School Faculty and Staff
Since 1863, children at Immanuel Lutheran School have been blessed by the influence of teachers who love their Lord, who love children, and who are committed to helping children learn and grow as well-educated and good citizens and as Christian disciples. We are grateful to God for the competent, caring ministries of our teachers.
Get to know our faculty members listed below or you may also wish to meet our teachers in person, and we would be glad to arrange such meetings if you contact us.
Miss Jan LaRocque – Principal
Miss LaRocque was born in Bay City, attended Immanuel Lutheran School through 8th Grade and graduated from Central High School. Her undergraduate work was at Concordia University, Seward, NE, and her graduate work was through SVSU. She holds Masters Degrees in Elementary Education and Administration. She taught three years at St. Thomas Lutheran School in Eastpointe, MI; 21+ years here at Zion; and served six years as Principal at St. Stephen Lutheran School, Waterford, MI. She has two sisters who both reside in Bay City, four nieces and nephews, and five great nieces and nephews.
Deanna Langley – Director of Learning and Development Center
While growing up in Kawkawlin, I attended Western High School and continued my education at Delta College. I discovered my love of working with children at Head Start in Bay City where I taught preschool for 10 years. After taking at few years off to stay at home with my son I returned to work and started at Immanuel. I loved it right away and it felt like home. I have worked here for 2 1/2 years in the classroom and now as the director. I come from a big family and enjoy many activities and traditions with them.
Mrs. Kris Jacobs – Preschool Director
A Bay City native and an alumna of Immanuel Lutheran School, Mrs. Kris Jacobs became a member of Immanuel’s Preschool staff in 1999. “Miss Kris” (as the preschool children call her) has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with minors in Business and Chemistry. More recently she has resumed her pursuit of education for classes in Early Childhood Education, and she really enjoys the challenges and rewards that she experiences in the classroom. Kris and her husband Tom Jacobs are the parents of Warren, a graduate of Immanuel.
Mrs. Jill Erlenbeck – Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Jill Erlenbeck grew up in Lowell, on the west side of Michigan. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood Endorsement from the University of Michigan in Flint in 2003. In 2005 she began teaching Third and Fourth Grade at St. Mark Lutheran School in Flint. While teaching at St. Mark, Mrs. Erlenbeck took online courses through Concordia University, Ann Arbor, and earned her Colloquy in Religious Studies and certification as a Lutheran school teacher in 2009. In 2013 she earned a Master’s Degree in Literacy from the University of Michigan in Flint. Mrs. Erlenbeck has been teaching at Immanuel since 2012, and is currently serving as kindergarten teacher. Jill and her husband Phil Erlenbeck are the parents of two sons and two daughters: Connor, Grace, Blake, and Claire. In her spare time she enjoys camping and spending time outdoors with her family. One of Mrs. Erlenbeck’s favorite things about teaching kindergarten is being able to be silly and have fun with her students. She loves to do movement songs with them, and to read silly stories that make them laugh.
Mrs. Ellen Pett – First / Second Grade Teacher
As the first and second grade teacher at Immanuel, Mrs. Pett derives great pleasure in seeing her young students go from just listening to Bible stories to actually READING the Bible accounts of their loving Savior, and from just WRITING numbers to actually ADDING and SUBTRACTING numbers as they count their many blessings. In the afternoons, third graders join Mrs. Pett’s second graders to learn about the history of our great state of Michigan and the science behind all the wonders of God’s Creation. Ellen and her husband Randy are the parents of four Immanuel graduates – Rudy, Helena, Katie, and Royden..
Mrs. Kari Gakstatter – Third Grade / Fourth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Kari Gakstatter grew up in the small farming community of Munger, Michigan. She spent a lot of her childhood in her parent’s fields with a hoe in hand. She learned about hard work while working on a potato farm at the age of 13. She married her high school sweet-heart, Paul Gakstatter, in 1985. After spending several years as a beautician; Kari decided to pursue her degree in education. She earned her Associate’s Degree from Delta College and her Bachelor’s Degree from SVSU. Further studies at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan, led to her certification as a Lutheran school teacher. After teaching three years at Trinity-St. James Lutheran School in Merritt Township, and four years at Trinity Lutheran School in Monitor Township; Mrs. Gakstatter took on the role of Learning Consultant at Immanuel in 2000. In 2015, Kari went back into the classroom as the third and fourth grade teacher for Immanuel. Paul and Kari have two sons, Kyle and Russell. Kyle is married to Megan Frost. Paul and Kari enjoy camping, biking, and kayaking.
Mrs. Becky Ball – Fifth / Sixth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Becky Ball graduated from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, in 2010 with a Bachelor of Education Degree with a major in Social Science. She has taught Fifth Grade at Holy Ghost Lutheran School in Niagara Falls, New York (2010-2012). During her years at Holy Ghost, Mrs. Ball has served on the Finance Committee for Accreditation, coached the sixth through eighth grade co-ed volleyball team, taught Sunday School, and assisted with Vacation Bible School. Since the Fall of 2012, she has been teaching Immanuel’s Fifth Grade class. Becky’s husband is Eric Ball.
Mrs. Amy Jones – Seventh Grade Teacher
Mrs. Amy Jones grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Albion College, Albion, Michigan, her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and in 1991 she completed classes and was certified for Lutheran school teaching at Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin. Mrs. Jones spent twenty years on and off teaching upper grades at St, John Lutheran School, West Bend, Wisconsin, all four levels of Spanish at Sheboygan Lutheran High School, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Adult and Alternative Education classes at Rogers City High School, Rogers City, Michigan, and then became the At-Risk Coordinator for students at risk from 7th to 12th grade in Rogers City. Mrs. J (as her students call her) then taught Spanish, computer, and math classes at Posen Consolidated Schools in Posen, Michigan. After two years there, she returned to Lutheran education, teaching the upper grades at St. John Lutheran School, Rogers City. In the Fall of 2012 Mrs. J became Immanuel’s Sixth Grade Teacher. Amy and her husband, the Rev. Kevin Jones, Senior Pastor of Immanuel, have one son, Ian, a graduate of Immanuel.
Mr. Christopher Samsell – Eighth Grade Teacher
Mr. Chris Samsell spent his growing up years at a number of locations in Michigan, where both of his parents have served as Christian educators and professional church workers. Mr. Samsell is graduate of Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, where he earned a Teaching Degree. Following seven years of service as a teacher, coach, and athletic director at Child of Christ Lutheran School in Hartland, Michigan, Mr. Samsell took on all of the same duties here at Immanuel in the Fall of 2002. Chris has two sons who attend Immanuel, Brenden (a graduate of Immanuel) and Joshua, a student at Immanuel.
Mrs. Sarah Geikas – Director of Music
Mrs. Sarah Geikas was installed in August of 2004 as Immanuel’s Director of Parish Music, and she oversees the music programs of both the church and school. Sarah is originally from South Dakota and graduated from Concordia University Nebraska in Seward, Nebraska, with a degree in Parish Music and an emphasis in organ. She enjoys playing the organ, piano, handbells, trombone, and singing and especially enjoys accompanying the choirs and soloists on the piano. In her spare time she loves to bake, garden, bike, bead, and run. Sarah is married to Nicholas Geikas, who has a son George.
Mrs. Kristy Fogelsinger – Director of School Handbells
Mrs. Kristy Fogelsinger grew up in Bay City, Michigan, and has been a lifelong member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. While as a student at Immanuel Lutheran School, she began ringing handbells under the direction of Mr. Victor Droegemueller. After graduating from Bay City Central High School, she continued ringing handbells at various churches in the Bay City area, was a manager at a local McDonalds’ restaurant for 6 years, was a child daycare provider for 22 years, and did much volunteering at Immanuel school. In 2009, Kristy became the director of the handbell program for grades 5-8 at Immanuel Lutheran School. She is a member of the Handbell Musicians of America, formerly AGEHR (American Guild of English Handbell Ringers). In her spare time she enjoys playing in Immanuel’s adult handbell group, ringing solo bells, sewing, beading, and doing crafts. Kristy and her husband Michael Fogelsinger are the parents of two grown children, Jason and Andrea, both Immanuel graduates.
Mrs. Laura Rybak – Preschool Assistant
Mrs. Laura Rybak is a native of Bay City and a graduate of Western High School. Shortly after high school she moved to Florida and began her work experiences as a Home Day Care director, then as a merchandiser for Bud Mayer, a merchandising firm, and for Frito Lay Company, all in Florida. In 1996 Laura moved back to Bay City to be closer to family, and since 1996 she began working at Immanuel Lutheran School as a teacher’s aide. In her free time she enjoys camping, reading, and most importantly, spending time with family and friends. Laura and her husband Bob Rybak (a graduate of Immanuel) have three grown sons, Bobby, Michael, and Joshua, all graduates of Immanuel School.
Mrs. Sue Jones – Food Service Administrator
Mrs. Sue Jones is a native of Bay City and attended parochial school for all twelve years. She worked and managed school cafeterias for 23 years before coming to Immanuel Lutheran School in 2012 to serve as Food Service Administrator. Sue has attended numerous classes and seminars for serving school cafeteria lunches and is committed to serving safe, certified lunches to Immanuel’s students. She enjoys cooking and being around children, loves to camp with family and friends, and especially loves being with her grandchildren. Sue and her husband Jerry Jones are the parents of two grown children, Keith and Kelly, and two grandchildren.
Mrs. Peggy Martin – Food Service Assistant
Mrs. Peggy Martin is a native of Bay City and has attended parochial school for all twelve years. She attended the Howard Johnson’s Cooking School in Detroit and worked for 13 years in school cafeterias before coming to Immanuel School in 2012. She is also currently working as a dietary aide at McLaren Bay Region Medical Center. Having attended various classes and seminars on school cafeteria cooking, Peggy is committed to serving safe, certified lunches to Immanuel’s students. In her free time she enjoys swimming, bowling, and spending time with her family. Peggy and her husband Ed Martin are the parents of two children, Grace and Alex.
Mrs. Tammy Jarema – School Secretary
Mrs. Tammy Jarema grew up in Tawas, Michigan, and graduated from Tawas Area High School. She began her working career while in high school as a co-op student at the Tawas Area Hospital as a medical biller. For the next 8 years she was a secretary at Community Hospital Services in Saginaw. Tammy then took time off to raise her family. She then returned to work as a medical transcriptionist before accepting the position of school secretary at Immanuel, a position which she has held since April, 1998. One of her joys outside of work is camping. Tammy and her husband Tim Jarema are the parents of two grown sons, Adam and Michael.