Isabelle: I graduated from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and have a master’s degree in special education from Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. I have been teaching for over 20 years and am currently a special education resource teacher at a local elementary school. When not working, I enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, watching the beautiful Sarasota sunsets, and singing in the St. Andrew choir!

Sam: I am a Vietnam War veteran (USAF) and received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Maryland. While working at the Agricultural Research Center, I took graduate courses in computer science. I spent most of my earlier career in programming, systems analysis, and management. I’m currently retired, and remain a very engaged husband and stay-at-home dad. In my spare time I enjoy music, movies, puzzles, and hearing Isabelle sing!

Emily: I graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2011 and will be pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Florida State University beginning this fall. Before I went to college I spent many years taking dance classes and still enjoy dancing and all kinds of music. One of my favorite dance memories is participating in the unique lyrical dance worship services in the St. Andrew sanctuary. In my spare time I keep busy with a variety of creative projects, and love exploring new places, especially beaches!

John: I graduated from Riverview High School in 2010. My passion is percussion. I spent four years on the Riverview High School Kiltie Band drumline and one year in the Sarasota Youth Philharmonic. I still enjoy playing drums and frequently accompany the St. Andrew choir in holiday worship services. Since graduation I have been employed part-time as a waiter at a local retirement community while I’m taking classes at State College of Florida. I plan to continue my education at Tallahassee Community College this fall, with the hopes of transferring to Florida State University next year.

Our family moved to Sarasota from Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1994 to be closer to Isabelle’s parents who were then snowbirds. At the time of the move, Isabelle was a full-time mom and Sam was self-employed. Once the children were in school, Isabelle resumed her teaching career full-time and Sam became a full-time stay-at-home dad.

As our children grew, our family changed churches several times. After some research, we chose St. Andrew UCC to be our home. We were impressed with its “open and affirming” stance, its commitment to social justice issues, and the genuine warmth and welcome of its membership. It didn’t take long to discover, too, that music is at the heart of the St. Andrew worship experience, and Isabelle was especially happy to find a church with such a high-quality choir, led by an outstanding Director of Music Ministry. Our family continues to call St. Andrew our church home because “No matter who you are or where you are in life’s journey, you’re welcome here!”