Kieryn Darkwater has spent most of their life as an activist, bridging the gap between grassroots organizing and technology. Homeschooled through high-school and graduated at age 15, they taught themselves how to code, write, and organize. They studied Labor and Community organizing at Laney College, ran a grassroots organization dedicated to making housing and cities accessible in the East Bay, and briefly served as a delegate to the CA Democratic Party.
As an educationally deprived homeschooled student who spent more time raising their 7 siblings than studying, they are passionate about the need for accountability in home education, and increasing awareness about the pitfalls as well as the advantages of homeschooling.
Kieryn co-founded CRHE in 2013, and served as a dedicated leader and staff member— building the website and communications infrastructure, developing volunteer protocols, serving as Tech Director and Director of Outreach, participating in strategic planning, and shaping CRHE’s work and vision from the start.
Jessica Dulaney was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. She began volunteering for the Coalition for Responsible Home Education in 2018 out of concern for children whose parents exploit minimal homeschool laws to neglect or abuse them. Jessica has developed and executed digital and communications strategies for award-winning authors, SXSW speakers, political candidates, nonprofits, and B corporations in the U.S. and Canada. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Mississippi State University.
Samantha Field was homeschooled for ten years, and grew up in an authoritarian, fundamentalist church that belonged to the Quiverfull and Stay-at-Home-Daughter movements. She graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a BS in Secondary Education before attending Liberty University to pursue an MA in English; most recently she graduated from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities with an MA in Religious Leadership in 2019. In 2013, she began writing and speaking about her experiences and has been published at Relevant, Rewire, the Establishment, Sojourners, interviewed for the Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan, spoken at conferences, and featured on a number of radio programs, including BBC4’s Things Unseen and Beyond Belief as well as NPR’s 1A program. She has been involved in various activism efforts, direct actions, and managed communications for various nonprofits and social media campaigns. Samantha lives in Maryland.
Benjamin was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. He received a B.S.B.A in Accounting from Union University in 2012, and worked as a CPA at a public accounting firm in North Carolina for seven years, specializing in nonprofit audits and tax compliance. In 2018, Ben received a M.S. in Computer Science from Georgia Tech, and is currently working as a financial software engineer. Ben’s experience in homeschooling was uniformly positive, and he wants to ensure all homeschooled children have access to the same opportunities that he enjoyed.
Sarah (Morton) Henderson was homeschooled from kindergarten. Her family attended a variety of fundamentalist churches, and took part in various religion based groups including ATIA. She is the second child of a family of nine, and in her tween years, homeschooling stopped completely and she helped raise her younger siblings, as her mother’s health was failing. Her family moved frequently to escape multiple children’s aid investigations triggered by reports of child abuse and educational neglect.
When she was 17, Sarah decided to finish her education, so she went to public high school and had to leave home in order to be able to attend. She now holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Development Studies, and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Waterloo. While in school, Sarah lobbied extensively with children’s aid to assist her younger siblings, and after two years, they finally stepped in to ensure that her father was removed from the home and her siblings attended school. Sarah was struck by how difficult it is to help children who are being abused or educationally neglected under the guise of homeschooling, and is committed to advocacy efforts to assist such children.
Acacia Learned grew up in Massachusetts and was homeschooled until ninth grade, when she started public school. In 2012, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts. Since graduation she has been working in the digital marketing field. While her education experience was mostly positive, Acacia became passionate about advocating for other homeschoolers after she joined an online community for homeschool graduates and realized how easy it was for abuse in homeschooling to go unnoticed. Acacia still lives in Massachusetts with her husband and cat.
Dr. Chelsea McCracken grew up in Maryland, where she attended high-quality public schools K-12. She studied French and math at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and went on to earn her Ph.D. in linguistics from Rice University in 2012. Her first book, a reference grammar of an indigenous language of New Caledonia, was published by De Gruyter in 2019. Chelsea became involved in the homeschool reform movement as a result of the abuse and educational neglect experienced by her homeschooled family members. Her two peer-reviewed articles on academic achievement in Alaska correspondence schools were published in 2020 in the journal Other Education. Chelsea previously worked as a tenure-track faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences department at Dixie State University, where she instructed students in research methods and guided them in designing their own educational programs and assembling portfolios of their work. Chelsea currently works for a linguistics research firm in the private sector. She lives in Maryland with her spouse and their fur babies.
Victoria was homeschooled, in her mother’s words, from birth to high school graduation. She is the oldest of five children, two of whom are disabled. After her graduation and transition to college, her parents’ efforts in educating their remaining children dropped off almost entirely. Her siblings continue struggling to learn and develop in preparation for the adult world.
For the first 17 years of her life, Victoria’s only social interactions were with her homeschool co-op or the cults her parents were involved in. Growing up primarily in the Messianic tradition, the belief system was sternly legalistic and deeply entwined with purity culture’s expectations for women. The traditional expectation was that no woman left her father’s home until she was married.
Despite strong discouragement from church members, Victoria moved away and graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA). She received a Bachelor’s in Psychology with honors. In the pursuit of her degree, she closely examined the relationship between psychology and literature. This extended even to partnering with a former teacher to study bibliotherapy – a little-known therapeutic technique that employs literature, lyrics, and other written works to facilitate the healing process in clients from all backgrounds.
Victoria also minored in creative writing at PBA and has been published in several creative journals. Most notably, her creative non-fiction work “The Fire of 2006” illuminated the memory of conspiracy theories convincing Victoria’s mother to burn all fantasy literature in the house to cleanse her family of their mental health issues.
Victoria benefits from a wide variety of exposures both in volunteering networks and corporate structures. For one year, she lived in an intentional community with the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network. They worked together to fight homelessness and food insecurity in Sacramento while encouraging each other spiritually. She oversaw the Boston site for Youthworks’ volunteer summer camp, bringing churches from across the country together to meet the immediate needs of the surrounding community. She also directed gift card donations to nonprofits surrounding the locations of a regional restaurant chain. Victoria is now honored to use her experiences to serve the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. Victoria currently lives in College Station with her friends, spoiling their adorable and chunky senior cat.
Jonah is an education researcher and a final-year PhD candidate at the University of Oxford funded by a US Rhodes scholarship. Jonah’s research explores the philosophical and ethical underpinnings of education equity initiatives in U.K. higher education institutions. Jonah’s vested interest in education equity stemmed from homeschool experience. The curriculum Jonah was homeschooled with K-8 is widely discredited, and its harms are now well-documented. Jonah is therefore dedicated to advocating for policy programs and pedagogies rooted in criticality, equity, and solidarity.
R.E. Fulton is a content writer and researcher with experience in a little bit of everything, from the history of medicine to car insurance to true crime. They were homeschooled K-12 and hold a master’s degree in American history from the University of Rochester. R.E. lives in Queens with their wife, three cats, and an unspecified number of knitting projects.
Carmen Longoria-Green grew up in Missouri, where she was homeschooled from first through twelfth grade. Growing up, Carmen learned first-hand the problems that students face in states with little homeschool oversight or student-focused protections, an experience that has made her passionate about improving the lives of all homeschooled students. Carmen was formerly the litigation counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, where she litigated religious-freedom cases at both the trial and appellate levels. Currently, Carmen is an associate in Mayer Brown’s Washington, DC office, where she is a member of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice. Carmen earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. in Government from Patrick Henry College.
Cameron Etchart is an attorney in Arlington, Virginia. Growing up, Cameron received an excellent 1st-12th grade homeschool education from his parents in Reno, Nevada. But once in college, Cameron was exposed to the harm that homeschooling caused others, enabled by states failing to reasonably regulate homeschooling and protect children from abuse and neglect. Cameron seeks to ensure that homeschooled children are protected from harm and have access to the same opportunities that he received. Cameron previously clerked for a federal appellate judge, and he earned his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. from Patrick Henry College.
Maddie Doucet was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was homeschooled throughout her school years in a fundamentalist evangelical family and community. Maddie reaped many benefits of homeschooling—like self-directed study and involvement in state and local politics throughout high school—but she also experienced the harms of homeschooling, including abuse, neglect, isolation, and purity culture. She is committed to raising awareness of issues like these that homeschooled children may face. Maddie earned her B.A. in Political Communications from Bryan College and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she published a paper in the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law on the effects of conservative Christian homeschooling on the sexual health of women and girls. Maddie formerly served as a judicial law clerk for a federal district judge in San Antonio, Texas. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. where she practices employment law with Paul Hastings LLP.
Eve Ettinger teaches English and Composition at a community college in southwest Virginia. She graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University in 2019, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Kyrgyzstan 2015-17). After being homeschooled K-12 in both California and Virginia, she studied English at Grove City College and has worked in communications and strategy for NGOs focused on issues relating to the Affordable Care Act, community development, and the ERA. She is passionate about advocating for children, disability, mental health, queer, and working class concerns and rights. Her writing has been published in The Washington Post, The Rumpus, Cosmopolitan, Glamour UK, Autostraddle, The Establishment, and Longreads. She is currently a nonfiction features editor at The Rumpus.
Alisa Harris was homeschooled from kindergarten through twelfth grade. As a homeschooled graduate who had a positive experience, she is passionate about working to ensure that all homeschooled children have access to a quality education. She has worked on a wide range of causes as a communications professional and a volunteer: economic and social rights, addiction treatment, mental health, early childhood education, child abuse prevention, higher education, and women’s rights. Alisa has a B.A. in English from Hillsdale College and an MBA from Boston University Questrom School of Business.
Jane Wettach is a recently retired Clinical Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law. At Duke Law, she founded and directed the Children’s Law Clinic, a community law office in which supervised law students provide free legal advice and representation to low-income families in cases involving special education and school discipline. Professor Wettach also taught Education Law, focusing on the law and policy of K-12 education in the U.S. Through teaching and research, Prof. Wettach became interested in homeschooling, and concerned about the lack of protections for homeschooled children. In June 2020, she released a report, Protecting Homeschoolers: A Proposal to Protect Homeschooled Children in North Carolina from Educational Neglect. She is also the author of A Parents’ Guide to Special Education in North Carolina and a contributing author of Special Education Advocacy and Guide to Student Advocacy in North Carolina.
Prof. Wettach joined the Duke Law School faculty in 1994, after practicing law as a legal aid attorney. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a law degree, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jeremy C. Young is the senior manager of free expression and education at PEN America, where he advances the organization’s advocacy for free expression in educational institutions, advocates against censorious legislation and politically-motivated efforts to ban books and curricular materials, and supports academic freedom in higher education and the freedom to read, learn, and teach in K-12 schools. Before coming to PEN America, he served as the communications and marketing manager at the American Historical Association. Previously, he was an assistant professor of history and director of the Institute of Politics and Public Affairs at Utah Tech University.
Jeremy is the author of The Age of Charisma: Leaders, Followers, and Emotions in American Society, 1870-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2017). His commentary on current events has appeared in over 80 publications on five continents. He was a 2021 New Leaders Council Fellow and a recipient of the Roger D. Bridges Service Award from the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He earned his PhD in US History from Indiana University.
Jeremy was homeschooled K-12 and has been involved with CRHE in a volunteer capacity since its founding in 2013. He served as CRHE’s interim executive director from 2021-2022.
Kathryn Brightbill was homeschooled from the start of formal schooling in 1st grade through graduation from high school. She is the second of four children and the first in her family to be homeschooled all the way through school. Growing up in a politically active family, at one time Kathryn was the youngest ever precinct committeewoman elected to her county Republican Executive Committee.
She has a B.A. in Information and Computer Science from Covenant College, a graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, and her J.D. at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Prior to law school, Kathryn dabbled in several different fields, including spending time on the English faculty at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam in Hanoi, VN, where she taught reading and writing for international relations to foreign affairs and international law students.
Dr. Coleman was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school in Indiana, where her parents were on the board of a regional homeschool organization, the Southwestern Indiana Home Educators Association. In 2010, she completed her M.A. thesis at Ball State University, titled “Ideologues, Pedagogues, Pragmatics: A Case Study of the Homeschool Community in Delaware County, Indiana.” In early 2012, Dr. Coleman was invited to be present at the founding of the International Center for Home Education Research. In 2013, deeply moved by several high-profile deaths of children in homeschool settings, she co-founded the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, where she served as executive director from 2014 to 2021. Dr. Coleman wrote her dissertation on changing evangelical ideas about children and education over the course of the twentieth century, and received her Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in 2018. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, two children, and two cats.
Kate Corbett Pollack, who identifies as Culturally Deaf and is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), attended public schools and an experimental private Quaker High School for 9th grade. She attended both well-funded east coast public schools with outstanding disability services, and, after moving to Oregon, underfunded, overcrowded city schools with limited disability services, giving her insight into different educational experiences.
Kate attended an excellent public high school after 9th grade with a Deaf program and excelled in art and writing. Kate earned her B.A. in History from Hunter College in New York, New York, and a M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University’s School of Education, in Syracuse, New York. Kate also received a Certificate of Advanced Study in Disability Studies from Syracuse.
Kate began studying disability and crime in her graduate program, and her focus turned to homeschool when her research revealed the high number of disability homeschool homicide cases. Kate currently is the Coordinator of the Disability Cultural Center at Syracuse University and founded the Committee for Disability Access Syracuse (CDAS).
Her research focuses on disability and inclusion in higher education; disability law and policy; institutions and asylums; and disability, crime and abuse.