Our Staff

Debra “Rusty” Pardee
Prayer Chaplain Coordinator
My formal education, certifications and career experiences as an acupuncture physician and public speaker, and my education in Christian Education and membership in Unity churches since 1976 around the South and Northeast, have helped me develop skills that I apply in my position as Prayer Chaplain Coordinator. The Prayer Chaplain Coordinator plans and provides initial, intense training once a year for all chaplains, plus monthly training and on-going support for the Prayer Chaplain Team. Members of the team are assigned a group of church members to contact monthly for individual prayers. They are also available to pray after church services and whenever they are needed for support. We welcome new members who have the desire to selflessly serve others by holding spiritual space, by praying with and for those brought forward for prayer, and by holding in confidence all that is shared.
Suzanne Amsel
Nursery Attendant
Suzanne arrived to Port Orange from Louisiana in 1981… just prior to welcoming her fourth son. She was quickly introduced to Unity, joined, and has worked in the Nursery ever since. She has retired from Daytona State College, where she worked full-time in the Student Disability Services department for 24 years and taught ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) part time for eight years. Suzanne is a Notary and has officiated many wedding ceremonies. At present she kitty/puppy/house sits all the while knitting scarves (from donated yarn) for the homeless and crochets donated single use plastic bags into sleeping mats for them. She’s very environmentally conscious… a vegetarian for 38 years and raw food vegan the past 15… enjoying gardening and exercising to round out the quest for a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Cass Panuska
Director of Music Ministry

Soprano Cass Panuska is passionate about fostering connection with others through vocal music, and has sung and taught professionally throughout the United States. 

For many of her early performing years, Cass’s home base was the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoyed bringing opera roles to life with professional organizations such as Berkeley Opera, Opera San Jose’s Outreach Program, Opera Frontier, Pocket Opera, Goat Hall Productions, and Solo Opera.  Prior to her time there, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and her Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Colorado State University.

In 2021, after moving to Central Florida, she made her role debut as Mother in Hansel and Gretel with Opera Orlando, and she prepared and rehearsed the character of The Rose in “The Little Prince,” with First Coast Opera (Saint Augustine, FL).* Cass has since returned to First Coast Opera to perform Mrs. Gobineau in Menotti’s “The Medium,” and was also in Opera Orlando’s ensemble for “The Daughter of the Regiment.”

Prior to becoming Unity of Daytona’s Director of Music Ministry, Cass was a soloist at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Daytona Beach.  She owns and operates Banana Street Voice Studio, where she teaches private and group voice lessons.  She and her husband, Torlef, also run an intimate concert series at their studio, called “Porch Concerts,” and are founding members of Central Florida’s Pinnacle Singers, a professional group offering various programs ranging from Opera to Music Theatre and Movie tunes. 

Cass is thrilled to be a part of the Unity team.

*canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic

Darren Bartolo
Accompanist

Unity of Daytona Beach is delighted to have Darren Bartolo as our new accompanist. He has built a career around building accessible programing for people of all backgrounds and ability levels, while still maintaining his dedication to solo and piano performance.

At age 18 he received his first official post when he was appointed as lead pianist for Florida’s Capitol Cathedral in Tallahassee, the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More. Since then, he has played for such notable organizations as the Orlando Ballet Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Central Florida Community Arts and the Orlando Gay Chorus.

He continues to create programs for underserved communities, most notably The Central Florida Community Arts ,where he helped pioneer a choir for adults with special needs, as well as a musical program for adults with Downs Syndrome that is still running today.

Debra Beddard
Housekeeping
Debra is a Daytona native who grew up in a traditional Christian church but found Unity and stayed. Since joining Unity of Daytona years ago as a staff member, she also became a church member and has since called Unity of Daytona Beach home. Debra is always helping out with some project or another and wearing many hats in the church family. Most often she is found managing the coffee angels and kitchen when she’s not busy cleaning.
Andrea Graham
Accountant