Virginia 2022
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Promoting core principles and best practices in education 
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OUR GOAL: Encouraging and resourcing new Virginia school board members to serve their communities well
Supporting innovative and independent decision making for new members
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Establishing support relationships with partner organizations. 
WANT TO HELP?
CONFERENCE DETAILS
WHEN:
WHERE:
WHAT:
Saturday, February 26 from 8:45 am to 4:00 pm
Mountain View Church of God
2549 English Tavern Rd
Lynchburg, VA 24501
A one-day event to encourage and equip new school board members and Board of Supervisors members in Virginia to serve their communities well.  

Experienced panelists will share core principles and best practices in education, encourage innovative and independent decision making, and familiarize participants with the support and resources available to them through partner organizations. 

Not from Virginia, but still want to participate? 
You're welcome to join us, with the understanding that the panels and topics will be tailored to Virginia laws, statutes, and school board policies. We hope to expand this event to other states in the future!
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Register now!
SCHEDULE
Morning
Afternoon
Noah Webster Educational Foundation
NWEF's mission is to educate and collaborate with individuals and organizations to tell the story of America’s education and culture, identify foundational principles that improve it, and advance practice and policy to change it.
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Partners
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FRC Action
Building Education for Students Together (BEST)

Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy
The Family Foundation
The Family Foundation preserves and promotes the family in Virginia as God’s foundation upon which all free and thriving societies are built.
Moms for Liberty
The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy is a non-profit public policy organization that crafts and promotes public policy solutions to advance prosperity and opportunity for all Virginians by lowering economic and regulatory barriers and ensuring individuals and parents are empowered to make informed choices for themselves and their families.
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A project of FreedomWorks, Building Education for Students Together’s mission is to ignite a national parent-led movement by building, educating, and mobilizing the largest network of parent activists in the country to advocate for their children’s education through the election of school board members and the passage of policies that align with our vision of expanding education freedom.
Based in Washington, D.C., FRC Action is the legislative affiliate of Family Research Council. We seek to educate and influence elected officials on Capitol Hill and in the states, activate our grassroots network, and mobilize Values Voters on behalf of faith, family, and freedom.
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Moms for Liberty is dedicated to fighting for the survival of America by unifying, educating and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at 
all levels of government. 
Mary Katherine Bennett
Mary Katherine Bennett is a homeschool graduate and mother of six. As a founding member of the Bedford County Patriots, Mary Katherine works to unite our community in standing up for our children and our freedom.  
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Melvin Adams, 
Noah Webster Educational Foundation
Melvin Adams has almost 40 years of experience in educational leadership. Born in Africa to parents serving as Christian missionaries, he was homeschooled in his early years, then attended a British school during his high school years before going to the U.S. to begin his college studies. He took his first teaching job in 1982. 

Since then, he has served on the teaching faculty and in the administration of several schools and colleges in the U.S. and started and led a college in Ukraine from 1993-2000. From 2008-2016, he helped to found and lead Renewanation, a faith-based non-profit organization with a focus on education. In 2016, he served on the Presidential Transition Team as a Senior Advisor on Education. 

His international experience and his work in the private non-profit sector have helped to shape his perspectives on education. He lives in Virginia with his wife Sandy. They have six children and eighteen grandchildren.
Panelists
Chris Braunlich is president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, Virginia’s non-partisan public policy foundation. He is a Past President of the Virginia State Board of Education, where he served on the Board for four years. He also served eight years on the Fairfax County School Board, the nation’s 12th largest school system. There he was a strong advocate of education choice and accountability, research-based reading programs, and greater opportunities for educationally at-risk children.  

Mr. Braunlich has served as Chief of Staff to Congressman John LeBoutillier, Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Association of Manufacturers, president of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, and vice president of the Center for Education Reform. In 2003, he was the Republican candidate for Virginia State Senate in the then-36th Senate District. In 2009-10, he served as a member of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Transition Working Group on Education. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Roanoke Times, The Virginian-Pilot, The Washington Times, and The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.  

He is a graduate of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, and resides in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County with his wife, Eileen. They are the parents of four adult children; grandparents of four sparkling grandchildren.
Elicia lives in Loudoun County, Virginia. She has three children in Loudoun County Public Schools. She first became engaged with her school board in the summer of 2020 when neither the superintendent nor the Board would provide a plan to parents for their children to receive a quality public education in the 20/21 academic year. 

Elicia serves as advocate and spokesperson for students and families who have experienced sexual assault in school. She is committed to protecting children and fighting for rigorous education, free of political ideologies and agendas in the classroom, as well as student safety, parental rights, academic transparency and individual freedom for all families.
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Elicia Brand, Founder of Army of Parents
Christopher Bräunlich, 
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy
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As Vice President of Grassroots and Communications Strategies for The Family Foundation, Candi focuses on amplifying and empowering the voices of concerned Virginia citizens, including moms, dads, pastors and business leaders through the Speak Up! Virginia movement. She develops grassroots networks that give families the tools they need to express their concerns in a loving, winsome—and yet powerful—manner, whether it’s at local school board meetings or hearings at the Capitol. She also work closely with Team Timothy, The Family Foundation's intrepid team of prayer warriors.

Candi joined The Family Foundation after nearly 19 years at Focus on the Family, where she served as a national expert on education issues affecting public and private education, including school choice initiatives, sexual agendas in public schools, and parental rights issues. Her interest in equipping parents and students inspired her to launch several initiatives and create unique web tools—including the annual Bring Your Bible to School Day, which grew from 8,000 participants to more than 650,000 in the last five years.

Cushman has also represented the viewpoints of students and families in national media outlets and radio shows, including CNN’s “Anderson Cooper,” HLN’s “Dr. Drew,” and MSNBC. She also served for several years as an editor for Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine. Prior to joining Focus, she was an investigative reporter for WORLD, a weekly national news magazine. Cushman also served six years at a Texas state organization associated with Focus on the Family as the media liaison and program director for the 700-member physicians’ grassroots coalition.
Candi Cushman, The Family Foundation
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Willie Deutsch, 
Prince William Co. School Board
Willie Deutsch was elected to the Prince William County School Board in 2015 and served for four years. He was the youngest elected official in northern Virginia when he was elected at the age of 25. He worked hard to engage the public and keep them informed, working as a budget hawk to push money into the classroom and save money through more efficient spending. He is currently studying for a Masters in Strategic Communications at American University. 
David V. Dietrich served for over 40 years as a professional national security analyst and educator. Since retirement in in 2015, he has worked as an adjunct political science instructor at the college level (2016-2021), and a volunteer docent at a Thomas Jefferson historical site (2016-Present). He has authored several articles on the life and times of Thomas Jefferson and was a former director of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society. He holds a Master of Science (MS) degree.
David V. Dietrich
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Helgeson was elected to the Ward III City Council seat in July 2004 and has served on the council’s Physical Development and Planning Committees. Helgeson is currently chairman of the Finance Committee. 

In 1988, Helgeson graduated from Liberty University (LU) with a degree in Finance and went on to earn his MBA from LU in 1990. In 2001, he earned his M.S. in Financial Services from American College.

Along with his duties as a council member, today he teaches corporate finance at LU. Helgeson is married to Lynchburg native and cardiac nurse practitioner Allison Helgeson. He carries a passion for wrestling, hunting, camping, and bluegrass guitar.
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Jeff Helgeson, 
Lynchburg City Council
Josiah Gaiter is the Deputy Director of Programs at FreedomWorks. Josiah has worked on grassroots campaigns across the country, organizing efforts to maximize the community's voice in everything from municipal to statewide elections. He understands the influence that community members have and how to maximize their impact. 

Before working in grassroots, Josiah taught middle and high school students in Rockwall, Texas. Growing up in a homeschool family and then teaching in the public school system has provided him with an understanding of varying student needs and how to meet them.
Josiah Gaiter, 
BEST, a project of FreedomWorks
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Dr. Karen Hiltz served in the U.S. Navy and is a retired Federal Acquisition & Procurement Professional. She entered the education environment in 2009, where she taught business courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In November 2015, she was elected to the local public school board in Franklin County, VA, where she created The Apple Report Facebook page to communicate with her constituents. 

In 2016, she was appointed to the Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) Local Advisory Board. She has served on a private school board and education non-profit boards, has written many articles on education, and is a published author. Dr. Hiltz holds a B.S. and MBA in Management and an Ed.D. in Leadership Studies. She is married to Chuck Hiltz. They have three children and five grandchildren. They currently reside in Florida.
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Karen Hiltz, Franklin Co. School Board
Laura grew up in Chesapeake and has lived most of her adult life in Virginia Beach. She has raised two daughters and lives with her husband and two ginger cats. She also has two teenage grandchildren who attend school in Chesapeake.

Laura fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming an attorney by beginning law school at Regent University at the age of 49. During law school, she became a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate), which is a program that advocates for abused and neglected children. Additionally, she spent many years navigating the world of special education to advocate for her autistic daughter. Noting how complex the path can be, she attended the Institute for Special Education Advocacy at William & Mary School of Law to become certified as a special education advocate.

By 2017, Laura had become increasingly disenchanted with the direction that her local public schools taking and decided to run for Virginia Beach School Board and was elected to a four-year at-large position in 2018. She is running for reelection in 2022 and is currently employed as an associate attorney at Anderson & Associates.
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Laura Hughes, Virginia Beach School Board
Tom McCracken, Roanoke Co. School Board
Thomas McCracken is a military veteran, pastor, and educator who lives in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley with his wife Laurie. His education roles have included GED instructor, teacher and substitute teacher, school district anti-bullying consultant, and school board member. 

A lover of learning, Tom holds bachelor’s degrees in management and marketing, a seminary degree, three master’s degrees,  an Ed.S degree in educational leadership, and a doctorate in education from Liberty University. His doctoral dissertation focused on the use of peer intervention to address the national bullying crisis in public education.
Meg Kilgannon is a Senior Fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council. Previously she served at the U.S. Department of Education as Director of the Office of Faith and Opportunity Initiatives in the Trump Administration.

Meg combines her expertise in education policy with her skills as a coalition builder to promote excellence and accountability in America's public schools. She spearheaded dynamic change in her community by organizing parent groups to lobby school board members on important issues. Her leadership on these issues inspired the Virginia Family Foundation to name Meg as their Citizen of the Year in 2019.

Meg is a long-time advocate for women and children and a member of Hands Across the Aisle women's coalition, a multi-partisan international group of women working to preserve the rights of women and girls. She is also a trained FertilityCare Practitioner and former natural family planning consultant.

Meg began her career as an account executive for a public relations firm and served as the director of media relations for a national senior citizens organization and has experience in radio and television production. She is married with four children and is an active member of her parish. A graduate of Washington & Lee University, she enjoys time with family, hiking, fly fishing, and reading.
Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council
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Alyson Satterwhite won two consecutive terms on the Prince William County School Board. During her terms, she served on the Joint Board of the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park, on the Safe Schools Advisory Council, as Vice Chairman of the School Board, and as Vice Chairman with the Northern Virginia Special Education Regional Program. She also co-founded the first Citizens’ Budget Committee and focused on constituent assistance, mental health, and special education. She graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Education.
 
Alyson and her husband of 35 years have four children and one grandchild. During her husband’s twenty-year naval career, Alyson served in their local church and volunteered in her children’s schools. While stationed in Hawaii, Alyson homeschooled her older children and taught K-5. Alyson continues to advocate for her community and enjoys reading, sewing, and family game nights in her free time.
Alyson Satterwhite, 
Prince William Co. School Board
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Elizabeth has been appointed by Governor Glenn Youngkin as the Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Virginia Department of Education.
 
As an education and public policy professional, Elizabeth is a prior Senior Fellow for Parents Defending Education, she served as the U.S. Department of Education’s Deputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology, and was twice-elected to the Fairfax County School Board, the nation’s 10th largest school system. Elizabeth is also a former senior contracts and negotiation manager with 25+ years of experience in the areas of asset management, information technology, and global and K-12 education.

She is a graduate of James Madison University, with degrees in Political Science and History.
 
Elizabeth has been married for 30 years, is the mother of four sons who range from college graduate to middle school-age, and is in the process of moving from Fairfax, Virginia to Richmond.

Elizabeth Schultz, Fairfax Co. School Board
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Amy Snead, Moms for Liberty
Amy Snead is the chapter chair of Moms for Liberty – Bedford County. She and her husband, Christian, have four boys and advocate for parental rights and involvement in the school system and at all levels of government. 
Ms. Smith is currently serving in the elected capacity of Supervisor on the Franklin County Board of Supervisors. She also serves on the Roanoke-Alleghany Regional Commission, Broadband Authority Vice Chair, Community Policy & Management Team and liaison to the School Board in her service as Supervisor. She also serves on the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission, Smith Mountain Lake Association Board, and STEP (Solutions that Empower People) Board as President.

During the last 30+ years, Ms. Smith has served her communities, providing leadership to numerous public and non-profit organizations. Prior to leaving the workforce to care for her disabled daughter, she worked at Genicom Corporation in the areas of administration, shareholder relations, and treasury.

She and her family have resided at Smith Mountain Lake for ten years. A native of Waynesboro, VA, she is married to Robert and has two children. Lorie is a member of Trinity Ecumenical Parish where she was president of a newly created non-profit, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, providing services to seniors.  
Lorie Smith, Franklin Co. Board of Supervisors
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DeLois Stallman
DeLois Stallman is a licensed attorney, homeschooling parent, and advocate for common sense reform in government schools.  She is in her 8th year of homeschooling her two children and actively works on initiatives and legislation for parents’ rights in Virginia.  

Mrs. Stallman believes we are on the cusp of a great conservative take-over of government schools, education policy, and school boards across the country.
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