Our Story

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 in 2011. 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.

Starting their 4th year, the team is successfully executing this lofty goal. Buckeye students want to be at school more than anywhere else, they think summer is too long and that we have too many breaks. Though Buckeye has very little homework, students are constantly staying late to work on their projects, to read together, to work on their novels, to play Dungeons and Dragons and various sports and to choreograph dances for their troop.

In 2022, BFS was supposed to have its first graduating senior. In an unequivocal example of how well the innovative BFS curriculum works, this student did so well on her college entrance exams that she graduated one year early and is now a successful full time student in college.

Buckeye is doing for education, what firefly did for food in Effingham County. Achieving the seemingly impossible to elevate what this amazing community has to offer. Not every school is a great fit for every student. Buckeye offers an alternative for families who believe that the assumptions of the industrial-age-models of schooling are no longer sufficient for children to thrive in the 21st century.

Firefly was created to attract talent to Effingham businesses, it is the space where the majority of recruiting is achieved. Kristie hopes that BFS will also attract and retain talent for our community, countering the rural brain drain happening in small midwest towns.