Photo of Deborah Albers
Deborah Albers
7th Grade Teacher & Band Director


a. Education: BA Concordia University Chicago 1981 Major: PE Minor: Music

b. Experience:

1997-present Immanuel Lutheran Brandon, FL: 7th grade
1996-1997 Faith Lutheran Marietta, GA : 4th grade
1994-1996 Immanuel Lutheran Brandon, FL: PE, Computer, Band, Science, AD
1993-1994 Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Temple Terrace, FL: 5/6 grade teacher
1984-1993 Our Redeemer Lutheran Dallas, TX :5/6 teacher, coach, Band Director
1981-1984 St. Paul Lutheran West Allis, WI : 7th grade, coach, AD

c. Personal Biography:

31st year of teaching all in Lutheran schools
Loves to teach PE, instrumental Music, art, Science, Math

Married to Jeff Albers for a long time
Two children who attended Immanuel. Matthew: Lieutenant in AF, married to Cara
Adam: College student at St. Leo University

Deb and Jeff attend Immanuel. Deb plays her trumpet at various church services.

Her hobbies include outside activities, music, sports, and making people smile.

d. Favorite Bible verse: I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. -Phil. 4:13

Photo of Bethany Bruce
Bethany Bruce
Administrative Assistant


a. Education: Bachelor of Applied Arts from Central Michigan University

Major – Early Childhood Education; Minor – Public Health Education

b. Experience:

Taught VPK and preschool children in early intervention schools. Worked with special needs children including infants who were exposed to drugs in utero and children K-5 at Easter Seals in Tampa.

Worked in customer service, purchasing and distribution in a variety of industries.

c. Personal Biography:

Born in Michigan and moved to Florida after getting married in 1985. I have three children. Member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Riverview, FL.

In my spare time I like to go to see the Tampa Bay Rays, Lightning, and US Soccer teams play. My husband and I are on a quest to see every major league baseball park.

d. Favorite Bible verse: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:7-8

Photo of Kelli Carrigan
Kelli Carrigan
5th Grade teacher


a. Education: BA Colorado State University, Ft. Collins CO

b. Experience:

Mrs. Carrigan worked 8 years in Public Affairs and Marketing before starting her teaching career as an elementary school teacher in Brandon. She attended Hillsborough Community College’s Educator Preparation Institute and student taught 2nd grade at Apollo Beach Elementary School.

The 2014-2015 school year is Mrs. Carrigan’s fifth year at ILS.   She taught second grade for three years, then switched to fifth grade in 2013-2014.

c. Personal Biography:

Mrs. Carrigan is married to Shane Carrigan, a former ILS student. They have one child Jesse David Carrigan and currently live in Plant City, FL.

Mrs. Carrigan likes to travel, cook, and spend time with family and friends. At ILS she loves to see her students excel in academics and sports.

d. Favorite Bible Verse: Her favorite bible verse is “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ -Matthew 22:37

Photo of Lori Cole
Lori Cole
4th Grade Teacher Elementary


The University of Tampa, B.A. in History, 2001

Hillsborough Community College, A.A. in Liberal Arts, 1998



I have 15 years of experience in banking and finance with Suncoast Credit Union and Space Coast Credit Union.  I worked for over 7 years in an academic environment as a staff member at The University of Tampa.  I also served 2 years as the Vice-Chairman on the ILS School Board, and decided this past year to pursue my life-long dream of teaching.


Personal Biography-

I am a Tampa native, and have lived in Brandon for over 35 years.  I have been a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church since 1979, and was both confirmed and married here.

My husband and I have one child, Andrew, who currently is in the 8th grade at ILS.  Andrew participates in Cross Country and Varsity Basketball, and we are his biggest fans.

I enjoy traveling, reading, baking, spending time with family, watching football and hockey, and researching my family history.


My favorite Bible verses are:

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you:  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”


My favorite hymns are:

“I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb”, “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”, and “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”.

Photo of Liz Diaz
Liz Diaz
Middle School Language Arts Teacher


a. Education:

B.A. – English and French, Indiana University
M.Ed. – Curriculum and Instruction, Concordia University

b. Experience:

1 year former teaching experience in public school
3 years teaching at ILS

c. Personal Biography:

Reading, traveling, scuba diving

Former career in business, fluent in several languages

Our family purpose is to serve!

d. Favorite Bible verse: My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. -2 Corinthians 12:9

Photo of Desiree Dunphy
Desiree Dunphy
1st Grade teacher


a. Education: I received a Masters degree in Education from American Intercontinental University in 2009.

b. Experience

I have been teaching for the last 14 years, children of all various ages as well as teens and adults with special needs. I have taught VPK for 6 years at a Christian school in Brandon.

c. Personal Biography:

I am a mother of 2 children. My daughter, Charizma, is currently a college student. My son, Darius, is 7 years old. Darius will be secondgrade, and attending Immanuel Lutheran School this August.

I enjoy spending time with my family. Some of the things I enjoy with my family are cooking, reading, playing board games, painting pottery, theatre/musicals, parks, and traveling.

I am actively involved in children’s ministries, small group Bible studies, and volunteering in my community.

d. Favorite Bible verse: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

Photo of Bonne Faherty
Bonne Faherty
Principal Grades Pre-K-2nd, Preschool Director and Kindergarten Teacher


a. Education: Bachelor of Science :Early Childhood Education/ Special Education

b. Master of Arts: Emergent Reading Nova Southeastern University

c. Experience: Over 20 years of experience in the field of education with students ranging from age 3-83, including Preschool and VPK, Kindergarten, ESOL, GED, Alternative High School, and Reading. Bonne believes that teaching children to love reading is critical for their future educational success

d. Personal Biography:
Ms. Bonne is originally from Long Island, New York and has lived in Florida for 13 years. She and her husband, Bill, have been married for 30 years and have 4 children. Chelsey (25) is an intelligence analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Courtney (23) is a Graduate student at the University of Central Florida, receiving her degree in Educational Leadership. Both Chelsey and Courtney are engaged to be married in 2014! Third daughter Carley (17) is a sophomore at the University of Tampa studying Music Education and Vocal Performance, and son Cody (15) is a Riverview High School student actively involved with the Performing Arts department.

Bonne enjoys spending time with her family and reading, and she likes it best if she can do both on a cruise ship or at Disney World!

e. Favorite Bible Verse:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Photo of Crystal Hall
Crystal Hall
Preschool Aid – 3 year olds


C. Personal Biography: I’m married to my husband Troy and we have a 5yr old daughter named Claire. We attend Immanuel Lutheran Church. Claire started preschool at ILS when she was 3. I remember how nervous my husband I were to have Claire starting preschool at the age of 3. We met Mrs. Trish when we came to tour the preschool. After meeting with Mrs. Trish we knew instantly that this is where we wanted Claire to attend Preschool. She had Mrs. Holly the first year here whom Claire really adored. Last year Claire attended VPK with Mrs. Trish and Mrs. Holly for her teachers. She was so excited to have them both as her teachers. Claire will be continuing her schooling at ILS. We are very excited to have Mrs. Bonne for her kindergarten teacher this year. I started subbing in the 3yr old classroom last year and had the privilege to work with Mrs. Deb and Mrs. Dee Dee throughout the year. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to get my 40hrs in early child care, which led to the opportunity for me to become the Asst Teacher. I’m very excited to be starting here this fall as a staff member of the ILS Preschool Family.

d. Favorite Bible Verse: Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path -Psalm 119: 105

Photo of Deb Henry
Deb Henry
Preschool Aid – VPK

Mrs. Deb was born in Toledo, Ohio and has lived in Florida for 14 years. She is a married mother of two children, Brendon age 15 and Emma age 11. Mrs. Deb has always enjoyed being with children. She is very involved at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School as a volunteer in her daughter’s classroom, as a past Sunday School teacher and leader for Vacation Bible School. Mrs. Deb was given the opportunity to volunteer at Lamb of God Preschool and after only two days a position opened up for a preschool aide. She jumped at the chance and discovered she found God’s calling for her life. Two years later, Mrs. Deb was offered a position here at Immanuel Lutheran Preschool. Mrs. Deb continues to grow in knowledge and wisdom as she prepares for her final evaluation to obtain her credential. She believes that God is working through her when she is teaching the children about Him and His love for each of us. Mrs. Deb enjoys spending time with her family, watching sports, reading and going to the beach.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Photo of Debra D. Hill
Debra D. Hill
Science / History Teacher


a. Education: BS University of Tennessee

MS University of Tennessee

b. Experience: 9 years teaching at Immanuel

c. Personal Biography: Married with 2 children. As a military wife I have been employed not only in education (~ 11 years prior to Immanuel ) but in business, health services, and charitable organizations. I enjoy travel, reading and swimming in my spare time.

d. Favorite Bible Verse: Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Photo of Betty Jeanes
Betty Jeanes


a. Education:

Texas Women’s University – 1966-67

North Texas State University – 1967-69

Southern State College – 1969

Texas A&M University – 1969-70; BS in Elementary Education

Central Texas College – 1979

b. Experience:

Title 1 Reading Instructor and 2nd Grade Teacher, Camden, AR

Preschool / Kindergarten Teacher, Killeen, TX

Substitute Teacher, DOD School, Ansbach, Germany

Substitute, Speech and Hearing Therapy, Sagamihara, Japan

2nd Grade Teacher, DOD School, Sagamihara, Japan

Huntington Learning Center Teacher, Valrico, FL 1993 – 2011

Substitute Teacher, Immanuel Lutheran School (ILS), Valrico, FL 1992 – 1993

Teacher’s Aide, ILS – 1994 – 2010

RTI, ILS – 2010 – Current

c. Personal Biography:

Born: Camden, AR

Lived in LA and AR growing up.

Happily married 43 years, Army wife, extensive travel

One brother, two children, two grandchildren

Currently residing in Valrico, FL 22 years.

d. Favorite Bible Verse: Ephesians 6:13, 18; Ps 91

Photo of DeeDee Marquez
DeeDee Marquez
2nd Grade Teacher


Hello, my name is Deedee Marquez. I found my way to Immanuel Lutheran through my daughter Isabel. She attended St Mark Preschool in 2007 taught by our previous Preschool Director Mrs. Trish. After graduation, Trish asked me to stay on and work with the 3 year old class. I also continued teaching our first year here at Immanuel. Then my Army husband, our three children and I were sent to Rabat, Morocco for the two years. Stationed once again at MacDill my path has led me back to Immanuel. I have a degree from Florida State University in Elementary Education and was previously teaching 5th grade while in Morocco. My philosophy for preschool can be summed up in one word “FUN”. Every day, every child should have a pure moment or two of fun. Thank you for allowing me back into school family.

Favorite bible verse: Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. –Psalm 127:3

Photo of Holly McLean
Holly McLean
Preschool Teacher – VPK


a. Education: Graduate of Plant City High School – Class of 1997, Early Childhood Credential, Ongoing education in VPK Standards, Positive Behavior, Early Childhood

b. Experience: Crossroads Baptist Daycare 2004-2008, Shiloh Baptist Church Preschool 2008-2012, Immanuel Lutheran Preschool 2012-present

c. Personal Biography: Mrs. Holly has worked in early childhood education since 2004. She began her career in early childhood education at Crossroads Baptist as a way to balance the necessity of working outside of the home with her desire to be with her two daughters, Savannah and Delaney as much as possible. When Mrs. Holly started Crossroads she started in the two year old room, and through staffing changes ended up teacher her same group of children until they were in VPK. It was during these years that Mrs. Holly truly began to understand that that this career path was a calling on her life. Mrs. Holly spent four years at Crossroads where she met and first worked with Mrs. Trish and also began furthering her education in early childhood education. In 2008, Mrs. Holly’s Church, Shiloh opened a preschool and she jumped at the opportunity to help build a preschool from the ground up. Through the years, she kept in touch with Mrs. Trish and was elated to find that Mrs. Trish had an opening for a VPK teacher here at Immanuel Lutheran where she has been happily teaching since August.

Mrs. Holly has been married to Richard McLean for 4 1/2 years. Richard works for the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office as a Classifications Specialist. They share two daughters, Savannah who is 12 years old and attends Tomlin Middle School and Delaney, who is 10 years old and attends Shiloh Charter School. Mrs. Holly enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and baking.

d. Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.

Photo of Peggy Rankin
Peggy Rankin
6th Grade teacher


a. Education: BA Concordia University River Forest, IL 1978 Double Major: PE and Elementary Education Minor: Psychology

b. Experience:

1996-present Immanuel Lutheran Brandon, FL 6th Grade, PE, Life Science, Math, Computer Education, Athletic Director, Patrol Leader

1992-1996 Limona Elementary School, Brandon, FL : 5th grade

1991-1992 Robles Elementary School, Tampa, FL: 4th grade

1979-1990 Stevens Middle School, Wilmington, IL: 6-8 Middle School PE, Volleyball and Basketball Coach

c. Personal Biography:

33 years of teaching experience in many areas and places

Have always wanted to have my career in teaching

Two children who graduated from Immanuel. Nick: Associate degree from HCC in architecture, works for Outdoor Impressions in design and sales

Kelsey: Working on degree in education at HCC and works as a nanny

Member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. Athletic Director and coach for Immanuel Lutheran School. Director of Elementary School after school sports program.

Creator of the Superstore for all students to participate in since 2003

Creator of our fall and spring field days since 1996

Started a yearly tutoring program between the sixth grade and preschool classes since 2011

Her hobbies include fishing, reading, officiating High School volleyball, enjoying life, celebrating and decorating for holidays

d. Favorite Bible verse: This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:24

Photo of Ellen Reikowski
Ellen Reikowski
Third Grade Teacher


a. Education:

BA, University of South Florida – Journalism
Early Childhood and Elementary Education Florida Southern College

b. Experience: Preschool teacher 9 years, Children’s Academy & First United Methodist Church of Brandon, Florida

5th grade teacher 12 years, Immanuel Lutheran School, Brandon, Florida

Currently in 9th year of teaching 3rd grade, Immanuel Lutheran School, Brandon, Florida

c. Personal Biography: Hobbies include reading, gardening, cooking, and children’s literature.

d. Favorite Bible Verse: Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Photo of Melissa Schneider
Melissa Schneider


a. Education:
Associate of Applied Science Business Administration and Science
Polk Community College (Polk State) FL

b. Experience:
11 years of experience in Customer Service and Retail Management

c. Personal Biography:
I have been married to my wonderful husband Robert for 10 years and we have two daughters both of which attend Immanuel.  I began working at Immanuel during the 2013-14 school year after being a stay at home mom for almost five years.

Our family loves to spend time together at home, at the beach, and at Disney. In my spare time I like to cook, read, go for bike rides, and play with our children.

d. Favorite Bible Verse: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. –John 16:33

Photo of Valerie Spoto
Valerie Spoto
Preschool Teacher


Associates of Arts and Science in Early Childhood Education, Cumberland
County College, Vineland, New Jersey.

Bachelor of Science in Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville,


First United Methodist Kindergarten, First United Methodist Church of
Brandon, Florida.
August 2004-June 2015, I have taught various programs with 3’s, 4’s and VPK.

Saint Patrick’s Catholic School, Tampa, Florida.  I taught the three year
old program in 1989-1990.

Gainesville Country Day School, Gainesville, Florida. I taught three and
four year olds during 1985-1989.

Personal Biography:

I married my college sweetheart Joe Spoto.  We have been married for 28
years.  We have three children. I am active in my church and belong to
United Methodist Women which supports women and children’s ministries
locally and abroad. My women’s circle is D.O.T.S. or Daughters of The Son,
our goal is to create and develop a supportive Christian fellowship, meet
for prayer and spiritual growth.  The activities include support COPA in
the Dominican Republic, the church food co-op, make Meals on Wheels
favors, and support the Outreach clinic.   In addition, my family serves
taking turns on the ushering committee.  I enjoy traveling, camping,
cooking and spending time with our family.  My director, Susan Pardue,
retired at First United Methodist Kindergarten after 42 years of service,
and I wanted to teach VPK again.  I was delighted when a VPK position came
open at Immanuel Lutheran School.  I want to teach VPK in a Christ
Centered environment.  Immanuel Lutheran School is Biblical based, family
oriented, and has outstanding academics.   I enjoy teaching preschool and
I am looking forward to the new school year!

Favorite Bible Verse:
“As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15

Photo of Lisa Talbott
Lisa Talbott
Principal Grades 3rd-8th & Eighth Grade Teacher


a. Education:

Teacher Certification, University of South Florida, Tampa FL (2010)

BBA, James Madison University, Harrisonburg VA: Information Systems (1987)

b. Experience:

Immanuel Lutheran School, Brandon FL, full-time Teacher (2009-present)
Immanuel Lutheran School, Brandon FL, part-time Math Teacher (2005-2009)
Immanuel Lutheran School, Brandon FL, Administrative Assistant (2001-2009)

c. Personal Biography:

Mrs. Talbott serves as 8th Grade Homeroom teacher and teaches 8th Grade Math, 8th Grade Algebra I Honors, 8th Grade American History, 7th Grade Civics, 6th Grade World History, and Middle School Current Events. Mrs. Talbott coordinates and leads the bi-annual field trip to Washington, D.C. for the 7th and 8th Grade students. She also enjoys coaching the Cross Country team.

Mrs. Talbott and her husband, Charlie, are parents to Zach and Ben, both graduates of ILS. The Talbotts are members of Christ the King Lutheran, Riverview FL where Mrs. Talbott serves as Treasurer of the congregation and a member of the choir.

Outside of school, Mrs. Talbott enjoys running (marathons and half-marathons), working in the yard, singing, scuba diving, and the beach. You can also find her cheering for her favorite sports teams – the Washington Redskins and the Gators!

d. Favorite Bible Verse: “Be still, and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10

Photo of Jenny West
Jenny West
Admissions Counselor


a. Education:
BA Valparaiso University
MS Oklahoma State University

b. Experience:
I have 5 years’ experience in the public sector in city planning/development/research and 10 years’ experience in the private sector in real estate research and marketing.

c. Personal Biography:
I am a graduate of a Lutheran elementary school and a Lutheran high school in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. I moved to Florida in 1999 for a job, met my husband, and have been in Florida ever since. I have two children who currently attend Immanuel, and recently came back to the work force after being a stay-at-home mom. I love traveling, the Cleveland Browns, and seeking out new adventures.

d. Favorite Bible Verse:
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.