Mr. Jesse Nigro teaches Philosophy at St. Barnabas Classical Academy. Jesse began his philosophical journey as an autodidact, reading and learning at the feet of long dead masters and guides such as St. Thomas Aquinas, Etienne Gilson, and C. S. Lewis. Eventually, he decided to finally pursue academics in full and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at Creighton University, where his prior grounding in traditional Catholic thought served him well. Jesse is currently pursuing a masters degree in theology by distance at Concordia University in Irvine.
Jesse is an Omaha native who lives with his wife Ashley and their two children in the Little Italy neighborhood. He has been interested in classical education for as long as he has had children of his own, and counts it an honor and privilege to instruct young minds in the pursuit and exercise of wisdom at St. Barnabas Classical Academy.
B.A. Philosophy, Creighton University, Phi Sigma Tau
M.A. (in progress), Theology, Concordia University Irvine
Book Recommendation: The Unity of Philosophical Experience, Etienne Gilson
Favorite Place Traveled: St. Paul’s Cathedral at Evensong, London
Mary Gronewold teaches Literature and Rhetoric at St. Barnabas Classical Academy. Mary taught 7th and 8th grade reading and language arts at Christ the King Catholic School from 2007 – 2015. At CTK, she enjoyed challenging her pupils in the sometimes-not-so-glamorous study of grammar, diagramming complex sentences, Latin roots, great books, public speaking, and essays. From 2015 – 2018, she enjoyed a few years as a stay-at-home mom. In 2017, a Well-Read Mom book club called her back to teaching and sparked her interest in the St. Barnabas Classical Academy.
Mary grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, but she has called Omaha home since 2006. She and her husband, Joe, have 5 terrific children – Gertie (10), Susie (9), Gus (7), Leo (5), and Beatrix (3). Her family enjoys raising backyard chickens, traveling to see grandparents, and Sunday rosary walks with friends.
B.A. English, Creighton University
M.Ed. Secondary Education, Creighton University
Favorite hobby: swing dancing at Jitterbugs’ Night Out
Chip Maxwell teaches History and American Government & Civics. He also leads recruitment and development projects for the academy. Mr. Maxwell holds a law degree from UNL, a Masters degree in American History from Oxford University, and a BA in political science from Boston College. Mr. Maxwell has taught at Grace University, Bellevue University, and has served as Development Director at Jesuit Academy. He has seven children ages 15 – 29, and is the author of 3 self-published books. He has hosted talk radio shows on local stations KFAB, KOIL, KKAR, KCRO, and KOTK.
Rev. Mr. Ron Reno teaches Fine Arts and Art History at St. Barnabas Classical Academy. After graduating from the University of Kansas, Ron intended to be a graphic designer for a corporation, a publishing house or a print shop. Instead, Ron worked for several years for Safeway Stores, Inc. and became a store director for Safeway. He has worked for other companies over the years but he always felt beckoned to do art again. For the last 15 years Ron has donated his paintings and prints to any sound and Godly organization that requested. Most of his art was sold at auction for the glory of God. Through those donations and Fr. Scheibelhofer, he became introduced to St. Barnabas, where he has taught since 2016. Ron loves teaching and opening God’s possibilities through art to his students.
Ron serves as a Deacon at Saint Stephen the Martyr Anglican Church in Sioux City, Iowa. He has been married to his bride Louise for 47 years now and together raised two children, Philip and Anne.
B.A. in Fine Arts/Studio and General Studies, Kansas State Teachers College
B.F.A. in Graphic Design, University of Kansas
Book Recommendation: Early Christian Doctrines by J.N.D. Kelly.
Favorite Place Traveled: England and Scotland
Mr. Jack DeLong teaches Physics and coaches the Drone Team at Saint Barnabas Classical Academy. He is also the instructor of Electronics and Photonics at Iowa Western Community College and coaches the MathCounts team for the Catholic Homeschool Association of Omaha. Jack served in the Army, with deployments to Iraq, Qatar and Croatia specializing in fiber optic and satellite communications. Between deployments, Jack taught Physics as well as Lasers & Optics at the United States Military Academy. He has earned the Bronze Star Medal and the U.S. Parachutist’s Badge.
Jack is continuously inspired, supported, and driven by the love of his life, Angela. Together they have five incredible blessings, Audriauana, Therese, Thea, Simeon, and Kentenich. They have traveled to over 21 countries together, with Jack continuing to an additional six with the Army. When choosing a direction to travel, they always looked first for Eucharistic Miracles, Incorrupt Saints, Marian Apparitions, shrines, basilicas, and relics. When not traveling, Jack enjoys cooking and card games.
B.S. Electrical Engineering, United States Military Academy
M.S. Optics, University of Rochester
Graduate Certificate, Nuclear Weapons Effects, Policy, and Proliferation, Air Force Institute of Technology
Favorite Place Traveled: Bled, Slovenia; Fjords of Norway; Anyplace in Germany; Lisieux, France
Book Recommendation: The Feynman Lectures on Physics
Mr. John Sweeney teaches Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Trigonometry. He is a 1995 graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, where he originally studied to be an engineer but realized his talents lie more in working with people than substances or machines. He has taught in a variety of places, gaining experience with students of diverse backgrounds. Resettling in Lincoln, he earned a master’s degree in mathematics from UNL in 2013.
Mr. Sweeney is eager to share his mathematical insights with his students.
Maria Benitz teaches Theology and Latin at Saint Barnabas Classical Academy. Maria studied philosophy and theology at Saint Anselm College, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2019. Maria cares deeply about the Catholic faith and has chosen to make theology her life’s work. Since high school she has made a habit of translating Latin for fun and she loves to use it in connection with theology whenever possible.
Maria’s favorite books include the Summa Theologiae and Patrologia Latina and she loves to travel and visit churches and shrines.
Jessie Simmons is passionate about classical education. She has employed this method as a home educator for sixteen years. In that time, she has graduated three students. Two of those students have gone on to college and one is a military professional. She has served the Omaha Homeschool Learning Center for the last seven years in many capacities. Including leading a biology lab course and starting a drama program for both junior and senior high students. She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Science degree. She loves helping students find a place and grow into who God has designed them to be. She is blessed to be married to Brad Simmons for twenty-three years. They share a penchant for gardening, growing both food and flowers in their gardens. A book she would recommend is The Cultivated Life by Susan S. Phillips.
Leo rings for St. Barnabas Parish and Classical Academy. Cast in 1923 by the Meneely Bell Company in Troy, New York, he was given as a memorial of James and Virginia Van Nostrand to St. Barnabas under the rectorship of Fr. Holsapple. On May 27, 2018, the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, Leo was consecrated by Archbishop Emeritus Most Reverend Elden Francis Curtiss and given his Christian name after St. Leo the Great.
Known as something of a stickler, Leo chimes so that parishioners and students may come to church on time. Once in a while, he also tolls to speed the parting soul. In his spare time, Leo enjoys the Angelus, weddings, and waking up neighbors.
Book Recommendation: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Favorite Place Traveled: Troy, New York
Fr. Jason Catania
Dean of Students
Mrs. Mary Gronewold
Fr. Jason Catania
Mrs. Maris Bentley
David Nich Jr., Esq.
Fr. Patrick McManus
Dr. Lloyd Pierre, Jr.
Mr. Paul Scofield
Mrs. Jennifer Sheridan