WHO Board Members
Chair – Amy Beckstead-Leonard
Due to my positive experience as a homeschooled child, I decided to home-educate my own children long before their birth. Today, I’m part of a never-quiet household of five children, ranging in ages from twelve to one. I love the challenges of homeschooling, which I face daily, as I adapt to the needs of individuals at all different levels while trying to remain in one piece. In 2003, I began a homeschool co-op, Families Homeschooling for Excellence, and I enjoy the companionship of other families on their own educational journeys. I have served as the Treasurer of WHO for the past several years. I continue to volunteer on the Board to help ensure that homeschoolers in Washington retain the opportunity to homeschool independently, and to help them value this privilege.
V. Chair- Emilie Fogle
I came to homeschooling in the early 1990’s, during a discussion with other moms from our cooperative preschool. There had been multiple discussions in the preschool over “play” versus preparation for kindergarten. After asking what exactly kindergarten did “for” the child, most moms agreed kindergarten helped teach children how to stand in line, and that this skill would serve them well. This was the moment our family realized public school would not be in our future. My husband Don and I, sons Isaac (24) and Carter (19) have always homeschooled, being mostly unschoolers. Isaac is presently an entering graduate student at Walla Walla University. Carter completed his Transfer degree at our local community college and loves working, lifting weights and hiking the hills around our valley. I love Central Washington’s great outdoors, and used it extensively during our early homeschooling years. I hold a second degree in Shudokan karate, love playing Taiko drums, and with the help of my Sensei, have made my own drum. My all-time passions are plants and my family. I will be completing my Master Gardener certification soon. I have always enjoyed learning more about homeschooling and related laws.
Treasurer – Judy Phelps
I found homeschooling through my husband, who told me before our older daughter was born that we would be “educating the children at home”. When the day finally arrived, I knew this was the right decision for us. There was so much for the kids to learn and I wanted to be there every step of the way. I was completely unaware that I would learn as much them! Many days we learned together as I tailored their education to their needs, letting them master material at their own pace. I attribute our closeness as a family to our years spent together homeschooling. When I was beginning this journey, I took our homeschooling law for granted. As time passed, I came to appreciate the freedom our law grants and made it a goal to volunteer for the Washington Homeschool Organization. I would like to do my part to keep our homeschooling law strong as well as inspire families to consider home based education. I firmly believe in WHO’s mission and I’m proud to have an opportunity to serve on the board.
Secretary – Holly Ramsey
My homeschooling journey started in 2001 when I pulled my then 5 year-old out of private school. We have never regretted that decision. I now school two boys, ages 15 and 9. In addition, I have the privilege of teaching writing and Spanish in an academic co-op in Puyallup. My family is also very involved with the Mel Korum YMCA homeschool swim & gym program. Educating my children at home has allowed me to meet their unique needs and tailor programs that focus on their strengths and support their passions. It has also allowed us to build very strong family relationships. Throughout the last 10 years, I have become a strong advocate for homeschooling and my membership in WHO reflects my interest in keeping independent homeschooling available for future generations.
Advocacy Chair – Jen Garrison Stuber
We fell into homeschooling in 2003, when my then seven year old became a second-grade drop-out. It was a bit of an adjustment for both of us, as my daughter had been at the school for just over 3 years, and I was making a radical transition from college professor to homeschool mom. But after those initial bumps, we haven’t looked back. Homeschooling has allowed us to provide an education uniquely suited to our daughter’s mismatched collection of strengths and weaknesses, catering to the former while mitigating the latter. Along the way, I became a vocal advocate for independent homeschooling, run a local support group (in Spokane, on the sunnyside of our state), and joined the WHO Board in January 2010. I serve as the Advocacy Chair and teach WHO’s Parent Qualifying Course at Convention.
Member-at-Large – Amber Mitchell
Homeschooling for the past 6 years has been quite a ride. We started homeschooling on the faith that this would bring our family closer together. Boy, has it done that! With our large, noisy household of 5 children ages 12 to 1, if one stopped by to visit they could find us hopping like kangaroos, practicing Tae Kwon Do or piano, reciting funny poems, reading or playing games. We love spending time with adopted Grandpa’s and Grandma’s in our local nursing homes and senior centers and hiking in the great outdoors when we are tired of our regular routine. As we have grown together as a family, we have made efforts to share our love for family centered education with anyone who will listen. This has led to my involvement with public awareness of educational options for families in my local area of the Tri-Cities and statewide with WHO. When I get time to focus on myself I spend my time reading a good book or leading a book discussion and participating in as many musical activities as possible.
Member-at-Large – Pam Kindle
We came to homeschooling by default, but it became a way of life. We took our vacations in the off-season, learning wherever we went, whatever we did. And frequently our travels inspired new subjects to pursue further on return. I wanted more… more positive influence, more educational options, more time with my kids… than my local schools – public or otherwise – could provide. And I wanted to instill in my kids a life-long love of learning. Homeschooling provided a way to do all of that and more. We ended up homeschooling our four boys for fourteen non-consecutive years, spanning pre-k to high school.
I continue to stay active in the homeschool community because education is too important to leave to a one-size-fits-all approach and because homeschooling is still one of THE very best all-around options out there. It was there for my family when we needed it, and I want to make sure it’s there for others when they need it too.
Our family has homeschooled since day one, when we decided we didn’t want to begin sending our oldest off to school all day long just as her little sister was born and I was quitting my full-time job. It was undoubtedly the right decision. Not only have we been able to give our children a great education tailored to who they are, but my children, though far apart in age at 13, 8 and 4, really know each other and our family is closer as a result of our homeschooling. It has also given our family a chance to travel a lot in the off-season and given the kids the chance to pursue their passions (so far I have a very talented singer, an aspiring artist and a little guy who never met a ball he didn’t love, so I think we’ll be adding serious athlete to the list!) We also enjoy gathering with our small co-op and I love to talk homeschooling with pretty much anyone, anywhere. I’m excited to be part of the WHO board so I can continue to educate, serve and advocate for homeschoolers across the state.