There are more than 420 students enrolled in grades K4-5.
We maintain high expectations for every child and offer a rigorous yet developmentally-appropriate program.
Students have the opportunity to participate in an accelerated program.
Students in K4-5th grades have the opportunity to attend chapel, the Wonder Room, PE, art, music, Spanish, library and recess. Parents are invited to attend chapel each Tuesday.
Technology is integrated throughout each subject area.
School families represent more than 140 different local churches.
Students with learning disabilities are assisted by certified teachers in the Special Programs Department.
We hold ourselves accountable to provide the best Christian education possible. We believe that every child needs to be taught by a teacher who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and is a potential ‘Teacher of the Year.’ We look forward to partnering with you and watching your child grow in so many ways!
We strive to help our students realize the gifts that the Lord has given them and encourage students to focus on how they can use their gifts to further God’s kingdom and honor Him. Students are encouraged to focus on their strengths and are reminded not to allow weaknesses to define them. Some students may excel in academics while others shine in the area of fine arts, performing arts or athletics. Ultimately, we pray that students understand that their identity is in Christ.
Our faculty begins their workday with devotions at 7:20 AM each day. All of our elementary students begin their day with a Bible lesson, devotional, or praise and worship time.
Children are placed in classrooms to meet their academic and social-emotional needs. Students grow in all areas as they complete hands-on projects and are actively engaged in the classroom. Our students are learning to work well with others, present material effectively and think! Our students must be prepared to decipher and apply truth.
Pre-kindergarten K4 students (four year olds) spend part of their day together as a large group and then break into small groups depending upon the goal and activity. Students rotate through the rooms in order to participate in a variety of centers as they build relationships with all of the K4 teachers, paraprofessionals and students. Our K4 teachers are state certified and have a degree in Elementary Education or Early Childhood Education. Our K4 students transition quite well into our K5 program.
Kindergarten’s academic setting prepares students through an introduction to Singapore: Primary Mathematics, literacy and writing centers. Most of our kindergarteners (K5 students) are reading at different stages and are well prepared for first grade.
Students participate in the Open Court reading and phonics program, an extensive instructional reading program that uses literature to develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and written expression. The math curriculum supports mastery of math skills, understanding of concepts, and integration of problem solving. Social studies and inquiry-based science are the other academic subjects.
In grades 1-5, we offer an accelerated program and flexible grouping. In lower elementary, students are placed in clusters and have a main academic teacher. In upper elementary, students are placed in a homeroom and will attend a math and reading class that meets their needs.
Our K4 and K5 classes visit the Fab Lab, while our students in grades 1-5 go to the Wonder Room. Students participate in STEM-based science and math labs. Problem solving skills and creativity are strengthened as students collaborate in these elementary science labs.
Students are tested annually using the TerraNova Achievement Test. Teachers will also administer benchmark testing three times per year as we monitor growth and identify any possible gaps. Parents are invited to meet with the teachers to discuss progress.
Students with mild learning disabilities are assisted by certified teachers in the Special Programs Department.
K4 – 5th grade students participate in a variety of activities that promote learning including field trips, centers, and performances. There are opportunities for enrichment through ACSI activities including the math olympics, spelling bee, art, and band and choral festivals. Children enjoy Grandparents Day and look forward to Creation Care Week and Elementary Olympics each year! Upper elementary students have the opportunity to participate in band and chorus. K5 and first graders are welcome to participate in group lessons in the piano lab. Private lessons are offered to children starting in the 2nd grade. Chess is offered as enrichment programs after school. Many students enjoy our fall Flag Football league. Students in fourth and fifth grades may try out for the elementary archery team.
Elementary Curriculum (K4-5th Grade)
Elementary Curriculum (K4-5th Grade)
All curriculum choices are based upon the school’s theme, “Education in light of God’s Word.” Christian and secular texts are utilized. Biblical thought and Christian perspective are integrated within each discipline. Teachers are viewed as the living curriculum whose impact is beyond the written text. All teachers believe the Bible to be the absolute standard of truth.
- Elementary students use the English Standard Version Bible.
- DIG (Discover, Inspire, Grow) and Letter People (K4)
- Open Court Reading (K5 to 2nd Grade)
- Foundations and Frameworks Reading (3rd-5th Grade)
- Phonics and Spelling (K5-2nd Grade)
- Sight Words and Phrases
- Spelling (3rd-5th Grades)
- ACSI: Purposeful Design
- Zaner Bloser Handwriting (K4-3rd Grade)
- Teacher-created units with an introduction to Singapore Mathematics Strategies
- Primary Mathematics: Standards Edition (Singapore Math)
- Rocket Math (Math Facts Program)
- Reflex Math (Web-Based Math Facts Program)
- Teacher-created units
- Teacher-created units
- Fab Lab (K4 & K5)
- Wonder Room (1st-5th Grade)
- Engineering is Elementary
- 5 times weekly (Gr. 1-5); 2-3 times weekly (Gr. K4 and K5)
- 1 time weekly
- 1 time weekly
- 1 time weekly
- 1 time weekly (K4-3rd grade); 9-week elective class for grades 4-5 (see below)
Fab Lab/Wonder Room:
- Our K4 and K5 classes visit the Fab Lab weekly, while our students in grades 1-5 go to the Wonder Room. Students participate in STEM-based science and math labs. Problem solving skills and creativity are strengthened as students collaborate in these elementary science labs.
- Viking Voices Choir (4th & 5th Grade)
- Band (5th Grade)
- Study Hall (4th & 5th Grade)
- Spanish (4th & 5th Grade)
- Missions (4th & 5th Grade)
- *Piano lab (group lessons), Grades K5-1
- *Piano lessons, Grades 2-5
- ACSI Activities: Spelling Bee (1st-4th Grade), Band and Choral Festivals
- Math Bowl, Grades 3-5
- Odyssey of the Mind
- Creation Care Week, Grades K4-5
- Scripps Spelling Bee (5th-8th Grade)
- Two Annual Field Trips, Grades K4-5
- 4th Grade Trip to St. Augustine
- 5th Grade Retreat at Camp Gilead
*Please see financial policy brochure concerning fees for group and private piano lessons.
Meet Your Elementary Principals
Mrs. Luci O’Byrne – Elementary Principal
Spending time with kids has been a passion of mine since I can remember, but I never imagined when I was a student at LCS that I would come back to serve as a principal.
I went to church as a young child and accepted Christ into my life in middle school. Thankfully, my parents listened to my plea to attend a Christian school when I was a sixth grader. After moving to Lakeland, I attended Lakeland Christian School during my high school years. I met lifelong friends and cultivated my love for running as a part of the cross country and track teams. After graduating from LCS, I attended Campbell University in North Carolina where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I was given the opportunity to compete in NCAA Division I Track and Cross Country. During my time at Campbell, I met my husband Chris who is also an educator.
I completed my internship as a second grade teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina. After my internship, I was hired by that school to teach third grade. During my five years in Raleigh, I also taught fourth and fifth grades.
When my husband and I moved back to Florida, I taught math, science and language arts at Mulberry Middle school for many years. I then served as the founding director of Shepherd Road Christian Academy for four years.
I served at LCS as the Primary Grades Principal over grades K4-2 for four years before being appointed Elementary Principal in 2011. Over the years, the campus and programs have changed tremendously since my time here as a student, but the heart and mission of Lakeland Christian School has not changed. It is still a place where young people are growing closer to our Savior, where students are stretched academically and where our gifts can be used to further His kingdom. LCS has once again invested in my life as they encouraged me to complete my master’s degree at Covenant College.
Chris and I have two children–Taylor and Cameron, who both attend LCS. As a parent, I pray that their lives will be impacted by Lakeland Christian and that they grow and mature in Christ. As an administrator, I pray that I will impact lives here, just as others before me impacted my life.
Our family worships at Heritage Baptist Church.
Mrs. Heather Rhoden – Assistant Principal for Elementary
My journey to the position as a teacher and now administrator at LCS began with a love for teaching and learning that God instilled in me during childhood. My previous teaching experience has ignited within me a strong desire to prepare our students academically while encouraging them in their spiritual walk.
After graduating from Haines City High School, I went on to earn my bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida (Go Gators!). I'm currently finishing my Master's in Educational Leadership at Southeastern University.
I love spending time with my husband (Jason) and our 3 precious children (Riley, Gage & Ridge). Our family has been active members at First Baptist Church at the Mall for more than 10 years.
Benjamin Franklin once said “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” I am a strong believer that students need to be actively involved in the classroom to maximize their learning potential. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity help each student grow academically while nurturing their love of learning and their relationship with Christ.
1st Grade Teachers
Mrs. Deborah Sullivan – Teacher
It seems like it was just yesterday I was playing school with my stuffed animals and making my dad sit at my little table acting as my student. Now, many years later, I feel so blessed to be living out my dream of being a teacher at an amazing Christian school.
I graduated from Bowie State University in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/Special Education. I taught four years in Maryland (third grade, special education and kindergarten). In 1999 my husband and I moved to Lakeland. I taught eight years in the Polk County school system. I was so excited when God opened the doors for me to join the LCS family in 2007. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share my love of Christ and my calling as a teacher in the same environment. Mark and I have two wonderful children, Ryan and Allison, two energetic dogs, a cat, and a couple of fish.
Mrs. Marge Palm – Teacher
Looking back, I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know who Jesus Christ is and what He did for me on the cross. At an early age I recognized the fact that I was a sinner in need of a Savior, and I prayed and asked Jesus to forgive me and to come into my life as my personal Lord and Savior. This was the beginning of my walk with Christ.
During high school, I felt God calling me to attend Houghton, a Christian college in western New York. I loved working with children, and education was definitely where my heart was, so I pursued a bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and elementary education. During my senior year, I saw a post for a first grade teacher at LCS on the career development bulletin board. I sent off a resume, drove the 1350 miles to Lakeland for an interview, was offered the position, and after much prayer, accepted the job. Two months later, I moved to Florida!
It was in Lakeland that I met my future husband. We were married and have four children who have now all graduated from LCS. I stayed at home with my children when they were small but returned to a first grade classroom here in 2000. I love teaching this age, and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to share the love of Christ with them.
Mrs. Chris Cabrera – Teacher
I was blessed to be brought up in a Christian home in Bartow where at the age of eight I came to know the Lord as my Savior. My love of teaching began in my childhood playroom teaching my little sister her ABC’s on my new chalkboard with real chalk and an eraser. Who knew then that one day I would get to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a teacher?
That passion in my heart for teaching and nurturing young children led me to Florida Southern College where I received a B.S. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. After graduating from college, I taught grades 1 and 3 over the course of 13 years in the Polk County School System. During that time I married my wonderful husband, Mario, and had two amazing children – Sydney and Jacob. The Lord then provided the opportunity for me to stay home with my children for 6 years.
When it was time for Sydney to begin kindergarten, my husband and I toured several schools in the Lakeland area. It was clear to us that Lakeland Christian is where God wanted us. We felt a sense of peace here, like coming home. We knew the teachers and administration were all like-minded in their desire to reach and develop the students’ relationships with Christ.
I feel very blessed that God opened the door for me in 2009 to be a part of the school that has been so dear to our family. It is my desire to help students develop a love of learning with challenging and creative activities that will help them discover the unique talents with which God has gifted them. As I share my love of the Lord with the children and nurture their knowledge of our Great God, my prayer is that this will plant the seeds that will result in their own decision to accept Christ and develop a relationship with Him. I am thankful for LCS and its ministry and look forward to seeing God work in the lives of our students.
2nd Grade Teachers
Miss Ellen Oncu – Teacher
I like to credit my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Mayer, for developing my desire to become an elementary teacher. I attended Lakeland Christian School from third grade through graduation. While in middle school and high school, I was a teacher aide for several teachers and grade levels. Getting that hands on experience only made my desire to become a teacher greater. After graduation I went on to get my Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Cedarville University. While at Cedarville, I was involved with several campus ministries including Cedar Kids and AWANA.
After graduation I returned to Lakeland. I taught in the public school system for seven years, completing my National Board Certification before coming to Lakeland Christian School. I have been at Lakeland Christian School since 2004. I absolutely love LCS. It is such a great place to work. The administrators and faculty are more like family than co-workers. I love that I am given the opportunity to teach God’s Word daily, to pray with students and families, and to encourage my students to strive for their best. It is an honor to teach your children.
I have the privilege of teaching alongside my mom, my brother-in-law and my nieces and nephews. LCS truly is family.
Mrs. Trudi Sligh – Teacher
I grew up in Michigan and was raised by two loving parents in a Christian home. I accepted Christ as my Savior at a young age and cannot remember a time when I did not understand my need of His forgiveness.
I attended John Glenn High School before moving on to Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. I was a cheerleader for four years and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. During my years at Bryan, I met my husband, Dave. After graduating, we were married and moved to Lakeland, where Dave had been born and raised. He attended LCS from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Our family consists of Nathan and his wife Mari Jane, Kyle, and Anthony and his wife Kelsey. All of our boys are graduates of LCS.
My experience in education includes: teaching in the public school system (both in regular and EMH classes), serving as a first grade teacher and interim administrator at Geneva Classical Academy, home schooling our children for several years, and teaching first and second grades at Lakeland Christian. I love teaching in a school where I can share Christ and His Word daily in every subject that I teach. I love being able to teach, shepherd, and answer kids’ questions based on the truth found only in scripture. It is a privilege to work in a school where I can teach children when they are young, and then continue to watch and pray for them as they grow up into young men and women who are ready make a difference for Christ. One of my greatest joys has been being able to teach the children of my former students and seeing God’s faithfulness to the next generation.
Mrs. Christina Hiott – Teacher
I was raised in a Christian home and accepted Christ as my savior at a very young age. I have lived and attended church in Lakeland since I was 5 years old. My husband and I have attended Highland Park Church for the past 8 years.
I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher and earned my elementary education degree from Southeastern University. Over the past 15 years I have taught at both Christian and public elementary schools, earned my Master’s degree, taught as an adjunct instructor for Florida Southern College, and started a family. We have two daughters. The eldest will be attending K4 at LCS this year.
I am so happy to be joining the LCS family. I am really looking forward to being able to teach my students all they need to know from a biblical perspective.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
3rd Grade Teachers
Mrs. Amy McDonald – Teacher
I am so excited to be a part of the LCS family and so blessed to have the opportunity to teach the third grade and impact lives for the Kingdom of God. I was brought up in a Christian home and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was seven years old. I moved to Lakeland when I was five years old and am now blessed to be raising my own family here. I am married to my wonderful husband Shawn and we are blessed with three sons, Bryce, Benjamin, and Caleb, who all attend LCS.
I am a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communications and received my Elementary teaching certification from Florida Southern College. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Education at Florida Southern College.
God called me into education after working in the corporate world, and I am so excited to be teaching and following the plans He had laid out for me. I stand on the Scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In this verse, God tells us that He has the plan for our life laid out, and if we just follow and trust in Him, our future will be full of hope and prosperity.
I am thankful that God opened up the door for me to teach at such a wonderful school where I can share the love of Jesus and teach Biblical truths from the Scriptures. My prayer is that I nurture and train the precious children I have the privilege of teaching to seek Christ in all they do, as they desire to grow in the knowledge of our Savior and accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior.
Mrs. Sandy Nilius – Teacher
I grew up in the Lakeland area, and attended and graduated from Lakeland Christian School. I have always been grateful for the sacrifice my parents made to allow me the benefit of a Christ-centered education from teachers who truly cared for me and my family. What a blessing it is to be back in Lakeland after 24 years and have the opportunity to minister to families here at LCS.
After my graduation from LCS, I earned my B.A. in Elementary Education from Cedarville University. I returned to Lakeland and taught in the public school system until God lead me to Lisbon, Portugal, to teach in a mission school for two years. Upon returning to the USA, I married my husband Jeff, and we moved to northern Ohio. I taught in a Christian school there for two and a half years before taking off eight years to stay at home with my small children. In 2001, God moved our family to West Palm Beach where I taught at Summit Christian School for nine and a half years. My oldest son graduated high school while at Summit.
God brought us to Lakeland in June of 2011. We were blessed to be able to enroll two of our children in LCS this past year. Our second son graduated in June, and our daughter is a sophomore this year.
I am thrilled to be a part of the LCS family again and to have the opportunity to partner with our families as we seek to educate our children in the Light of God’s Word.
Mrs. Debbie Stump – Teacher
The saying, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” really applies to me. I am blessed to be able to teach God’s word at LCS and to help my students explore their God-given talents to use for His glory. I truly love it!
My resume includes faculty positions in preschool, first, second, and third grades. I have enjoyed a number of diverse experiences teaching in different places including Tampa, St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Houston, and Lakeland. After we first moved to Lakeland, I taught cooperative preschool at First United Methodist Church for a number of years while my children were young. After they were all of school age, I taught at Lincoln Academy before coming to LCS in 2007.
I am a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a B.S. in Elementary Education. While at Eastern, I played on the intercollegiate tennis team. My husband, Duff, and I have three children. Jonathan and Corey both graduated from LCS and currently attend college and play on their intercollegiate baseball teams. Abbey is an LCS student, and Duff has been an assistant baseball coach here for a number of years. We have all been active members at First United Methodist since 1990.
4th Grade Teachers
Mrs. Jane Burnette – Teacher
I feel very blessed to have had parents that raised me in a Christ centered home. They also gave my three brothers and I the chance to travel overseas to Bida, Nigeria for several years and later to Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. In high school, I had the opportunity to work with children during various mission trips throughout Micronesia. That’s when I realized that I wanted to continue to work with children and become a teacher.
While attending Florida Southern College, I met my husband, Rob, and after graduating with a B. S. in Elementary Education in 1986, Lakeland became my new home. We have a daughter, Katy, who is a part time youth director and a teacher in Chattanooga. We also have a son, Nicholas, who graduated from LCS in 2011 and is pursuing a career in health and nutrition. We had a wonderful experience at LCS as parents and to be given the opportunity to come back and teach at LCS is such a blessing! In addition to being a classroom teacher, I received my gifted endorsement in 2006 and have taught in several gifted programs in the public school system. I am excited to be able to integrate God’s word throughout the curriculum and to encourage my students to reach their highest potential in all that they do.
Outside of school, I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and adventure racing. I also love to read and spend time with my family.
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited.” ~ Plutarch
Mrs. Kathy Mudger – Teacher
God moved me to Lakeland in 2003 when my husband, Todd, changed jobs. We believe in instilling a Christian world view in our children, so it was natural to send our children to LCS. Our daughter, Kayla, has had the privilege of attending LCS since first grade, while our boys, Max and Gabe, have attended since kindergarten.
I always wanted to be a teacher; however, I never realized that God had gifted me in this area until I began to teach Sunday school.My journey to become a teacher began as my own children grew and became more independent. I graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Florida and began teaching in public schools. Bob Talbert said, “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” Teaching children what counts is easy to do when you are surrounded by those whose world view begins with Christ. It is a great honor to be a part of the LCS faculty and partner with families in growing in Christ and in education. I absolutely love teaching at LCS.
Our family worships at First Baptist at the Mall. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time at the beach, walking around the lake, and attending my children’s sporting events.
Ms. Dana White – Teacher
I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee as one of three children. As a child, I had an entire "classroom" set up in my playroom complete with a rolling chalkboard, desks and a grade book! I always knew I wanted to work with children. God changed my direction in college, and after graduating from Samford University I worked for several years in the field of adoption and foster care.
After taking several years off to raise my three children and multiple years as a substitute teacher, I returned to college at age 40 to pursue a Masters in Education. It has been my privilege to teach for the past few years in Birmingham.
In 2017 the Lord led us to relocate to Florida to be closer to extended family. I'd long known of the fine reputation of LCS and am thrilled to continue my teaching career in Lakeland. As a teacher, I desire to influence students both academically and spiritually as we discover how God so perfectly writes our stories.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23
5th Grade Teachers
Mrs. Jennifer Copeland – Teacher
From a young age I always wanted to become a teacher. After graduating from Lakeland High School I attended Florida Southern College where I received my BS in elementary education.
In 1997 I married my husband Darren, who is an alumni and current administrator at Lakeland Christian School. We have 2 children who attend LCS.
I began teaching in 1999 and have been at Lakeland Christian School since 2010. I believe that each child has potential and purpose. Each child has been created uniquely and perfectly in God’s image. God also gives each child great abilities and a desire to be successful. By encouraging children to use their gifts and talents to demonstrate knowledge, I am able to motivate my students and see them have a passion for learning. My job is to provide an education that is rigorous, relevant, and relational. I feel strongly that students need to see how their learning relates to daily life. I enjoy providing my students the opportunity to complete creative projects to promote critical thinking skills and innovation.
Being a part of the Lakeland Christian family has been such a blessing in my life. Having the opportunity to share biblical truths with students as they navigate through life’s challenges is priceless. I never take it for granted that Lakeland Christian is truly committed to their mission to educate students in the light of God’s word.
Mr. Carlos Martinez – Teacher
I was born in Camaguey, Cuba, and raised in New Jersey, right across the river from New York City. At the age of 11, I put my trust in Christ for salvation. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. After graduation, I worked in New York City, mostly in the commercial insurance industry. A few years later, I married a special lady, Barbara. We have three sons--Zachary, Joshua and Seth. Zachary and Joshua graduated from LCS and went on to attend UF. Seth has attended LCS since kindergarten and is now in high school.
My children were the force that pulled me into education and eventually into Christian education. My oldest, Zach, started in the public schools. At the same time, I began a career change from commercial insurance to education. During those early years, we began noticing the benefits of a Christian education. Zach and Josh started at Hawthorne Christian Academy in Hawthorne, NJ, and then continued at Lakeland Christian School when we moved to Florida.
I started my career in teaching in 2005 and joined LCS in 2015. LCS allowed me to combine the three important things that I love: math, family and faith.
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
Mr. Seth Miller – Teacher
Mr. Miller has had a knack for teaching since he was a little boy, so when the time came for college, he knew exactly what he wanted to pursue as his profession. He graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. He began his career as a fifth-grade teacher but was excited to accept the challenge of moving to third grade when he joined the Lakeland Christian faculty. Seth also serves as our varsity boys’ golf coach and middle school boys’ soccer coach. He and his wife, Shelley, an LCS piano teacher, have two daughters.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Mr. Fred Wiechmann – Science Resource Teacher
Since 2011, I have served as the science resource teacher at Lakeland Christian School, and I believe it is the most significant thing I have done in the 45+ years I have been an educator.
I have the privilege of working with first through fifth grade enhancing our science program. I look for ways to bring STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering (Art) Mathematics) emphasis into what I do. I look for ways to bring in “real life” applications to what we study. I strive to integrate all the “school skills” needed to be inquisitive problem solvers. I am also involved with the RISE Institute when needed.
I oversee a program called “Odyssey of the Mind” for grades two through middle school. OM teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods to open-ended problems rewarding “out of the box” thinking.
Of utmost significance is my wife of more than 45 years, Barbara; my three children, (all graduates of LCS); and my seven grandchildren, the joys of my life.
I have served as elementary principal for 26 years at LCS and Mansfield Christian School (Ohio), and prior to that, 12 years as a middle school science teacher in public and Christian schools.
Mrs. Letty Lamelas – Elementary Spanish & Missions Teacher
I was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to Florida when I was two years old and have lived here all my life. Ever since I was a little girl my favorite play time was being a teacher or a nurse. Ironically, when I graduated from high school I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida International University. After working 5 years in the business field, I realized business was not for me. This time I sought the Lord for my calling and He revealed to me my gifts and talents which I found in my first love of teaching. I went back to school and received a Master’s of Science in Elementary Education from Nova Southeastern University in 1997.
My experience includes teaching kindergarten, first and fifth grade for ten years in Christian schools. I began teaching fifth grade at LCS in 2008 and later decided to specialize in teaching Elementary Spanish and obtained my certification. I can truly say I have found my calling and I feel so blessed to work in a Christian school where I can impart God’s love for the children by teaching in light of God’s Word every day. My prayer is that I may not only inspire them to love a foreign language, but also to love God with all their hearts and to seek Him and to find His purpose and true calling for their lives in order to glorify Him.
I have been married for more than twenty years, and I have a daughter who attends LCS. I am a nature lover and enjoy taking family vacations where we can be surrounded by God’s creation especially the beach. My favorite pastime is doing devotions with my Lord, and also swimming and riding my bike.
Mr. Jordan Burks – Elementary Music Teacher
I was born in Arkansas, but moved to Bartow, Florida in my early childhood. I am very blessed to have Christian parents who poured biblical knowledge into my life from early on. I was homeschooled most of my life, but took part in the Dual-Enrollment program at Polk Community College (now Polk State). Throughout that time, I began developing a passion for music. I learned piano in elementary school, and guitar and percussion in middle school. I took every chance I was given to lead worship or play in praise bands. In high school, I decided that I wanted to pursue music as my full-time career. While at Polk, God revealed to me that I needed to pursue music education. I followed the call, and received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida Southern College. I first worked in the Public School system teaching elementary music. After several years there, God opened the incredible door that led me to LCS. I am so blessed to be a part of this great school and community!
I have an amazing wife, Caitlin, and a dog named Baxter. We love spending weekends at home or with our family (all of whom now live in this area!). I also love to watch college football and write/record/play music. I help lead worship in my local church, as well as facilitate a young adult group there.
Mr. Mike Carl – Elementary PE Teacher
Mike has a passion for teaching PE and for coaching. He has taught in Christian schools in New York and New Jersey before moving his family to Lakeland in 2007. He has a vast amount of experience conducting summer camps, leagues and clinics. He enjoys watching children develop skills through movement.
Mike is an avid New York Yankee fan and enjoys watching sports and spending time with his family. He is married to Wendy, who teaches choir and voice at LCS. He has two daughters, Amanda and Emily. Mike has a B.S. and M.S. from The King’s College and Baptist Bible Graduate School.
John Weldy - Elementary PE Teacher
John Weldy hails from Mantua, OH where he and his two siblings were raised. John grew up being very involved in his community through sports, music, church, and more. After graduating from high school, John attended Goshen College in Goshen, IN. While there, he remained involved in soccer, choir, and drama. He graduated from Goshen College with a B.A. in Physical Education and Health. Upon graduation, John remained a part of the Goshen community as a substitute teacher for the Goshen Community School system and a soccer coach for both the middle and high school soccer programs. He was also very active in the Goshen Middle School Phys. Ed. program during his stay in Goshen. Outside of his work, John enjoyed working with the youth at his church as a youth group sponsor. When John’s time in Goshen ended, he moved to Toledo, OH for a brief time and worked with adults and teenagers with autism at Bittersweet Farms. Though this was a great experience, he greatly missed working with children in both teaching and coaching and continued looking for a teaching position. In 2008, John started teaching at The Frankfort Christian Academy teaching K-12 PE, MS/HS Drama, and HS Health. During his time at TFCA, John married Sarah Beyer and they gave birth to Conrad. Upon receiving his Masters in Higher Education Administration from Upper Iowa University, John and Sarah decided to move closer to family in Lakeland, FL in 2016.
Mrs. Rebecca Robinson – Elementary Special Programs
I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home in Plant City, Florida. I asked Jesus into my heart at the age of 8 and have been walking with Him ever since! I am a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Plant City, where I worship with my husband, Kyle, and two sons RJ and Ryan.
I graduated from Plant City High School and then moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida-GO GATORS! I graduated in 1996 and then moved back home to Plant City where I married my husband and began a family. I am so thankful to be raising my family in the same loving, small town that I grew up in.
I have been teaching in the public school system since I graduated from UF, with most of my experience at the Elementary level. I love working with young students and helping them to grow their special, God-given talents. I believe that every child was created wonderfully unique by God, and each one deserves to learn in the way that is just right for them! I am so thankful to be a part of Elementary Special Programs at LCS!
Ms. Crosby MacKenzie – Librarian
I was born in sunny San Diego, California. We lived so close to the San Diego Zoo that we could sometimes hear the lions at feeding time. Due to a job transfer, my high school years were spent in Indiana where I quickly learned to dread the bitter cold of winter. I graduated from Olivet Nazarene University where I majored in elementary education. I also attended Indiana University where I earned my Master of Library Science degree and school library certification. Blending my love of kids and books, being a school librarian is the perfect combination for my career. After working as a children’s and youth librarian for over sixteen years, God opened the door for a move to beautiful (and warm) Florida!
I also have two incredible children, John and Faith. John is a senior at Vincennes University in Indiana and Faith is a freshman at Southeastern University. (I can’t believe that I have two in college!)
I am so excited about working at this wonderful school and am truly thankful that the Lord lead me to LCS!
Mrs. Rachel Roth – Library Paraprofessional
Growing up in both Michigan and Florida and attending college at Baptist Bible College in Pennsylvania has giving me an appreciation for different areas of our beautiful country…from the rolling hills of Michigan, the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, to the beautiful beaches of Florida. I have lived in Florida with my husband Scott since 1988 and am happy to call Florida home. We are members of Fellowship Baptist Church in Lakeland, and I enjoy serving the Lord there in various children’s ministries and in the music program.
I have had the privilege of being a part of LCS for the past eighteen years. My husband Scott and I have four children who have all attended LCS. Jared graduated in 2010, and Amanda graduated in 2013. Both are now students at the University of Florida. Anna is a currently a high school student, and Jayden is in elementary school here at LCS.
It is an honor and privilege to be able to work with the parents and children that the Lord has placed in our classroom.
Elementary Extracurricular Activities
Elementary students at LCS have the opportunity to participate in a number of extracurricular activities. For information on these programs, follow the links below or contact the Elementary Office:
Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition for students from kindergarten through college. It provides teams with the opportunity to learn creative problem solving, teamwork, brainstorming, self reliance and respect for individuals strengths.
Chess Club – The chess clubs meet after school once or twice each week for chess players of all skill levels, grades 1-12.
Elementary Archery Team - Students in grades 4 and 5 may participate on the LCS Archery Team. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from December to May and competes in the NASP state tournament and other local tournaments. Contact James or Barb Moore for more information.
Flag League Football – Boys and girls in grades K5-5 may take part in the Viking Flag Football League that runs during the months of September and October. Practices are held on Friday afternoons and games are held on Saturday mornings. Contact Todd Radford if you have questions.
A-Team - Students in fifth grade may be on the Academic Team. The group competes against other schools in the area.
Field Trips and Special Activities
Elementary students have the opportunity to go on several different field trips throughout the year, as well as participate in a number of special activities, retreats, athletic events, fine arts festivals and camps.
- First Grade: Green Meadows Farm (October), Wonder Works (spring)
- Second Grade: Cracker Country (fall); Crystal Springs Preserve (spring)
- Third Grade: Alafia River Rendezvous (January), Busch Gardens Zoo School (May), Troxel House, City Hall
- Fourth Grade: St. Augustine (October); Clearwater Marine Aquarium (spring), Bartow Historical Museum
- Fifth Grade: 5th Grade Retreat (Fall), Wycliffe Headquarters
Special Activities Throughout the Year
- 1st and 2nd Grade Music Program
- Math Super Bowl
- Elementary Olympics
- Creation Care Week
- 5th Grade Retreat
- 5th Grade Celebration
- 5th Grade End-of-Year Party at Camp Gilead
- 5th Grade-Kindergarten Buddies
- Elementary Art Festival
- Spelling Bees (Grades 1-4)
- Polk County Spelling Bee (Grade 5)
- 5th Grade Patrols
- 3rd through 5th graders perform with secondary students at the annual Christmas Musical
- Viking Voices Choir
- 5th Grade Band
- Elementary Flag Football League
- Junior Cheerleaders
- Odyssey of the Mind
- Fall Musical
- Summer Camps:
- LCS Writing Camp
- Science Adventures
- Music Camp
- iCreate Art Camp
- Sports Camps
- Summer Reading Program (by invite only)
Clubs & Organizations
The year-round Chess Club meets after school in the first-floor teacher work room of the Elementary/Middle School building. The classes are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and are for beginners, novice and advanced chess players.
Coach Mark Williams has taught students of all levels at LCS and in Polk County for many years. He is a U.S. Chess Federation A-rated player and is a certified Local Level Tournament Director. He is on the Board of the Lakeland Chess Club where he holds the Game in 90 minutes championship title and was runner-up in the Game in 25 minutes championship. Williams has competed in numerous USCF tournaments, including three U.S. Opens. He and his wife, Beverly, attend Heritage Baptist Church in Lakeland, where they have been members for more than 20 years.
Coach Williams can be contacted at 863-899-5417 or email@example.com.
Click here for a flyer and registration form: LCS Chess Club Flyer, 2016-2017
Odyssey of the Mind
Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition for students from kindergarten through college. It provides teams with the opportunity to learn creative problem solving, teamwork, brainstorming, self reliance and respect for individuals strengths.
Flag League Football
Boys and girls in grades K5-5 may take part in the Viking Flag Football League that runs during the months of September and October. Practices are held on Friday afternoons and games are held on Saturday mornings. Contact Todd Radford if you have questions.
1111 Forest Park Street Lakeland, FL, 33803 /P: 8636882771
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