LeaderConnect 2023

Strong Leaders - Stronger Together

The homeschool community is continuing to expand every day! A wide variety of leaders in every area is vital to meeting the needs of this ever-growing population of homeschool families. Leaders with unique gifts, interests, strengths and skills have much to offer both new and veteran homeschool families alike.


Please join fellow homeschool leaders and potential leaders at the beautiful Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine for LeaderConnect! We'll come together to grow, refresh, share ideas and encouragement, and hear from inspiring speakers about the importance of standing together to create a strong homeschool community for future generations.


Bring your spouse and make it a getaway!


Special Guest Speakers

Guest speakers will include Attorney Darren Jones and LaNissir James, both from Home School Legal Defense Association, as well as Representative Katrina Smith and Representative Heidi Sampson

Introducing HSLDA Attorney Darren Jones! In this interview, HOME leader Brandi Schunk discusses the need for strong communities with Darren: Strong Leaders - Stronger Together - YouTube. Be sure to watch!


Who Should Attend?

Are you leading and serving your homeschool community in one of the ways listed below? Are you serving in another way? If the answer is yes, then come to LeaderConnect! Do you see a need in your community and want to learn more? Come learn from those who have gone before you! Find out what you can do to serve your fellow homeschoolers. 

  • Support Group Leaders
  • Mom's Night Out Coordinators
  • Co-op Leaders
  • Field Trip and Activity Coordinators
  • Facebook Group Leaders
  • Teachers Working with Homeschoolers
  • Librarians Working with Homeschoolers
  • Church Leaders Working with Homeschoolers
  • Leaders from Neighboring States
  • Others Interested in Leading and Serving!

LeaderConnect Conference Details

Date: February 3-4, 2023

Theme: Strong Leaders - Stronger Together

Location: Samoset Resort, Rockport, ME

Cost: $49 per person, $79 per couple (includes lunch on Saturday). Pre-registration required. Please pre-register below.

Overnight Accommodations: Reservation Deadline Extended! Use this link to Reserve Your Room at the Samoset Resort, or call 800-341-1650, no later than January 20, 2023, and mention Homeschoolers of Maine to be assured of our special discounted rate! Make your reservation early as there are a limited number of rooms in our block. (Please note that the Samoset "resort fee" mentioned has also been waived for our group!) 


DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR EVENT? Are you wondering if you should attend?

Use the chat option through Facebook Messenger in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.


Schedule of Events

Friday, February 3

12:00 noon - Registration Opens

1:00pm - 2:00pm - Informal Meet and Greet

2:00pm - 3:30pm - It Takes All Kinds! - Michelle Collomy, Liz Caruso, Aubrey Knorr, and Rep. Heidi Sampson

Do you feel the need for a group in your area but aren't sure how to get one started? Are you interested in knowing more about the different types of support groups, co-ops and educational opportunities that other homeschool moms are providing in their area? In this workshop, you will hear from seasoned group leaders that felt the need and found creative ways to offer the support needed in their region. Come and be inspired! A question-and-answer time will follow.

4:00 - 5:00pm - Building Your Homeschool Team - LaNissir James

Building up leaders while enhancing their strengths as you serve homeschool families is an important task. Learn the skills to identify, train and grow homeschool leaders as you lead your organization.

5:00 - 5:30pm - Roundtable discussion

5:30 - 6:30pm - Dinner on your own

6:30 - 7:30pm - Answering the Questions That Keep You up at Night - Darren Jones

Guard your support group against legal surprises! In this workshop, Darren helps you understand issues that affect your group, including civil rights law, child abuse prevention, and financial issues. Don’t miss this important discussion of policies your support group should adopt when serving the homeschool community!

7:30pm - Social Hour


Saturday, February 4

6:30 - 7:00am - Empowerment Stretch - Brandi Schunk

Our thoughts have incredible power to either destroy or create. Practice focusing on words that bring life, while moving your body in gentle ways to elongate your muscles and activate blood flow. This guided time will leave you empowered and energized for the day ahead.

7:00 - 8:30am - Breakfast on your own

8:30 - 9:30am - Serving Others While Serving Your Family - LaNissir James 

Leadership is demanding, but so is the call on your life to serve your family. Let’s dive into boundaries and strategies to serving others well while serving your family well, too.

9:30 – 10:00am - Roundtable discussion

10:30 - 11:30 - Local Groups: Connecting the Movement - Darren Jones

Local homeschool groups engage all levels of the homeschool movement. They provide services to homeschooling families, everything from classes to Moms’ Night Out. They are often the first point of contact for new families and help plug them in to the wider homeschool community. Often, they are liaisons between homeschool parents and state homeschool organizations, since homeschool families often see the state as only doing conferences or legislative work (if they even know about them). Darren Jones talks with groups all across the country and spends time brainstorming ideas of how they can better serve homeschoolers. Come prepared to talk about what your group is doing and hear ideas for creative ways to serve.

11:30am - noon - Roundtable discussion

12:00 - 1:00pm - Lunch provided by HOME and Legislative Update from Rep. Katrina Smith

1:00pm - 2:00pm - Conflict Resolution and Building Healthy Relationships - LaNissir James

Conflict does not have to lead to a crisis when learning to identify blind spots, welcome feedback, and lead with love. Learn strategies for building healthy relationships while building up great leaders.

2:30 - 3:30pm - The Secret to Homeschool Freedom - Darren Jones

The best way to safeguard the future is to learn from the past. Homeschooling has grown from a      marginalized, possibly illegal, choice of a few parents to an accepted option for millions of families. Homeschooling’s history of close calls and exciting victories sheds light on upcoming challenges to homeschool freedom. We, as group leaders, are on the front lines of keeping homeschool freedom free.

3:30 - 4:00pm - Closing Session and Good-byes


Pre-register Today!

Don't miss this life-changing opportunity to grow and thrive as a leader! 


* Homeschool leaders from neighboring states are welcome and encouraged to attend. This event will not be Maine specific.


* Consider inviting your fellow leaders and make it a mom's time out or bring your spouse for an affordable getaway!


* Need some financial help to attend? To apply for a scholarship, please contact the HOME Office at homeschoolmaine@gmail.com or call 207.763.2880.


Please help us plan ahead for your presence. Pre-register below, no later than January 20.


Thank You LeaderConnect Sponsors and Partners!

* Please contact Katie Beaudoin at katiehomeadv@gmail.com or 207.610.9309` for more information if you would like to be sponsor for this event!


* To partner with HOME to help make this event possible, simply use the DONATE button in the upper right corner of this page and note LeaderConnect. Any amount would be greatly appreciated!


* Or mail your donation to:

HOME, P.O. Box, 159, Camden, ME 04843


Thank you, and God bless you for your generosity. 


More about Our Speakers

 Darren Jones

A homeschool graduate, Darren first came to work for HSLDA as a legal assistant over 25 years ago. As Senior Counsel and Director of Group Services, Darren works with homeschool support groups across the country, assisting them with issues ranging from financial questions to membership policies to figuring out how to adapt to the homeschooling law of the state. Darren and his wife Sara have four children, two graduated and two whom they homeschool as a team. Darren loves teaching, games, and studying about history.



LaNissir James

A homeschooling mom and leader, LaNissir 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.




Brandi Schunk

Brandi is a homeschooling mama, HOME Regional Rep, Independent Health Coach with Optavia, and retired Licensed Massage Therapist.




Michelle Collomy

Michelle has been homeschooling her twelve children for the past 26 years. She is a seasoned homeschool leader and is enthusiastic about encouraging new homeschool moms as they get started on their journey.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


 Liz Caruso

Liz Caruso lives in Caratunk with her husband, two sons and golden retriever. She co-founded Somerset Homeschool Co-op in 2010, co-coached the robotics team into two state awards, and has homeschooled her sons into college. Liz works part-time out of her home as the selectboard chair and as a Maine guide. During Liz's recent run for Congress in Maine’s CD2, she reinforced the need to encourage and empower the next generation of great leaders.

 Representative Katrina Smith

Rep. Smith is a lifelong Mainer, wife, mom, realtor and small business owner. Born and raised in Appleton, Maine, she attended Gordon College and received a BA in Sociology in 1995. Her professional career has taken her from corporate life to the local school system to the world of real estate where she primarily focuses on “house flipping” with her husband both in Maine and in Florida.


A mom to 3 and stepmom to 2, with 2 granddaughters, she is most proud of her children and the adults they are becoming. With their future in mind, she joined the political world to ensure she has a say in the direction of Maine and was elected to the State Legislature in 2022. Her commitment is to return to the expectation of personal responsibility and passing legislation that will ensure a free and prosperous Maine.

Representative Heidi Sampson

Rep. Sampson is in her 4th term as a state representative, serving as the lead Republican on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. Prior to being elected to the House, she was the first homeschooler in the nation to be appointed to a State Board of Education.  A graduate of St. Lawrence University, she majored in the sciences and minored in Sports Medicine. Heidi began her career as a research scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the New England Aquarium. Simultaneously, she maintained her interest in fitness and sports and developed and managed several corporate wellness programs in southern Maine. Subsequently, she developed a unique children's multidimensional fitness program, Fun O'Fit™, which was piloted at Alfred Elementary School and later adopted by public and private schools throughout the United States. She has also taught science and coached various high school sports at both public and private schools. For decades, during the winter months she was the Children's Snow-sports Director at Shawnee Peak (now Pleasant Mountain), where she trained and mentored a very large staff of mostly teenagers.


For nearly 25 years until being elected to the legislature, Heidi was greatly involved with homeschooling throughout Maine, the United States and Canada as a frequent conference speaker and consultant. She also led a large, active homeschool support group. During this time, she taught a wide range of high school courses to many homeschoolers in addition to her own three children. The bustling farm she and her family still manage in Alfred is an example of a homeschooling project creating a life of its own. All of her children have graduated and are eagerly pursuing their dreams.

Aubrey C. Knorr

After graduating from North Atlantic Regional High School as a homeschool student in 2002, Aubrey went on to attend Beal College and Pensacola Christian College (PCC). In December of 2005, she graduated from PCC with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a minor in English.


Outside of her professional duties, Aubrey served as treasurer of the Readfield Elementary Parent Association, as well as a member of the Friends of Maple Tree School Board. 


Currently, Aubrey is an editor and lives on a small homestead, where she homeschools her two boys, ages 13 and 5. When she started homeschooling her oldest, she started a Facebook group in her area upon learning that support systems did not exist. This grew into a place where local families could gather and benefit from a group setting. From there, her dream of starting a homeschool community developed into a Web site of virtual learning. In 2021, Wild Ones Academy, a nature-based co-op of homeschoolers from all different lifestyles and learning styles, became a reality.


In her spare time, Aubrey enjoys gardening, reading, and spending time with her family and animals.