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 passionate about issues in the field. She advocates for quality child care and adequate compensation for early childhood professionals.

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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Carly Marino

Director of Children’s Ministry

Carly has been involved with the children and youth at FBC for over ten years.

Her experience includes but is not limited to attending several ministry workshops and gatherings, over the ten years this includes, C3 Children’s Conference at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas and the American Baptist Youth Gathering in Estes Park, Colorado. The ongoing training, she received over the years provided Carly with an opportunity to learn from many great leaders.

Carly is excited and passionate about making a difference in the lives of our children, so they are prepared to impact others for Christ! Carly has created an environment where kids want to be and want to learn.

Carly studied business and marketing in college and has fifteen years of management and employee training and development experience.

She enjoys traveling and hiking with her husband Frank and six-year-old son Adam, as well as all things Cleveland sports – Go Tribe!

She is comfortable with children and parents will love and enjoy Carly, the 10+ years in the trenches, on a wing and a prayer philosophy makes her even more enjoyable because she comes to the table prepared.

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Brian Kozak

Director of Contemporary Worship Music

Brian has been a member of the FBC Praise Band as guitarist for about 17 years. With a Bachelor of Music Degree from Baldwin-Wallace College (Magna Cum Laude) and a Masters of Music Degree from Cleveland Institute of Music, both degrees in guitar performance, Brian brings knowledge of all genres of music to the Praise Team. He has been teaching for many years at Baldwin Wallace, Kent State, Lorain County Community College, and Cuyahoga Community College.

For several years Brian has taught guitar right here at First Baptist to students that include members of our own congregation. Many of those students have performed occasionally during regular church services. In addition, Brian has been a personal contributor to many of our special worship services such as the Candlelight Service Christmas Eve, our New Year’s Eve Service, and many others. He is a perennial band leader of our annual Rock of Faith Concert.

Brian lives in Lakewood with his daughter Valeria. When you see Brian please be sure to congratulate him on his new position at First Baptist Church.

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Jarred Souraf

Director of Traditional Music

Jarred Sorauf

Director of Traditional Worship

Jarred comes to First Baptist Church with almost 10 years of experience working in the United Church of Christ, and 2 years of experience working in the Presbyterian Church. He holds a Masters of Music degree from Cleveland State University, and he also completed graduate courses in organ, piano, and choral conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from Wittenberg University. Jarred holds the CAGO level of certification through the American Guild of Organists. As a teacher, he has taught privately and as an adjunct instructor at Cleveland State University.

Jarred’s performance background includes solo and collaborative piano, organ, chorus, musical theater, and instrumental and choral conducting. Some highlights include performing in the 2016 World Piano Meeting in Coimbra, Portugal, and at the Conservatory Maurice-Baquet in Paris, France. Jarred has also toured historic organs, most notably at the Chapel of São Miguel in Coimbra, Portugal, and the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, France, with Titulaire Organist Daniel Roth.

Jarred brings not only a passion for music to this position, but also a passion for worship. He believes that music in worship needs to be grounded in collaboration and community, and should serve as a conduit to connect individuals to their faith. Hymns should inspire enthusiastic congregational singing, unsung instrumental offerings should provide space for spiritual reflection, and choir anthems should be chosen to enrich the worship experience as a whole.

Jarred is overjoyed to be joining the staff at First Baptist, and he is looking forward to making meaningful and worshipful music with this church community.

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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Mercedes Westbrooks

Maintenance Staff