Meet the Staff
Mrs. Mary Rowles
Mary has been with Kolbe Academy Home School since the program’s inception. She has contributed to the growth and development of the home school program over the years as home school manager (2002 – 2004), head of academic advising (2004-2007), registrar (1996-1999, 2005-2008) Assistant Executive Director (2017) and Executive Director (2008-2016, 2018-) of Kolbe Academy.
Mary and her late husband, Chuck, had been married for over 30 years. She has ten children, 6 boys and 4 girls, and so far, is the proud grandmother of 16. Mary has home schooled several of her children off and on over the last 20 years, three of whom have mild to moderate learning disabilities. All of her children have attended Kolbe Academy’s Day School or online school during years that she was not home schooling, and her 9 oldest have graduated from Kolbe thus far.
Mr. Steve Dilly
Senior Director of Business Operations
Steve is from Eastern Washington and a graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Accounting. He worked for the Deloitte firm out of college and has been self employed for 22 years owning gas and convenience stores. He and his wife Tonja have 8 children, of which the 6 oldest were home schooled for several years. They have one graduate of the Kolbe Academy & Trinity Prep day school with 5 children currently enrolled there.
Mrs. Megan Lengyel
Senior Director of Online Learning
Megan received her BS in Physics from the University of Dallas in Irving, TX and her MS in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. She served as Kolbe’s Math and Science Advisor until helping to get the Online Academy off the ground in 2013. She now serves as Kolbe’s Senior Director of Online Learning. Megan and her husband now live near Atlanta, Georgia, and have four children.
Mr. Everett Buyarski
Director of Academic Services
Everett was born and raised in Southeast Alaska, aka “God’s Country.” He studied Philosophy at Gonzaga University (Go Zags!), and spent two years in the seminary before discerning he wasn’t called to the priesthood. He is married to his beautiful wife Melissa, and has five sons, Nathaniel, Aaron, Peter, Matthew, and David.
Before joining Kolbe Academy in 2008, Everett worked as a high school teacher in math, science and computer literacy at a small private Catholic school in Cottonwood, Idaho. In addition to his work as Director of Academic Services, Everett teaches for the Diocese of Santa Rosa and the Maris Stella Institute in their catechist formation programs and is a Little League board member and umpire. He currently serves on the California Advisory Committee for Cognia, Kolbe’s accrediting agency.
Mrs. Jeanne Anne Ford
Director of Admissions
Jeanne Anne is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army which meant her family had to move all over the United States every two or three years. Her conversion to Catholicism at the age of 21, she attributes to listening to Archbishop Fulton Sheen on tape. She graduated from the University of San Francisco while working and taking care of small children and thus understands the struggles of juggling motherhood, working and teaching. After home schooling her eight children for over 16 years, she now resides in Napa with her youngest three children who attend Kolbe Academy Trinity Prep Day School.
Mrs. Nicole O’Connor
Director of Online Elementary Learning
Nicole received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition and a Master of Science degree in Online K-12 Education through Franciscan University of Steubenville. She has worked both in the classroom and online with students ranging from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade. Writing has always been her passion; however, she is even more passionate about helping young students learn to read, write, and love grammar! She thrives when providing support to elementary teachers in the classroom or when teaching preschoolers how to grow in fine motor and pre-reading skills. She has taught for Kolbe for the past 5 years in the English and Literature department, and now serves as the Director of Online Elementary Learning. Nicole and her husband live in Orange County, California, and have three daughters.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, and Saint Brigid, Ora Pro Nobis!
Mrs. Nancy Nelson
Inventory Control Manager
Nancy, also a daughter of the founders of Kolbe Academy, has been with Kolbe since 2001. She and her husband Dave have been married for 25 years and have 4 children and 5 grandchilden.
Mrs. Deana Muth
Curriculum Development Manager
Deana was born and raised on Air Force bases in both the United States and Europe until her father retired from the military when she was 15 years old. She attended the University of Dallas, where she earned a BA in English. Immediately after graduating from college in 1990, she married her college sweetheart (and fellow UD alum) Brian Muth at the Chapel of the Incarnation on the campus of the University of Dallas. They have been blessed with nine children.
Deana has spent most of her adult life in California (both Southern and Northern), although she has always considered Texas her home. Deana and Brian currently live in Heath, TX, with their school-aged children.
Mrs. Celeste Cuellar
Dean of Students
Celeste was first employed at Kolbe Academy in 2006-2008 as an academic advisor. She left to help her parish establish a classical Catholic school that used Kolbe’s curriculum. In 2013, with the advent of online courses, she was asked to return to Kolbe as a mentor for the online teachers. Celeste has served Kolbe Academy in many capacities over the years including Dean of Students, Dean of Faculty, and Special Needs Advisor. Prior to working at Kolbe Academy, Celeste spent a number of years working as a preschool teacher, classroom teacher for K-8, mental health therapist, school counselor, and adjunct faculty instructor. Her BA is in Liberal Arts, her MA is in Counseling, and she is also a certified K-8 teacher.
Academic Advising Department
Mrs. Judy Riordon
Judy grew up in the St. Louis area and now lives with her family near Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College (BA-English Writing) and Georgetown University Law (JD), and has been a homeschooling mom for the past 20 years. She and her husband, John, have six children, all of whom have been Kolbe Academy students. Four are graduates of Kolbe’s Homeschool High School. Their youngest child is currently a Kolbe Homeschool 7th grader. Judy also facilitates a prayer group for moms of college students and is an American Heritage Girls Troop Coordinator. She enjoys walking, birdwatching, exploring State and National Parks, reading, photography, and travel.
Mrs. Elizabeth Mannella
Elizabeth is originally from South Carolina, born and raised on Hilton Head Island but currently lives in Texas. She received her Undergraduate degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Education then moved on to teach Special Education for three years at a variety of grade levels. During her first and second years of teaching, Elizabeth earned her Master’s in Educational Administration focusing on Curriculum Development and Professional Development. She chose this specialization because she is very passionate about effective and meaningful professional development in the education sector especially when it comes to special education! Her final master’s thesis was titled: Autism in the General Education Classroom: A Study of Successful Strategies and the Need for Professional Development.
Elizabeth has worked with preschool through eighth grade in both private and public settings, but her heart is in Catholic Education. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband & their son, reading, and going to the beach or being in nature whenever she can!
Mrs. Erica Treat
Erica received a BA in psychology from Biola University in Southern California. She has worked in many fields from social work to tech support, but her most important work has been homeschooling her two boys and supporting her military family as an Air Force wife. Erica and her family currently call the Rocky Mountains of Colorado home. She and her husband have been married for twenty-two years, nineteen of those years have been in the Air Force. In 2006, Erica and her husband entered the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil. She is now in her thirteenth year of homeschooling and her sixth year as a Kolbe Academy parent. In her spare time Erica enjoys reading, long walks, and traveling with her family. She feels blessed to serve and support other Kolbe families.
Mrs. Rylan Buchanan
Rylan grew up homeschooling in Wenatchee, Washington until her junior year in high school at which point, her family moved to Napa, CA and she attended her last two years of high school at the Kolbe Academy and Trinity Prep day school. She graduated with her BA from the University of Mary in North Dakota in 2017 and then returned to her hometown in Washington. Since finishing college, she married her husband Tony, and they have a one-year old daughter. Rylan also works at her local parish. She was the Religious Education Director then moved into the Youth Ministry program where she currently serves as the Youth Minister for the high school youth group and confirmation programs.
Mr. Jon Bates
Jon is originally from northwest Florida. He joined the Army after completing high school and retired from active duty after 24 years of service. Jon holds a B.A. in History from the University of Maryland United Colleges and a M.B.A. in Project Management from Grantham University. He and his wife Chris now live in eastern Virginia and have five girls at home; four of whom are homeschooled with the Kolbe curriculum.
Mrs. Christine Bates
Chris Bates is originally from So. Oregon, and for the time being resides in S.E. Virginia. She has a B.A. in Business Management and Marketing from the University of Portland, and M.Ed. in Elementary Teaching and Learning from Liberty University. Chris is currently working toward her M.A. in Theology and Educational Ministry from Catholic Distance University. She is an Army veteran, and has an eclectic work experience ranging from office administration and management, to small business ownership, to athlete and fitness coach. She is also the First Communion catechist for their parish. Chris and her husband Jon have five girls at home; four of which are homeschooled with the Kolbe curriculum.
Mrs. Dianne Muth
Academic Advisor for Grades 1-6
Responsibilities: Curriculum Development, Academic Advising
Dianne and her late husband, Jerry, are one of the three founding couples of Kolbe Academy. Dianne taught grades 1 through 4 for many years at Kolbe Academy’s Day school and could always humbly assert that most of her students read, comprehended, wrote and did math at least one full level above their grade. After 20 years of teaching, she served as principal of Kolbe Academy’s Day School until 2003 when she “retired” to become a full time volunteer academic advisor for the Home School program.
As an early proponent of the need to focus on phonics, Mrs. Muth wrote the Ignatius Speaks and Writes English program used in Kolbe Academy Home School’s program for first and second grade, and is currently working on the third grade edition. She has also authored the Kolbe Academy guides to the Catholic National Reader and was instrumental in preparing the daily lesson plans for the majority of subjects in Kolbe’s grade school program.
Dianne has always enjoyed traveling in her spare time, and use this passion to help Kolbe out by representing at many home school conferences in the spring. She and her husband successfully reared 10 children, the youngest three of whom all graduated from Kolbe’s Day school, 45 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.
Mrs. Therese Huston
Therese was raised on a farm in northwest Oklahoma. She received a bachelor of science degree in elementary education
K-8 from Oklahoma State University. With the exception of one year as a missionary in the states, she has been teaching ever since. Therese spent six years teaching other families’ children in both Catholic and public schools before having her children and educating them at home. She has also long served on the youth ministry team at her parish, led Bible and book studies, and mentored other home educating parents. Therese enjoys reading, running, and her active life with four sons: a newly engaged college graduate, a sophomore at Benedictine College, and a Kolbe high school freshman and sixth grader.