Meet the Staff
Deanna Yahney

Terera Hawkins

Director of the Little Angels Preschool

As a dedicated educator with over 30 years’ experience in early childhood education and a follower of Christ for as many years, I am passionate about creating a nurturing and engaging environment where children feel safe & supported to be curious, creative, and encouraged to explore and learn. Just as a parent holds their precious child in their lap, providing comfort and security, we aim to do the same at Little Angels Preschool (LAP). Caring staff who are committed to providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where your child can sit comfortably on their “lap” and grow in faith, knowledge, and character are qualities we look for in hiring the ideal teacher.


James Robbins

James Robbins II

Director of Music and Worship & Director of Congregational Care

It’s an honor and privilege to serve as the Director of the Music and Worship Ministries here at Mary Esther United Methodist Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Sam Parkes.

I began my musical journey around 12 years of age. My humble beginnings started while spending summers in the country in front of a miniature fan on top of an old piano. It later continued at my family church playing hymns for Church School and soon thereafter substituting for the Sunday service musician when needed. My love for God and music began to meld once I began to feel the power and presence of God in private settings. It was then that God challenged me to invite others into what we shared and my full- time ministry was birthed. Twenty years of music ministry include serving as the state music director for a sister Methodist denomination which required that I be comfortable in all genres of church music whether hymns, anthems, spirituals, traditional or contemporary. I also led the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America for 5 years as music director and served on the executive board of the International Music and Christian Arts Ministry which produced the first live recording for a 100+-year-old denomination. 

I have a B.S. in Theology from Truth Bible College and Seminary and extensive study in marketing and business organizational management from Edward Waters College. I enjoy collaborating with others to do more than we each can ever hope to do on our own. I've learned that where there is unity, there is strength! I invite you to join us as we fine-tune our gifts and talents and practice His presence in rehearsals. It’s not just music when you can find GOD in it! Come join us here at MEUMC where strong minds and passionate hearts connect and unite in worship!


James Robbins

Mallory Barton

Director of Children's Ministry

My name is Mallory Barton and I am the Director of Children’s Ministry. I was born and raised here in Fort Walton Beach. I currently live in Shalimar with my husband Anthony and our two boys, Luka and Kylo. I was born “into” the church so I’ve spent my last 31 years attending Mary Esther United Methodist Church. I enjoy spending time with my family, crafts, and going on family vacations.

I graduated from Northwest Florida State College with my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. While I was attending college, I worked at Little Angels Preschool here at the church. I started teaching second grade at Eglin Elementary School in 2015 and taught for two years before going to Southside in Crestview to teach PreK-Disabilities. After making the commute to Crestview for two years I was able to get hired on at Mary Esther Elementary School teaching PreK-Disabilities. I have always had a love of working with children from a small age. I grew up babysitting, working in the nursery, nannying during the summer months, director assistant at Little Angels Preschool, tutoring, and now a full-time teacher.

I am so excited to take on the role as Children’s Minister here at the church. I know God gave me the patience, understanding, and love to care and teach children of all ages. I am looking forward to working with families to help shape and mold our children into followers of Christ.

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”


Deanna Yahney

Mary Jane Nogay

Administrative Assistant

My name is Mary Jane Nogay and I’m the Administrative Assistant. I recently moved to the area with my husband Bruce, from Beaumont, Texas.  The beach life, fishing and our only daughter, Meg and her husband Mark, brought us here.  My husband recently retired from ExxonMobil, and we wanted to once again be close to family.

I attended Louisiana Tech University and continued at Valencia College in Orlando, where I met my husband. We married and moved to Texas to be near my family.

I’ve always had a drive to work and create. I’ve been the Southern Region Operations Manager for Mitchell’s Formal Wear in Winter Garden, Florida, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian  Preschool Teacher and a VP of Operations at Towers Elite Services, where I retired from in Beaumont. All of this while running  a successful catering business and an artist. I’ve also served on the boards of Southeast Texas Symphony, Habitat for Humanity and the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army of Beaumont Texas. I believe in giving back to the community through your faith!

I am so blessed to be a part of the MEUMC staff family and this community.