ELNS Staff



Jessica Hendricks is the Director at Epiphany Lutheran Nursery School and serves as an ex-officio member of the ELNS Board of Directors. Jessica came to ELNS in July 2012 after working at her last preschool since 2006. 
 She received her undergraduate degree in communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in non-profit organizations from Virginia Tech in 1998 and a certificate in early childhood education from John Tyler Community College in 2011. She and her husband Jason have two sons, Garrett age 13 and Aiden age 11.  Mrs. Hendricks enjoys volunteering for Richmond Public Schools and the Richmond Kickers. The Hendricks famiily loves to go camping in the summer, they are always exploring new places.


Green Class

Lead Teacher: Erica Braatz  Mrs. Braatz joined our staff here at ELNS in August 2017.  She is very excited to be the lead teacher in the green classroom!  Last year she was a parent here with her and her husband’s oldest son attending ELNS and now both of their sons will be attending ELNS.  Erica is excited to be in a classroom again for she has 7 years of teaching elementary school in her past professional career experience.  Erica has been a working mom, a stay-at-home mom and now is eager to get a sense of both.  She really likes to be able to relate to all of these areas.  Erica received a B.S. in Elementary Education from Radford University in 2004.  As much as Erica is able to do so she enjoys being outside and playing all sports, especially surfing.  Erica is from Virginia Beach and the OBX and goes back to visit family and friends quite often. 

Assistant Teacher: Sarah Troxel  Ms. Troxel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minor focuses in Spanish and Leadership studies from Christopher Newport University. She is currently studying for her Masters in Counseling at Virginia Commonwealth University and intends to become a professional school counselor. This is her second year at ELNS. When not at work, Ms. Troxel can usually be found at the beach, the library, or the dog park with her puppy, Olive.

Orange Class

Lead Teacher (M,W,F):  Melinda Martin Mrs. Martin earned her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Thiel College and her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  After working in administration for more than a decade and then relocating to the Richmond area with her family, Mrs. Martin began working at ELNS as a substitute teacher.  She is currently in her fourth year as the lead teacher in the M/W/F Orange Class.  Mrs. Matin and her husband have two daughters, ages 7 and 8, that graduated from ELNS. 

Lead Teacher:  Jennie Schuetze1395322349  Mrs. Schuetze has been a part of the ELNS family since 2003 as a lead teacher and assistant teacher with our 2 and 3 year old classes.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Christopher Newport University. Mrs. Schuetze has 2 daughters, who both graduated from ELNS, and enjoys reading and attending craft shows where she sells Thirty-One Bags.  She is also an avid runner and has participated in many events in the Richmond area. 

Assistant Teacher:  Kimberly Gardner Mrs. Gardner earned her Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and had a successful 20-year career in commercial interior design. She and her husband have two boys – the eldest is pursuing a degree in engineering and plays football for UVA and the younger son runs track for Atlee High School. She enjoys attending all of their sporting events and being creative. Her hobbies range from pottery and crafting to construction. She is excited to return to ELNS for her second year as a teaching assistant.

Assistant Teacher: Nicole Sawyer (T,Th): 



Blue Class

Lead Teacher:  Hannah Fritzemeier Mrs. Fritzemeier, also known as Mrs. Fritz to the children, grew up in Louisa, Virginia and has been working in childcare since 2009. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Development from J. Sargeant Reynolds. She volunteers at her church twice a week working with preschool and school age ministries. Mrs. Fritzemeier is a newlywed and recently moved into a three hundred year old farmhouse. In her spare time she enjoys shopping at vintage shops and crafting.

Assistant Teacher: Sultana Sultani  Ms. Sultana, also known as Ms. S to the children, grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan where she completed 2 years of college. She has 9 years of experience in early childhood. She is happily married and has two kids of her own. She has a son that is 19 years old and a daughter that is 14 years old. Her son goes to VCU and is going into the medical field, her daughter is a freshman attending Freeman. Ms. S has been working in the church’s nursery every Sunday for 9 years and counting.

Yellow Class

Lead Teacher:  Courtney Phillips
Mrs. Phillips joined the ELNS family in March 2013 as the lead teacher in our Junior Kindergarten class.  She received a BA in Psychology from Mary Baldwin College and has taught in preschools as well as elementary schools since her graduation.  She was named Varina Elementary First Year Teacher of the Year for the 2007-2008 school year. Mrs. Phillips is happily married and has two wonderful children. One of which is an ELNS graduate. In her spare time she enjoys reading,crafting and spending time with her family.


Assistant Teacher:  Laura Brady  Mrs. Brady joined ELNS in the fall of 2014 as a substitute teacher and then became a floating assistant, working with all of the classes. She is looking forward to being an assistant teacher in the Pre-K class this year. Mrs. Brady is a graduate of Virginia Tech (and a serious Hokie fan!) She has four children who have all attended ELNS. She has enjoyed going back to work after being a stay-at-home mom and loves the learning environment at Epiphany. In her free time, she likes to read, hike, bike, and attend her childrens’ sporting events.  

Music Class

Co-Teachers: Anastasia Jellison & Tom Stevens Ms. Jellison and Mr. Stevens earned music performance degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University and the Manhattan School of Music. They are both members of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and are faculty members at the University of Richmond. The children really love when they bring their own instruments to play in the class. Married, they have two children ages 3 and 5. This is their 2nd year teaching at ELNS.

Additional Staff

Floating Assistant Teacher: Patty Engle Miss Engle earned a BA in elementary education from Indiana State University.  After retiring from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis IN, she moved to Virginia to be closer to her daughter.  This is her 2nd year at ELNS. She has 3 children and 6 grandchildren.  Besides traveling to visit all the grandchildren, she loves to bake and read.