Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134
For Immediate Release Contact: Sandra Kim
August 1, 2022 (540) 338-8864
Purcellville, VA – James R. Mason has been named president of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) today after the retirement of the organization’s longtime leader and cofounder, Mike Smith. “I am humbled to be called to serve the homeschooling community and continue to advance the cause of homeschool freedom,” Jim Mason said.
Mason’s promotion to president follows more than 20 years as HSLDA’s lead litigation attorney and seven years as Vice President. He was responsible for key legal victories, including 4th Amendment cases that improved social services investigation protocol in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico. Mason also led the organization’s victory in Wilson v. Russo, where HSLDA won a $700,000 settlement for a single parent whose children were wrongfully taken into foster care by a child protective services investigator.
The new Director of Litigation is HSLDA attorney Peter Kamakawiwoole, who earned his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law. During his 12 years as a staff attorney on the HSLDA litigation team, he has represented homeschooling families before state and federal tribunals, including the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fourth Circuits, and the Supreme Court of Virginia. Kamakawiwoole is also an adjunct professor of government at Patrick Henry College.
"Jim is the right leader for HSLDA during this amazing time of growth in homeschooling and a champion for homeschooling," said Mike Smith, HSLDA president emeritus. "I have full confidence that he will continue to advocate to keep homeschooling free for every family who wants to homeschool."
Mason was also 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.
He is a frequent contributor to the HSLDA’s Home School Court Report magazine and interviews innovative homeschool creators, thinkers, and authors on the organization’s Homeschool Talks podcast.
“Jim Mason is the best pick to lead HSLDA as homeschooling continues to grow, and to make sure homeschooling remains legal in the US,” said Michael Farris, HSLDA’s founder and Chairman of the Board.
Mason graduated with highest honors from Regent University School of Law in 1996, and he is a veteran of the US Navy having served on active duty in Operation Desert Storm. Mason will also serve as president of HSLDA Action and Chairman of the Board for ParentalRights.org and ParentalRightsfoundation.org.
Jim and his wife Debbie live in Winchester, Virginia. They have seven children and four grandchildren. The Masons homeschooled all their children through high school.