retailers such as eBay, Sam’s Club, and Walmart and brands including Microsoft and P&G. More recently, Matthew worked as vice president of production at OAKZ Media and currently serves as executive producer at Key Life Network in Maitland.
Matthew, his wife, and four children (and four cats) live in Winter Springs and attend Action Church. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, coaching flag football, and embarrassing his children by singing 80s power ballads very loudly and very badly!
Director of the Grammar School 3rd–6th Grade 321-422-0209
Keira Raesly joined The Geneva School faculty in 2015. She taught fourth and fifth grade before moving into an administrative role as the director of grammar school in 2018. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2000 with a BS in Social Science Education, she spent two years teaching American History, World History, Economics, and Global Studies at Lake Mary High School. Although she loved teaching, she decided to gain experience working in a corporate environment before beginning a family. Keira was able to fulfill that experience at CNL until stepping down to stay home with her children in 2008. In 2010, she felt called to pursue an MA in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida. It has been a wonderful journey and she was grateful for the opportunity to teach at Brookshire Elementary before being led to The Geneva School.
Keira met her husband Chris when they were both undergraduate students at UCF and they have been married since 2002. They have been blessed with two children who are students at Geneva, Ella (’24) and Blake (’26). The family worships at Summit Church and they serve the community together through niceSERVE. Keira also loves her time holding babies at the Summit nursery when volunteering with the children’s ministry. In their free time, the family enjoys spending time at their community’s pool and green spaces and walking Bruin, their adorable Boston terrier.
Nathan Raley teaches Rhetoric & Christian Thought and directs the Geneva Capstone Senior Thesis program. A graduate of Davidson College and the Université de Provence, Nathan began teaching French and debate in in Texas in 2001. After a term as a student and then a helper at L’Abri Fellowship in Massachusetts, Nathan taught AP English, Apologetics, and Spiritual Formation at a Christian school in the Boston area before coming to Geneva in 2006. Six years later, in order to be nearer to family, he returned to his home state of Texas, where he taught French and literature at Regents, a Christian classical school in Austin. During his time away Nathan married, become a father, and ate many, many tacos. He returned to Geneva in 2017.
Nathan believes that a liberal arts education does more than just prepare students to navigate the complexities of life and career in a complicated modern world. It can also help them live as free people, not bound by appetites or by the philosophies of the world or the often pernicious influence of the most rhetorically powerful voices in our culture. This is why Nathan loves to teach—this, and also the fact that teaching high school students is a lot of fun. Nathan strives to encourage a love of learning in his students as well as a sense of awe and pleasure before God’s creation and the creativity of mankind.
Nathan spent about half his childhood overseas as a missionary kid in Cambodia, Singapore, France, and the Philippines, and he spent a year as an adult in Aix-en-Provence, France, as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar. He has pursued his interest in theology through occasional study at Reformed Theological Seminary and Regent College in Vancouver. He loves to read, juggle, do theater, wrestle with his young son Micah (TGS ’33), and spend time with his wife Gretchen, who is a mental health counselor.
Betty Ralls taught first grade at The Geneva School from 2003–2013. She now teaches reading to first graders and gives special attention to kindergartners who need extra reading support. Betty earned her BS in Elementary Education at Tift College, now a part of Mercer University. She began her teaching career in the Seminole County Public School System where she was an instructor for fifteen years, and was certified by the State of Florida. Betty also taught first grade at Covenant Christian School for seventeen years, where she received her ACSI certification.
Betty enjoys “storytelling,” both true and make-believe. Through the years her students have become participants in her story lines. In addition, she enjoys reading and “dabbling” in the arts. She is a “cat whisperer” and greatly appreciates the wonders of God’s creation. She enjoys listening to others, especially children, and unraveling the mystery of who they really are.
Erin Rhoden joined the Geneva faculty as the Photography I teacher in 2017. In addition, she serves part-time as the main campus receptionist (along with Kamillia White).
A native of Natchez, Mississippi, Erin earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Mississippi College. In 2003, she took part in a year-long exchange program with Birkbeck College London, which she credits for forming her world view, and fostering her sense of wanderlust. Most recently, Erin has been serving as the world outreach church liaison in the national office of General Assembly with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. She has a heart for the Muslim community both here in the US and overseas.
Erin and her husband Garry moved to Florida in the summer of 2015 and enrolled their two eldest children in Geneva that fall. They currently live in Casselberry with their three children, one dog, two rabbits, and a betta fish. They attend St. Alban’s Anglican Cathedral in Winter Springs. Erin is an avid reader and loves to watch indie movies. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, yoga, traveling, writing, and, of course, photography.
Vanessa Schaefer joined the Geneva faculty in 2004 where she teaches science to grammar school students. She earned a BS in education from Concordia University with a concentration in early childhood education. Her career has spanned more than twenty-five years teaching in elementary classrooms in Miami, Chicago, Oviedo, and Casselberry. She has had the opportunity to teach in a bilingual school, a multi-age classroom, and an inclusion classroom.
Besides teaching science, Vanessa finds herself busy tending the school garden, volunteering at school-wide events, and encouraging the Geneva community to be good stewards of the earth. She is also a lead instructor on the seventh grade North Florida trip.
Vanessa currently resides in Longwood, Florida, with her husband Jay and son Peter. She and her family enjoy traveling, spending time at the beach, and a variety of other outdoor activities. Vanessa and Jay are active members at their home church, Ascension Lutheran Church in Casselberry. They currently teach confirmation classes and adult Bible studies as well as leading the middle school youth group and conducting the children’s messages for worship.
Jill earned a BS in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Grove City College with an emphasis in Spanish and joined The Geneva School faculty in 2006. Her certifications include elementary education, early childhood education, and middle school mathematics.
After several years teaching third and fourth grades, Jill moved into a new position in 2017 teaching Spanish in grades K–3, where she introduces our youngest students to a foreign language and shares with them some of the culture and traditions of Spanish-speaking countries. Outside of the classroom, Jill also supports the administration and faculty of the school in the areas of curriculum and accreditation.
Jill loves learning new things and delights in sharing this love of learning with her students. She has interests in a number of creative areas including handcrafts and making music. She plays the piano, flute, oboe, and handbells and enjoys singing.
Shelly is a native Floridian, she graduated from UCF (Go Knights!) with a bachelor’s in elementary education. After college, she taught various grade levels in both public and private schools in Florida, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Shelly and her husband Ryan married in 1999 and they have five children: Michael, Matthew, Mark, Molly, and Megan, who walk the halls of Geneva.
In 2010, Shelly joined Classical Conversations as a tutor, where she fell in love with the classical model of education. She continued to tutor for the next three years, and in 2014 became a director of Classical Conversations in Seattle, WA where she started a thriving community dedicated to knowing God and making him known. In 2015, she started another new Classical Conversations group in the Chattanooga, TN area and tremendously enjoyed serving in that community as well. In 2016, Shelly had the honor of joining the fourth grade teaching team at The Geneva School.
Working full-time and raising five children is somewhat prohibitive of free time, but when Shelly does have a few moments to herself, she loves to do anything outside: hiking, walking, camping, swimming, and gardening—just to name a few things. She loves having friends over to enjoy a conversation over a delicious meal. And, she loves playing with her kids—on occasion, you may even spot her with her favorite softball glove playing a game of catch.
Debbie Smith has been teaching third grade at Geneva since 2011. She earned her BA in Elementary Education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Debbie taught at Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, FL for eleven years, including nine years as a second grade teacher and two and a half years teaching the enrichment program (a program that she developed for gifted second–sixth grade students). An avid runner, she also coached the Orangewood varsity cross country team for six years.
Debbie and her husband Verne have two children—Raquel ’19 and Clay ’21. She enjoys studying the ocean and nature along the Florida coast on her family’s frequent trips to the beach to visit her parents.
Elizabeth Smith joined the fifth grade teaching team in 2019. She graduated from the State University of New York College at Geneseo (SUNY Geneseo) in 2005 with a double major in elementary education and English. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in liberal studies from SUNY Stony Brook. Elizabeth is entering her fourteenth year in the classroom with experience in all areas, including high school and middle school. She taught in New York for ten years and, most recently, at Orangewood Christian School.
Elizabeth and her husband, Greg, live in Oviedo with their children, Audrey (eight years old) and Everett (five years old). Both Audrey and Everett will also be joining Geneva, in third grade and kindergarten. Elizabeth and her family attend Northland Church and like to spend time at Disney and the beach. Elizabeth enjoys cooking, baking, reading, and traveling.
Jordan Stewart has been involved with The Geneva School in a number of ways since the year 2000 when he was enrolled as a student in kindergarten. Having graduated from Geneva in 2013 and coached varsity soccer since 2014, he joined the faculty in 2019. Jordan graduated from Rollins College as one of six valedictorians in the fall of 2018 with a BA in Philosophy and Classical Studies. One of the most important aspects of his time at Rollins was developing close relationships with his professors as they explored profound texts, puzzled over translations, and discussed what it means to live a good life. He hopes to do the same with his students at Geneva.
In his spare time, Jordan enjoys reading Ancient Greek and Latin works, Russian novels and short stories (especially Dostoevsky), and anything by Walker Percy. He also spends a good deal of time trying to convince his friends to read these works, with limited success. He loves to coach and play soccer, and he would never refuse a relaxing day at the beach or a board game night with friends. But most of all he enjoys spending time with his delightful wife, Sarah, (also a Geneva alum), their family, and their energetic dog, Summer. They attend St. Alban’s Anglican Cathedral in Oviedo.
Lorrie Stewart teaches K4 at the early childhood campus. She received her degree in Elementary Education (K-6) from the University of Central Florida and is certified in early childhood. Lorrie is a native Floridian and taught kindergarten for four years in the public school system prior to coming to Geneva. Lorrie has been part of the Geneva faculty and family since her eldest child entered into kindergarten in 2000. She served for three years as a teacher’s aide in kindergarten before creating and implementing the K4 program and began teaching K4 in 2003. She has a passion and love for helping young children develop their imaginations and love of learning. Lorrie provides a loving and encouraging environment in her classroom where children can flourish.
Lorrie and her husband Gary have two boys: Jordan (class of 2013) and Davis (class of 2015). She enjoys outdoor activities such as running, hiking, and working in the yard.
Elisabeth Sutton has been the fourth grade aide since 2010. She started working at The Geneva School after years of volunteering in the classes of her two children. She then began substituting in various positions around the school with everything from teacher’s aide and front desk receptionist, to lunch server and librarian.
Elisabeth received a marketing degree from the University of Central Florida and worked in commercial printing sales for twelve years before staying home as a full time mom. She was born in Ostersund, Sweden, but was raised here in the Central Florida area by Swedish parents and still has the gift of the language. She especially enjoys the Viking portion of the fourth grade curriculum and pronouncing the Viking names for the children!
Outside of school, Elisabeth enjoys spending time with her family: husband David and college-aged children, Lauren and Zachary. She enjoys travel, photography, jewelry making, sewing, reading, and loves the outdoors and water. She also has a special place in her heart for animals, especially her Yorkie Max. Elisabeth and her family attend Northland Church.
Leigh Swain joined the Geneva family in 2017. She served as the sixth grade aide and then a third grade teacher before joining the second grade teaching team in 2019. She is thrilled to be a part of TGS and is grateful for the opportunity to work with Geneva’s second graders. Leigh received her BA in Elementary Education and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She spent two years as an elementary school teacher in North Carolina and then eleven years homeschooling her four children.
Leigh and her husband, Scott, have four children: Carly, Sophie, Josiah (TGS Class of 2023) and Micah (TGS Class of 2025). In her spare time, Leigh enjoys reading and travel.
Tracy Talesnick grew up playing soccer in Tampa. She represented the state of Florida on state select teams from 14–18 years old. She made the southern regional team and U.S. women’s national team the summer before her senior year. Tracy attended North Carolina State University on a soccer scholarship, played in the final four, was team MVP, and captained a team that was in the top 10 her final three years in college. Tracy was an all-south and ACC tournament first team selection multiple times, and was on the ACC academic honor roll all four years. Finally, Tracy continued to represent the U.S. by playing in two Olympic training programs while she was in college.
After graduating from NCSU, Tracy worked for two years before pursuing her MBA at University of Florida. After completing her MBA she took a job with Progress Energy in Central Florida. She continued to play adult soccer and began to dip her toe into coaching. Tracy has now been coaching both boys and girls, at many different age levels, since 2003. She currently coaches at the club level for Spirit United soccer club, the competitive arm of ACYS.
“I really enjoy coaching young people and sharing my love for the beautiful game. I believe in teaching fundamentals and focusing on long-term development, not the quick fix that wins a game. I see my players as individuals that need to not only be taught soccer, but to embrace hard work and commitment to a team. Additionally, I believe strongly that the players should treat other teams, refs and parents with respect, that we win and lose games with class, and that we keep sports in the proper perspective in life.”
Off the field, Tracy volunteers regularly for her church and The Geneva School. Tracy and her husband, Noah, have two children at Geneva: Nathan (class of 2018) and Taylor (class of 2020).
Scott Thigpen joined the Geneva staff as the director of college counseling in the summer of 2012. He came with over ten years of management, leadership, and counseling experience in multiple settings. Scott received his BS in Business from the University of Central Florida in 2004. He went on to earn his graduate degree in counseling psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2007. As a manager and program director for public and non-profit organizations, he has had the opportunity to develop skills in promoting programs to outside stakeholders, to work one-on-one and in groups to counsel students, and to organize and develop multiple programs. Scott also has experience counseling in private practice settings and is a former college minister with Metro Church, located in Winter Springs. He is also a graduate of Leadership Seminole Class 21, where his class raised over $400,000 to build a dental unit that serves adults in need.
Scott admits the best thing about his job is building relationships with students and having the privilege of guiding them into higher education. Scott also submerges himself in the Geneva student culture by being involved with the wider student body. He is a co-sponsor of the senior class, competes in the faculty vs. varsity boys annual basketball game, and chaperones the senior trip to North Carolina. Outside of work, Scott’s schedule remains busy, spending time with his wife Alyssa, their three children, four chickens, two bunnies, two fish, and a parakeet.
Christina Tissue joined the second grade team as a teachers aide in 2017. She is thrilled to able to use her gifting to serve the teachers, children, and parents. It brings her joy to watch these young children mature over the course of the year and she counts it a privileged to be a small part of this process.
Christina grew up in St. Cloud, Florida, and enjoyed playing volleyball and basketball in high school. She went on to earned a BA in Communications from Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.
Christina has known her husband since high school and they were married in 2005 and have two daughters, Addison (TGS Class of 2027) and Lillian (TGS Class of 2031). She worked for newspapers, the police department, and a power company before becoming an at-home mom in 2011. After enrolling her oldest at Geneva, Christina was a regular volunteer with moms-in-prayer, room mom, substitute teacher, and filling in at the front desk.
Christina and her husband attend Orlando Grace Church in Altamonte Springs where they enjoy teaching in the children’s ministry, attending a small group, and serving their community. They have a desire to serve the nations and have taken a couple of trips together to Thailand to share the Gospel in the prisons. Christina has a heart for service and enjoys helping wherever there is a need. She enjoys cooking and baking with her girls and loves having a good laugh with friends and family!
Ala Turkanik joined The Geneva School team in 2016 and works part-time in the business office as the HR coordinator. Her background is in number-related fields having earned a masters in mathematics from the University of Warsaw, Poland. She moved from Poland with her family in 2016 and found a home within the Geneva community in addition to her church community, Lake Baldwin Church.
Ala and her husband Greg have two children: Maya (class of 2027) and Simon (class 2030). Whenever she has the chance, Ala enjoys family sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, watching her kids swim in the ocean, and drinking her own espresso coffee.
Mandy Turnbull joined The Geneva School in 2014 with seven years of teaching experience in both public and private settings. Mandy earned her undergraduate degree in secondary English education from Asbury University and her Master of Liberal Studies degree from Rollins college, completing her course requirements with a thesis on modern American literature. Mandy’s true passion is literature and poetry, and she loves to help students explore the way in which the skill of the written word can lead to the artistry of story.
Mandy and her husband Chad married in 1998 and have three children, all of whom attend The Geneva School. The Turnbull family has been a part of the Geneva community since 2008 when their oldest daughter Madeline entered the first grade, and they are continually grateful to participate in a community that supports one another in the pursuit of piety, virtue, wisdom, and grace.
The son and grandson of teachers and pastors, Dr. Peter Vande Brake joined the Geneva administration in 2019 as director of the upper school. He has a passion for teaching and discussing theology, especially philosophical theology, theodicy, and worldview. He has taught several courses in his career, including English, logic, rhetoric, worldview/media, Christian doctrine, Latin, and church history. He has also coached track and field for the last twenty-five years at both the college and high school level.
Peter attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he earned a BA in Philosophy and was a four-time All-American decathlete. He worked as a mental health worker at a psychiatric hospital for a year before going to Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, where he received an MDiv. He did his doctorate work in systematic theology, earning a PhD from Calvin Theological Seminary in 2000, and he was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2001. Peter completed the Van Lunen Fellows Program for Executive Leadership in July of 2009.
Peter worked as a teacher and coach at North Hills Classical Academy in Grand Rapids beginning in 1996 and served as headmaster from 1998–2010. In 2010, he began his nine-year tenure at The Potter’s House, an urban, Christ-centered school in Grand Rapids. There he served in various capacities, most recently as the high school principal.
Peter is a leadership consultant for the CiRCE Institute and has served on the national boards for CiRCE and the Society for Classical Learning. He has written several articles in the SCL Journal and in various CiRCE publications. He also teaches a ten-month online course for CiRCE every year called “The Atrium,” in which students work through David Hick’s book Norms and Nobility.
Peter has been married to Susan since 1988, and they have two daughters, Olivia and Annake. Olivia is a Baylor University graduate (2018) and works as a NICU nurse at DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Annake is working on a double major in film and graphic design at Calvin College.
Alicia VanDerhoof joined the sixth grade teaching team in 2018. She graduated from Grove City College, PA, in 2018 where she received a BA in English and a minor in classical education. She graduated cum laude and with honors in English. In addition to her studies, Alicia played on the varsity volleyball team, worked as a teacher assistant for her favorite professor, and served as treasurer for the National Honorary Omicron Delta Kappa.
Hailing from Michigan, Alicia is used to the “mitten’s” four beautiful seasons and lush forests. Her summers are spent on the water with her family where they perfect the art of tubing, wakeboarding, surfing, and other water sports. In her leisure time, Alicia enjoys playing board games, reading, hosting tea parties, swimming, and spending time with her family.
Alicia has had the desire to teach for as long as she can remember, whether it was “helping” her first grade teacher manage the class or playing school in the basement with her sisters. Her passion for teaching is owed to her Savior and also to her role model, her father, who has served as her teacher in and out of the classroom.
Bryan Vogt joined the facilities department at The Geneva School in a full-time capacity in 2016, having previously worked on a part-time basis for three years from 2012–2015. He has a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Psychology and a MS in Family Sociology. He worked with troubled adolescent children for seven years after graduating, then started his own business in North Carolina as a project manager building log cabins. His love of working with his hands began at a young age as he worked side-by-side with his dad, building and working out of doors. After moving to Florida, he opened his own handyman business before joining TGS full time.
In his spare time Bryan enjoys hunting with his son, fishing, kayaking, camping, and building; reading church history, theology, and sociology books; and (according to his wife) is a master outdoor chef, especially on the smoker. He has two children, both of whom attend TGS: Brianna (’21) and Brayden (’22).
Christina joined the Geneva community when she and her husband Michael enrolled their three children in 2016 (Michaela ’19, Christian ’21, and Eliana ’26). Before joining the advancement team in 2018, she was an active volunteer for the school, assisting with the annual auction and copy editing for The Courier.
Christina graduated from Longwood University, VA, with a BA in English and studied for one year at Reformed Theological Seminary. She has been a Bible study leader for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (where she met Michael), Community Bible Study, and several local churches.
After their year at RTS Orlando, the Walkers sojourned in Princeton (six years), Louisville (two years), and Dallas (nine years); they finally made their way back to Michael’s hometown of Winter Park in 2016. They attend First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.
Christina invests most of her time in the joy (and challenge) of raising her children to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Along the way, she has been an avid blogger, voracious reader of good books, and a competitive player of Words with Friends.
Dr. Michael Walker joined The Geneva School faculty in 2017 and teaches Western Civilization II (10th grade) and Rhetoric & Christian Thought III (11th grade). He passionately believes that the study of history and good literature are essential for cultivating reflective Christian living—that is, a Christian life that seeks faithfully to navigate the challenges and opportunities of contemporary Western culture.
Prior to teaching at Geneva, Michael served for nine years as theologian-in-residence (like a scholar-pastor or teaching pastor) at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, and for three years as executive director of Presbyterians For Renewal, a non-profit organization seeking theological and spiritual renewal in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Michael earned his PhD in the History of Christian Doctrine from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he also completed the Master of Divinity degree. Prior to attending Princeton, he studied at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando for one year. For undergraduate studies (BA in Religion), Michael attended Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, one of the few all-male liberal arts colleges still in existence.
Michael’s current research and writing projects include a chapter on Calvinism in North America for The Oxford Companion to Calvinism (forthcoming, Oxford University Press) and, together with Bruce Gordon of Yale University, the second volume on the Book of Genesis for the Reformation Commentary on Scripture series (InterVarsity Press).
Michael and his wife Christina have three children, all of whom attend The Geneva School: Michaela ’19, Christian ’21, Eliana ’26.
Amy Welday was born and raised in South Bend, IN and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, OH with a degree in Interior Design and Housing. She and her husband David moved to Orlando in 1981, but they have never stopped missing all four seasons. They have raised three sons here. Hearing about a brand new school, called The Geneva School, in the fall of 1993 piqued their interest and their boys were quickly enrolled for the next fall. Prior to working at Geneva, Amy spent seven years as a preschool director; teaching two, three, and four year olds for four years before that.
When the school day ends Amy enjoys scrap booking, sewing, walking and gardening. Amy and Dave have hosted a neighborhood Bible study in their home for years and love studying the Bible and growing together with close friends. Most summers the family finds its way to Maine, to the family homestead which has been in the family since the early 1700’s and remains the gathering place for much extended family, which now includes three grandchildren.
Kamillia White began serving as a receptionist at the main campus in 2012, as the lunch program coordinator in 2015, and answered the call to teach algebra in 2017. Prior to that time, she served both as a member of the lunchtime staff and as a substitute teacher’s aide. She also enjoys a home business with Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Prior to life with children, Kamillia’s professional career experience is interesting and varied. She earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. From there she attained a MEng in Computer Engineering from Cornell University. She functioned as a computer analyst and system administrator for IBM, Duquesne Light Company, and Mellon Bank. After over ten years of corporate experience, Kamillia recognized God’s calling to serve the Lord through working in the community. She has held leadership roles for a number of not-for-profit organizations and her service to God has been most evident in the many roles she has held in her church life. Kamillia has led administrative, financial, as well as educational and children’s ministries. She is currently a member of Church of the Great Commission where she serves alongside her husband, Pastor Reginald J. White.
The Whites are blessed with three children, who are all students at The Geneva School. Kamillia was born and raised in the Washington, DC area, but prefers to call Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her home.
Laura White joined The Geneva School first grade team in 2017. She attended The Geneva School from 2005–2007 for her sixth and seventh grade years before her family moved to Gainesville. Laura began her teaching career in Alachua County teaching third grade in a local public school before returning to Geneva, this time as a teacher.
Laura graduated from Florida State University in 2015 with a degree in elementary education and an endorsement in ESOL and reading. While completing her degree, she worked with children at the Boys and Girls Club and completed her internship in a first grade classroom at Roberts Elementary School in Leon County. She was also a part of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at FSU and was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. It has been a passion of Laura’s to teach in a Christian classical school, and she is thrilled to a part of the faculty at The Geneva School.
Laura enjoys traveling, Disney, immersing herself in a good book, horseback riding, and being outdoors.
Amber Wilder joined The Geneva School first grade team in 2018. She received her BS in Elementary Education from Liberty University with concentrations in English and psychology. While at Liberty, Amber was a cheerleader, a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society for Educators, a dorm prayer leader, and on the dean’s list. Amber also received the Student Teacher of the Year award her senior year. She began her teaching career at North Florida Christian School in Tallahassee teaching fourth grade and coaching the varsity cheerleading team. While there, Amber met and married the love of her life, Nathan Wilder. After teaching for four years, Amber became a stay-at-home mom to her children: Reese, Macey, Lexie, and Daisy May. In 2010, Amber went back to school and earned her master’s in education from Liberty University with a focus in administration and supervision in 2012. Before coming to Geneva, Amber taught the lower school enrichment program at The Master’s Academy as well as sixth grade English.
The Wilder family has been in the Central Florida area since 2006, and they are so glad God has called them here. Amber’s husband Nathan wears many hats in the community. He teaches Bible at The Master’s Academy in addition to coaching their middle school football team. He works bi-vocationally as a pastor, leading University Baptist Church. Amber and her husband spend a good deal of their time watching their children participate in their various activities (football, cheerleading, baseball, softball, and musicals), and they also love spending as much time as they can at the beach.
James Williams retired from active duty US Marine Corp in 1995 after twenty years of service. He later earned a BA in History from UCF (2000), a BA in Ministry from International College of Ministry (2008), and worked for Orange County Public Schools for fourteen years before retiring in 2018. Coach Williams coached cross country and track at Oak Ridge High for six years and at Trinity Preparatory School for nine years. He currently serves as a deacon and volunteers in the family care team ministry at the Hope Church of Orlando.
Coach Williams ran track and played football in high school, and began running 5K road races while in the military. Coaching is his passion and he is honored to have the opportunity to prepare young people to excel in their endeavors through the lessons learned as a member of the cross country and track teams. The ability to be on time, to work with a diverse group of people to achieve a common goal, to believe in yourself, and to accept the outcome (whatever it is) when you have done your best are character traits he wants our young athletes to learn and value throughout their life.