Shane Nanney, Minister

Send Pastor Shane an email

Read Pastor’s Page

Pastor Scott Shane Nanney First Presbyterian Church WilloughbyThe Reverend Shane Nanney was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Being a child of the military he lived all around the country. Shane married the love of his life in 1986. She taught elementary school for 24 years, and was recently promoted to Principal of an elementary school. Shane and his wife have two adult children; a daughter who is working in the PhD program at Virginia Tech and a son who is completing a dual Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at RIT. Shane received his B.A. in business from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina in 1985. He received his M.Div. from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in 1989 and his Masters in Counseling from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio in 1997. He was ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in 1989 by the Maumee Valley Presbytery. He has served as pastor of the East Side Presbyterian church in Ashtabula for the last 17 years. In his “spare time,” Shane likes to golf, bike and spend time with family. He really enjoys a great laugh even if it is at his own expense. Although he is gluten-free and tries to eat healthy, his favorite saying is “Ice Cream Fixes Everything.”

Gail Schemm, Office Manager

Gail - square

Send Gail an email

Gail Schemm began as Office Manager in January of 2008. Gail was born and raised in Colorado and has also lived in Michigan and Kansas.  She had been a church administrator with three other churches prior to coming to Ohio. Gail also spent many years as an administrative assistant in the worlds of networking and software sales. Gail, well organized and dedicated to keeping things going, is valuable to our appreciative church family. Gail’s husband is an engineer, employed with a manufacturing company also in Willoughby. Their lives stay busy with their four children and their families, and their outside hobbies of quilting and street-rod cars.

Lisa Hillegass, Christian Education Coordinator

Lisa cropped

Send Lisa an email

Lisa Hillegass was born and raised in Willoughby, Ohio, where she has enjoyed a lifelong involvement with the First Presbyterian Church of Willoughby.  In January 2009, Lisa became the Christian Education Director. Some other areas of her church participation include being a Sunday School volunteer for several years, an Elder who served on the Christian Education committee and the former Clerk of the Session. Lisa’s family is active in the Presbyterian church as well as in the community. She has spent many years volunteering in a variety of capacities. Lisa enjoys attending music events is an avid reader and loves to eat chocolate. Her favorite church memories include the annual Christmas play, Vacation Bible School and multi-generational events.

Laurel Steinetz, Youth Director; Social Media Director

Send Laurel an email

(Picture coming soon!)

Laurel Steinetz has always been active in her home church. She has attended churches that are in the UCC, PC(USA), EPC, and eventually found her way back to the PC(USA). Her home church is John Knox Presbyterian in North Olmsted, where she has served as a Deacon, Elder, and a member of several committees. She lives in Fairview Park, so she loves listening to podcasts to pass the time driving to work. Laurel is new here. She started in the beginning of October 2016 as the Youth and Y/A Director and Social Media Director. Laurel graduated from Baldwin Wallace University with a BA in Public Relations. While she is a part-time employee at Willoughby Presbyterian, she also freelances part-time in Public Relations, Marketing, and Graphic and Web Design. Laurel enjoys every part of production and consumption of music, food, movies and electronics. Laurel is engaged to the love of her life, Samantha Dudley, who plays even more instruments than Laurel (Laurel: 3; Samantha: 6+).

Don Brickman, Music Director

Don cropped

Send Don an email

Don Brickman was born in Euclid, Ohio and raised in Wickliffe. He began playing the organ at age ten, and by 15 he was playing for his church. In high school, he studied organ under Stephen Mozsi, a faculty member at the Cleveland Music Settlement. In college, Don continued under Ivan Licht while serving as a substitute organist at various churches in the Cleveland area. Don joined the First Presbyterian Church of Willoughby family as Organist and Interim Choir Director in 2010. In 2011, he became our permanent Choir Director and Organist. Don also works as the Spiritual Care Coordinator for the Mentor office of Grace Hospice, which serves patients in eastern Cuyahoga County, as well as Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula Counties.

Denny Carleton, Contemporary Music Leader


Send Denny an email

Denny Carleton joined Willoughby First Presbyterian as contemporary worship leader in 2010, where he leads the 8:45-9:30 am contemporary worship service with guitar and voice. Denny is a longstanding figure in the Cleveland music scene, having played throughout high school with the Lost Souls and also with notable bands such as The Choir (“It’s Cold Outside”). In addition to being a gifted guitarist, Denny is also a talented vocalist and prolific songwriter who has published twelve CDs. Denny enjoys performing his original music in clubs and churches around the Northeastern Ohio area and leading music for Lake county’s Life Teen contemporary mass. Denny is also a wonderful teacher of guitar, piano, ukelele, songwriting  and music theory.

Shanti Blatnik, Bell Choir Director

Shanti cropped

Send Shanti an email

Shanti Blatnik, began directing at Willoughby Presbyterian in 1999. She started ringing bells in her hometown church, United Presbyterian of Cortland, New York in the seventh grade and continued through high school. Shanti graduated with a music minor in french horn from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio and rang through graduate school at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Shanti has rung during many festivals and has enjoyed working with top musicians in the industry. In her spare time Shanti can be found at the local YMCA exercising as well as working. She and her husband, Frank, are the proud parents of four wonderful children.

Cailey Williams, Childcare

Kaylin cropped

Send Cailey an email

Cailey Williams grew up in the Willoughby-Eastlake area and plans to stay here long term. She comes from a large family with three siblings and many cousins. In 2011, Cailey began working in the Toddler Room at the church. She has been working in childcare for years and loves the opportunity to continue doing so through the church. Cailey graduated from Eastlake North High School, has a BA from Ohio Northern University and a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a full-time librarian and loves to read books of all types, including picture books to little ones.

Jillian Tompkins, Childcare

(Biography and picture coming soon!)