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Conference Speakers

Allyson Adrian



Allyson is the mother of 4 daughters, ages 7-17, whom she homeschools in Arlington, VA.  Four years ago, she and her husband Steve founded Cherrydale Press, which is dedicated to the publication of Charlotte Mason foreign language materials. She is now in her eighth year acting as the Shepherd/Mentor of the Arlington Charlotte Mason cooperative “Cherrydale Wednesdays.” When not engaged in Charlotte Mason homeschooling duties, she teaches intercultural communication at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University. 

Laurel Aldridge



Laurel has 15 years of homeschooling under her belt, 13 of which have been with Charlotte Mason's philosophy. Her youngest children are in their final two years of high school, and this year she has enjoyed being able to advise friends starting out and helping to teach their children. Laurel is or has been involved in three CM co-ops, earning a reputation with her children as, go figure, a teacher.  She has learned to love poetry, draw mushrooms and trees, and knit socks. Laurel always has a cup of coffee or tea beside her and her ever-changing stack of books. 


Bonnie Buckingham




Bonnie lives in Charlotte, NC, taught her 5 children, and teaches in a Humanities High School Tutorial and Middle School weekly classes. What her students know about her: love of reading, poetry, art, music, and letter writing. They come to know her favorite authors and artists.  For The Children’s Sake by Susan Macaulay was the first book she read 24 years ago to start the journey of homeschooling. Charlotte Mason has been a mentor every step of the way. Raising the next generation to be Culture Carers is one of her passions.  Bonnie can attest that Charlotte Mason’s principles and methods work. 


LeAnn Burkholder



LeAnn lives in a little cottage on a quiet country lane just outside the capitol of South Carolina with her wonderful husband and children. She first discovered the writings of Charlotte Mason 11 years ago, after a challenge from a friend. Since that day, Mason's philosophy of education has breathed life into her personal life and overflowed into the lives of her children, homeschool group and surrounding community. LeAnn hopes to share her passion for learning with you and inspire you on your own journey.

Lisa Cadora



Lisa has studied Mason since providentially hearing of her from Ranald and Susan Macaulay at a Rochester, MN L'Abri Conference in the summer of 1982, while an undergraduate education major at Covenant College. She found a few of Mason's volumes in the college library upon returning to school that fall, and was entirely swept up in what she recognized as a much needed antidote to the decidedly mechanistic approach to teaching prevalent in most teacher education programs and even Christian education practice in those days.  She was blessed to find a school some years later (Intown Community School) that employed Mason's methods and has enjoyed a career of teaching, learning and sharing Mason's ideas and practice with those who endeavor to bring a "sane" education to children and families in diverse setting. Lisa lives in Cincinnati with her husband Matt who is a PCA pastor and two dachshunds who preside over home security.  She is a catechist in The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd children's spiritual formation program at Faith Presbyterian Church, and the director of Great River Learning, a non-profit organization that brings Charlotte Mason education to Cincinnati in the forms of classes for homeschooled children, in-service training for schools, and educational rehabilitation to students of all ages, shapes and sizes.


Kelli Christenberry



Kelli has been involved in the Charlotte Mason Community for over 15 years. She currently facilitates the Peoria area Charlotte Mason Study Group and enjoys studying and discussing those vitalizing ideas on education and life.  She is also privileged to be involved in a few Charlotte Mason Institute projects and is excited about all the research, development, training and support that CMI brings to our communities! She has a passion for sharing the beauty and breadth of ideas in a Mason educational approach with others through speaking, mentoring, consulting, and supporting educators.  Through God’s abundant grace, her children were home educated through high school graduation and are currently university undergraduate or graduate students.  In her studies over the last few years, she has been encouraged and challenged to consider the magnitude of this relational education, ‘a liberal education for all’, that Mason aims to place before children with ‘minds astonishingly alert’.


Liz Cotrill



Liz is mother of six, grandmother of 10, and has been homeschooling over 30 years. With her daughter Emily, she operates the Living Books Library, lending books to 50 families in her southwest Virginia area, and encouraging other homeschool librarians around the world. Devoted to teaching and supporting Mason educators, she co-hosts A Delectable Education podcast with Emily Kiser and Nicole Williams.

www.livingbookslibrary.com
www.adelectableeducation.com

Sara Dalton



Sara a native of New Mexico, now lives in North Carolina with her wonderful husband and six boys, ranging from teens to toddlers. Their 100+ year old home and huge trees provide great fodder for the imaginations of their children, as well as great specimens for nature study. Sara loves singing, playing music with her family and teaching geography and composition in a learning community. Homeschooling is a passion and a pleasure as she strives to teach her children to be life-long learners.

Jason Fiedler



Jason has always been a storyteller.  As a distracted child, struggling to find his place in a school system not conducive for a boy with undiagnosed learning disabilities, storyteller” was rarely used as a positive label.  But now, as founding pastor of Water City Church in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, life revolves around telling the God Narrative - and helping others discover their place in it.  His wife of seventeen years, Amy, has been his patient tour guide on this Charlotte Mason journey that began five years ago.  It is his joy to be called “daddy” by their four children (ages 3 - 11).

Kathryn Forney



Kathryn first encountered Charlotte Mason’s philosophy at the humble age of 2 or 3 when her mother, Kerri, first discovered Mason. After twelve formal years of picture studies, nature walks, narrations, living books, and more, she graduated high school in 2015. In the 2015-2016 school year, Kathryn studied Mandarin Chinese as an international student in China. In the fall of 2016 she matriculated at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, MN, where she is pursuing a degree in the History of Ideas/Cross-Cultural Missions. Interests of hers include: music, hiking, living books, bread baking, and card games. 


Kerri Forney



Just like so many others, Kerri was introduced to the life-giving principles of Charlotte Mason through the reading of For the Children’s Sake. She and her husband, Scott, along with their five children (ages nine to nineteen) are growing in their ability to live out these principles on their direct-to-consumer farm in Franklin County, NC. Besides leading a monthly CM study group for moms in North Raleigh, she and the kids regularly enjoy rescuing used, living books wherever they can be found for the purpose of finding new loving homes for them.


Nancy Kelly



Nancy lives in a little town on the prairie called Windom, Minnesota. She and her husband Kent have home-educated their six children for over 20 years using the principles and practices of Charlotte Mason. Nancy has helped build a thriving educational community in southwest Minnesota that continues to learn and grow.  She administrates the Parents’ Midwest Educational Union (PMEU), a parents’ book discussion group; Truth, Beauty, Goodness (TBG), a student learning cooperative; the teacher-training Awakening sessions; and the Living Education Retreat, now in its 12th year of sharing and spreading the ideas of Charlotte Mason.  Speaking, consulting, and mentoring are three of her favorite things to do. A trip with Kent and dear friends to Ambleside, England in 2014 forever changed her understanding of Mason’s teacher training and deepened her love for Mason’s relational philosophy.  She is a current board member of the Charlotte Mason Institute and writes at her CM-inspired blog, Sage Parnassus. Her newest project, Living Education Lessons, is an online mentoring community.  She enjoys family, 'bright eyes', flower gardening, collecting vintage honeypots, exploring the flora and fauna of new places, and of course...books. You can contact her at kellynk@msn.com.


Dick Keyes



Dick is the Director of L’Abri Fellowship in Southborough, MA, where he has worked with his wife, Mardi, since 1979.  He holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University and an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.  Dick worked for L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and England, where he also served as a pastor in the International Presbyterian Church in London.  He has been an adjunct professor at Gordon Conwell Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary, and is the author of several books, including Beyond Identity, True Heroism, Chameleon Christianity and Seeing Through Cynicism.  He has also contributed chapters in anthologies such as No God but God and Finding God at Harvard.

Emily Kiser



Emily lives and works with her husband and two small sons on an Organic farm in the southwestern Virginia mountains. For the past eleven years she has operated a private lending library for homeschooling families full of living books. In that capacity she became acquainted with the teaching methods of Charlotte Mason and has devoted herself to learning as much as possible about the philosophy and practice of that great educational pioneer. It has been her great delight to help families implement the Charlotte Mason model of education locally through the Living Books Library, regionally by teaching seminars, and beyond with her Picture Study Portfolios and A Delectable Education Podcast. A perpetual student herself, Emily can imagine no greater joy than to share in the educational journey of her own children as they enjoy the feast of ideas and build relationships in as many directions as possible.

Camille Malucci



Camille has been using the Charlotte Mason method to educate her children since her eldest child was in the first grade.  In the years since then, she has taught her children in four states and overseas in Italy as they have traveled with her husband’s work.  Travel has taught her many lessons on what it means to set the atmosphere, create the habit of discipline, and engage with living ideas.  If you’d like to discuss mother culture, Mason’s method, liturgical living, art and architecture, or good coffee – she’s your gal.  She has taught at The Mason Academy outside of Philadelphia, PA and now organizes the John Paul the Great Nature Study club outside of Dayton, OH.  She can also be found writing and offering webinars at learninghowtolive.com.

Marcia Mattern



Marcia and her husband Steve live in central Illinois on a little farmstead.  She has been homeschooling her six children from the beginning.  Each year adds another layer of understanding and implementation to her Charlotte Mason approach of learning and living. This past May they graduated their first student.  The Mattern family has been involved with a Charlotte Mason learning community with four other families in Peoria called Sursum Corda.  Marcia facilitates a Math games group and a Natural History Club for local CM families.  Marcia keeps busy in her free time by tending bees, working as a doula, organizing an Atrium for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and searching for the best book to read.


Brittney McGann



Originally from California, Brittney and her husband have been in North Carolina for nearly ten years, there they are raising three sweet and rambunctious young children.  Brittney worked as an upscale hairstylist and salon educator for eleven years before coming home to serve her family full time. She stumbled upon Charlotte Mason's philosophy nearly five years ago, before her oldest child was four, and was immediately drawn in by living books, nature study and handicrafts. She rediscovered her love of poetry, literature, philosophy and notebooks as she dove into Mason's writings and the Parents' Review. As her knowledge of Charlotte Mason's philosophy grew, her passion to share it with others grew in kind. She started Considering Lilies, a community for Charlotte Mason families, and she coordinates Grace to Build Retreat, an annual event in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most afternoons you can find her out of doors, exploring with her children or working on a handcraft or personal research project. Every summer she raises silk moths and butterflies and keeps a wildflower garden. If there is time, she does dishes and laundry.


Art Middlekauff



Art and his wife have been home educating their three children for more than a decade. Over this time, Art has been studying Charlotte Mason's writings and attempting to apply her living ideas to his family's homeschool. In this course of time Art has written several essays about Charlotte Mason's theology and philosophy which have been published in the two volumes of Essays on the Life and Work of Charlotte Mason, published by Riverbend Press. Art also blogs regularly about Mason's theory of education at CharlotteMasonPoetry.org. Art walks in Mason’s theological tradition as a member of an Anglican church near Detroit, Michigan. Outside of the home, Art leads product engineering for a Chicago-based software company.

Gladys Schafer



Gladys is a CM educator with over two decades of experience in the home and school classroom. She has found the truth in Mason’s words, “Education is a life.” Although all six of her children have reached adulthood, she finds herself drawn to all of the beauty learned through her years educating with the Mason philosophy. Art museums, living books, and travel nourish her spirit, and she is eternally grateful to live in the truth that “Every child is born a person.” This is what compels her in pursuing a graduate degree at Regent University and holding board positions on the Charlotte Mason Institute as well as the Alabama International Dyslexia Association.  She is a certified educational therapist, an academic language therapist in training, and operates a thriving private practice.


Andy Smith



Over the decades, Andy’s work outside the home has included teaching English as a Second Language to adults, training children and adults with vision problems to get around their communities, planning CM conferences, and helping with curriculum. Her work with visually impaired students from preschool to high school took her into regular and special ed classrooms in 20 or more school divisions in three states. Seeing so many kids disengaged and bored with work sheets, she would come home and groan to husband Carroll how much an educational revolution was needed. She is so thankful the ideas and methods of Charlotte Mason are gaining wider acceptance and practice. During her children’s younger years, Andy tried to homeschool her two children with CM methods but, to her overwhelming disappointment, found that “air traffic controlling” all those layers were beyond her personal limits.  At the time, she did not understand her attention deficit issues, and knows how dealing with executive function deficits can be mistakenly attributed to moral failure. When she started exploring attention issues, because she did not fit the typical profile generally understood at that time, she was told by a special education teacher, “You can’t be ADD because you have a master’s degree.”  So she began self-educating by reading everything she could find on ADD and in her 40s God brought her insightful, competent people who understood attention deficit disorder to help her make radical, life nourishing changes.  Introduced to a relationship with Christ in college, Andy is grateful to God for the tremendous stability and blessing that walking with Christ has brought to all of life. In learning to steward the neurochemistry she has been given, Andy is also grateful to God for the added blessings that understanding and applying executive function strategies bring.


Dr. Carroll Smith



Dr. Carroll Smith was introduced to Charlotte Mason many years ago through Mason’s book An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education.  From there the seeds of ideas given by Mason in her various books have slowly taken hold and have grown year by year as Carroll worked as a middle school teacher, a principal and a college professor.  He founded the educational nonprofit, The Charlotte Mason Institute, to promote the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason and cherishes the relationships that have gown over the years through a collective camaraderie with people interested in seeing education from a very different paradigm.  He enjoys reading, gardening and discussing ideas with friends.  He and his wife, Andra live in Roanoke, VA.


Amy Snell



Amy Snell With a graduate degree in Literature from the University of California-Irvine, Amy had taught in a variety of classroom environments as an Advanced Placement literature teacher, college English instructor, and mentor of fellow teachers.  Amy then discovered the 19th century British educator, Charlotte Mason, whose philosophy quickly convinced her to begin homeschooling her children. As her family thrived using Mason’s methods, Amy wanted to share and learn more about Mason’s philosophy with others, including speaking at the Charlotte Mason Institute National Conference, hosting Mason book discussions and workshops for parents, running a Nature Study Club, facilitating Truth, Beauty, Goodness afternoons, and creating the Mason Academy as director, teacher, and parent. Amy now serves as the Board President of the Charlotte Mason Educational Center of PA and as its Curriculum and Methodology Consultant. 


Dr. Jennifer Spencer



Dr. Jennifer Spencer has been an educator for eighteen years in public, private, and home schools. She obtained an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education, a masters in Elementary Education, and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She was lucky enough in 2009 to be part of the team that digitized the Mason archives for the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection. In 2011, she helped found Willow Tree Community School in Shelby, NC, where she worked as teacher and principal for four years. Jen currently works from home as an independent education consultant, researcher, and sometimes-blogger at Cuppa with Jen. In the past she has served on the Board of Directors at the Charlotte Mason Institute. Jen enjoys hiking, reading, and supporting her two children in their musical endeavors. She lives in Gaffney, SC with her husband, Wes, the kids, Drew and Marley, and one sweet, spoiled, and ill-mannered lapdog, Buddy.


Jennifer Stec



Jenn lives with her husband and three children in the beautiful bluegrass region of Kentucky.  She is passionate about her faith, home educating her children, and seeing as much of God’s creation as possible!  Jenn grew up in a home that encouraged self-education, so Charlotte Mason’s philosophy was a natural fit for her family. After moving to Kentucky and struggling to find an established CM community, Jenn decided to host information sessions on Mason’s philosophy of education. Those sessions led to a book study, which led to a summer cottage school, which led to the establishment of Overstone School, a Charlotte Mason cooperative school.  Overstone will graduate its first senior class in 2017. Today, there are over 300 CM home educators and many support groups and book studies in the Bluegrass region.

Jenn is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and is a current board member of the Charlotte Mason Institute. Jenn also maintains CharlotteMasoninCommunity.com, a website designed to help parent-educators around the world find support groups, conferences and retreats that will inspire, encourage and instruct them in CM’s philosophy. You can contact Jenn through CMIC or through the Bluegrass Charlotte Mason Community Facebook page.


Cheri Struble



Cheri lives in the beautiful foothills of North Carolina with her wonderful husband and children. As a family they have been homeschooling for twenty years and using the CM philosophy for nineteen. While her oldest daughter is graduated, married, and on to other adventures, she still has eight delightful people left at home to grow with. Cheri's other passions are being Marmie to her first grandchild, a midwife, an amateur naturalist, gardening, camping and all things related to fiber arts.

Jeannette Tulis



Jeannette was introduced to the ideas of Charlotte Mason when her husband, David (then her fiance), gave her a copy of For the Children's Sake and said, "This is how I would like us to educate our children!" In God's providence, David and Jeannette were blessed with four children all of whom were home educated using Mason’s philosophy, albeit very imperfectly. Three of their 4 children have now flown the coop including a daughter who is a classical figure sculptor with a studio in NYC, a son who is an internet security consultant based in Atlanta and another son who is in tech school in Nashville.  The youngest boy is 14 and still studies at home. Although Jeannette holds a degree from Auburn University with a major in nutrition, her real education has been acquired alongside her children. Jeannette often obsesses over the stories behind the lessons, especially the stories behind art, wildflowers and history. In order to house their ever-growing collection of mostly out of print children’s books, she and her husband utilize very creative shelving.  One day she hopes to open a private library/tea room/yarn shop, an idea which provides just the right excuse for buying more books. Living just outside of Chattanooga, TN, Jeannette privately tutors, writes for the local homeschool newsletter Esprit, helps lead a CM support group and often finds herself reading more about books, than reading the actual books.  


Brendan Vigorito



Brendan is the Director of Education and Community Relations with Money Management International.  He is a home school father, educating his children for over 20 years and has 3 children and 3 wonderful grandchildren.  He is an NFCC certified counselor and has been with Money Management International since 1999.  Brendan has completed the MMI Housing Counseling Certification series and the Fair Credit Reporting Act training and certification process.  He develops and delivers financial skills training and home owner education seminars on multiple topics, including reverse equity mortgage, foreclosure prevention, credit and budgeting and identity theft.  Brendan also does “Train-the-Trainer workshops throughout the Eastern United States.  He serves as an intermediary for the Virginia Individual Development Accounts program.  He conducts webinars as well as radio call in shows on financial matters.  Audiences have included Harvard University, Federal Reserve Bank, National Basketball Association, National Football League Player, New York Times and various local and community agencies.

Prior to joining Money Management International, Brendan managed retail businesses.  He has taught on various topics internationally.  He has organized and led teams to work with disaster relief victims in Russia, Kosovo and the Dominican Republic.  He has a Bachelor’s degree from Stonehill College.


Shannon Whiteside




Shannon discovered the life-giving writings of Charlotte Mason almost eight years ago after searching on the internet for a better way to homeschool her children rather than the never-ending cycle of teach, review, test, repeat. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mark, and their 3 children.  She was an elementary teacher and board member at private Christian schools for a total of ten years. She graduated from Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton Graduate School and is currently a Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She leads Charlotte Mason Chicagoland, a bimonthly co-op that began in the fall of 2015. In her spare time she enjoys biking, cooking Italian cuisine, and reading.


Nicole Williams



Nicole - Besides homeschooling her own three children for the past 12 years, for half that time she also taught four other children who had rejected traditional education. Seeing Mason’s philosophy and method renew those children’s love of learning provoked her to share her experiences with others. Now she writes a blog called Sabbath Mood Homeschool, co-hosts the podcast A Delectable Education, leads a CM study group in her home, and has had the opportunity to write a K-12 science curriculum for a CM school. Nicole is so convinced that Charlotte Mason’s method enables every person to find joy in being a lifelong learner, that she follows her own “mom-curriculum” so she may be nourished with the broad feast herself.

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