Our Amazing Staff

Early Learning Center Staff

Sarah Winston
Sarah received her certificate in Early Childhood Education from Campbell County Tech Center. She is married to Jeremy and they have two children. Their family’s journey at Tree of Life ELC in 2017. Sarah started as a teacher’s assistant and her son was in Pre-K 3 and her daughter was in the nursery. They have been at the ELC since that time and she loves being able to work at the same school as her children. She became the lead teacher in the nursery in 2019.

Joan Ashley
Joan knew she wanted to work with children when she was in high school She took child care classes and graduated with a Child Care Certificate. She then went to CVCC and completed an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She then worked with children  at another day care center for 9 years as a lead teacher before coming to Tree of Life ELC. She is married to David and they have two sons, who attended Tree of Life Academy. She states that “children are a blessing and a gift from God. Her goal is to teach, nurture and love these little ones!”

Elizabeth Sadoski
Lizzy” has been in childcare since she was 17 years old. She has also been a volunteer teaching assistant with her church and for Vacation Bible School. Her passion for teaching will continue while she studies to ge her ECE certificate.

Faith Moore
Faith has been  in childcare for 2 years. She works with all age groups. She chose childcare because it is a calling and a ministry for her. She likes seeing what is different about each age group.

Carmen Lynch
Carmen is proud to be from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The start of her career began with her volunteering at her first son’s elementary school in Brooklyn, New York. She attended  Brooklyn College and was able to teach at the. She taught at the Community School District. She moved to Lynchburg, VA where she was able to teach at Sandusky Elementary School  and volunteer at Sandusky Middle School and Heritage High School before coming to work with Tree of Life Early Learning Center.

Monica Jordan
Monica was born in Ohio and moved to Virginia to attend Liberty University. She is currently working toward a BS in Family and Consumer Science. She will graduate in May, 2023. She worked in several preschools and taught Sunday School. She believes that each child is a gift from God. She feels blessed to be able to work with children and have a small part in helping them learn and grow.

Ajayla Manuel
Ajayla is originally from Syracuse, NY.  She has always had a passion for working with children. She did not have a specific route to take but she started babysitting at 16 years old. As she got older she volunteered in the community to be a part of Big Brothers and Sisters and Girls on the Run. She believes working with children has been nothing but joy.

Starr Sykes
Starr is a native of Wilmington, DE. She has lived in Lynchburg, VA for over 25 years. She was a voice major an piano minor at NSU but gravitated towards Early Childhood And Elementary Education. After over 40 years in this field she retired. In 2022 she returned to Early Childhood Education. She is a published songwriter, recording artist and author. She also a pastor of an on-line ministry called Zion City Worship Center. She is a survivor and now a life thriver!

Beth Moore
Beth has been working as a teacher’s assistant in the toddler room since April 2022. She feels that her work experience, whether assisting preschoolers to play a and learn or providing health care to infants/children or adults as a home health nurse, she sees each opportunity as not only a job, but a ministry for the Lord.

Sharon Smith
Sharon started to work in childcare many years ago. She then studied to be a CNA and continued to do this for 25 years. Now she is virtually back where she started-working with children and teaching them that Jesus loves them.

Adrianna Burns
Her love for children started when she was a child. She remembers being in elementary school and telling people that she wanted two things in life-being a mother and a teacher. Now she is a mom to 3 and she enjoys her job working with children. She loves the fact that she has the opportunity to help build a foundation of faith in God to the children, which is something very important to her, as she had a Christian education in school.

Taylor Payne
Taylor started with her mother’s daycare center. She had plans to pursue nursing but God had other plans. She worked with Camp Child and also assisted with Vacation Bible School at her church. And then God brought her to ToL Early Learning Center.

Dana Chambers
Dana enjoys working with children and seeing them succeed and do their absolute best. She has worked in other daycares while attending Central Virginia Community College to obtain an Associate Degree in Business. She has been with ToL Early Learning Center for 2 years.

Annette Brooks
“Ms. Annieis originally from Hawaii and has been living in Lynchburg, VA for 20 years. She has been blessed with the gift to teach, love and care for children for 40 years. During this time she had 3 in home daycare centers and one that was certified by the United States Marine Corp. She has enjoyed working with the wonderful children, parents and staff of Tree of Life Academy and Early Learning Center for 5 years.

Jhaneen Trotman
Jhaneen is an Early Childhood Education student who attends Liberty University. She currently serves as one of the leaders for the Chosen Generation at Tree of Life Ministries and she is also a cheerleading coach for Upward Sports at Tree of Life Ministries.

Taylor Jones
Taylor has been in childcare for 3 years. She is currently working on her degree in Early Childhood Education. She feels blessed to be working with children and teaching them about God.

Adrienne Robinson
Adrienne grew up moving around as she was the daughter of a US Marine. She spent most of her childhood at Quantico, VA. She has her certificate in Early Childhood Development. She worked at several childcare centers in Maine before moving to Lynchburg with her husband.

Debbie Roches
Debbie worked at Sheffield Elementary for 22 years as a teacher assistant and health assistant.  She is so happy that God has placed her where she can teach about God and do all that He has for her to do.

Chanel Williams
Chanel has been in the childcare family for over 10 years. She moved to Lynchburg to attend Liberty University and to major in Elementary Education and Special Education. She is a registered behavioral technician and certified parent. She truly enjoys pursuing her ministry with children.

Ana Lopez
Ana was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Puerto Rico to finish high school. Her family moved back to New York where she was hired as a church office secretary. It was at this church that she met her husband. Her husband was called to be an associate pastor and they served there 8 years. Then they were sent to establish a Spanish speaking church where they served for 20 years. As her husband pastored, her focus and ministry was giving oversight to the Christian Education and to organize, coordinate, and train teachers. Her daughter came to Lynchburg to attend Liberty University and she then moved here and became a teacher with Tree of Life ELC and Spanish teacher for Tree of Life Academy.

Academy Teachers

Samantha Francis
Samantha was born and raised in Lynchburg, VA. She graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor in Elementary Education. She taught preschool for 5 years before coming to Tree of Life Academy. Since being at Tree of Life Academy, she has taught grades K-6. She enjoys reading mystery books and anything Karen Kingsbury. She also enjoys watching and attending UVA and LU sporting events.

Starrla Song
Starrla graduated for Liberty Christian Academy and then Liberty University, where she received a BS in Elementary Education. She then ventured to South Korea where she taught kindergarten and 1st grade with International Christian School from 1985-1994. She met her husband in Korea, had two sons and later a daughter in New Jersey. She then moved back to Virginia. She has been with Tree of Life Academy for 19 years teaching grades K-6.

Roberto Lopez
Roberto was born in Puerto Rico but his parents migrated to the United States in search of better employment. His family started attending a church where Roberto received Christ. This is where he met his wife. He attended Emmanuel Bible Institute and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sacred literature in preparation for ministry. That same year he was asked to be the Principal of Bay Ridge Christian Academy. He then served for 8 years. He then was sent out to establish a Spanish church where he pastored for 20 years. Roberto graduated in May 2022 with a master’s degree in Biblical Studies and Christian Leadership.


Stephanie Clifton
Stephanie has been at Tree of Life Academy and ELC for 4 years as Financial Director. This was to be her part-time retirement job, after operating the family-owned business for 25 years. During Covid, she volunteered to be the full-time remote learning teacher. It was during those days that she became more aware of how important it was to speak and act in ways that build hope. She feels the most important part of her job description is to help build a culture of encouragement and support for the teachers, students and parents.  She loves travel photography, documenting the people , places and culture of a land, with desert landscape being her favorite (living in Arizona prompted this). She is a self-proclaimed book worm, art nerd and hockey fan (Detroit Red Wings)

Fay Andrist
Fay had a life long dream of becoming a nurse. Her objectives in life were to be a mother and a nurse. She became both. But with the experience of becoming a grandmother, her goals changed and she wanted to make sure the grandsons had the best care. She therefore started her own in-home daycare. When the boys became old enough to leave grandmother, Fay then went back to school to get certificates in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Administration. She was then called by a local church to assist in starting their early learning center. And this started a change of direction. She received her associate and bachelor’s degrees in education, master of religious education and PhD in counseling. She moved to Northern Virginia to assist in starting an Academy and an Early Childhood program for special needs. Her husband retired from 28 years with the Army and 20 years with the state government and then they moved back to Lynchburg for both to retire. But God had other plans. She assisted a church in starting another preschool and then became the principal of the elementary school and then became assistant principal of the high school. Retirement was looking good but God still had work for her to do. She came to Tree of Life to assist the pastor to start a school. This was in 2004. She sees her students and families as her own little congregation. Only God knows what the next journey will be!


John Trayham
John is responsible for keeping the church and surrounding buildings neat and tidy. He also works to make sure parents and students arrive and depart the building safely and make sure the facility is locked and secure and if any of the parents need an extra pair of arms, that’s what he is here to do. He is also a coach in our Upward Basketball Program.

Jamie Hill
Jamie worked for News and Advance before coming to ToL Academy and ELC. He is our go to man during the school hours. If it snows, he shovels. If the floor is muddy, he mops. If playground equipment needs to be fixed, out comes his tools. And if it is too heavy, he lifts!