Our Staff

Emily Coutras

Executive Director

Emily has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Southeastern University and a Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership from the University of Central Florida. Emily has been a member of Calvary for over twenty years, growing up in ministry. She has a passion for working with children while serving the Lord. Emily loves to spend time with her family.

“My staff and I would love to be a part of your child’s first steps both academically and spiritually. Our teachers are determined to love, serve, and respect your child and your family.”

Sonia Lezcano

Assistant Director

Sonia has been a leader at First Steps for nearly twenty years. She began as a classroom teacher and has worked hard to learn and become an expert in the field of childcare. Sonia quickly moved into a leadership position, becoming a shift supervisor, to a staff supervisor, and now an Assistant Director. Her love for children and families is evident in all areas. We are excited to welcome Sonia to the leadership team of First Steps Academy.

“My desire is to welcome families with small children and to guide them through the earliest years of parenting.”

Peggy Schuneman

Program Director

Peggy has a leader’s heart. She has been an active member of Calvary Orlando and leader of First Steps for more than twenty years. Peggy has been called to work with parents and children, helping them to navigate the earliest years of a child’s education.

Peggy has been married to her husband Dirk for more than forty years, and they have attended Calvary since 1978. They have three children and one grandchild. Peggy is excited to begin her transition to retirement.

“From a young age, I’ve always been fascinated by child development. I feel very blessed to have been able to devote my career to training and leading so many families”.

Debbie Carlisle

Curriculum Director

Debbie has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Southeastern Bible College. She has been a part of Calvary for over thirty years, first as a volunteer in the church nursery and then as a part of First Steps for more than fifteen years. Debbie enjoys working with children and is blessed to spend time with her three grandchildren.

“I enjoy being part of the First Steps family, and I look forward to what each new school year brings.”

Desiree Francis

Morning Administrative Assistant

Favorite Color:  Pink and Gold

Favorite Dessert:  Cakes and Cookies

Favorite Quote:  “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi

Kiauna Malesh

Afternoon Administrative Assistant

Favorite Color:  Blue

Favorite Dessert:  Creme Brulee

Favorite Quote:  “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Laura Ruska

Ballet Teacher

Favorite Color:  Pink, Purple, and Red

Favorite Dessert:  Chocolate Cake

Favorite Quote:  “More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.” -Roy Bennett

Jocelynn Martinusen

Music Teacher

Favorite Color:  Pink

Favorite Dessert:  Anything Chocolate!

Favorite Quote:  “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.” -Stevie Wonder

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accredited early education program for preschool and daycare