Indian Rocks Christian School Administration
Walt Weller: Superintendent of Schools
Walter Weller joined the IRCS Administrative Team as Superintendent of Schools in July 2013. Prior to that, he served in the Pinellas County School System as a teacher, coach, school administrator, and county level administrator for 26 years. In his last position with Pinellas County, he served as the Principal of Seminole High School. He is a graduate of Clearwater Central Catholic High School, the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Social Science Education and Nova Southeastern University with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.
Walter’s passion is for every child to realize and utilize their God given abilities in a way that honors God. Walter is drawn to activities and events that help students grow in knowledge and in faith. Walter and his wife Karen have been married since 1990 and have four children: Noah, Samuel (IRCS graduate, class of 2015), Solomon (IRCS graduate, class of 2020), and Chloe (IRCS graduate, class of 2022).
Rob Starner: Middle and High School Principal
Mr. Starner returned to Indian Rocks in June 2018 as Preschool Director and will now serve additionally as the Elementary Principal in 2019. He previously served at IRCS from 1992-2003 as Guidance Counselor and then Elementary Principal. Most recently, he served as Head of School at Grace Christian Academy in Bainbridge, Georgia. Rob has a B.A. in Psychology from Clearwater Christian College and a M.S. in Counselor Education from the University of Southern Maine. Rob and his wife Joella have six children, including two who previously graduated from IRCS, Kara (class of 1999) and Kevin (class of 2002).
Stephanie Vogel began her career in education in 1997 working for Pinellas County Schools. She has experience as a Classroom Teacher, Title I Facilitator, Technology Instructor, Test Coordinator, Acting Administrator, & Elementary & Middle School Counselor. She received her Bachelors in Education in 1997 from U.S.F. and her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership & Supervision from U.S.F. in 2001. She has been at IRCS since 2013. She has been married to her husband Rick for over twenty years. She has four children who all attend IRCS, ranging from Preschool to High School.
Melissa began her career in education in Lexington, Kentucky. She has experience as a classroom teacher, district representative for MAP testing, Teacher Growth and Effectiveness coach, and a school administrator. She received her Bachelors in Education, Masters in Teacher Leadership, Masters in School Administration, Certification from National Institute for School Leadership (NISL), and a Principalship. She and her husband, Brian, have 4 boys, Nolan (CPA in Kentucky), Samuel (IRCS class of 2019), and Cameron and Caden (9th grade twin boys at IRCS).
Libby Essig is entering her 6th year at IRCS. With over 25 years of teaching experience, she has served our school as both Elementary and High School Spanish teacher. Mrs. Essig has a bachelor’s degree in Bible, a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s of Science in School Leadership with a Principal Certificate. As a seasoned teaching professional with a background in school leadership, Mrs. Essig has a desire to help all IRCS students and teachers grow spiritually, emotionally, and academically. She is excited to serve the Lord and IRCS as Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning. Libby has been married to her husband Mike for 15 years. She also has two adult children and two grandchildren.
Michelle DiFrancesco: Director of Guidance
Michelle DiFrancesco started teaching at IRCS in 1994. She received a B.A. in Elementary Education from University of South Florida and M.Ed. in Curriculum/Instruction from Grand Canyon University. She has experience as a classroom teacher and has been serving as the Guidance Director for IRCS since 2020. She and her husband Danny have been married since 1994 and have 2 children, Joshua (IRCS class of 2015) and Rachael (IRCS class of 2018).
Dee Bates: College Advisor
My name is Dee Bates, and I am the College Advisor. I consider it a privilege to work with our students as we navigate the college admissions process. Each year 97% -100% of our seniors attend college in the fall after graduation! It is my desire to make college planning easy. Each student/family meets one-on-one with me to discuss college goals, preferences, and plans. The main objective is to achieve a “best fit” for the student. Whether the outcome is a community college, Christian University or an Ivy League school, each decision is carefully and prayerfully planned with our families.
Dee Bates received a B.A. in Elementary Education from Palm Beach Atlantic University. In 2004, she received an M.A. in Education/Guidance Counseling from the University of South Florida. She started teaching at IRCS in 1985, and has been the IRCS Guidance Counselor since 2002-2020. She and her husband, Ric, have three children, Melissa (IRCS class of 2002 and Elementary Art teacher at IRCS), Brianna (IRCS class of 2010), and Ty (IRCS class of 2012). They also have four grandchildren, who all attend IRCS.
Coach Phil Farver: Director of Athletic Operations
Coach Farver has been at IRCS since 1992. He graduated from Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin with a B.S. in Secondary Education/PE/Bible. He served as the IRCS Athletic Director for the past 30 years. As Athletic Director, he was responsible for approximately 40 sports teams with nearly 50 coaches, working on scheduling, budgeting, purchasing, transportation and development of the program. Coach Farver is now serving IRCS as the Director of Athletic Operations where he will continue mentoring and guiding our athletic program. Coach Farver authored two books: “Five Smooth Stones” and “Before the Whistle.” He also speaks in chapel during the school year. Additionally, he serves on several FHSAA committees on a regular basis. Coach Farver and his wife Rhonda, the IRCS Vocal Department Head, have two children who graduated from IRCS, Kindal (class of 2008) and Blake (class of 2010).
Joe Frost: Middle/High School Dean of Students
Joe Frost is the IRCS Dean of Students for Middle and High School. He has been with Indian Rocks since 1994. After graduating from Clearwater Christian College with degrees in Business Administration and History Education, he completed his Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida. Joe taught 6th grade for 13 years before joining the administrative team of Indian Rocks. For over 20 years he coached the varsity basketball team at IRCS and currently coaches the bowling team. His wife, Sharon, is a 6th grade teacher at Indian Rocks. They have four children who attended Indian Rocks. Joe also enjoys teaching Foundations, a Sunday School class at Indian Rocks Baptist Church.