STAFF

The CHEA staff employs several employees who all work remotely from their homes.

 

Portia Fiedler

Portia Fiedler

Education Consultant

My husband, Mike, and I began praying and investigating the possibility of home education when our first daughter was two. By the time she was ready for school, we knew God had called us to home educate. We home educated our four daughters through high school. The oldest is married to a pediatric nurse practitioner, a mom of two sets of twins, 6 and 3, and an education in psychology; our second daughter is the Director, Client Engagement Studio – West Region for Haworth; our third daughter is married to a contractor, has a daughter (13) and works as an ICU nurse; and our fourth daughter is married to a self-employed home inspector, has a 4-year-old son, is expecting her second son in April 2019, and is also an ICU nurse.

From 1992 until 2016 we operated a private school satellite program (PSP), Rainbow Christian Academy, in Long Beach with the goal of ministering to other home educating families. In addition to teaching my own children, I have also taught Latin, computer literacy, and various levels of math classes. We began attending the CHEA conventions in 1986. From 1998-2001, Mike and I were part of CHEA’s Regional Advisory Board for the greater Los Angeles Area. We were also involved in Awana as part of the Southern California Ministry Team, as well as, board members for Summit Games and Bible Quiz Corporation. We have taught all levels of Awana and ministered as Awana Commanders for our local church.

I have a BA in business administration/management, am the owner/operator of My Office Manager and co-owner, with my second daughter, of Essential Marketplaces, LLC selling essential oils through Amazon. Mike and I will have been married 40 years in October 2019. My mom lives with us because of her health. We have six grandchildren with 1 more due April. Praise God!

We are grateful for the many years of homeschooling we were able to provide each of our girls with the assistance of CHEA and Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). My goal, with the help of God, is to encourage and provide accurate information to those seeking Home Education as a viable option for their family.

For homeschooling help, call Portia Monday through Thursday 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Saturday 1:00 pm-3:00pm 562.544.7875.

Katie Julius

Katie Julius

Editor

Katie Julius joined the CHEA staff in April 2018. After being around the homeschool community through her friends and siblings growing up, she is now starting out on her own homeschool journey. She is married to her husband, John, and homeschools their first grade daughter.

Katie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design from Azusa Pacific University while also serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook. She then earned a Master of Arts†in Educational Counseling, also from Azusa Pacific University. She taught graphic arts, photography, and yearbook at the junior and senior high level for two years. Katie then worked as an administrative assistant for four-and-a-half years before making the decision to stay home to raise her then, 15-month-old daughter. She continues to use her design and administrative talents as a volunteer for several local community organizations and is eager for the opportunity to support the homeschooling families across California as well.

“Since I was in college, I’ve always known I wanted to homeschool my (future) children, even though I was never homeschooled myself. There’s something about the ability to give a child the one-on-one attention and specialize the curriculum that’s perfect for the way God created them that has drawn me to choose homeschooling.”

Rebecca Kocsis

Rebecca Kocsis

General Manager and Support Network Director

Once a homeschooler, always a homeschooler? “We homeschool our kids,” the pastor declared. He then posed the question, “Does anybody else?” Rebecca was quick to raise her hand. Then she realized that she hadn’t actually homeschooled in a number of years. She and her husband Ed had graduated of their youngest child in 2006, thus completing 22 years of home education, graduating all five of their children from their homeschool.

She first began serving CHEA while it was still a fledgling organization in 1986 by opening mail and filling requests for information and materials. As her family grew, both in size and number, she could no longer cover the mail and materials requests, though the whole family remained involved as Annual Convention staff running the Used Curriculum Exchange.

Rebecca served for 15 years as a private school satellite program (PSP) administrator and several years on CHEA’s Regional Advisory Board. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, she currently serves as General Manager and Support Network Director overseeing CHEA’s statewide network of homeschool groups, writing a bi-monthly newsletter for leaders, and organizing leadership conferences that are held in conjunction with our Conventions. Rebecca is also the author of “Let Not Your Feathers Be Ruffled” a devotional for homeschoolers. She counts it a privilege to still be serving the homeschool community after all of these years. Yes, once a homeschooler, always a homeschooler.

Hunter McKoy

Hunter McKoy

Technical Liaison

Hunter became a part of the CHEA staff in July 2014, but before that he volunteered with his parents, Gerald and Cecily, to handle many of the tasks required for the Annual CHEA Convention. He was homeschooled beginning in kindergarten and graduated high school in 2015, participating in the 2015 CHEA Graduation Ceremony. While in high school, his parents gave him the opportunity to dual enroll at his local community college, Victor Valley College. Through this path, Hunter graduated with Double Associate of Science degrees (the first in Math and Science, and the second in Computer Information Systems in June 2016.

Hunter “interned” with his father, Gerald, in the areas of coding and website management for a year before CHEA decided to bring him on the team, and he enjoys the changes and updates he gets to perform for the website. However, he also continues to join CHEA each year to volunteer in the Exhibit Hall: “There’s a joy in working together in person that isn’t easily found behind a computer screen,” Hunter said.

While Hunter is not busy maintaining the CHEA Website, he also works as the receptionist at Calvary Chapel Apple Valley. In addition, he also serves his local church by playing in the worship band and assisting in the High School youth group. His long-term goal is to become a YA novelist, and he has currently published 2 YA novels under a pen name.

Dianne Padget

Dianne Padget

Administrative Assistant

If Dianne Padget’s name looks familiar, it’s because she has been working with CHEA for years in the Used Curriculum Sale. She joined our staff in 2017as Administrative Assistant to Rebecca Kocsis, General Manager. Dianne and Rebecca have a long history, going back to homeschooling when their youngest children were two years old. Those kids are now grown, and Dianne and Rebecca both gladly carry the title of Grandma to a combined 19 grandkids; who knows what the future will hold!

Dianne and Tim, her husband and best friend, have been married for almost 44 years. Between 1987 and 1989, their lives changed dramatically, culminating with the decision to homeschool their three children. All three of Tim and Dianne’s children graduated from Olive Tree Christian School, the PSP Rebecca and a friend had started. During that time, Dianne started working with Rebecca in the UCS and eventually ended up taking over for Rebecca as she moved on to a different role with CHEA. Now when you come to the UCS, you will not only see David, the youngest Padget, but also his big sister Jayme and her kids helping. Tim and Dianne’s middle child is now living in Washington with her family.

Once David graduated, even though Dianne was done teaching at home, she remained involved in her homeschool community teaching children’s choir and high school theater, editing newsletters, and preparing high school transcripts for OTCS. She still assists in Allegiant Christian School’s choir, and runs the Used Curriculum Sale at the Annual CHEA Convention.

Dianne says, “Working for CHEA seems to bring things back full circle. Homeschooling has been a part of our lives for over 30 years, and being able to serve the homeschool community that has blessed me so abundantly is a gift. I look forward to working with the CHEA staff, and getting to know more of the people we serve.”

Nathan Pierce

Nathan Pierce

Legislative Consultant

Nathan is CHEA’s Legislative Consultant, as he serves as Senior Legislative Liaison at Family Protection Ministries (FPM). FPM exists to assure that state laws protect the God-given and constitutional rights of parents to direct the education and care of their children. CHEA and HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) asked Roy Hanson (FPM’s Executive Director) to establish FPM in 1986.

Nathan was homeschooled kindergarten through high school. He literally “grew up” with CHEA, attending his first convention in a stroller. As a teenager he volunteered at CHEA conventions as often as possible and dreamed of a time he could take on a larger role. After graduating from high school he went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in political studies from The Master’s College. While in college, he was asked to intern under the founder of FPM, Roy Hanson. He realized his passion for public policy, homeschooling, CHEA, and the families of California was God working to prepare him for the mission of advocating on behalf of private home education through the ministry of FPM. He now has over 17 years of experience doing advocacy work at the State Capitol. He works behind the scenes at the Capitol, meeting with legislators to advocate on behalf of private homeschoolers. Nathan currently serves as FPM’s Senior Legislative Liaison and Director of Operations.

Nathan Pierce met his wife Betsy while attending The Masters College and they were married in 2004. She also has a homeschooling background and carries a passion for supporting the families of their local private home education support group, of which she is a co-leader. They are blessed with seven children and have considered themselves homeschooling parents from the day their oldest was born! Their family enjoys spending time exploring lakes and rivers in the Sacramento area, as well as board games, family singing around the fire pit, and serving together in their local church.

When asked why Nathan and Betsy love homeschooling their own family, this was their response: “Homeschooling allows our family to live every day pursuing knowing who God is and what it means to think biblically. The Christian worldview instructs and guides our children’s education and allows us to consider the unique individuality of each child while educating them and training them in character and knowledge for the good work that God has prepared for them to do. (Eph 2:10.)We want to consider first of all that which is of first importance: the gospel message that Christ died for our sins, was buried and raised according to the scriptures. (1 Cor 15:3-4.) We can’t imagine any other life than this crazy, busy, sleep-deprived and wholly parent-sanctifying lifestyle where every moment of mayhem is a learning opportunity.”

Christina Rivera

Christina Rivera

Membership Coordinator

“We have to homeschool.” Not every family has a brilliant, shining moment when they feel God calling them to home educate. For the Rivera family, it was very clear that public and private education were not going to be viable education options. So in 2001, Christina was whisked off to her first CHEA Convention only two days after she and her husband Harry made the leap of faith to homeschool. Since then, they have been blessed richly by the work of the CHEA staff and from the sweet volunteers at Conventions.

“At this Convention,” Christina said, “we caught a new attitude and vision for homeschooling, thanks to the kind friends we met. Now we get to homeschool. Perhaps those kind souls don’t know how important they were to one family.”

Because of this background, and the foundational contribution CHEA has made to their experience, Harry and Christina have been volunteers at the Annual Convention for many years. When an opportunity arose for Christina to serve as CHEA’s Membership Coordinator, they jumped at the chance to be a part of the work.

Harry and Christina have eight children to love. Four of them have graduated to learning outside the home, leaving four children to play and romp with. Their favorite subject at home is “farm schooling,” working with their chickens, bunnies, and gardening.

Nathan Walborn

Nathan Walborn

CHEA Advertising

Nathan Walborn joined the CHEA staff in December of 2018. Before joining CHEA as their Advertiser, he worked with Kidcare, a non-profit organization that has outreaches in Tanzania and Corona.

Nathan graduated from Allegiant Christian School in 2013 and has had many jobs since then ranging from cleaning pools, filming, photography, and maintaining servers and websites. He has helped coach basketball and theater since 2014 at Allegiant Christian School. Nathan’s passion is photography and videography.

“I think with homeschooling we have an amazing opportunity to teach these kids to be greater than we are now. Lead them to be better leaders than we are so that when they enter the world they are paving the way and the world has to keep up with them.”

Anjuli Watanabe

Anjuli Watanabe

Events Manager and Exhibits Coordinator

Anjuli Watanabe joined the CHEA staff in March of 2017. She has been married to her husband, Bryan, for 18 years. Together they have three children ages 16, 13, and 7. They have been a homeschooling family for 10 years. They have learned that the benefits and results far outweigh any challenges faced in homeschooling.

Anjuli received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Public Relations from Chapman University. She worked for many years in the hospitality industry as a hotel sales manager, bringing conventions into the Anaheim area. She later went back and obtained her Master’s in Education from University of Phoenix and worked as a teacher for two years before God called her to teach her children at home. She knows it was the right decision.

“Ever since I joined CHEA I have had a passion for its mission. I feel so blessed to be able to work here and help further the mission to reach out to parents and show them there is a better way to educate their children; and that they can do it!”

Susan Beatty

Susan Beatty

CHEA Founder, retired

“I had no idea that when God called me to begin homeschooling and establish CHEA of California, I was embarking on a life-long career,” Susan said with chuckle about her 35-year involvement with homeschooling and CHEA of California. “It has been an honor and a blessing to be called to the Lord’s homeschooling ministry.”

But in March 2017, God finally called her to retire from CHEA and the homeschooling community and on to a new ministry.

Susan and her husband Larry began CHEA of California and started homeschooling their three children in 1982. In addition, Susan ran a private school satellite program from 1985 to 1998. She even found time to write An Introduction to Home Education recently renamed The California Homeschool Manual.

They graduated all three children, the last child in 1998, and Susan continued to be an integral part of CHEA, as a member of the Board of Directors, general manager, and events manager, for 19 more years.

As a spokesperson for the home education community, Susan was often interviewed for radio, television, and print media, and, along with her husband, were founding board members of The National Alliance for Christian Home Education Leadership, a ministry to statewide homeschool leaders.

Susan’s new ministry involves writing contemporary Christian fiction and using her expertise in event management to be a staff volunteer for two Christian writers’ conferences.

“People often ask me how I’m enjoying retirement. I’m only retired from a pay check! Retirement for a Christian only means a new direction in ministry. I am excited to see what the Lord has planned for my ‘sunset years,’” Susan said of her retirement.

Susan is a professional writer/journalist with a BA degree (1971) from Cal State University Los Angeles and a graduate of CLASS (Christian Leaders and Speakers Seminars).