Joanne LaSpina, Chair, first became involved with Family and Home Network as an avid reader of their monthly magazine, “Welcome Home” (no longer published). Joanne had her first piece of writing published in Welcome Home in 2004, which led to a run of articles published in a variety of magazines and online sites on many topics related to parenting. When FAHN put out a call for volunteers several years ago, Joanne became involved in their social media efforts, and ultimately a member of the Board. Currently Joanne has her own college consulting practice, My College Helper, in which she puts her counseling skills to work helping students and parents navigate the college admissions process. Now that Joanne and her husband are empty-nesters much of the year, she is able to travel more (visiting college campuses is always a priority), baking (especially anything involving chocolate!), reading, and writing
Karen Skelton subscribed to Welcome Home in the mid-1990s for some much-needed support of her new role as a mother, after leaving her position as an Air Force intelligence officer. "Transitioning Home" was a reality, and one that ultimately led to homeschooling her son and daughter all the way to graduation. When Karen learned of an opportunity to serve on the board of Family and Home Network in 2011, she was happy to return the favor and support. From 2014-2018, Karen also served in multiple leadership roles for the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. She is also a dedicated genealogist and social historian. She and her husband, Rob, recently relocated from Northern Virginia to Greensboro, NC, while their son and daughter now live on opposite coasts of the U.S. where they continue to travel, grow, and explore the world. Karen says, "As parents, we gave them roots but we also gave them wings."
Tom Mayer started staying home three days a week when his son Liam was about six months old. In August of 2003 Tom resigned from his job as a Research Psychologist at the U.S. Bureau of the Census to stay home full time. That’s about the time he began volunteering for FAHN, contributing articles and book reviews to Welcome Home as well as lending his expertise as a psychologist to the design of FAHN’s Transitioning Home workshop. Tom and his wife, Laura, moved the family to the Richmond, VA area in 2005. He continues to enjoy being an at-home Dad for Liam (18) and Danny (13). Tom enjoys cooking, woodworking and playing music with his friends.
Michelle Rief is the mother of three children, ages 13, 9 and 7. She is active in her local Parent Teacher Association, Holistic Moms Network, and serves on the board of the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. Michelle teaches history part time at Northern Virginia Community College, and enjoys reading and visiting historical sites.
Jeanne Faulconer was an at-home parent and homeschool mom to her three sons, now grown. She is a popular speaker at homeschooling conferences, business groups, and parents’ groups, and she homeschooled her three sons in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Virginia for 20 years. Frequently having combined volunteering and part-time professional work with at-home parenting, today Jeanne is a homeschool coach for Brave Writer and writes for TheHomeSchoolMom.com. Her column “Ask Jeanne” addresses homeschooling and parenting questions from readers. Jeanne conducts portfolio evaluations for Virginia homeschoolers for evidence of progress, and she coaches parents and teens in Virginia on interest-led learning as prep for life, work, and college. She was a college faculty member, a long-time La Leche League Leader, editor of Home Education Magazine and VaHomeschoolers Voice, and an NPR-member station news correspondent. Her website is EngagedHomeschooling.com.
Executive Director Catherine Myers first volunteered for FAHN in the mid-1980s and has served in many roles since. In 2005, she enrolled part time at George Mason University and in 2012 completed her Bachelor of Individualized Studies in Human Development, Parenting and Policy. Her academic studies were inspired by and informed by her involvement in FAHN. Cathy and her husband Fred homeschooled their children in Northern Virginia until they went to high school. They live now in Durham, NC, close to their daughter, her husband and their 9 and 13 year-old grandsons. They enjoy frequent visits with their son and daughter-in-law and two-year-old grandson in New Orleans.
Consulting Writer/Editor Peggy O'Mara was the Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. In 1995 she founded mothering.com and was its editor-in-chief until 2012. Peggy’s books include Natural Family Living, Having a Baby Naturally, and A Quiet Place. She has presented at Omega Institute, Esalen, Bioneers and La Leche League, International. She is the recipient of the La Leche League, International 2001 Alumnae Association award, the International Peace Prayer Day 2002 Woman of Peace award, the National Vaccine Information Center 2009 Courage in Journalism award, the Holistic Moms Network 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, and five Maggie Awards for public service journalism from the Western Publishing Association. Currently, Peggy manages the Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort Facebook Page for Earth Mama and is on the advisory boards of Attachment Parenting International, Best for Babes, Holistic Moms Network, Infant Massage USA, Intact America, and Oak Meadow. She is the mother of four adult children and grandmother of three. Peggy has lived in Santa Fe, NM for 34 years
Consulting Communications Specialist Cheli English-Figaro is a native New Yorker. She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, Yale University and Columbia University School of Law. While at Columbia Law School, Cheli served as the Metropolitan Regional Representative to the Black Law Students Association and was a Charles Evans Hughes Fellow. Upon completing her law degree, Cheli worked as an associate for Shearman and Sterling and later relocated to Maryland where she worked for the United States Department of Commerce. Cheli currently works part-time but spends much of her time volunteering in the community. Cheli is a co-founder, current National Board member and the National President Emerita of Mocha Moms, Inc. Cheli has been featured in national and regional news and has been a regular guest on National Public Radio’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin. Cheli also serves on the board of Mothers Outreach Network and is a member of Jack and Jill of America, The Links, Inc., Woodstream Church and the Indian Creek School Parent Board. Cheli and her husband, Dr. K. Michael Figaro, MD are the proud parents of three children, Brandon, Alexandra and Caroline.