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 Conference Speakers 


Mary Becker


(Bio to be added)




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’.


Celeste Cruz



Celeste is a native Californian and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their nine children, all age 12 and under. She has a M.A. in English with a background in European Humanities and Art History, and has taught literature and writing in classroom and small group settings. She discovered Charlotte Mason before her children were born and has enthusiastically studied her philosophy ever since. But her most humbling and rewarding experience has been putting those principles into practice while learning alongside her children at home and with her local community. She shares the joys of Catholic Charlotte Mason home education at Joyous Lessons and @celeste_cruz, moderates at the AmblesideOnline Forums, and curates content for  @charlottemasonirl  and  @keepingcompanycm. She also works on the Northern California team of Charlotte Mason West, organizing retreats and video book discussions to build community among Mason educators west of the Rockies.


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


Jenny Elias



Jenny
lives in a suburb of Southern California with her husband Richard and their six children. She has been homeschooling since her oldest was seven years old. The introduction to Charlotte Mason (CM) was welcomed warmly, since much of Mason's philosophy was already naturally occurring in their home. Jenny quickly developed an interest and excitement in sharing CM with others in her community. She started a CM discussion group, Learning Charlotte Mason in Conejo and Simi Valleys, with other homeschooling mothers. This group has blossomed into a weekly CM co-op community known as the “Large Room,” which she currently moderates. Through dedication to her Christian faith and the principles of a CM education she finds grace in her daily life.


Nancy Elliott



Nancy was introduced to Charlotte Mason by a friend while her eldest son was still a toddler.  She and her husband fell in love with Mason's philosophy and decided to educate all three of their sons at home.  Though not always an easy road, the past nine years of homeschooling have been deeply enriching and highly rewarding for her boys, her husband and herself.  After being inspired at the CMI conference in 2014, Plutarch has developed into a beloved subject and is one of her favorites to teach in the Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Co-Op she is a part of in Los Angeles.  


Kerri Forney


Just like so many others, Kerri was introduced to the life-giving principles of Charlotte Mason through the reading of Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake.  She and her husband, Scott, along with their five children (ages ten to twenty) are growing in their ability to live out these principles in Franklin County, NC.  Besides being involved with the Charlotte Mason Institute in various capacities and leading a monthly CM study group for parents in North Raleigh, she and some of the kids regularly enjoy rescuing used, living books wherever they can be found for the purpose of finding new homes for them.


Shannon Goods



Shannon was formerly a high school chemistry teacher, who found the answers she was searching for about education in the philosophy of Charlotte Mason.  She now homeschools her three children in the Los Angeles area and is passionate about sharing Charlotte Mason’s ideas with others.  She hosts a monthly discussion group and helped to begin a Charlotte Mason co-op that is now in its fifth year.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, knitting, spending time in nature, and learning Latin.


Storm Hutchinson



Since 2001, Storm has been a part of three Charlotte Mason Schools serving in many roles.  He has been a teacher, a school board member, a volunteer serving on Administrative Committees and a founder of two Mason Schools.  Currently he serves as an Instructional Coach helping teachers build classroom community and repair harm when it occurs at Gillingham Charter, a K-12 Charlotte Mason Public School located in Pottsville, PA.  He and his wife Nicolle led the team that started the school in 2011.  Storm is also a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and is a Free Methodist Pastor.  He and Nicolle planted a church in 2012 which incorporates Mason’s principles into church life. 


Emily Kiser



Emily lives with her husband and three young children in the southwestern Virginia mountains. For the past eleven years she has operated a private lending library for local 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 under the ultimate guidance of the Holy Spirit–the Supreme Educator of Mankind.

Lovejoy Ontiveros - Conference Music Leader


Lovejoy Ontiveros - Conference Musician

Lovejoy is the conference music leader.  She first encountered Charlotte Mason when she read Towards a Philosophy of Education with a local discussion group. Mason’s ideas resonated deeply with her, inspiring her to take a deep dive into the kind of life that is all living as she continues to study and grow in her ability to live out Mason's principles. A lifelong Californian, she resides in a diverse urban neighborhood right in the heart of Los Angeles where she and her husband educate their four children at home. Lovejoy earned her B.A. in Ethnomusicology with an emphasis in Jazz Studies from the University of California in Los Angeles, and folksong is one of her favorite subjects to teach in her local Charlotte Mason learning community. 


Karie Rose



Karie has been homeschooling for 18 years if you count the years she read to her newborns while she was nursing.  She loves a life of learning and is passionate about sharing her love of learning with her children, even though the joys of special challenges like ADD, dyslexia and dysgraphia can present difficulties.  She enjoys inspiring curiosity and wonder, while challenging, encouraging, helping to develop self-discipline, and sparking leadership and character qualities in her children.

While leading a local home school support group and co-op for seven years, she experienced and observed many different families and their approaches to home education. She dabbled in many styles as well, but Charlotte Mason repeatedly came to the forefront of her search, and now Karie believes that Mason's methodology has some of the most successful techniques in meeting her educational goals and overcoming her children's learning challenges.  She hopes you will join her on this journey and share the benefits of learning and growing together.


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 now knows how dealing with executive function deficits can be mistakenly attributed to moral failure. When she started exploring attention issues,  she did not fit the typical ADD profile generally understood at that time, and she was told by a special education teacher, “You can’t be ADD because you have a master’s degree.”  So Andy began self-educating by reading everything she could find on ADD and in her forties God brought her insightful, competent people who understood attention deficit disorder and who helped her make radical, life-nourishing changes.  Andy was introduced to a relationship with Christ in college, and 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 Charlotte Mason Institute, an educational nonprofit, to promote the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. He cherishes the relationships that have developed over the years through a collective camaraderie with other people interested in seeing education from Mason's very different paradigm.  He enjoys reading, gardening and discussing ideas with friends.  He and his wife Andra live in Roanoke, VA.


Dr. Jennifer Spencer



Dr. Jennifer Spencer is the Project Manager for Mason's Alveary, the curriculum for homeschools and schools published by the Charlotte Mason Institute. She has been an educator for twenty 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.  In the past, she 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. 


Kathy Wickward



Kathy had a passion for Shakespeare long before introducing her daughter to the bard, having acted in and directed two of his plays (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew) in addition to regularly attending productions of the Seattle Shakespeare Company and others. Her favorite is Richard II. Kathy’s connection to Charlotte Mason began in the spring of 2008 while searching for a method that suited her book-loving daughter who could not learn in a public school setting. After discovering the Ambleside Online curriculum, Kathy quickly became a devotee of Ms. Mason’s ideas and work, watching her daughter grow in wisdom and knowledge, and love of Shakespeare, all while on the autism spectrum.  The homeschool journey ended in 2016 when Thea transitioned to full time college and Kathy returned to work as parish administrator at her church. However, she keeps the dream of a strong Pacific Northwest Charlotte Mason community alive through the Puget Sound Charlotte Mason Conference and CM-West. She is currently awaiting the results of an interview with a small Christian School in Seattle, which will help launch her into classroom education.


Nicole Williams



Nicole has been home educating her three children using Charlotte Mason's principles and methods for more than a decade. She also taught four of her adopted siblings from middle school through graduation. Watching the feast of life-giving ideas restore her siblings' innate love of learning inspired her to dig deeper into Mason’s philosophy of education and then to share her experiences with others. She does that now by co-hosting the podcast A Delectable Education, writing at SabbathMoodHomeschool.com, and teaching workshops. She is the author of Living Science Study Guides, where she helps families and schools implement Charlotte Mason's particular way of teaching science. Beyond studying Charlotte Mason’s writings, sharing what she has learned, and homeschooling her own children, Nicole enjoys working in her garden, gathering with family around a bonfire, and, of course, reading a good book.


Brendan Vigorito




Brendan has been providing corporate training for companies, governmental agencies, finance institutions and non-profit agencies in the area of overall wellness.  Topics have included personal finances from budgeting, credit reports, identity theft, building savings and first time homeownership.  Brendan has also taught workshops on Ethics and Values in the Workplace, Communications Skills, Having a Positive Attitude, and Sleep Basics.  He has his personal trainer’s certification and enjoys working out and hiking.  He has served as an intermediary for the Virginia Individual Development Accounts program, an 8:1 savings program to help new businesses and first time home buyers.   He conducts webinars on the national level for consumers on financial and corporate matters.  Audiences have included United States Department of Justice, Harvard University, Federal Reserve Bank, National Basketball Association, National Football League, New York Times, Virginia Tech, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and Federal Housing Administration.

Brendan has organized and led teams to work with disaster relief victims on the domestic and international level.  Trips have included Russia, Kosovo and the Dominican Republic.  He has a Bachelor’s degree from Stonehill College in Business Administration and is a home school dad of over 20 years.


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