2022 National Leaders Conference
About the conference

About the Conference

Be equipped, inspired, and refreshed at HSLDA’s annual National Leaders Conference, with a program cultivated just for you, the leaders who help make homeschooling possible! You’ll hear from encouraging speakers and enjoy fellowship with new and old friends as we all come together in service to homeschooling.

Event Highlights

The conference is coming up!

Why Should I Attend?

LEARN

Gain new information and skills to grow as a leader and meet the needs of your homeschool group.

SHARE EXPERTISE

Compare notes, ask questions, and exchange insights with fellow leaders about how to support homeschooling families.

MAKE CONNECTIONS

Form friendships and build your network with others who understand the rewards and challenges of leadership.

RENEW

Relax and enjoy the fun, food, fellowship, and sightseeing, and refresh your faith with daily worship and devotions.

Program Details

Program Details

We are excitedly working on the program for our 2022 conference, and hope you will check back for more updates. In the meantime, you can check out our program schedules to get an idea of what to expect.

The whole family is welcome at the National Leaders Conference! In addition to our adult program, we offer kids and teen programs for ages 5–19.

Stay Informed

Join the conference Facebook group for the latest updates! 
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Location

2022 Speakers

Special thanks to our sponsors, who make this event possible!

Micahel Farris
Michael Farris
HSLDA, Board Chairman

Michael Farris is board chairman of HSLDA and chancellor emeritus of Patrick Henry College. He was the founding president of each organization and currently serves as the president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom.

Farris is a constitutional appellate litigator who has served as lead counsel in the United States Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts, and the appellate courts of 13 states. He has been a leader on Capitol Hill for over 30 years and is widely known for his role in advancing homeschooling, religious freedom, and the preservation of American sovereignty.

A prolific author, Farris has been recognized with a number of awards, including the Heritage Foundation's Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship, and as one of the "Top 100 Faces in Education for the 20th Century" by Education Week magazine.

Mike and Vickie Farris have 10 children and many grandchildren.

James R, Mason
Jim Mason
HSLDA, Vice President of Litigation and Development (President as of Mike Smith's retirement on August 1, 2022)

Since joining HSLDA to lead the litigation team in 2001, Jim Mason has represented homeschooling families in a wide range of challenging situations and has set precedents that have expanded freedom for the homeschool community. Under Jim’s leadership, HSLDA’s 4th Amendment litigation work has changed the way three states (North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico) approach social services investigations. In Wilson v Russo, HSLDA won a $700,000 settlement for our client, a single parent whose children were seized by a rogue child protective services investigator. Jim was instrumental in litigating the 2008 California case Jonathan L., in which a state appellate court reversed its previous ruling that homeschooling was illegal. This put an end to years of controversy over the legal status of homeschooling in California and set a precedent that affects other states as well.

In addition to serving as HSLDA’s vice president of litigation and development, Jim is the vice president of HSLDA Action and chairman of ParentalRights.org. Jim and his wife Debbie live in Winchester, Virginia. They have seven children and four grandchildren. The Masons homeschooled all of their children through high school.

J. Michael Smith
Mike Smith
HSLDA, President (President emeritus as of August 1, 2022)

Mike Smith and his wife Elizabeth, along with Michael Farris and his wife Vickie, incorporated Home School Legal Defense Association in 1983 and were the original board members. Mike grew up in Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas. Upon graduation, he entered the US Navy and served for three years before attending law school at the University of San Diego. He graduated in 1972 and was admitted to practice law in the state of California shortly thereafter.

In 1981, Mike’s life changed drastically when he heard a radio program that introduced him to the idea of homeschooling. Mike and his wife began homeschooling one year at a time to meet the academic and social needs of their children. After several years, however, it became obvious that God had exposed the Smith family to homeschooling for many other benefits, including spiritual development and family integrity. All of Mike’s children are now grown, and three of the four were homeschooled.

When he started with HSLDA, Mike began defending homeschooling in California both in court and before the legislature. In 1987 he came to HSLDA full-time, serving as its vice president until 2000, when he became its president.

Phil Tuttle
Phil Tuttle
Walk Thru the Bible, President

For more than three decades, Phil Tuttle has been a vital member of the Walk Thru the Bible family. While pastoring in central Illinois, he began teaching Walk Thru the Bible’s live events in 1988. Since that time, he has served as dean of faculty, senior vice president for international ministries, and global teaching pastor before becoming president and CEO in 2007. Phil received his bachelor of arts degree in Christian education and Bible from Wheaton College in 1980 and his master of theology degree in Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1984. As president of Walk Thru the Bible, Phil continues to share God's Word throughout the world in churches and at Bible conferences, Christian education conventions, and corporate gatherings. He is the author of multiple Bible-study series, including Raise Up a Child: A Biblical Portrait of Parenting, Chosen: When God Calls Your Name, and Revolution: How Millennials Can Change the World. Phil and his wife, Ellen, have two children and three grandchildren.

Elizabeth Bailey
Elizabeth Bailey

Elizabeth Bailey is the hopeless romantic wife of Joe, a level-headed engineer. She works as a homemaker and second-generation homeschooling mother to her six children. In the past, Elizabeth has worked as a short-order tearoom cook, an academic coach, and a librarian. Elizabeth has a BA in social sciences from Thomas Edison University, but her real education happened as a homeschooled kid living real life with her family. Currently her hobbies include gardening, reading with her kids, and house designing with Joe.

Mike Schutt
Mike Schutt
Worldview Academy, Executive Director

Mike Schutt has served students at Worldview Academy as a faculty member since 2002 and is its executive director. Before taking on the executive director role, he served as a clinical associate professor at Trinity Law School and director of the Institute for Christian Legal Studies, a cooperative ministry of Regent University Law School and the Christian Legal Society (CLS), where he directed CLS’s Law Student Ministry. He also taught on the faculty of Regent University Law School for 20 years. Mike’s book, Redeeming Law: Christian Calling and the Legal Profession, is an exhortation to students and lawyers on Christian integrity in the law. Mike lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas, with his wife, Lisa. They have three grown children and six grandchildren. Before entering academia, Mike practiced law in Fort Worth, Texas. He is an honors graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.

Claire Hungar
Claire Hungar

Claire Hungar is a third-year student at Yale Law School. Prior to entering law school, she studied English, sociology, and American Sign Language at the University of Virginia. After that, she spent a year teaching a course on American culture and history to university students in Romania as a Fulbright student. She is a summer associate at Sidley Austin and after graduation will be clerking for Judge Amul Thapar of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Dabney Friedrich of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Andrew Pudewa
Andrew Pudewa
Institute for Excellence in Writing, Founder

Andrew Pudewa is the founder and director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a father of seven. Traveling and speaking around the world, he addresses issues related to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity, insight, practical experience, and humor. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills.

Although he is a graduate of the Talent Education Institute in Japan and holds a Certificate of Child Brain Development from the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his best endorsement is from a young Alaskan boy who called him “the funny man with the wonderful words.” He and his heroic wife, Robin, have homeschooled their seven children and are now proud grandparents of 15, making their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Roger Smith
Dr. Roger Smith
Parenting Matters Now

Dr. Roger Smith, author of Parenting with Influence, is a primary care physician in rural Louisiana, where he oversees the medical care delivered in four small-town clinics. He is board-certified in internal medicine and pediatrics, and he has a special interest in relationships in the home and community. His vlog, Parenting Matters Now, can be found on Facebook and at RogerSmithMD.com. Dr. Smith serves on the boards of his state and national homeschool organizations (Homeschool Louisiana and the National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership). Over the last 25 years, he has served in leadership roles in numerous organizations, including 4-H, Boy Scouts, NCFCA Christian Speech and Debate, and the chamber of commerce, and has been a mentor at a local faith-based substance abuse program. Dr. Smith seeks to share a perspective that brings together his scientific education, spiritual teachings, psychosocial research, and personal experience, buffered by his Southern-gentleman upbringing and commonsense application.

Darren Jones
Darren Jones
HSLDA, Director of Group Services

Darren Jones has worked at HSLDA since 1996, first as a legal assistant and then as an attorney in various capacities. As senior counsel, much of his focus is on helping member families in legal difficulties. As HSLDA’s director of group services, he advises homeschool group leaders about everything from crafting statements of faith to designing policies to protect children at co-ops. Darren and his wife Sara homeschool as a team and have graduated the oldest of their four children. He enjoys board games, teaching Sunday school, and speaking at homeschool conferences around the country.

Natalie Mack
Natalie Mack
HSLDA, High School Consultant and Outreach Coordinator

Natalie Mack is a mom of five, Navy chaplain’s wife, military home educator since 2001, president of Belvoir Home Educators, and business owner. She received her BA in political science and Spanish from her beloved alma mater, Spelman College, in Atlanta, Georgia, and her MEd with a concentration in community counseling from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Hanging up her therapist shingle, she followed God’s leading to home educate her children in 2001. She has launched four of her five children to college, and then on to graduate school or professional careers.

Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
HSLDA, Director of Global Outreach

As an HSLDA senior counsel, Mike Donnelly serves HSLDA members in six states and the District of Columbia. As director of global outreach, he coordinates HSLDA’s support of homeschooling freedom around the world. Mike is a member of six federal and state bars and holds an LLM with merit in constitutional and human rights law from the London School of Economics. He is also an internationally published writer and frequent speaker on homeschooling, educational freedom, parental rights, and human rights. Mike and his wife, Patricia, are homeschooling parents of seven children.

Karim Morato
Karim Morato
HSLDA, Bilingual Educational Consultant and Outreach Coordinator

Karim Morato supports homeschooling parents by serving in HSLDA’s educational consulting department. In addition, she reaches out to and collaborates with both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking leaders who are advancing the homeschooling movement. Karim is originally from Guatemala and emigrated to the United States in 1992. She and her husband have been homeschooling their three children for the last 14 years. Their oldest daughter graduated in 2020 and is currently studying industrial engineering; their son graduated this year and is pursuing a finance degree. Karim holds a master’s degree in curriculum and online learning from George Mason University in Virginia. For more than 25 years she has been teaching and serving the Hispanic community through educational advice, mentoring, and counseling. Through her outreach work, she offers homeschool leaders strategic advice and networking to help them reach and serve the Hispanic community.

LaNissir James
LaNissir James
HSLDA, High School Consultant and Outreach Coordinator

A homeschooling mom and leader, LaNissir James has a passion to serve the home-educating community. She provides social, spiritual, academic, and supervisory support for families in local groups and encourages and equips homeschool graduates to transition into colleges, careers, and vocational schools. As an HSLDA High School Consultant, LaNissir loves speaking to parents to encourage and support their homeschooling. She earned her BS in journalism from the University of Maryland College Park and is pursuing a master’s degree in biblical studies. LaNissir is wife to Lorenzo and the mother of seven beautiful homeschooled children with ages ranging from toddler to young adult.

Brian Ray
Dr. Brian Ray
National Home Education Research Institute, President

Dr. Brian Ray is a leading international expert in research on homeschooling and president of the National Home Education Research Institute. He has published numerous articles and books, been repeatedly interviewed by major media, served as an expert witness in court cases across the US and in Canada, and testified to legislatures regarding educational issues. He is a former university professor and public and private school classroom teacher, and is an elder in a local church. Brian and Betsy have eight children, all of whom were homeschooled, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Dr. Dany Shakeel
Dr. Dany Shakeel
Centre for Educational Entrepreneurship, Director

Dr. M. Danish Shakeel is the director of the University of Buckingham’s Centre for Educational Entrepreneurship. He is also affiliated with the Program on Education Policy and Governance located at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government. He holds a PhD from the University of Arkansas’s Department of Education Reform and has published numerous articles on the subject.

Daniel Heffington
Daniel Heffington
Generation Joshua, Director of Communications

Daniel Heffington is a worship leader, songwriter, and recording artist. He grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he was homeschooled by parents who were also professional musicians. He is one of the worship leaders at his church (Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia) and regularly leads worship at conferences, summer camps, and churches around Virginia and the US.

In addition to music, Daniel has a heart for justice, advocacy, and empowering future leaders. He pursues these goals by serving on the senior staff team at HSLDA's Generation Joshua. Daniel lives in Berryville, Virginia, with his wife, Abigail, and their kids: Ellie, Piper, and Tuck.

If he doesn't know you already, Daniel would love to meet you, and he looks forward to lots of great conversations (that hopefully include coffee) at the National Leaders Conference!

Arizona Wildflowers
Arizona Wildflowers

The award-winning Americana band Arizona Wildflowers is a trio of sisters who love to play high-energy bluegrass, old-time country, and gospel music! Growing up on a ranch in Casa Grande, Arizona, the Arizona Wildflowers have a love for all things country—and that includes traditional American music. Being homeschooled has afforded them the opportunity to pursue their passions, and all three girls are state and national fiddle champions as well as competitive barrel racers. You are sure to love their sister harmonies and fancy fiddle licks!

Testimonials

HSLDA is a fantastic organization! We have been members for years and continue our supporting their efforts through membership even though our youngest graduated two years ago. Valuable resources and wonderful people.
Tina R., Facebook
I would not have been able to purchase most of these supplies had we not received a grant. We are so grateful for those who have unselfishly donated to this fund. Our family’s life has been significantly impacted by their kindness and generosity.
Andy K., Curriculum Grant recipient
Thank you for a grant this year. It came at a time when we couldn't have continued homeschooling without it. My 8-year-old daughter struggled to read. Now, two years later, because of homeschooling she is a wonderful reader and her fears are gone.
Tina E., Curriculum Grant recipient

Meet Our People

We're privileged to have an amazing team of attorneys and educational consultants who are passionate about defending homeschooling families and helping them thrive.
Learn more here »

Have questions about the conference? Contact Us

2022 Sponsors

GOLD SPONSOR

SILVER SPONSORS

WORKSHOP SPONSORS

BREAK LEVEL SPONSOR

LEGACY SPONSOR

EXHIBIT SPONSORS

Meet Our People

We're privileged to have an amazing team of attorneys and educational consultants who are passionate about defending homeschooling families and helping them thrive.
Learn more here »

Cost to Attend

HSLDA MEMBER
$380
NONMEMBER
$425
TEEN (Ages 13–19)
$215
KID (Ages 5–12)
$150
(Reduced rates available through 7/31/21)

Children 4 and under are free, but no childcare is provided. Registration covers all sessions and catered meals. Lodging is not included; it is the responsibility of each attendee to make hotel reservations as needed.

Register Now

Registration closes on August 20, 2022