Founder and Director
Kristie Campbell has been a part of the Effingham community since she returned in 2004 to create firefly grill with her husband, Niall. A self taught educator, Kristie began to define her vision for an innovative school when she was pregnant with her daughter Camden. Buckeye Friends School is based on a deep belief that all kids have limitless potential and a great opportunity to thrive when they are given the freedom to explore, create and pursue their own passions. Kristie wants Buckeye to be the most interesting place on earth for her students, and a space where the only reason they look at the clock is because they are afraid there won’t be enough time left in the day.
Co-founder and Co-learner
A native to Effingham, Christy Dietzen graduated from the University of North Texas with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies. She began her teaching career in Plano, TX as a Learning Disabilities and 1st grade teacher. After meeting the love of her life, she returned to Effingham and had her two children, Abigail and Teddy. Christy’s passion for teaching has led her to dive into the instruction of everything from senior fitness to movement classes for children to diverse special education classrooms, including time as director of a three year old preschool program. She’s excited to take the next step in her education journey as a Co-Learner at Buckeye Friends School.
Co-founder and Co-learner
Carrie Huff has been an educator for over 40 years. She began teaching middle school Language Arts in St. Louis in 1970 and then moved to Maine, where she taught Language Arts, Theatre, French, and Biology for 12 years. She and her family moved to North Carolina in 1992, where she joined the staff of the Carolina Friends School (CFS), a small Quaker school in the woods. During her 25 years at CFS, she was both a teacher and an administrator. After her retirement, Carrie and her husband Greg moved to Effingham in 2017, and she is the very proud mother of 3 grown children and 5 amazing grandchildren. Carrie is excited to be a part of the new Buckeye team!
Marietta is a native of the island of Puerto Rico, where she was inspired by the Island's beauty at an early age to appreciate nature. She describes herself as a scientist, an explorer, a traveler, a mother of two curios girls, a wife to an energetic animal physiologist, and a compassionate human being. Her academic background is in environmental and aquatic sciences, with a range of K-16 bilingual education experiences in Florida, Puerto Rico and Illinois. Before relocating to Illinois, Marietta and her family lived and managed a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on the Southwest coast of Puerto Rico for three years. While there, Marietta dedicated her time to grant management within a community-based non-profit focused on coastal restoration projects. Marietta is a kid at heart and loves to play outdoors, create projects, and perform experiments. She now hopes to share her love towards the environment, empower young minds and is eager to be part of the Buckeye journey.
Vern was born and raised in the Chicago area. Since playing baseball through college all the way to Minor League Baseball for the LA Dodgers in 2002, Vern has taken his passion for baseball and fitness to the next level, becoming an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, Youth Trainer, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer over the last 10 years. He moved to Neoga in 2005 and over the course of 15 years became operations manager of a large swine farm.
He is currently a junior high baseball coach for St. Michael's School in Sigel, the assistant baseball coach and strength and conditioning coach for St. Anthony High School and coaches the Effingham Outlaws 13U travel baseball team. He also does private and small group lessons in baseball as well as off-season athletic development training. Vern is passionate about developing leaders and a winning mindset. He is an avid reader and writer, driven to constantly learn and improve. He is a graduate of “Launching a Leadership Revolution” course, which focuses on personal and leadership development. He has seen, both personally and professionally as well as in the youth and adults he has invested time and energy coaching, that understanding solid movement principles can only take you so far – developing the mind of a winner is what takes us to the next level.
Before and After-School Program Director
Dawn has lived in the St. Louis area for most of her life. In 2016, she and her family relocated to Effingham so that her husband Tom could begin working at Dieterich Bank. They have two sons, TJ and Alex. Dawn has been working in the education field since 1995 when she graduated from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL (Go Cougars!). She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Dawn has tremendous experience with all different grade levels and ages. It is with much excitement that Dawn joins the Buckeye team to run the before and after-school program!