Staff

Thomas Gerds

Head of School

Mr. Gerds was born and raised here in Ocala, Florida. He is married to a fellow educator and has two children that attend Grace Christian School. Mr. Gerds graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Secondary Education. He then received his master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton. Mr. Gerds is entering his seventeenth year in education in which he has served as a teacher, district level curriculum specialist, assistant principal, elementary principal and high school principal. The 2021-2022 school year is Mr. Gerds first year as Head of School at Grace Christian School. Mr. Gerds states, “Having the opportunity to serve as the Head of School of Grace Christian School is truly a blessing. This school has my family’s heart and I am extremely passionate about the mission and vision of the school and will dedicate myself as we work to sustain a culture of academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment.”

Meredith Garner

Advancement Director

College:

  • BA in Communication, Virginia Tech
    • Start Date:

      2021

      Love about GCS:

      What I love about Grace: From the time my two children first attended Grace, we knew it was such a special school and immediately felt like part of the family. I love being part of this team, and showing the love of Christ to our students every day!

Kyle McKenzie

Kyle McKenzie

Assistant Head of School

College:

  • Bachelor's Elementary/Middle School Ed. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Elementary/Middle School Teaching License (WI, IL, FL)
  • Master's Educational Leadership Concordia University-Chicago
  • Type 75 Certification

Start Date:

2014

Love about GCS?:

Family centered community and the ability to educate students in academics, social skills, and faith development

Roxie Foster

Roxie Foster

School Secretary

Start Date:

1993

Love about GCS?:

My favorite part of Grace is watching the children as they grow with us.

Debbie Bruni

Debbie Bruni

Admissions Director & Events Coordinator

College:

  • AA Mental Health Counseling Lassell College

Start Date:

1991

Love about GCS?:

My children and grandson attended Grace and I started out as a parent volunteer, then was asked to work part time and then full time in the office. My favorite part of Grace is the loving and nurturing environment and "family" atmosphere.

Kelsey Atkins

Kelsey Atkins

Business Manager

College:

  • AA International Business College

Start Date:

2014

Love about GCS?:

My favorite part is the feeling that we're one big family. I came to Grace as a volunteer when my daughter was in Kindergarten and by the next year I was a full-time staff member.

Robin Booth

Robin Booth

K3 Teacher

College:

  • AA Central Florida College
  • State Certified Childcare/Emergening Literacy

Start Date:

2008

Love about GCS?:

I love the family feel that comes with being part of Grace Christian School. In addition, our family are members of Christ the King Anglican Church, just making that family feeling even bigger!

Pam Feaster

Pam Feaster

Teacher Assistant

College:

  • Early Childhood Specialty Certification

Start Date:

1996

Love about GCS?:

Pam loves Grace school because of the Christ centered love that she feels each & every day that she enters her classroom

Stacey Gibson

Stacey Gibson

K4 Teacher

College:

  • BS Telecommunications

Start Date:

1998

Love about GCS?:

Love teaching children to love God, themselves , and others. It’s a family here, we love and respect each other and all have the common good of Grace in our hearts.

Nadine Evans

Nadine Evans

Preschool Assistant and After-care/Extended Care Program Manager

Christina Leard

Christina Leard

Kindergarten Teacher

College:

  • BA Elementary Education Southern Florida University
  • MA Elementary Education University of North Florida

Start Date:

2015

Love about GCS?:

She is an alumnae of Grace school and is so happy that God granted her the opportunity to return to her elementary school. She feels very blessed to be a part of the Grace family again!

Stephanie Salmon

Stephanie Salmon

Teacher Assistant

Start Date:

2011

Love about GCS?:

I started as a parent and volunteer, then was blessed with an opporunity to be a teacher assistant. I love being part of this community.

Mary Fulkerson

Mary Fulkerson

Teacher Assistant

College:

  • Early Childhood Certificate

Start Date:

2005

Sarah Curran

Sarah Curran

College:

  • BS in Elementary Education, Southeastern University.
  • Certified in Elementary Education K-6 with ESOL endorsement

Start Date:

2017

Love about GCS?:

Grace has its own atmosphere of teachers who are truly seeking the glory of God and fulfilling their calling by working here. I find it inspiring to be part of such an amazing group of people who care about the students, about each other, and about aiming for excellence each day. I feel like I have found a place where I belong and am accepted for myself and the gifts I bring, and that is a feeling like no other.

Cheryl Young

Cheryl Young

1st grade teacher

College:

  • BA Elementary Education University of Florida Elementary Certification

Start Date:

2004

Love about GCS?:

The Family friendly environment and loving people I encounter.

Carol Cameron

Kindergarten

This is my 37th year teaching. All of it has been in Marion County and most of it has been in kindergarten. I am dedicated to helping all students grow and learn in a developmentally appropriate classroom.I love teaching at Grace because the staff and students are like one big family and Christ is at the center of everything we do.

I graduated from the University of Florida. I am certified in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and I have endorsements in PreK ESE, ESOL, and Reading.

My husband Glenn and I have two grown children who live and work in Ocala and we are expecting our first grandchild in December. We love spending time with family, traveling, camping, walking, going to the movies, volunteering at our church and attending Gator sports events.

Lauren Tuzzolino

Carol Cameron's K5 Assistant

I’ve been in education for about 7 years, three of which I was a lead VPK teacher. I love teaching younger children. I love teaching at Grace because it’s a great family friendly environment and the kids that I teach keep me on my toes and make me laugh. Kids say the strangest things at times! I live in Ocala and I’m married with two pre-teen girls and a little dog named Louie. I love chocolate and yummy goodies of all kinds! I love to spend time outside when it’s not too hot and my favorite restaurant is Las Margaritas.

Ashley Hinkle

Ashley Hinkle

3rd Grade Teacher

College:

  • MA in Elementary Education from West Virginia University
  • Florida Teaching Certificate

Start Date:

2015

Love about GCS:

Family atmosphere and the ability to worship with her students

Austin Yates

Austin Yates

4th/5th Math and Science Teacher

College:

  • BS Interdisciplinary Studies, MA Educational Leadership
    University of Central Florida

Start Date:

2020

Love about GCS:

I love having the opportunity to learn and grow alongside my students in a faith-based environment focused on academic excellence.

Mallory Strong

4th & 5th Grade Language Arts

College:

  • University of Florida, 2008

Start Date:

2021

Love about GCS:

The relationships I build with my students and getting to be part of my own children’s school day.

Janet Robinson

5th Grade Homeroom & 4th-5th Social Studies

I've been teaching for 21 years - 17 years in the public school system and 4 years as an online ESL teacher. So far the best thing about GCS is the support I'm getting from everyone. I don't have a family, so it means a lot to me to feel as if I belong. I love the fact that everyone says that the school is like their family. It means a lot to me. I also really like the class sizes; I'm used to 25 - 30 students per class, with 7 classes a day. The smaller class size means more time to attend to the needs of each student.

I have 5 dogs (used to have 7) and they truly are like my family. My college degrees are both in Science - Associates in General Science and Bachelors in Biology, which I received in Charleston, SC. I received my teaching certification from Valdosta State University in Georgia. I love nature - animals and especially dogs - and live on 2.5 acres in a rural setting here in Ocala. My hobbies are reading, yoga, working out, and jigsaw puzzles.

Andrew Touchton

Andrew Touchton

Social Studies Teacher

College:

  • University of South Florida/ BA in Mass Communications TV Broadcast Productions/ Minor in Film Studies

Start Date:

2019

Love about GCS:

What I love about GCS is the camaraderie between students & staff. Everyone shares a common love for Christ & a love for one another as Children of God. That firm spiritual foundation relieves the stress of school life & allows us to focus on deeper things.

Christy Benway

Middle School Math

I began my teaching career as an instructional paraprofessional more than 10 years ago. I earned my teaching certification and began teaching after completing my degree in 2017. I currently hold two teaching certifications: math and business. I have been married to my high school sweetheart since 1997 and have two wonderful grown sons - and one daughter-in-law. My family has, and always will, come first in my life and Grace Christian School has become my extended family. What I love about Grace is that we start each morning with worship, either in the Courtyard or at church.

Cassie McKenzie

Middle School Science

I have a degree in Secondary Science Education from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI and have worked in education for 8 years now. I am excited to be at Grace for the Christ-centered environment, and the wonderful students and engaged parents that are at Grace. I have lived in Ocala for 6 years with my husband, and have 3 daughters (2 of which attend Grace).

Stephanie Zetty

Middle School Language Arts

This is my fifth year as a teacher after working in the child welfare system for five years, and taking seven years to stay home and raise my two children. Grace Christian is the perfect school to share my love for Christ while using the gift of teaching that the Lord has blessed upon me. I feel as though everyone who attends Grace is part of a large and loving family.

My husband and I moved with our two children to Florida in 2015. We are from Ohio & West Virginia where our extended families continue to reside.

I hold a Master's Degree in Social Work Administration from Ohio University, and a permanent teaching certificate in the State of Florida. For the last twenty years, I have worked with children of different ages and backgrounds. My family and I enjoy kayaking, watching movies, and traveling north. Most of all, our Lord and Savior is the centerpiece of our family, and we strive to live our lives to please Him.

Nina Canfield

Nina Canfield

Spanish Teacher

College:

  • BS Psychology St. Leo University

Start Date:

2001

Love about GCS?:

What I like most about Grace is the love and care that everyone shows for each other and being able to help the students at a personal level.

Robert Ramirez

Robert Ramirez

Physical Education Teacher

College:

  • BA St. Leo University

Start Date:

2000

Love about GCS?:

I felt God's calling to be here at Grace.

Ryan Owens

Ryan Owens

Technology Coordinator / Computer Teacher

College:

  • BA in Elementary Education, Warner University
  • MA in Educational Leadership, University of West Florida

Start Date:

2007

Love about GCS?:

The opportunity to serve God, students, and our families in a loving, Christ-Centered environment. Both of my children go to school here and feel very much the same way.

Luke Ferguson

Luke Ferguson

Chorus Teacher

College:

  • BS Music Theory/Compostion Covenant College
  • MA Divinity Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Start Date:

2014

Love about GCS?:

I appreciate Grace's atmosphere of family where kids are loved and my staff and administration are so supportive

Jack Covell

Jack Covell

College:

  • BA Music Education William Patterson University
  • MA Gifted Education Nova Southeastern University

Start Date:

2017

Love about GCS?:

All of the my band students, affectionately known as the Banditos

Christine Holmes

(Librarian)