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October 3, 2006

Attorneys Change, Mission Stays the Same

In its own version of the changing of the guard, last month Home School Legal Defense Association bid farewell to a longtime fellow advocate for family and freedom while welcoming aboard another talented attorney.

Scott W. Somerville, Esq.
Scott W. Somerville

After 14 years with HSLDA, Scott W. Somerville has left the organization in order to build a ministry of encouragement to homeschool families. Joining HSLDA, meanwhile, is attorney Michael P. Donnelly, a homeschooling father, former U.S. Army officer, and veteran advocate for homeschooling freedom in his home state of New Hampshire.

“Scott Somerville is a man with a real heart for homeschooling,” said HSLDA President J. Michael Smith. “We ask for God’s blessing as he pursues a new ministry with the cause that’s so dear to him.”

Somerville joined HSLDA in 1992, shortly after graduating from Harvard Law School. He and his wife Marcia, author of the award-winning Tapestry of Grace curriculum, homeschooled all six of their children.

Scott has set out to tackle one of the biggest (non-legal) challenges homeschoolers face today: fathers who are not living up to their potential. His mission is to figure out (1) why some dads are falling short, (2) what they need to succeed, and (3) how to reach them effectively. Scott believes this untapped “father power” could provide new momentum for the homeschool movement.

When he first started working at HSLDA, Scott Somerville explained, “I thought the biggest threat [to homeschooling] was the truant officer. We moved into a new phase where the biggest threat was the social worker. I am genuinely convinced that the biggest threat today is the disengaged dad.”

Scott calls this new ministry the “K-Dad Network,” based on the principle that traditional “K-12” education leaves fathers out, but family-based life-long learning draws dads in. To learn more visit the K-Dad Network online.

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
Michael P. Donnelly

Donnelly, meanwhile, brings to HSLDA a wealth of experience and a commitment to serving his fellow homeschoolers.

“Providing legal protection is at the heart of what HSLDA does, and we couldn’t have found a better lawyer than Mike Donnelly to help us continue that mission,” said Smith. “Our members can be confident that Mike will provide professional representation and advice.”

Donnelly joins HSLDA after nearly 10 years of corporate and private legal practice. He served as a tank platoon leader in the first Persian Gulf war, and fought alongside other homeschoolers in New Hampshire to secure significant legislative victories.

He and his wife, Patty, have five children.