Kregg Burris

Senior Pastor

Kregg Burris has recently begun his ministry at First Baptist Church – having served previous churches in Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia and most recently in Bedford, Indiana. Kregg earned his B.S. in Pastoral Theology and Biblical Languages from Liberty University, two Master’s degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and his Doctorate of Ministry from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

Kregg and his wife, Ann, have three adult children, and are the proud grandparents of one. In his spare time, Kregg enjoys working on cars, restoring houses, fishing, hiking and enjoying a wide range of sports. As soon as you meet him, you’ll be drawn to Kregg’s warm and outgoing personality!

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Jeff Gordon

Associate Pastor for Church Administration, Contemporary Worship, Media & Technology

Jeff Gordon came to First Baptist Church in 2006, having served previously as senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Murphysboro, Illinois. As Church Administrator, Jeff has staff responsibility for oversight of the financial and business management of the church’s ministry, and overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of the facility.

Jeff brings considerable experience as a church administrator, having served in a similar capacity at the First Baptist Church of Martinez, California from 1986-97 and then an earlier two-year term right here at First Baptist Church from 1998-2000. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, during his first term of service at First Baptist, Jeff was instrumental in the development of our contemporary worship service, and he continues to help design and lead the contemporary worship service.

Jeff graduated from the University of California at Davis with a major in Plant Science, then received the Master of Divinity Degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in 1988. In addition, he received specialized training in church business administration through the National Association of Church Business Administration in 1997.

Jeff and his wife Tammy have two adult children. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys renovating his Cleveland Heights home, riding his motorcycle and playing bass guitar.

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Jae Williams

Director of Youth Ministries

Jae Williams began his ministry at First Baptist in October 2007. He is the Director of the Prevention/Intervention Lecture Series Day Camp; Facilitator of Northeast Ohio’s “Dope is for Dopes” prevention and intervention program; Facilitator of the Northeast Ohio Mentoring Program; member of East Cleveland School District’s Task Force; and a member of the NAACP, SCLC and the Urban League.

Jae is a graduate of John Adams High School, Ashland University, and the Standard Oil School of Management. He is also a 2007 Broadcaster’s National Hall of Fame Inductee with 29 years of broadcasting experience in Northeast Ohio. Jae is the executive producer and host of the number one urban inspirational talk show on WHKW 1220 AM titled “What’s Up with the Church?”

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Robert Schneider

Director of Music and Organist

Dr. Schneider has served as the Director of Music and Organist for The First Baptist Church since 1993.

He is a graduate of the Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. He earned his Master of Music from Northwestern University and his Doctor of Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music/Case Western Reserve University.

Actively involved in the musical life of Cleveland, Dr. Schneider serves as President of Arts Renaissance Tremont, and President of the Musart Society of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

A Past Dean of the American Guild of Organists Cleveland Chapter he serves on the Nominating Committee and Chair of the Young Artists Student Competition.

He recently retired as the Chairman of the Secondary Music department for the Shaker Heights City Schools and  Director of Choirs at Shaker Heights High School. 

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Betty Meyers

Associate Director of Music

Betty Meyers has served as the Associate Director of Music since 2006.

A graduate of Ashland and Indiana Universities, Betty is a retired teacher/librarian, and has served for many years as an accompanist for The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. She has appeared as one of the soloists in Bach’s Triple Piano Concerto with members of the Cleveland Orchestra and has performed as organist with the orchestra in Severance Hall and on tour, including the Musikverein in Vienna. Betty is a member of the Executive Board of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. In addition, she is very active as a chamber music performer. For two summers, Betty participated in the Festival Internancional de Musica Clasica and the Musica Coral in Managua, Nicaragua.

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Jane Pernicone

Director, The Children’s Center

Jane Pernicone began as the director of The Children’s Center in 2006. She has been a child care professional since 1986, working in a variety of capacities including administration, resource and referral.

Jane completed her undergraduate work at Northwestern University and graduate work at National College of Education.

Jane is actively involved in the Cleveland Association for the Education of Young Children. She is an adjunct faculty member in Early Childhood Education at Cuyahoga Community College, and serves as a Professional Development Specialist for The Council for Professional Recognition.

Jane and her husband have three daughters.

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Star Knuckles

Executive Assistant/Office Administrator

Star Knuckles came to First Baptist Church in February, 2005 as part-time Office Administrative two days a week while working three days a week at the Cleveland Baptist Association as Office Manager/Executive Secretary. First Baptist Church and the Cleveland Baptist Association are both under the wing of the American Baptist Churches/USA. Star brings more than 40 years of experience in all phases of clerical, administrative, financial, collection, customer service, and graphic design work, fulfilling the needs of both membership and staff.

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Margo Jerome


Margo Jerome is a Certified Public Accountant who has worked for First Baptist Church for more than 15 years.  She lives with her husband, Tim, in Bay Village, along with their two teenage children.

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Dr. MaryJo Odom-Dull

Christian Education Director

Dr. Odom-Dull has recently began her position as Christian Education Director.  As a Christian University Professor for over 12 years, and Christian Consultant she created the first and only online Christian Diversity course that included leadership and congregations working together to explore diversity and creating multicultural Christian environments. Creator of the first training multicultural learning theory, V.E.S.I.C.L.E (Valuing Ethno-Cultural Strategies Includes Learning Enhancements) learning approach theory, has opened doors to learning within multicultural learning environments. As a strategic visionary and author who has written books and journal articles, a notable quality improvement expert who sits on several organizations Boards of Directors, a Peer Reviewer for Universities such as John Hopkins University and others, is just a small part of her commitment to life-long learning.

A University professor recognized and awarded in the areas of business, education, and volunteerism, she continues to make strides in her Christian humanitarian accomplishments.

A PhD in Training and Performance Improvement with specialization in Globalization, Post-Doctoral Certification and work from Northwestern University in Professional Program Development and Grant Communication, additional Post-Doctoral Certifications in Counseling, Biblical Studies and Global Studies. Master’s in Elementary Education, Graduate Certifications in Leadership, Human Resource Management and Diversity Studies, BSBA in Business Management and BSBA in Human Resource Management are just a few of her educational accomplishments, in addition, she is a Six Sigma Black and Lean/DFSS Belt, certification in Children Stories Writing, and over 23 certifications from the Department of Justice related to victims of violence, trafficking and abuse. She is passionate about serving the Christian community, and a mother of two sons 

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Maintenance Facilitator/Electrician

Steve Rosen

Maintenance Supervisor

Ed Szalay

Maintenance Staff

Mercedes Westbrooks

Maintenance Staff

Debbie Cornelius

Maintenance Staff