Meet our Team! Our Teachers Make the Difference!
Miss Esther Gill - LPELL Director/Humanities and Spanish Facilitator
"I have been an educator in Lake Placid for 50 years, teaching Spanish and Social Studies at the High school for 45 of those years. My middle school teaching career included several years at Lake Placid Christian School and one year at Lakeview Christian School. I am also an adjunct instructor of Humanities at South Florida State College in Lake Placid. My travels include a year in college in Spain and have led many student tours throughout Europe. With helping in the creation of LPELL, it is my hope to invest in the future of Lake Placid, a place I have proudly served and call home."
Miss Gill has ALWAYS been dedicated to the project in front of her, whether it be as a middle or high school teacher, or college professor. She devoted herself to 22 years as the LPHS yearbook sponsor/
editor. In 1982, just 10 years after starting to teach in LP, her parents decided to retire here and she lovingly cared for them until Rev. Gill passed in 2002 and her mother, in 2012. Frankly, she had no time to "date", so through the years... Miss Gill has helped "raise" hundreds of Lake Placid's kids. She has shared her extensive knowledge, taken dozens of students to Europe to see life through other cultures, and most importantly, she has been an encourager to those who have needed that boost. Lake Placid is so fortunate to have Miss Gill as a mentor and although is seems like she is slowing down with LPELL, she still has so much give to the Lake Placid students of the future.
Ms. Joanie Tucker - LPELL Director/5th, 6th, & 7th grade Facilitator
"Most would agree that I have always been passionate about helping others succeed. Teaching Elementary grades, (where I taught cursive handwriting, lol), I was asked to teach a self-contained 5/6 split class. I was nervous because my own Jr. High experience was difficult, yet I found I have a heart for this age group. I have taught several years as a Middle School teacher and my students have excelled in their reading and writing skills. I have degrees in Business, Elementary and Middle School Education, (English & Social Studies), as well as a Master's Degree in Pastoral Counseling. In my off-duty time, I was a Scout leader to 87 boys, a Children's Choir Director, a Sunday School teacher, the Head Coach for 5 Middle and High School Equestrian Teams, and a Piano teacher.
Over the years, I saw just how much animals help build self-esteem in my students so I combined my love of horses with helping individuals as the Program Director of an Equine Assisted organization in Michigan. I am so excited to share my P.O.N.Y. Project - Positive Outlook on a New YOU! with students at LPELL through our Enrichment Connection (optional) in the afternoons. It has always been my belief that, "No child should left inside!" and so when we began to develop LPELL, I wanted afternoons available for students to explore THEIR VERY OWN passions and "Plug into the World".
Most importantly, I am a Mom! It has been the BEST and most challenging job in the World! With 3 adult children and 1 new-born granddaughter who live in other parts of the U.S., I share my Lake Placid home with 4 dogs and 5 cats, all rescues. My 7 horses live at a farm outside of town where I take care of them daily, but I LOVE helping hands...
Here's hoping you join us at LPELL ~ "Let the Adventure Begin!"
Mr. Dennis Griffin - LPELL Mathematics Facilitator
Mr. Griffin earned is BSBA in Finance from the University of Florida 1977 with a 6-12 grade math certificate in 1980. He shared his expertise as a math teacher for 38.5 years at interlake Academy-Lake Placid Christian School. He was the Headmaster for those schools for the last 27 years until Lake Placid Christian School closed May 2018. He also was a 1990 Disney finalist, (as Mickey Mouse?? LOL); 1996 Walmart Teacher of the Year; 2002 SEUS Math Teacher; 2007 Florida MathCounts Coach of the Year; 2008 RBC Bank Teacher of South Florida; 2009 published in the Princeton Global Review; coached 2 World Math Champions; 45 National Math Champions; and 54 Florida State Math Champions. We are so pleased to have Mr. Griffin as a part of the LPELL team and look forward to him mentoring more champions in the future.
Mrs. Melissa Main - 3rd and 4th grade Facilitator
Mrs. Melissa Main has experience teaching at public and private schools and private colleges. She is certified in Elementary Education and English 6-12. With her experience working for various publishers, including McGraw-Hill and Harper Collins, and the local newspaper, she has honed her writing skills and loves passing along that knowledge to students. She will be teaching English and Social Studies at LPELL.
Mrs. Main appreciates the nurturing atmosphere at LPELL and the school's dedication to helping each child succeed. She is also excited about the afterschool clubs that the school offers. She hopes to encourage students to embrace the writing and editing process through intensive help in an afterschool writing club.
Mrs. Janice Hwang - LPELL Administrative Assistant
Mrs. Hwang's career path started as a bookkeeper at the Winn Dixie in Fort Lauderdale and continued on, focusing on Customer Service and caring for students! Working for United Parcel Service for 22 years, she became a mom and starting substitute teaching in elementary and high schools here in Lake Placid. She was then hired by Lake Placid Christian School for 14 years under Mr. Griffin.
Both of her daughters are now living in South Korea where she also has a beautiful granddaughter. Mrs. Hwang has a heart of gold and we are honored to have her join our LPELL Team!
Mrs. Michelle Campbell - I received my bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. After graduation I went on to teach preschool for several years. Eventually, I discovered a local Waldorf School and taught grades 1-8 for many years while receiving my Waldorf teacher training from Antioch New England Graduate School in New Hampshire. That journey ended when my youngest child was born, and I stayed home for five years to raise her. When we moved to Florida to be closer to my parents, I found the Montessori school and taught there for several years. I have 24 years teaching experience and my specialty areas are math and science.