Christian Home Educator's Science & Sports Institute (CHESSIE)

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                                 2017-2018 CHESSIE SCIENCE TEACHERS AND STAFF MEMBERS:                                             

Mrs. Kathy Pierson

CHESSIE Administrator and Science Teacher

Classes Taught:

Groups 2A, 2B ,3,4A, 4B & grade 7/8 Life Science

Kathy started CHESSIE in her home in 2006. When it out-grew her home, CHESSIE moved to our current location. Kathy loves teaching science topics to children. She finds it exciting to take the words off the page in a science book and bring them alive for students through fun "hands on" experiments and science activities. Science is tied closely to God’s creation and all that He has given us to enjoy. She homeschooled her three sons from 1994-2014. She finished when the last son graduated from highschool. Kathy has a B.S. in Biology with a minor in chemistry from Geneva College. Post college, she went to The Fairfax Hospital School of Cardiovascular Technology where she earned her certification and registry in the field. She worked for ten years in a cardiac catheterization lab and open-heart surgery unit in Northern Virginia prior to having children. She also has had experience teaching Sunday School at various churches and was the nursery director for five years at her church.  She is a member of Trinity PCA church in Charlottesville. She has been teaching at ACTS since 2003 & CHESSIE since 2006. She taught at the Regents School in 2014-2015. In her spare time, Kathy enjoys biking with her family. Kathy is married to Tom and has three sons (Joshua, Zachary, and Nathaniel).

Mrs. Leslie Lepage

Classes taught: Grade K & 1

Leslie is a graduate from the University of Maine and has lived in the Charlottesville area for 20 years. For 13 of those years she has homeschooled her 6 boys.  Leslie ​has always enjoyed learning about God's creation through the study of science. She taught her sons their early years of science and she also has loved teaching children's church since her boys were little. Her children have been attending CHESSIE for 9 years and  this will be Leslie's 4th  year teaching the Kindergarten and first grade science classes. CHESSIE holds a special place in her heart. It has been a place where her children have gained friendship and​ science​ knowledge and where she has found support and encouragement.  Watching little ones make discoveries about the world around them ​has been one of her biggest joys as a teacher.  She and her family attend Hope Presbyterian Church of Crozet, a young church plant. She enjoys running, reading Jane Austin and watching historical BBC dramas with her husband.

Mrs. Amber Basener
Class taught:   Apologia Physics
Amber and her husband, Bill, have five children;
Abigail, Wesley, Lila, J.T., and Margo. Amber graduated from Alfred University, in Alfred NY with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, and a concentration in Physics. After graduating she taught middle school science at a small private school for a year, and then taught high school Chemistry and Physics at Carver High School,just outside of Plymouth Massachusetts for three years. She has always enjoyed the physical sciences. In studying and teaching them her favorite topics were analytical and physical chemistry and in Physics, she really enjoys mechanics. Amber and her family attend Blue Ridge Community Church.
Mrs. Lisa Saucerman
Sports leader for K & 2A group (12:00-2:00)
Lisa and her husband Jeff have 4 children; Gavin , Maya, Ava, and Bella.  Lisa and Jeff met at Penn State University where they both received their B.S.  Lisa later received her J.D. from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California.  She practiced criminal defense in San Diego for a year before Gavin was born. The family lived briefly in Chicago, before moving to Crozet for Jeff's job at UVA.  The Saucermans love traveling, hiking, biking, soccer, swimming, and other outdoor activities.Lisa, Jeff and their family attend Crozet Baptist Church.

Mrs. Angie Sokolowski (1:00-4:00)

Sports leader for modified presidential physical fitness program for groups 3,4A,4B & Life Science.

Angie, her husband Chad, and their Children Adeline, Charles & Conrad, live in Barboursville VA.  Angie has a Bachelors in Graphic Design and a Masters in Elementary Education. After achieving her undergraduate degree, Angie spent 9 years as an Art Director for an advertising company & 4 years as a  5th grade teacher. The Sokolowski family has been in the Charlottesville area for 2 years and are enjoying all God’s favor that He continues to give them. Angie and her family are blessed to be a part of the Restoration United Methodist community in Charlottesville.

Mr. Chad Sokolowski,

Presidential Physical Fitness assistant


Chad is an avid cyclist that has ridden across Iowa 9 times and loves to take jogs around his farm.  He used to swim in college and is a devoted (bordering on fanatical) ice hockey fan that cant wait for the new ice arena in Charlottesville to open up!  Throughout his life he has been very interested in nutrition and has extensive experience with physical therapy.  Chad also has a degree in Chemistry and has managed R&D programs for DoD, DHS, and the Intelligence Community and applies this same rubric and dedication to the physical education program. 

William & Bonnie Opyoke

Supervising parents  11:00-12:00

William & Bonnie are the parents of  Abby and Noah. Bonnie grew up as the daughter of a Methodist pastor turned Orthodox priest.  Bonnie  lived in England when she was young, and got to visit all the English counties and Scotland . She attended college in Boston to study photojournalism.  In Boston she photographed a variety of things such as homelessness, political conventions and religious demonstrations.  After deciding to work from home, she began her own international children's magazine. She is an avid gardener, music lover, beach bum & knitter. She still loves her English hot tea, especially on a rainy day.  William is a local head chef who works at Wild Wolf Brewing Company in Charlottesville. He is a deacon in the Orthodox Church. He enjoys doing fun experiments for Abby & Noah at home and performing magic tricks creating excitement in his audience.

Mrs. Katie Arnold
Volunteer Administrative Assistant & Supervising mom (3-5)
Katie and her husband, Shaun, have four children: Pierce), Reid , Delaney  and Britton.  She and her family attend church at Effort Baptist Church. Katie graduated with a BA in Sociology from UVA and worked in the social services field before staying home full-time. In her "free" time, she enjoys running, cooking and blogging.

Sharon Hujik

Volunteer service scheduler

Sharon is the mom of Luke, John and Nora, wife of Peter, Director of the Charlottesville Classical Conversations program, and Business Coach at  She lives in Gordonsville and has been part of CHESSIE for 3 years. Sharon and her family attend  All Saints Anglican Church.

Maggie Cothran,class assistant 2B,3, 4A (12-2:30)
Maggie is  in 11th grade and taking chemistry at
CHESSIE this year.  She enjoys helping with the 
younger students  during their classtime. Maggie enjoys singing and acting with a local drama troupe, babysitting, and being with friends. She attends CrossLife Community Church where she serves in the children ministry. 

Gideon Abbott

Teen sports leader: 1:15-3:15  Gideon is in 10th grade & will be taking chemistry this year. He enjoys playing all sports, especially basketball and football, and running cross country. Gideon attends First Baptist Church and loves being a part of the Park Street Youth Ministry. Gideon has been a CHESSIE summer camp assistant for the past three  summers.

Ella Forister

Sports Leader, group K (12-2)

Ella is in 11th grade and will be taking Physics at CHESSIE this year. She is very excited to be helping out with with the younger students’ sports time. Ella also enjoys playing piano, serving at Crosslife Community Church and helping out at a local farm. 

Maya Saucerman

Group K & 2A sports assistant (12-1:45)

Maya is in 9th grade and taking Biology  this year. She loves singing, and acting in plays. She loves working with younger kids, and volunt(12eering at the Frontier Culture Musuem. 

Abigail Fountain

Group 2B & 3, class assistant (12:00-1:15)

Abigail is in 12th grade. She is taking Physics this year and is excited to help with the 2B & 3 science classes. Abigail enjoys activities such as biking, hiking, babysitting, and basketball. She attends City Church in Charlottesville.  Abigail is eagerly looking forward to CHESSIE this year.

Lucy Hutchins

Class assistant for the K & 1 groups 

Lucy will be a 11th grader this year and will be in the chemistry class at CHESSIE. She loves learning about science, playing soccer and other outside sports, doing puzzles, hanging out with friends, and acting/singing.  Lucy enjoys working with the young children at CHESSIE.

Liam Monaghan

Teen sports leader (3:15-4:45)

Liam is in the 9th grade and taking Biology at CHESSIE this year. He enjoys reading and gaming. He is looking forward to sharing some of his favorite games with the kids. He                attends Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville.

Mrs. Sharon Shelton
Classes Taught:
Apologia Physical Science, Biology, & Chemistry
Member of Administrative Team
Sharon has been home schooling since 1996.  She and her husband, Brian have four children; Mary, Abigail,  Robert , and John . Sharon has B.S. and M.S. degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology from Mississippi State University and came to Charlottesville in 1989 for a job in the Diagnostic DNA lab at UVA Hospital. She worked there for 7 years, carrying out tests for cystic fibrosis, paternity, hepatitis C and other DNA related issues.  Over the years, she has enjoyed using her background to teach science in group settings with children of various ages.  Sharon especially enjoys teaching high school level science classes using the Apologia Curriculum.  She believes scientific study enables the wonder and mystery of our Creator to be revealed and also provides insights, answers, and avenues to serve and bless people through what is discovered.  She has taught highschool science classes at CHESSIE since 2009. She taught at the Regents School from 2014-2015. She has been teaching high school science classes at ACTS homeschool co-op since 2015.  The Shelton’s attend Christ Community Church.
Mrs. Pip Chambers
Sports Area Co-ordinator
Member of the Administrative Team
Pip has been homeschooling in Charlottesville for the last 11 years with her husband, Dan.  She graduated from UVA many moons ago & became a believer several years later, right about the same time she and Dan got engaged.  She asked the Lord two things:  please don't make me homeschool and please, PLEASE don't let my husband become a pastor.  Homeschooling and helping  Dan as he serves the church are now two of her most favorite things in life.  In addition, she has always had a heart for encouraging and connecting other homeschool moms, including starting a homeschooling group at her church.  Pip and Dan have 4 children:  Gillian, Jesse, Nate & Rowan.  Pip and her family attend FBC Park Street where Dan is on staff.
Mrs. Rachel Hice
Class Assistant & Activity Leader, group  2A, 2B,3
Supervising mom 1:15-3
Rachel, her husband Bryan, and their son Isaac, live in Scottsville 
 Va.  The love of organic foods and homesteading is what brought them to this area. Originally from a Missionary family that served in Az, Rachel has always had a love to learn, to explore, and to meet new people.  Being homeschooled as a child, the freedom to explore and learn through hands on is why she and her family are so passionate about this lifestyle. Rachel has a BA in Psychology, and has completed massage therapy school (that comes in handy!).  Rachel and her family attend CrossLife Community Church.
Mrs. Renee Cothran
Sports leader 1-3 (Group # 1 & 2B)
 Renee  joined the Chessie staff in 2013 after moving to the area from Colorado Springs. Being new to town, CHESSIE was an answer to prayer and Renee is happy to be the  sports leader for these younger  groups. Upon earning a degree in Political Science from the University of Central Arkansas, Renee joined the Summer Staff of Summit Ministries where she met her husband Todd. They were asked to come on full-time staff in 1996 where Renee served as Asst. to the President. After coming into contact with many strong homeschooling families, both Todd and Renee became intrigued by this form of education.While their oldest was still a baby, Todd produced a research documentary on homeschooling and they were convinced that’s how they would educate their children. She loves outside activities and has always enjoyed worship ministry with her church. Renee & Todd have 4 children: David , Jonathan, Maggie, &  Mollie.  Renee and her family attend CrossLife Community Church, where Todd is the pastor.

Helen Travis, CHESSIE service hour Lead Sub

Helen  and her husband have lived in Charlottesville since 1996.  Helen has a BS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia. Helen worked in construction offices from 1996 until 2003.  She learned bookkeeping on the job working for a General Contractor. Helen stopped working in 2003 when her oldest was born. She began homeschooling at that time and has been since.  In 2008, she began working part-time as a bookkeeper for various very small businesses.  The Travis family has been part of CHESSIE for three years.  Helen enjoys being outdoors watching children play.  She also has radar for untied shoes!  She will stop a game to see to a child's untied shoes.  The Travis family attends Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Mrs. Christylynn Flynn-- Supervising Mom (2-4)
Christylynn and her husband have four children (Josiah, Constance, Parker, & Estelle). She attended UVA, where she got her masters in Elementary Education and her bachelors in Communications.  After a year teaching in China, she came back to the U.S. and  started reaching  out to international students who attend 
UVA.  She and her family continue to welcome internationals to their home.  
Folks from other nations find it fascinating to learn about homeschooling!  
She and her family attend Christ Community Church.

Jackie Rochester

Supervising Mom 12;00-1:15

Jackie and her family have lived in the Charlottesville area since 2011. She earned her B.A. in history and M.S. in education at Southern Adventist University near Chattanooga, TN. She taught middle and high school history and English for 12 years but decided to stay home when her daughter joined the family. As a public school teacher, Jackie never imagined she’d homeschool her own children, but she feels privileged to be able to share the daily adventure of learning with them. She’s thankful to have found CHESSIE to supplement their science education with all the hands-on activities that make science fun.

Tracy  Johnson

Supervising mom (3-4)

Tracy is married to Matt, her high school sweetheart, and they have three miracle sons.  Before motherhood, however, Tracy earned a Bachelor degree in Business Management at Georgia State University, and had many years of experience before ending her career in the real estate department of Norfolk Southern Railway Company.  In God's perfect timing, her dream job of motherhood came available as she became pregnant with Zachary and Bryce, now 15, then 4 years later another miracle of Caleb, now 11.  She absolutely loves being the mom of boys!  Tracy and Matt were called to homeschool when pregnant with the twins, and have loved the roller coaster ride ever since.  God as shown Himself faithful each year as Tracy has relied on a whole lot of coffee and even more of Jesus.  When you cannot find Tracy she may be found on her front porch reading a book while sipping sweet tea from a BALL jar, or shopping second hand stores for treasures.  But in reality, she is mostly schooling or cooking or cleaning or laundering or ironing or taxiing kids around town...all the while dreaming of being on her front porch : ). A year ago, their family transplanted from a little town called Dacula, just northeast of Atlanta, Georgia.  They moved to Barboursville when Matt accepted a new job with WorldStrides.  They love being a part of the CHESSIE family!

Jesse Chambers
Sports assistant K & 2A (12-2)
Jesse is in 10th grade this year and taking chemistry at CHESSIE.  He has never met a sport he didn't like.  He's looking forward to leading lots and lots of games with the kids.  He enjoys 3D printing, building stuff, reading and basketball.  Jesse is very active with PSYM (Park Street Youth Ministry) at First Baptist where he also works in the nursery and makes breakfast snacks for the entire congregation once a month.  

Lena Travis

1 & 2B Sports assistant (1-3)

Lena Travis is in 11th grade and taking  physics at CHESSIE this year.  She enjoys arts and crafts, music, science, movies, board games, and spending time with friends and family.   Lena attends Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and likes helping the moms with their toddlers. 

Toby Rinehart

Sports leader for group 1 & 2B (1-3)

Hi, I’m Toby Rinehart. I’m in 11th grade this year and will be taking physics at CHESSIE. I am the second of four boys in my family. I have been going to CHESSIE since I was five years old and I am excited  to help out with sports again this year.

Noah Fountain

Presidential Physical Fitness teen assistant (2-3)

Hello there, I'm Noah and I will be assisting Mrs. Soko in the physical fitness group this year. I am in 10th grade and will be taking physical science this year.
I really enjoy taking Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and I am a First Class boy scout.

Mace Fraites

Presidential Physical Fitness teen assistant (3-4)

Mace is in 9th grade and will be taking Biology.  This will be Mace’s fifth year at CHESSIE.  He loves baseball, basketball, and is on swim team. He is an avid Boy Scout and enjoys all outdoor activities.  He attends First Baptist Park Street.

Elizabeth Abbott

Presidential Physical Fitness, teen assistant (1-2)

Elizabeth is in 9th grade this year and will be taking Biology at CHESSIE. She enjoys running cross country and track, singing, playing the piano, and hanging out with her friends. She is a member of First Baptist Church of Charlottesville and is active in Park Street Youth Ministries. This being her seventh year at CHESSIE, Elizabeth is very excited to be working with the kids.