Courtney Knox


Courtney Knox joined the staff at First United Methodist Church 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.  Prior to joining the church ministry she taught third grade in Gulf and Bay District Schools. She was also Rookie Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year. After opening the MLC program in the Fall of 2015, the learning center now serves ages 6 weeks-5th grade in a variety of programs offered.

Courtney and her husband Chris are Port St Joe natives. They have one daughter, Nellie Kate Knox and are welcoming a little boy in the summer of 2020. She enjoys relaxing on the beach, shopping, and spending time with her family.

Vanesa Ryan

Assistant Director/K4 Teacher



Mrs. Vanesa is the K-4 Preschool Teacher and the Assistant Director at the Methodist Learning Center since it opened in Aug. 2015.  Vanesa is certified in Early Childhood Development, licensed as a paraprofessional and a certified medical cardiac assistant.  She was born and raised in Georgia and moved to the Panhandle in February 1997. She is married to her husband Charlie for 21 years and has a beautiful 16 year old daughter named Ava.
After many years in the medical field and 10 years of being a stay at home Mom, Vanesa found her passion in the love of teaching growing minds. When Vanesa is not teaching, she loves spending time with her daughter, being on the beach and taking trips with friends.

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, FL.  she graduated from Port St Joe. High School and then attended Gulf Coast State College. She has her CDA: Child Development Associate certificate. She is married to Mathew Peek and they have 2 kids: Julia and James. Prior to working with the Methodist Learning Center, Meghan worked at a preschool for 6 years. Meghan has been a teacher for the Methodist Learning Center since January of 2018. Meghan enjoys being around the kids and loves seeing their smiling faces everyday. She is ecstatic to be a part of the MLC ministry.

Kim Zellers


Ms. Kim teaches K3 at Methodist Learning Center. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Special Needs and has been teaching for 28 years. Prior to joining MLC she worked at HeadStart for 16 years and then opened and owned her own preschool where she taught PreK. Last year she was selected and awarded Teacher of the Year and Most Successful Small Business of the Year. She lives in Mexico Beach and has a 19 year old daughter, Carly who attends IUPUI in Indiana.

Elizabeth Weeks

Afterschool Teacher

Ms. Beth joined the MLC team in August of 2019 after moving to Port St. Joe from her home town in South GA. She plans to make PSJ her permanent home with her two year old son, Troy, and is excited for their future here at MLC. Beth graduated from Cosmetology school in 2014 but came to realize her heart was in working with and caring for children when she became an aunt. She began to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Care and Education at Wiregrass Technical College, but now that she is here in PSJ she is making new plans to finish her degree at Gulf Coast and continue her ministry at MLC.

Rebecca Hare

Assistant Teacher

Becky is from Baltimore, Md. where she studied piano and music theory at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She had master classes in the Romantic Era of music and was the recipient of the Peabody Achievement Award. She taught piano for 25 years and was the music teacher for the 21st.Century afterschool program in Gulf County. Becky has been with MLC since 2018 and enjoys working with children and teaching them new things

Robyn Williams

Assistant Teacher

Robyn serves as an assistant teacher at the Methodist Learning Center.  She earned her General Education Development diploma while living out in California. Shortly after she moved back to Florida and attended vocational school (Correctional Officer Basic Standards Class) in 1994. Prior to joining MLC, Robyn worked for the State Of Florida (19 years) and the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office (6 years) as a certified Correctional Officer and retired from her career with 25 years of service. Robyn and her husband Travis live in Port St. Joe with their 9 year old daughter Diamond.

Marletta Arnold

Hurricane Relief Specialist

Marletta is the Hurricane Relief Specialist at MLC. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Physical Education K-12. In addition, she is certified in Special Education. In the Fall of 2019, she moved from North Georgia to Port Saint Joe with her husband, Jordon, and daughter, Aliyah. Prior to their move, she taught at Bethel United Methodist Church Preschool for two years, which is where her daughter had attended preschool a few years prior to that.

Alexis Sorensen


Alexis serves at the Learning Center at First United Methodist Church. She has an Associates of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining the Learning Center she taught preschool for 12 years. Alexis has worked at the learning center since 2018. After have her third child November 2019, she decided to become a Substitute Teacher. She continues to serve the children with God’s love through learning. Alexis and her Husband William live in Eastpoint, FL. They have two boys Vincent, Mavren, and a girl Novaleigh.

Liz Lentz

Children's Director

Liz Lentz is a Florida native who grew up in Tarpon Springs, and moved to Pensacola to attend the University of West Florida. She has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education. Liz has 16 years of experience teaching, and 3 years of experience as children’s director in Pensacola. She was excited to join the staff at First United Methodist of Port St. Joe in June of 2019.

Liz is married to Dr. Geoffrey Lentz. They have two children- Luke is 15 years old and Eliza is 11 years old. They have lived in Port St. Joe since 2012. As a family they like to travel and go to the beach

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!

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.