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Hope Full

2017 Conference Speakers
Keynote Speakers


Melinda and Scott Boring are parents with personal and professional experience in homeschooling children with unique learning styles.  Melinda is a speech/language pathologist with over 30 years of experience.  She homeschooled her three children through high school and has experience educating children with and without learning challenges.  Two of Melinda’s children were diagnosed with AD/HD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), auditory processing disorder, and sensory processing challenges.  She is the author of Heads Up Helping and has many articles published in print and through online media.

The Borings speak at conferences throughout the United States on a variety of educational topics.  Melinda and Scott have been married over 30 years and they travel to various speaking venues to encourage parents as they seek to meet their children’s needs.

Featured Guests

Marjie Davis has been involved with the Omaha Knights Speech & Debate Club for the last three years. Both of her daughters have competed in speech and debate. She has coached the apologetics limited prep event for the last two years, and was very excited to attend a Nationals tournament with her daughter Kaitlin last summer. Marjie takes great pleasure in listening to students speak and debate, and she truly believes that competition tricks us into doing our best.

Kathryn Dillow is a second generation homeschooler who started homeschooling her three children in 2008, after she retired from the US Air Force Nurse Corps.  She currently serves as the president of Nebraska Homeschool and has been on the Board of Directors since 2014.  Kathryn is also serving as the Nebraska State Ambassador for the Home School Foundation, the charitable arm of the Home School Legal Defense Association.  It is her desire to support parents in their role as the primary educator of their children while acknowledging Christ as the source of all we need.

Melanie Furstenerg holds a MA in Communications and has 20 years experience in Medical Diagnostics Marketing/Sales. Melanie first learned about the Brain Balance program while working with Brain Balance Atlanta in addressing her son's needs.

Teresa Kaelin has over ten years experience as an occupational therapist specializing in working with children with sensory processing and executive functioning issues.  She holds a MS in Occupational Therapy and a BS in Communication Disorders.  Brain Balance has had a profound effect on her own son who struggled for years with sensory processing issues.

Julie Knutson has been homeschooling for 15 years.  She's  taught at the Omaha Homeschool Learning Center for five years, has been involved with Lightning Flag Football, is currently the parent adviser to the Legacy Yearbook and the co-coordinator for the Omaha Metropolitan Area Homeschool Graduation.  She also serves as an adviser for a local homeschool high school Toastmasters Gavel Club.  Julie believes strongly in investing in teenagers and enjoys watching them grow in their God-given abilities, especially public speaking.   Julie lives in Omaha with her husband Brad and their three children.


Ashley Nicole Mason, a homeschool mom of four, started her homeschool journey in January 2014.  She was always under the impression that she was not capable enough to homeschool her children because she did not have a teaching degree.  As odd as that seemed, she believed it.  That was until the Masons oldest daughter was in public school and their second daughter just starting - they knew right away they had to reconsider homeschooling.  Their second daughter was miserable at school, so Ashley started talking to as many homeschooling parents as she could.  A close friend directed  her to Easy Peasy.  Ashley spent a year researching Easy Peasy before she and her husband finally pulled their daughters from public school.  They haven't looked back since!

Shelley Noonan is an author and speaker whose passion is to assist parents in learning the art of mentoring their children.  Oftentimes, we teach a little here and a little there, hoping and praying that our children “turn out.” There is a better way! We can teach our children with purpose and on purpose the morals, values, and standards we want them to possess. This process of purposeful teaching is called mentoring and Shelley has created specifically designed materials where this mentoring can happen!

Shelley has co-authored a complete mentoring program for girls ages 9-18.  Her three part program includes two mother-daughter Bible studies and one father-daughter Bible study on purity.  Not to leave the boys out, she and her son Jacob just completed a two part character study for boys ages 9-14 based upon the Knights of King Arthur and His Court.

She and her husband Robert have over thirteen years of homeschooling experience with their three, now grown, children and four grandchildren.  Shelley's messages will not only touch your heart but also encourage you in the high calling of 'parenting on purpose' so that future generations will know, serve and love the Lord.


Phyllis Titus is passionate about serving.  Phyllis is co-founder and current president of Homeschool Teen Serve, a 501(c)3 organization, which is entering its twelfth year of providing organized community service opportunities for homeschooled teens.  During sixteen years of homeschooling, she served the Omaha area homeschool community in various ways as: support group leader for Christ Community Church's Home Learning Connection, coordinator for the Home Educator's Network (HEN) Chess Club, co-founder of the West Omaha Wildcats Flag Football Team, and sponsor for the Legacy Homeschool Yearbook for eleven years. Phyllis was also active in the HEN organization, where she enjoyed hosting new homeschooler orientation meetings, serving a four-year term as board president, and coordinating the summer conference for nine years. The mother of two homeschool graduate sons, Phyllis is the author of a soon-to-be released book, Seven Minutes Late-A Story of the Titanic.

Homeschool Athletics Panel


Tricia Croushorn

Athletic Director

Flag Football

Brad Knutson

Athletic Director


Tammy Hall

Athletic Director

Flag Football

Ken Clipperton

Athletic Director


Marjie Davis

Athletic Director

Classical Christian Education Panel

Trinity Classical Academy

Sara Breetzke, Trinity Classical Academy's (TCA) inaugural Head of School, is a native of Omaha and a graduate of Westside High School and Vanderbilt University. She was raised in a family of educators and spent eight years teaching English at Elkhorn High School. Due to her excellence and experience, she served as a team leader and a mentor to new teachers for much of that time. In 2014, she began to dream of launching a classical Christian school. As God brought together the vision for TCA, she was quick to champion the idea, and in 2015 the TCA Board chose her as the school’s administrative leader.

Veritas Classical Schools

Kristi Downing is the Co-Head of School at Veritas Classical School (VSC) of Omaha. Kristi grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Fine Arts. Kristi grew up in a family of educators, surrounded by the classical, Christian, collaborative model of education. Her uncle is the Headmaster at Veritas Classical School of Atlanta and has started over 20 schools under the Veritas Classical School name. Now Kristi has continued the family calling and started her own school in Omaha, Nebraska. Kristi is a homeschool mother three, two of whom attend Veritas Classical School of Omaha.

Veritas Classical Schools

Heather Gorsett is the Co-Head of School at Veritas Classical School (VCS) of Omaha. She grew up in Omaha and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in marketing and an emphasis in Spanish. Heather is a homeschool mother of four and passionate about education. Her desire is to see the classical, Christian, hybrid model of education available to the Omaha community. She understands how difficult homeschooling in isolation can be and has personally benefited from the Veritas community and the hybrid model. Veritas Classical Schools has over 20 schools all across the country that are thriving using the classical, Christian, hybrid approach to education.

Classical Conversations

Ellen Miller was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. She spent the last eleven years in the Chicagoland metropolitan area and has recently returned to Omaha to be close to family. She has been married to her husband Nick for 14 years and they have four beautiful children. Ellen has educated her children at home for the last eight years and loves Classical education. She chose Classical Conversations because of the amazing content, the God-centered education and the weekly support. She loves the opportunities the program provides for her children to experience, art, music, scripture, and memory work on a weekly basis. Ellen is passionate about equipping parents in their classical journey and finding joy in home education.

College Panel

Bellevue University

Lisa Lias is from Monticello, Mississippi. She holds an associate’s degree from Co-Lin Community College, a bachelor’s degree from Delta State University, and is passionately pursuing her master’s degree at Bellevue University this fall. Lisa moved to Omaha in 2013 and she currently works at Bellevue University as a High School Admissions and Community Outreach Counselor. Lisa has over ten years of experience working in higher education and loves working with international and homeschool students.

Metropolitan Community College

Dr. Chuck Chevalier is the Associate Vice President for Secondary Partnerships at Metropolitan Community College, where over 5,000 high school students took over 10,000 MCC courses for college credit just last year.  MCC offers dual credit, career academy, and CollegeNOW! opportunities for qualified students in its four county area.  Chuck holds a bachelor’s degree in Education, and a master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership. He has worked 36 years in public and parochial schools, and has been at MCC for five years. 

Southeast Community College

Erin May is the Assistant Director of Career Academies and Dual Credit at Southeast Community College. The program serves SCC's 15 county service area, providing dual credit and career academy opportunities to high school juniors and seniors. Erin earned her bachelor's degree in secondary English Education and her master's degree in Educational Leadership.  She has worked in K-12 and post-secondary education for the last ten years.

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Christina Lode is the Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  She has been involved with admissions at UNO for the past 15 years and in higher education for 20 years.  Chris has a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education.  UNO has over 15,000 students, both undergraduate and graduate students.  UNO also has the Early Entry program that is accessible for students to start earning college credit prior to graduating from high school.