DeeDee Sauter is just starting her third term on the board. She is currently the president, but she has held all officer positions and has staffed both the Helpline and the Helpdesk. Her passion lies in coordinating the annual VaHomeschoolers Conference and Resource Fair; in fact, she is currently working on the details of the 2019 event in Williamsburg. She enjoyed a career as a nurse before having kids and loves where life has taken her.
She and her husband started homeschooling their two boys in 2011, and feel their family is so close because of this choice. They live on 10 acres in Fauquier County with a variety of animals. DeeDee loves talking with people who are new to homeschooling or who are just curious about the details, and she loves looking at the long-term ways VaHomeschoolers can benefit homeschoolers.
Cindy Staats was appointed vice president of the board in the fall of 2017. Her professional past as a liaison between legal and governmental offices across the country, plus her extensive leadership in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, has given Cindy a great foundation as the Volunteer Coordinator. This experience has given her insight into how all the pieces of VaHomeschoolers work together. She has been integral to the organizational chart redesign: eliminating redundancies, identifying needs, and helping create positions that are easily definable. Her interest in the public relations aspects of the organization has helped expand that role to include a team that will be very active in social media.
Cindy lives in Spotsylvania County with her husband and three children, two of whom are currently homeschooled; one is already in college. Cindy is an asset to the team with her quiet contemplation and understanding of how even simple decisions can affect the long-term plans of the organization.
Lisa Jones, treasurer and also Membership Coordinator, joined the board in October 2015 and is in the second year of her second term. If you frequent Facebook, you may recognize Lisa as one of the administrators on both the official VaHomeschoolers page and the Virginia Homeschooling community group. She is also very interested in investigating new benefits that VaHomeschoolers can offer its members, and she makes it her personal job to reach out to various companies for potential deals for homeschoolers. Lisa has actively supported the annual conference in many roles, most recently as the Speaker Keyleader, who helps find and manage all of our speakers.
Lisa is an army veteran, wife, and mother of two girls—one of whom has just graduated from high school—and she is also a servant to her three cats, two dogs, four goats, and an ever-changing number of chickens and ducks. Lisa loves working with the team and on the plans that will ensure the long-term success of VaHomeschoolers.
Mary Sandkam is starting her second year as a VaHomeschoolers board member. Mary is the current secretary, manages the Helpdesk volunteers, and is a regular VaHomeschoolers Voice contributor. She has also been a speaker at the VaHomeschoolers conference and assisted with the School Division Policy Review project guided by the Government Affairs team.
Mary’s background as a town planner gives her the organizational and management skills that are necessary to evaluate the best ways for us to do business. She and her husband live in the greater Richmond area and have been homeschooling their now high school aged son for eight years.
Susannah Conrad is starting her first term on the board of directors. She has spent the last decade as an event planner and is excited to bring her talents to VaHomeschoolers. She hopes to show parents and youth that homeschooling is a viable way of learning for every age, with a great many resources to help every family. Susannah enjoyed both speaking at the last two VaHomeschoolers conferences and basking in the warmth and friendship of the attendees.
Susannah has graduated three of her seven children and looks back fondly on the extra time homeschooling has allowed her to spend with them. She has a long history of volunteering, including organizing homeschool and scout activities, and she sees VaHomeschoolers as reaching out to touch not only beginning and veteran homeschooling parents, but also their children. Susannah lives in Prince William County with her husband and children.
Madonna Dersch is the newest member of the board of directors, joining the board in November 2018. She is looking forward to using her multiple academic degrees in graphic design, the fine arts, and advertising to increase VaHomeschoolers efforts in advertising and public relations and the organization’s visibility and presence in the homeschooling community.
Madonna unschools her 6-year-old man cub, known online as ‘The General,’ with her husband, Phil Cheney, in Petersburg. Home base is a Greek Revival-Italianate clapboard house circa 1870 that is currently under restoration. With a fondness for research, collaboration, handcrafting, historic preservation, thoughtful conversation, concept, puns, tea, atomic-era portrayals of space, Wonder Woman, travel, museums, gnomes, little houses, and miniature donkeys, Madonna’s approach to homeschool is, well, eclectic. Homeschool days are filled with hands-on activities and field trips. She rarely uses worksheets.