ELNS Staff

Melinda Martin

Program Director

Melinda Martin is the Program Director at Epiphany Lutheran Nursery School and serves as an ex-officio member of the ELNS Board of Directors. 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 was then a lead teacher in the Orange Class for eight years before becoming the Program Director in 2019. Mrs. Martin and her husband, Phillip, have three children, all of whom have attended ELNS. As a Pittsburgh native, Mrs. Martin follows Steelers football and Penguins hockey and in her spare time she enjoys baking, travel, reading, and spending time with family.

Debbie Sexton

Finance Manager

Debbie Sexton is the Finance Manager for Epiphany Lutheran Nursery School. Debbie joined the Epiphany Lutheran Church staff as the Finance Manager in 2016 after a 32 year career with Bank of America in various finance roles primarily focusing on profitability analysis, budgeting and business line performance.  She began working with the nursery school in 2019.  Debbie is a native Richmonder and a graduate of the University of Virginia. Debbie and her husband Derick have 2 sons and a daughter-in-law living in Richmond. They are also blessed with two grandchildren.

Stefanie Reyes Diaz

Green Class Lead Teacher

Mrs. Reyes Diaz joined the ELNS family in 2022 as the Lead Teacher in the Green Class.  Ms. Stefanie (as she's known to the kids) grew up in Arlington, VA and worked as a preschool teacher until she paused to start her own family.  Ms. Stefanie and her husband have 3 boys (David, Daniel and Lucas) and a dog named Perry. She enjoys all things Disney and crafting in her spare time. 

Janet Lichenstein

Green Class Assistant Teacher

Ms. Janet joined ELNS in the fall of 2021 as an Assistant in the Green Class.  Ms. Janet has worked in child care for many years including owning her own daycare.  She loves working with children, especially the youngest ones here at ELNS! 

Laura Brady

Teal Class Lead Teacher

Donna Perry

Teal Class Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Perry first joined ELNS as a substitute in 2019 and continued to sub until she took a position as an Assistant Teacher in 2022.  She graduated from William & Mary with a degree in French and received her teaching license from VCU.  She taught French in the Richmond area for 13 years.  Mrs. Perry and her husband, a professor at the University of Richmond, have one son who is currently a college student.  Mrs. Perry loves to read, play Scrabble & Yahtzee, travel and bake.  

Liz Nygren

Orange  Class Lead Teacher

Ms. Liz joined ELNS in January 2019 as a floater and a substitute teacher before moving to the Orange Class as an assistant and now the lead.  Ms. Liz is currently working on completing her coursework for certification in early childhood development. She has worked with children regularly since she was a young adult. She has one son, Johnny, who is a graduate of ELNS. Ms. Liz enjoys reading, playing tennis, crafting, and spending time with her son.

Dylan Jones

Orange Class Assistant Teacher

Ms. Dylan Jones joined ELNS in 2023 as an Assistant Teacher.  Ms. Jones was born and raised in Richmond and  graduated from Varina High School.  She has been babysitting for many years and loves working with children because they are so creative and full of love and joy!  She is an only child but has 23 cousins one one side of her family alone so she is no stranger to spending lots of time with children.  In her spare time, Ms. Jones loves art, dancing, music, make-up and spending time with her  family. She is excited to be a part of the ELNS Team this year!

Stephanie Fox

Purple Class Lead Teacher (M-W)

Mrs. Fox joined the ELNS family in 2015; initially as a Green Class parent, but quickly became a substitute, and is now the Purple Class lead teacher. Mrs Fox grew up in Delaware, and graduated from East Carolina University before moving to the Richmond area. She has spent her time since as both a portrait photographer and a teacher with Wee Little Arts. Mrs. Fox and her husband are parents of two ELNS graduates, and their youngest son is currently in the Blue Class. Often found with an iced coffee in hand, she enjoys volunteering at the elementary school her oldest children attend and going on family camping adventures to the mountains and beach as often as their busy schedule allows. 

Katie Lipschultz

Purple Class Lead Teacher (Th/F)

Mrs. Lipschultz (Ms. Katie to the students) joined ELNS in 2021 as a  substitute teacher. She greatly enjoyed it so she moved into an assistant role for the Blue class last year and now to the Lead Teacher role in the Purple Class for 2023-2024. She has an undergraduate degree in Marketing and a graduate degree in HR. Katie has two children (an 9 year old girl and a 7 year old boy) in elementary school who are ELNS alumni. Between being an ELNS parent and teacher, Katie has been involved with ELNS for over7 years. When she's not working, Katie enjoys going to museums, reading and hanging out with her kids.  

Angel Warren

Blue Class Lead Teacher

Ms. Warren earned her B.S in Psychology from Mary Washington University and Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education from VCU. She spent years teaching children ages 2 through 5 before staying home to raise her own 2 children. Angel’s youngest child attended ELNS and she is excited to be teaching here now. She loves snacks and coffee and enjoys reading and messy art projects with her daughters. 

Kathy Lazerte

Blue Class Assistant Teacher (M-Th)

Ms. Lazerte (Miss Kathy to her students) joined ELNS as an Assistant Teacher in the Blue Class in 2021.  A native of Pittsburgh, PA and an avid Steeler fan, she moved west and spent time in Oregon, Washington, and Missoula, MT.  Miss Kathy has worked for over 18 years in special education classrooms and loved the unique challenges and rewards that are to be found there.  Three years ago Ms. Kathy decided to move to Richmond to be closer to her mother and sister.   She has found her new hometown lovely...with both the ocean and mountains nearby!  She's the proud mother of two grown children, enjoys power walking, reading, and Scrabble.  

Katie Morgan

Red Class Lead Teacher

Mrs. Morgan joined ELNS in 2022.  She holds an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from VCU.  She has been teaching in the Richmond area for the past ten years.  Mrs. Morgan and her husband have 4 sons ranging in age from 1yr to 1st grade.  When she and her husband aren't taking their kids to soccer, t-ball or swimming, they love to day trip around Virginia, especially toward the beach!  

Kelly Scruggs

Yellow Class Lead Teacher

Ms. Scruggs joined ELNS in 2018. She graduated from VCU with a bachelor’s degree in early and elementary education. She is also a performer and teacher of improv comedy at CSz Richmond Theater. Kelly has been performing improv since she was 12 years old. Her background in improv and teaching make for a wonderful and fun combination. She’s always loved kids and knew teaching was were she would end up eventually.  In her spare time, Ms. Scruggs has taught herself to sew and she has a great love of  three toed sloths. 

Patty Engle

Floating Assistant Teacher (M, T, Th, F)

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 5th year at ELNS. She has 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Besides traveling to visit all the grandchildren, she loves to bake and read.

Brittany Luciano

Permanent Substitute Teacher

Jennifer David

Floating Assistant Teacher (W)

Tom Stevens

Music Teacher

Mr. Stevens earned his music performance degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He is a member of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, is a faculty member at the University of Richmond, teaches at other area private schools and  offers private music lessons.  Mr. Stevens is married and has 2 school aged children  that both attended ELNS. This is his 10th year as our music teacher and our students love his high energy music & movement classes.  It's also a special treat that our students get to see the variety of instruments that Mr. Stevens plays including piano, viola, violin, and accordion.