Convention Speakers

Keynote and Featured Speakers and Presenters for 2018 (so far!)

Cheryl Swope


All because my daughter Michelle – who has autism, learning disabilities, schizophrenia, borderline intellectual disability, and various medical conditions – said, “Mom, I want my story to help other children like me…


Cheryl Swope, M.Ed. is an author, speaker, and creator with Memoria Press of the Simply Classical Curriculum, a full-year series designed for children with special learning needs. Cheryl and her husband homeschooled their adopted twins (both with autism, learning disabilities, and mental illness) from the children’s infancy through high school. The children’s love of history, literature, and Latin persuaded Cheryl of the benefits a classical education for any child.


With a master’s degree in special education, lifetime K-12 state teaching certificate in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders, Cheryl has studied in a university Occupational Therapy program, tutored, taught in early childhood classrooms and private special school summer programs, helped implement an innovative inclusion program among twelve elementary schools, spoken at her state’s Council for Exceptional Children Conference, led I.E.P. meetings, and conducted assessments on behalf of children with 

special needs. Yet her most humbling education came through her own twins at home.


Author of Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child (Memoria Press, 2013), Cheryl is perhaps most pleased with the response to the Simply Classical Curriculum voted #1 in Special Needs (Old Schoolhouse Magazine) in 2016 for the second year. Cheryl has spoken in Michigan, Wyoming, California, Texas, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, and in her home state of Missouri.


Cheryl serves as writer for The Classical Teacher, advisor to the Classical Latin School Association, editor of the NEW Simply Classical Journal for homeschoolers whose children have special learning needs, member of the LCMS President’s Blue Ribbon Task Force for Lutheran Education, and lifetime member of the Board of Directors for the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education.


Cheryl lives with her husband of more than 25 years and their forgiving and forbearing adult twins, Michael and Michelle, in a wooded community where they can all swim in the lake, grow spinach and kale in their backyard garden, and stargaze on blankets in the open field.


Angela O'Dell


Angela O’Dell is the author of the Math Lessons for a Living Education math series and the A Living History of Our World history series, both published through Master Books of New Leaf Press. She is also the owner of her own publishing company, Jelly Bean Jar Publications. 


Angela is a second generation homeschooler and has home educated her own four children for 19 years. She and her husband, Dave, have graduated their three eldest children and continue to homeschool their youngest, who is in high school.


Although she stays busy writing, Angela also loves to work as a homeschool consultant and has served as a leader in her local homeschool community for years. She thrives on helping and encouraging her fellow homeschooling moms to live strong lives anchored in the truth of God’s Word, which declares each of them to be precious and unique, capable and worthy of their calling through the power of Jesus Christ. 


Jake MacAulay

 Jake MacAulay serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC), an educational outreach that presents the founders’ “American View” of law and government. IOTC has produced thousands of graduates in all 50 states with a full understanding of the Biblical principles on which America’s founding documents are based.


The former co-host of the syndicated talk show, The Sons of Liberty, he is an ordained minister and has spoken to audiences nation-wide, and has established the American Club, a constitutional study group in public and private schools.


Jake has been seen on Yahoo News, Fox News, The Blaze, AP, CBS, NBC, The Weekly Standard, and more.

Carolyn Simonds

Carolyn Simonds has been actively involved in HOME's ministry for many years.  She is a veteran homeschool mom of six children. Carolyn serves as a teacher and mentor to other HOME leaders, and plays a leadership role in a number of HOME events and endeavors.


Kathi Kearney
Kathi has served on the HOME Board for many years. She has worked with homeschooling families in Maine for more than 30 years, and helped to author Maine’s homeschool law. Kathi teaches gifted & talented students in Maine, is a Professional Associate with the Gifted Development Center in Denver, and teaches online courses for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Chris Wilcoxson

 Chris and his wife, Tiffany, are founders and pastors of Life Source Ministries in Brunswick, ME. They have served within HOME's ministry as coordinators in various areas for a number of years, and currently serve as HOME Board Members. For Chris and Tiffany, homeschooling was a decision of faith made together before having children. They have a heart for helping families build healthy homes, as well as fighting for parental rights. Chris and Tiffany reside in Georgetown, ME with their seven children. 


Micah Bickford

Michah is the Challenge A director at the Classical Conversations campus in Winthrop, Maine and the pastor of Grace Reformed Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Farmington, Maine. He and his wife homeschool their three children with Classical Conversations.


Brandy Finck has worked in higher education admissions for over 10 years and currently serves as the Dean of Admissions at the University of Maine at Augusta. She previously served as the Director of Admissions & International Programs at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Brandy believes that higher education is the solution to improving socioeconomic inequities and is passionate about the UMA public access mission. Brandy earned a BS and MA in Political Science, and a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from Texas A&M University. She also holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.


Rachael Magill is the Coordinator for Early College Programs at the University of Maine at Augusta where she has worked for over 2 years. In her role, she helps students, families and high school administers across Maine navigate the early college process. Prior to UMA, Rachael Coordinated Early College Programs for Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Arts in Humanities.


Suzanne Fenton

Over the past 20 years, Suzanne’s experience as an educator has taken her from the classroom, to one-on-one tutoring, to homeschooling her own four kids, giving her experience in many different learning styles and environments.  With a degree in secondary education, she is a life-long learner, avid reader, and French enthusiast.  When she’s ready to get her nose out of the books, she loves to cycle and cross-country ski.


Maija Sevigny 

Maija has been in the wellness field and using essential oils now for over seven years. She has six aromatherapy certificates as well as certificates in Aroma freedom technique, and X’tract.  Maija has taught many people about the use of essential oils for the purpose of wellness, abundance, and purpose.


Jeremy Tate

 Jeremy Tate is a former college admissions counselor and test-prep consultant. In his work, he became alarmed by the lack of logic and philosophy-based subject matter in the two dominant entrance exams. As a means of rectifying this, he founded the Classic Learning Initiatives (CLI) along with his long-time friend and partner David Wagner. Together they have developed the Classic Learning Test, a rigorous college entrance exam based on a traditional liberal-arts curriculum. In his capacity as CLI president, Tate applies his knowledge to the company’s mission of reconnecting knowledge and virtue. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Reformed Theological Seminary, and has four children who range in age from 4 to 11 years old.


Allyson Lowell, LCSW has worked with and advocated for children, youth and adults with special needs in Maine communities for more than 20 years. She is the Director of Program Services at Woodfords Family Services, and oversees all agency clinical and behavioral health programs.  Previously, she served as the Director of Case Management Programs at Woodfords for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maine.


Jay Piscopo

Jay Piscopo is the author and illustrator of The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli graphic novel series. He is also the creator of Sea Ghost #1: The Sea Ghost in the Machine one-shot comic book, which he wrote and illustrated in his unique signature style, combining 2D characters with 3D backgrounds.

He is a featured contributor in the Reading With Pictures anthology Past projects include working as an art director at Tom Snyder Productions where he produced educational CD-ROMs, including the award-winning Fizz and Martina's Math Adventures, and animated the ABC Saturday Morning show Squigglevision. He also co-created the internationally distributed comic book series, The Scrap City Pack Rats, featuring the world's first disabled superheroes. This six-issue series received national attention for its groundbreaking approach and subject matter

Jay is an engaging presenter with extensive on-camera and radio experience. He has conducted hundreds of comics workshops and classroom events teaching drawing and storytelling techniques. He resides in his home town of Portland, Maine


Kathryn Dunfee

Kathy Dunfee began her homeschooling journey 20 years ago. Inspired by Charlotte Mason's gentle art of learning, she immersed her children in scripture, nature, story, poetry, music, and art.

Kathy acquired a deep reverence for the wonder and beauty of nature from spending her childhood “in the woods.” She is passionate about engaging children in nature so they may experience its life-

long source of refreshment. Kathy is a Mass Audubon naturalist and teaches nature study at

Plumfield Academy (a Charlotte Mason school in Danvers, MA) and within the homeschool



Sam Richards

My involvement in theater began with acting in high school and college—I’ve done relatives less since then. My love of language, poetry and theatrical arts began with Christmas pageants (where a child is more put out there, than putting on anything!) but as my mind expanded and as my work as an educator developed, I began to see a play had to be a thing before we could venture to say, “The play’s the thing!” This meant treating a play as a “work of art” with its own integrity (original intent?) and historical setting (cultural context as well as it’s own chronology—the two are distinguishable, necessarily so). Eventually, I wanted to bring, as an English teacher and director, Shakespeare to the homeschool world and teach Shakespeare through performance.


Hugh Porter Biography


Hugh Porter is the new Student Services Coordinator at the Northern Penobscot Technology Region 3 Career and Technical Education (CTE) School in Lincoln, ME. NPT Region 3 serves 28 towns and five sending schools and offers programs in EMT/Firefighting, Law Enforcement, CNA, RMA, Health Sciences, Culinary Arts, Construction Technology/Cabinetry, Academic Support, Web Design and Digital Communications,  Commercial Driving, Welding, Automotive Technology, and Career Prep/Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG).Prior to his current position, Mr. Porter was employed for 17 years at Maine Maritime Academy as a senior Admissions counselor as well as teaching Natural Resources/Wood Harvesting at NPT Region 3. Mr. Porter is also a Licensed ME Forester for 30 years who still enjoys practicing consulting in his spare time. 


Derek Sylvestre

Derek V. Sylvestre is a homeschool graduate from northern NH. He comes from a large family grounded in the faith that God has a plan for your life and His Hand can be seen throughout Creation. Derek now resides in Waterville, Maine where he is involved in leadership at his home church, Kingdom Life Church and is the director and supervisory  mentor at the House of Jehu, a  residence for young men needing a new start.

Derek has a heart for living in relationship with others as God-intended. His ability to encourage, challenge, see the gifts in others and to love well, make him well suited to his calling of mentoring young men.