Courtney Knox


Courtney Knox joined the staff at First United Methodist Church in June 2015 as the Director of Methodist Learning Center. Courtney has her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and holds her Director’s credentials for the state. For the past two years she has taught third grade in Gulf and Bay District Schools, and was Rookie Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year.  She is excited about the opportunity God has put in her path and is looking forward to what the future holds for Methodist Learning Center. Courtney and her husband welcomed their first baby, Nellie Kate Knox in July of 2017. Chris, Courtney and Nellie Kate live in Port St Joe, Florida. She enjoys relaxing on the beach, shopping, and spending time with her new daughter.

Vanesa Ryan

Assistant Director/K4 Teacher



Vanesa is a licensed paraprofessional and medical assistant. She was born and raised in Georgia. After graduating high school, she worked in the medical field for 16 years. Vanesa moved to Florida in 1997 and married her husband, Charlie Ryan, on Jekyll Island in 1999. Vanesa and Charlie have one daughter, Ava Ryan, age 11. When Ava started elementary school Vanesa began volunteering daily at PSJES. She soon realized her love for children and decided to become a substitute in 2011. Vanesa is an essential part of MLC, as she greets our children each morning when they come into school.

Patricia Hortman

K3 Teacher

Patty bio pic

Patty is originally from Jacksonville Fl, where she met and married her husband, Matthew. The Hortmans moved to Port St. Joe 9 years ago when Matthew was promoted to Lead Area Biologist with FWC. They have 3 fantastic children: Hannah (17), Hunter (8), and Anna Marie (5), and are members of First United Methodist Church. Patty has a passion for Christian Education and taught Kindergarten at Faith Christian School for the past three years. She is beyond excited to join the MLC team as the K3 teacher. Her approach to teaching is high energy and upbeat, because she believes children learn best by play, exploration, and creativity.

Debbie Williams



Debbie has lived in Port St. Joe since the age of 3 years old.  She graduated from Port St Joe High School and attended Gulf Coast College for 2 years.  She moved to Chipley, Fl. for 10 years  where she had a home daycare for 6 years.  After moving back to Port St. Joe she married her husband Sammie Williams.  Together they have 5 children and 7 grandchildren.  She worked in the Dental field for 20 years.  After leaving the Dental field she went to work at Oak Grove Daycare for 2 ½ years as a teacher.  Debbie has always loved children.  She enjoys teaching and caring the children.

Meghan Peek


Meghan was born and raised in Port St Joe, Florida. She graduated from Port St Joe. High School and then attended Gulf Coast State College. She is married to Mathew Peek and they have two children, Julia and James. She worked at Oak Grove Church Daycare from 2011-2017. Meghan enjoys being around the kids and loves seeing their smiling faces everyday. She is ecstatic to be a part of the MLC  preschool team.

Mallory Tedford




Mallory was born and raised in MS. While attending high school and college, Mallory was an experienced babysitter and nanny for large families. During that time her love for children and their development grew. Mallory is a licensed cosmetologist. She has worked in the hair industry for 10 years. Art, painting, and crafts have been one of her many lifelong passions, which she is enthusiastic to implement into the infants daily activities. Mallory, Grey, and their son Bays are a military family recently moving from Aviano, Italy to Tyndall, AFB. She is excited to have the opportunity to love each child as her own.

Kayleigh Maxwell

Teacher Assistant

Kayleigh was born and raised in Port St Joe, FL. Kayleigh was a very active substitute for Gulf District schools while also doing online classes for college. She is currently pursuing a degree in special education. Her passion and heart for children is a part of her daily life, while babysitting for many different families in our community. In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors. She is excited to be apart of the MLC team!

Melissa Sellers

Teacher Assistant

Melissa Sellers moved to Port St Joe from Kansas City, Missouri. After graduating highschool she studied at a local community college while working part-time as a caregiver and tutor for two special education students. She taught daily life skills and helped with the communication between students and their peers. In 2016 Melissa worked as the infant teacher with Oak Grove Church Daycare until January 2018. In January Melissa started working as a preschool teacher with MLC and is very excited to be apart of this growing program.

Alexis Sorensen

Teacher Assistant

Alexis Sorensen has worked with children for over 10 years.  She joins MLC with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently working on her Bachelors in Social Work.  Alexis is a wife to an Army Veteran and a boy mom to a three year old and one year old. Her goal as a teacher is to help create a wonderful future for today’s children.

Lisa Canfield

Yoga Instructor

Yoga Intructor for monthly enrichment activities

Kara Rish

Music Teacher

Kara Rish leads our music education program.  She teaches basic music theory including rhythm and harmony.  She was the Director of the Dothan Preparatory Choir and brings classical music training to our classroom.  The children have so much fun learning new songs with her!

Ashley Shoaf

Financial Secretary

Ashley Shoaf serves as Financial Manager of First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe.  She earned her Masters and Bachelors degree in accounting from the Florida State University. She is a Certified Public Accountant with many years of experience in managing finance. She is able to answer questions about financial statements and set up automatic tuition payments. 

Dr. Geoffrey Lentz

Senior Pastor

The Rev. Dr. Geoffrey D. Lentz serves as Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe.  He earned a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of West Florida, a Master of Divinity from Duke University, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Drew University.  He serves as the spiritual leader of the church and learning center.  He along with the Methodist Learning Center Board provide accountability and supervision to the Methodist Learning Center.

Krystal Terry

Children’s Minister (Sprouts and Truth walkers)

Krystal Terry serves as the Children’s Minister at First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education at Flagler College.  She previously served as a popular first grade teacher at St. Joe Elementary School.  Under her direction our ministry to children has grown in size and vitality.  She lead chapel each week for our student and helps them grow in their faith.