Ministry Team

We believe a loving and respectful partnership between parents and teachers facilitates positive growth within your child. We are delighted and honored to partner with families in building a foundation on which your child can continue to grow!

School Administration

Teaching Staff

Early Childhood Education

Elementary Education

Middle School Education

Resource Educators

Church Staff


Mrs. Jennifer Tanner - Principal

Welcome to Grace Lutheran School! It brings me great joy to serve as the Principal of our school as I get to know all of the wonderful young men and women in this “place of Grace”. Our school is a warm and welcoming environment where each child is treated as an “unrepeatable miracle of God” endowed with unique gifts and talents. We seek to nurture and equip our students so they can maximize all their potential and establish a personal relationship with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Grace is a dynamic educational setting where students are challenged by a strong core curriculum and also allowed to explore their interests in the arts, athletics, service to the community, and more..


Janna Meister - Admissions Counselor

Mrs. Meister joined the Grace Lutheran staff in 2015 with a background in Early Childhood Education.  Mrs. Meister has been a longtime Grace parent-all of her children are currently enrolled at Grace or are alumni.  Her firsthand experience as both a teacher and a parent make her uniquely qualified to share her insights on the blessings that come from being a part of the Grace family. Mrs. Meister is happy to answer any questions that you may have and would like to hear from you!

Contact Janna Meister

904-928-9136 ext 115


Susan Petty - Pre K - 4 year olds

Each day in Pre-K-4 is centered on Jesus Christ, as Mrs. Petty and her students work hard to be examples of His love.  Mrs. Petty works to develop the whole child with an emphasis on social and emotional skills.  Pre-K 4 is a fun and inviting environment where children feel safe and loved and have many opportunities to learn, explore, and discover new things. Mrs. Petty works to build up the importance of Jesus in the hearts and minds of preschoolers by focusing on what He has done and what He wants us to do.

Mrs. Petty began working with preschoolers at Grace in 2016. Mrs. Petty graduated from University of Tennessee with a degree in Psychology.  She completed extensive coursework in child psychology and early child development, and enjoys working with our children on social, emotional, and language development. Prior to teaching at Grace, she taught 4th grade in the public school system, as well as Pre-K three in a child care setting. Mrs. Petty strives to promote emotional security among the children by creating a safe, loving environment where preschoolers can learn, play, sing and create. When not at school, Mrs. Petty enjoys spending time with her four boys!


Contact Susan Petty


Elizabeth Kozieracki - Pre K - 4 Year Olds

Mrs. Elizabeth Kozieracki is an experienced Lutheran educator who leads her class in a time of new discoveries, new friends and new adjustments.  This is an exciting time in a young child's life, and for many it is their first experience in a group setting.  Young bodies and minds are developing at an amazing rate.  Mrs. Kozieracki works to guide parents and students through this time of growth and change.

Mrs. Kozieracki graduated from UNF with a degree in Elementary Education, and she also has a Director Credential with VPK endorsement from the city of Jacksonville.  She has been with Grace for 13 years in a variety of roles, and both of her children currently attend Grace.  Her hobbies include spending time with family and pets, traveling and cake decorating.

Contact Elizabeth Kozieracki


Kelly Ferguson - Pre K - 4 Year Olds

An educator for 25 years in Jacksonville, Mrs. Ferguson is passionate about teaching.  She utilizes her experience and her passion for teaching as she guides the preschool children through their daily activities.  It is her goal to help develop young minds to prepare them for the education journey that lies ahead.

Mrs. Ferguson has a Florida Teaching Certificate as well as VPK credentials and a BAE degree in Elementary Education.  Mrs. Ferguson's daughter, Taylor, graduated from Grace in 2013, so this "Place of Grace" has been a huge part of her family for well over ten years.  Mrs. Ferguson attends church at the Church of Eleven22.  When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, shopping, traveling, swimming and boating.


Contact Kelly Ferguson


Laura Veazey - Kindergarten

Mrs. Laura Veazey has been with Grace since 2000.  She is a wife and mother of a Grace alumnus and loves her job as the Kindergarten teacher.  The word Kindergarten means "child's garden"; therefore, Kindergarten is a place for children to grow in body, mind and spirit.  They experience new places, explore safe environments, and discover new strengths throughout the Kindergarten year.

Mrs. Veazey is a wife and mother of a Grace alumnus who is currently attending her alma mater, FSU.  Mrs. Veazey enjoys practicing yoga, attending football games at Florida State, and cheering on the Bears.

Contact Laura Veazey


Linda Sasse - 1st Grade

Linda Sasse has worked in the church and school ministry for over thirty years.  After teaching for over 23 years in preschool through fifth grade, Mrs. Sasse joined Grace in 2008.  Students in first grade grow academically and spiritually since God is present and discussed in every subject.  Acting, moving, and singing take place each day in the first grade classroom.  Students are introduced to daily homework, studying and test taking so that they can face these challenges without fear. Most of all, they learn to be confident and to do their best in all things.

Mrs. Sasse has a BA degree from Concordia at Riverforest.  Committed to helping the poor and homeless at Mayport, she is an active member of the Grace ministry.  She also loves to swim, attend garage and estate sales with her husband, and visit her grandchildren.

Contact Linda Sasse


Ann Leimer - 2nd Grade

Mrs. Ann Leimer began teaching in 1998, and started teaching 2nd grade at Grace in 2007.  Mrs. Leimer encourages her students to reach new levels of independence and responsibility.  2nd grade is an exciting time of growth and discovery as the children learn new skills, make new friends, and become confident readers.  Mrs. Leimer leads the class in God’s word to enable her students to grow in faith and love.  Throughout the year, the students are involved in author studies, reader’s theater, book reports, a mystery unit, and the introduction of cursive handwriting.

Mrs. Leimer graduated from Concordia in Seward, Nebraska, with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in music.  The organist at Grace, Mrs. Leimer enjoys spin class, running, and watching her two sons participate in sports.  

Contact Ann Leimer


Jessa Popp - 3rd Grade

For over 16 years, Mrs. Popp has lead her class in the study of God’s wonderful creation.  Jessa Popp began teaching at Grace in 2006.  Students in 3rd grade focus on cursive handwriting, multiplication, and division facts, and life cycles.  3rd grade is also a time when the students move away from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” approach.  The most important and exciting part of the year is the receiving of a Bible which is used daily to unravel God’s glorious plan.

Mrs. Popp began teaching at Grace in 2006 and has a Bachelor of Science degree from Concordia University Seward.  She enjoys reading, exercising, spending time with her family, swimming and coaching Varsity girl's basketball.


Contact Jessa Popp


Laura Hillman - 4th Grade

Miss Hillman came to Grace in 2014 with five years of classroom experience.  She encourages her students to think critically, to gain independence and responsibility, and to learn from other students by working together.  4th grade is truly a "Florida Experience" since much of the Social Studies, Science, and Literature curriculum is devoted to the study of Florida's rich history, dynamic resent and exciting future.

Miss Hillman attended college in St.  Paul, Minnesota at Concordia University.  She has an Elementary Education degree with a Middle Level Math Specialty, a Lutheran Confessional Minor and a Music Minor. In Miss Hillman's spare time she loves being outdoors in God's creations as she hikes, camps, fishes and skis.  She uses her musical gifts to play the piano, organ, sing, and direct the men's choir at Grace.

Contact Laura Hillman


Kelsey Dunn - 5th Grade

Miss Dunn is graduate of Concordia University in Wisconsin with a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in adaptive education. She took her first call in 2010 to Hawaii and was called to Grace in 2013 to teach 5th grade.  Students at Grace move into the first level of middle school in the 5th grade. For the first time, they can participate in interscholastic athletics and can take leadership roles as a student council member or as a student ambassador.  This is a big year of transition for the 5th grader, and Miss Dunn uses her gifts to help students develop the skills that they will need for the future.

Miss Dunn is the Athletic Director at Grace, and she coaches soccer and track, She is an active member of the Praise team at church, playing the bass guitar.  Miss Dunn loves running, playing soccer, traveling, surfing and quilting.  An Iowa native, she also loves to visit her home away from home in Maui.

Contact Kelsey Dunn


Dave Leimer - 6th Grade

Mr. Leimer, who came to Grace in 2007, is the 6th grade homeroom teacher.  Mr. Leimer has over twenty years of experience at the Middle School level in the areas of science, math, art and religion.  In 6th grade, students are challenged to take pride in their work and to use their God-given talents and abilities.  It is a time when students develop responsibility, maturity, and the skills to handle the emotional challenges involved with peer relationships.

Mr. Leimer is a talented artist and takes care of many animals in his science lab.  A graduate of Concordia at Bronxville, New York, he has a BS in Education with a concentration in science.  He serves as an Elder at Grace Lutheran Church, and he loves to spend time with his wife and sons traveling and exploring.

Contact Dave Leimer


Michael Popp - 7th Grade

Mr. Popp started his teaching career in 1998 with a BS degree in Elementary Education from Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska.  After seven years in the Midwest, he joined the staff at Grace in 2005 to teach math, science, health, religion, and work with the Athletic Ministry.  Mr. Popp encourages his students to discover and use their unique, God-given gifts.  As the year progresses, students receive more responsibilities as they grow in independence.

An Elder of the church, Mr. Popp loves to sing and play guitar.  In his spare time, Mr. Popp enjoys going out to eat with family and friends and watching Chicago sports.  He is a longtime fan of the Cubs, the Bears, the Bulls and the Blackhawks.

Contact Michael Popp

Lisa Jaeger - 8th Grade

Lisa Jaeger is beginning her first year at Grace Lutheran as the 8th grade homeroom teacher. Lisa holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and a teaching certification in secondary English from Carroll University. She completed a teacher colloquy program through Concordia – Mequon in 2013. She has been teaching middle and high school English since 2004, with an intermission for raising her children while working in ministry at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. She served there in several roles, including Teaching and Ministry Assistant and Director of Organizational Research. One of her favorite responsibilities at Immanuel was teaching a spiritual gifts course to eighth-grade confirmands, and Lisa is looking forward to connecting with the middle school set in a Lutheran school context once again.

Lisa enjoys hiking, biking, reading, and traveling. Some of the most fascinating places she has visited include England (study abroad), Tijuana, Mexico (mission trip), and California (summer internship in magazine publishing). She and her husband Brian have two children who are starting school at Hope this fall. Helena is beginning fifth grade, while James is starting fourth grade.

As Lisa seeks to teach children, she is always mindful that she is praying for the Lord to teach her, too. “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5)

Contact Lisa Jaeger


Alexia Adcock-Stanford - Art Teacher

Ms. Alexia has been the elementary art teacher at Grace for nearly a decade.  She enjoys sharing the world of art through a variety of art mediums with the students in PreK 3-4th grade.  A servant of the Lord, Ms. Alexia cherishes each day at Grace where she can share the love of Christ with her students.

The Artistic Director and Co-founder of the Alius Dance School, Ms. Alexia is also the program advisor for the Fuel Up to Play 60 Program at Atlantic Beach Elementary, and she often appears onstage at the Alhambra Theater and Dining.  She holds a BFA in Ballet from Texas Christian University and a MFA Choreography from Jacksonville University.


Alicia Crespo - Music teacher

Mrs. Alicia Crespo began teaching at Grace in 2003.  With over 20 years of experience in both private schools and the Nashville Public School System, she brings a wealth of knowledge in general music, chorus, handbells, and piano. Her music classes are activity-based and incorporate singing, dancing, and playing instruments.  She uses a collaborative approach with classroom teachers, often using music to help instruct students in math, language, history, reading, religion, and literature.

Mrs. Crespo has a BS in Vocal/General Music Education K-12 from Tennessee Technological University. She has also received certification in Orff-Schulwerk techniques, Kindermusik (music education from birth to age 7) and LCMS colloquy from Concordia University in Seward, NE. She has performed professionally with the Nashville Opera and Nashville Symphony Chorus and maintains a private piano studio.  She is an active member of the Grace church music ministry. 

Coach Jerrand Nesmith - Physical Education teacher

Coach Jerrand Nesmith came to Grace in 2016 to  teach PE to our Pre K-8th grade students.  A Jacksonville native, he is a graduate from Raines High School, and he went to Concord University in Athens, WV where he earned a BA in Sports Management.  With a background in training and physical fitness, he helps our students increase strength, endurance, flexibility,and coordination.  He teaches his students to be healthy by making nutritious eating choices and being active every day.  Students are taught to encourage one another and learn the importance of team work in PE.

Coach Nesmith loves working at the same school his children attend! When he's not working at Grace, you might see him shopping for new sneakers (he loves to collect shoes) or cheering on his own children at their sporting events.




Contact Coach Jerrand Nesmith



Pastor Jeff Skopak - Head Pastor

Born and raised in Central New Jersey, Pastor Jeff attended Concordia College - Bronxville, New York where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988.  He attended Concordia Seminary - St. Louis, Missouri where he received his Masters of Divinity degree.  During his time at the Seminary, he met his wife, Amy (Parr) during his vicarage in Boston, Massachusetts. Pastor Jeff would later participate in the Pastoral Leadership Institute (2002-2006) and complete the Doctorate of Ministry degree from Concordia Seminary in 2010.  Pastor Jeff has served the following congregations:  St. Matthew - Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, Redeemer - Manchester, NJ, St. James - St. James, NY, Fountain of Life - Tucson, AZ, and now serves here at Grace.  Pastor Jeff and his wife Amy have two children:  Madelyn (who is currently a Freshman at Arizona State University) and Jarod (who will be a Freshman at St Leo's University near Tampa this Fall).  Pastor Jeff has a heart for the poor and those in need as he strives to follow the Divine Mandate of Matthew 25 and the Great Commission of Matthew 28.


Pastor Richard Engel - Pastor Emeritus

Richard S. Engel was born and raised in Tidewater, Virginia where he honed his skills as a jokester among his six siblings on a small "gentleman's farm" in Norfolk County. The fourth child of Erv and Elizabeth Engel, he was always blessed with a loving Christian environment and was privileged to attend Concordia Prep School in Bronxville, NY during his teen years. He graduated from Concordia Junior College, Bronxville, NY and Concordia Senior College, Ft Wayne, IN before matriculating at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.

During a six-year educational break, Rick worked as a Financial Planner for a local investment firm and then as a Juvenile Probation Officer for the City of Virginia Beach, VA. He returned to seminary and graduated from Concordia Seminary in 1977 then served as sole pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Easton, MD until June, 1995. In that capacity he also founded the Hospital Chaplaincy Corp at Memorial Hospital, served as president of the Talbot County Mental Health Association, President of the Talbot Hospice Foundation, President of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and President of the Talbot Association of Clergy and Laity. During that time he also commenced doctoral work at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.

In July, 1995 Pastor Rick began ministry at Grace Lutheran Church, Jacksonville, FL where, with a growing church and school, he has been blessed to serve alongside a wonderful staff, faculty and numerous lay leaders.  He served Grace for many years and now is the Pastor Emeritus.

Pastor Rick was married in August 1967 to his college best friend, Sandy. They are blessed with four grown children: Chris (wife Gina), Director of Economic Development for the City of Charlottesville, VA; Tara (husband Paul), fifth grade teacher in Roanoke, VA; Josh (wife Katie), engineer for Whiting-Turner, Baltimore, MD; and Janna (husband Steve), interior designer in Charlottesville, VA.  They are also blessed with ten grandchildren.

Pastor Rick has a passion for East Africa and plans regular mission trips to work with Maasai evangeslists in northern Tanzania.




Mrs. Tina Strickland - Church Secretary

I am Tina Strickland.  I was born in Virginia, but Jacksonville has been my home since 1969 when my family (military) was stationed here.  I grew up at the beach and graduated from Fletcher High School.  I attended FCCJ and worked for AT&T before becoming a stay-at-home mom for 12 years.  My husband James is a Computer Engineer and works for Hewlett Packard.  We have been happily married since 1989.  We have a son, Bryant who works for Hornblower Marine Services and will be attending FCCJ in the Fall. I enjoy cooking, reading, relaxing in our pool, and spending time with my family and six pets.



12200 McCormick Road
Jacksonville, FL 32225

(904) 928-9136 ext. 5 for the Church Office

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