Our Board

Monica Buckley

Melinda Deras has a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language (Spanish and French) from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She and her husband, Leonel, are the proud parents of four children ranging in age from 7 to 16 years old, and began their homeschooling journey 6 years ago when their oldest was entering middle school. The STAT community has been a true gift and a blessing in their family’s homeschooling endeavors, and Melinda is honored to play a more active role in this community as she steps into the position of STAT Director. A longtime parishioner of St. Bernadette Parish in Severn, Melinda has served in many ministry roles over the years, most currently as co-coordinator for her parish’s Walking with Purpose program. When she is not learning alongside her children, Melinda enjoys reading, running, puzzle-working, and learning new languages.

John Freymann is an active-duty Navy officer, currently serving at the U.S.
Naval Academy as a military professor in history. He has a B.S. in Optics from the University of
Rochester, a Ph.D. in the History of Christianity from the University of Chicago, and (only) four
bicycles. John and his wife, Melissa, are active parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Church.
They are raising and home-schooling four children, ranging in age from six to thirteen.

Larry Kirby is a graduate of Towson and Johns Hopkins Universities, husband of Kathy for 30 years,
and father of seven children ranging in age from 29 to eleven years old. He is an active parishioner of
St. John the Evangelist, where he is involved with the “That Man is You” program. Larry was a founding board member and three-year participant of the Saint John Paul II Academy, a homeschooling cooperative. He works as a principal software engineer at SSATi in Annapolis Junction, Maryland.

Tara Pessia holds a Masters of Social Work from Widener University, and previously served as the Clinical Director for a youth residential treatment and foster care facility in the Baltimore area. Hailing from a tight-knit military family upbringing, Tara became a stay-at-home mom for her daughter and three sons beginning in 2005. She was introduced to STAT in 2016 when she began homeschooling her oldest son. Tara’s faith and dedication to family drive her to devote her time to volunteering with her parish (Our Lady of the Fields) and community organizations, including the Boy Scouts. She and her husband, John, have been married since 2001 and have lived in Crofton for the last 10 years.