Meet The Team
Emily A. Pastor | Bridal Veil, OR
Emily is a classically-trained fine artist working in oil, watercolor, and printmaking. Her journey with art began as a young mother keeping a nature journal and blossomed into a vocation. Emily is passionate about childhood mental health and adapting the Charlotte Mason Method for neurodivergent children. Emily and her family live just outside Portland in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. www.emilyapastor.com
Jackie Siochi | Redmond, WA
Charlotte Mason offered the Siochi Family a life-giving and challenging approach to education for the past 10 years. Jackie’s oldest child is married, her high school senior is just about to go away to college (Hawaii!), and her 14-year-old is still at home. Before homeschooling, Jackie worked in the corporate world and is now about to graduate with a master’s degree in mental health counseling. Jackie currently works at a transitional home for women and their children fleeing homelessness, addiction, and/or abuse. Jackie’s extra moments are filled with mentoring women, being outdoors, any kind of exercise, reading, and generally spending quality time with people who desire connection.
Abby Wahl | Corvallis, OR
Abby lives in Mid-Willamette Valley with her husband Matt of 18 years, and their 5 children ages 17, 16, 14, 12 &12. Raising sheep, homeschooling kids, and co-hosting the Scholé Sisters podcast fill her days, but she attempts to fill spare minutes with reading too many books, painting, sketching, cooking for crowds (teens with hollow legs) and big hospitality.
Danielle Cyrus | Albany, OR
Danielle was a pre-law student when God disrupted her plans and led her to education. She's been neck deep in books ever since. She has 4 children and has been married to Grant for 20 years. After becoming a certified teacher, she taught in a variety of educational settings, but never saw one that seemed right for her own children. She began homeschooling as her oldest reached school age. Along the way, she studied and implemented (and then studied some more) classical and Charlotte Mason methods. Danielle has led various home-education support groups and retreats. She is passionate about fostering professional development and supportive community for home-educating parents.
Co-Director of CMNW
Bethany Lowndes | Redmond, WA
Bethany, also a second generation homeschooler, thoroughly enjoys living in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband, Patrick, and five children. As a family, they love practicing the principles and methods of Charlotte Mason. Their enthusiasm has helped them enlarge and strengthen a community of moms and dads who are eager to learn and participate in book studies and activities based on her philosophy. They spend time encouraging CM families through book studies, prayer, group events, and empathetic conversations. Bethany helped with CM West retreats in the past and has been either praying, dreaming or planning this retreat into place since 2019.
Co-Director of CMNW, Keynote Speaker
Sarah Dempsen | Yakima, WA
Sarah homeschools her three daughters outside of Yakima on what she humorously calls her “pretend farm” with their cow, dogs, cats, chickens and various other animals they collect. She has been devouring everything Charlotte Mason since her oldest, a 12-year-old, was born. The vibrant life of a CM philosophy of education was an immediate fit for her family’s goals and dreams - and she hasn’t looked back since. Sarah has been planning or praying this retreat into fruition since 2019 with Bethany Lowndes. A few of the unique ways Sarah spreads the feast outside of her homeschool is through the YouTube channel “Stitch And Stuff” that she and her mother host to share handicrafts (mostly cross-stitch). Sarah also owns a private speech therapy practice in Yakima that works with children who have developmental needs.
Planning Team, Keynote Speaker
Amy Nyvall | Oregon City, OR
As a humorously self-proclaimed “professional retreater,” Amy has been attending or planning Charlotte Mason retreats for over a decade. The trained-journalist in her voraciously evaluated other methods along the way early on, yet CM philosophy prevailed as the clear path to bring about abundant living with her family. Today Amy is passionate and dedicated to seeing face-to-face CM community and mentorship grow locally and regionally through community book discussions, educator training, co-ops and cultural gatherings of all kinds. Amy’s heart leaps over Shakespeare, nature study, and science. She also enjoys gardening, handicrafts, roller skating and fermenting anything on her counter. As Midwest transplants since 2016, she and her husband Andrew love their PNW outdoor adventures with their children ages 11, 8 and 6. Amy joined Bethany and Sarah in 2021 to get Rooted and Restored 2021 on its feet.
Planning Team, Keynote Speaker
Erin Underwood | Oregon City, OR
Erin Underwood is a second generation homeschooler married to her best friend for 16 years and proud mama to four incredible boys ages 13 to 7. Studying Charlotte Mason’s work has become a passion since her oldest son was five. Erin not only loves to see her family thrive and enjoy this beautiful process of homeschooling, but also to share how this method so powerfully brings life, love, and deeper relationships to any family – no need for “perfection!” When she's not busy spreading the feast or enjoying it herself, Erin loves to teach functional movement to mama's who want to feel whole in their bodies, and supports local pregnant mothers as a doula. She loves talking all things birth and recovery and anatomy, so feel free to come chat! erinunderwoodmovement.com
Kerry Kaminski | Snohomish, WA
Kerry loves the way Charlotte Mason's philosophy allows her free-spirit to thrive as mom and educator. New to the idea of homeschooling, she began her study of the volumes in a small study when her eldest was just 2- years-old. Six years later Kerry and her husband Wesley educate both their daughters (6 and 8) with Miss Mason's foundation and an unschooling flair. The Kaminskis live on five acres, love to travel, and when they aren't nose deep in books you'll find them in the kitchen, gardening, walking in the woods, or listening to music just a wee bit loud.
Leyla Folsom | Keizer, OR
Leyla is a second generation homeschooler that found Charlotte Mason’s methods to be the perfect combination of full education and her favorite things - beautiful books and time outside. An introvert with a craving for community, Leyla leads a group of local mamas studying Mason’s volumes and a nature group, as well as multiple other homeschool community-building endeavors. She’s preparing to add her third student in the fall, while balancing two Form 2 students and attempting to minimize havoc caused by the three year old. Her family lives around the corner from a neighborhood pool where you'll find her every day this summer.
Sarah May Little | Peshastin, WA
Sarah May would describe herself as an eclectic educator, with classical leanings and plenty of good books. She began homeschool with the Well Trained Mind in 2014, only to discover and start applying Charlotte Mason's principles a year later after reading For the Children's Sake. She is a part of Ambleside Online's wonderful community and thrives in finding books to fit her family as they learn together. Sarah May loves spreading the feast for her children and partaking in the grand conversation through narration. Her children are currently 16, 14, and 11-years-old. The Littles live on top of their own private foothill of the Cascade Mountains, enjoying 360 views of snow-capped peaks and pine-filled forests. Come say hello!