The GHEC 2012 Advisory Board is comprised of a diverse set of home education leaders spanning the globe, including representatives from Canada, Germany, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States. The conference will be financed through registration fees and donations from home education organisations and others throughout the world.
Chairman of the GHEC 2012 Board is Jonas Himmelstrand, president of the Swedish Association for Home Education. Vice chairwoman is Dagmar Neubronner, German home educator and publisher. Biographies for each Board member are included below.
Jonas currently serves as president of ROHUS, the Swedish Association for Home Education. Jonas has worked for 30 years as a management consultant with human potential as his main interest. He has taken this interest into his family life, which has led he and his wife to home educate their three children.
However, home care and home education proved difficult in the political climate in Sweden, and Jonas wanted to understand the mechanisms. This led to the Swedish book “Following your heart in the social utopia of Sweden,” published in 2007, and the founding of the think-tank The Mireja Institute. A speech based on his book given at a Swedish Parliament seminar was translated to English and has led to a large international interest in the problematic issues with Swedish family policies. Jonas was invited to join the EU Family Platform project. During 2011 he spoke on this theme in nine cities in eight countries, including at the United Nations in New York.
As a board member of the Swedish family organisation Haro, Jonas has been the project leader of three large conferences in Sweden on the problems with Swedish family policies. He is also a faculty intern at the Neufeld Institute and the director of the Neufeld Institute in Sweden.
Dagmar Neubronner is a biologist, therapist, translator and has been a publisher in her own publishing house since 1997. Her sons, born 1996 and 1999, have been home educated since 2005. Since this is illegal in Germany, Dagmar and her husband sued their city for legalization and consequently lost several court cases all the way up to the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht). At the same time, due to Dagmar's tireless efforts, many national TV programs, newspapers and radio stations reported about the Neubronner's. Dagmar's family became a symbol for the civil right to home educate for secular reasons.
After an unfortunate judgment of the German Federal Supreme Court in the case of another home educating family, the Neubronner family left Germany in January 2008 to avoid high penalties, jail and even possible loss of custody of their children. Dagmar and her children have now found a place to live in France near the German border.
Dagmar has published the first books about home education in Germany in her own publishing house, Genius Verlag. She is also a faculty member of the Neufeld Institute in Vancouver and the director of the Neufeld Institute in Germany.
As director of international relations at the Home School Legal Defense Association, Mike oversees HSLDA’s support of persecuted homeschoolers and coordinates support to encourage greater freedom for homeschoolers all over the world. Mike also serves as staff attorney for over 11,000 homeschooling families in 8 states. In addition, Mike is an adjunct professor of government at Patrick Henry College where he teaches constitutional law. His previous experience includes combat service during the first Persian Gulf War as a United States Army cavalry officer, private legal practice and as a founder of a nationally ranked internet marketing firm. Mike appears at conferences and in the media as a frequent speaker and writer on the subject of homeschooling. He and his wife Patty homeschool their seven children.
Rogers is a board member of the Home School Foundation, a charity created to help home schooling families in need. Rogers is the founder of Four Corners Medical Software, a medical records system for use in developing countries. This work takes him to Latin America and Haiti, with prospective trips to Africa.
The Hellman family has previously lived in Italy, German, Spain and Switzerland, where they were one of the first homeschool families. They now reside in the United States. Rogers and his wife Mary are the homeschooling parents of two grown daughters.
David S. Han and his family live in Mokpo, Korea, where home education has grown increasingly over the past decade. David is assistant pastor of a church and holds an M.Div degree, as well as an M.A. and M.S. in Linguistics. He previously studied in the United States as a Fulbright scholar. David is a leader in the Korean Christian Homeschool Association (KCHA) and provides valuable contributions with his English language skills. He has also been involved in convening KCHA’s periodic conferences for home educators in Korea. Rev. and Mrs. Han have two daughters and one son, whom they have taught at home since 2007.
Gerald Huebner and his wife, Bev, live in Arborg, Manitoba, north of Winnipeg. Gerald works in senior management for Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives. They have graduated their two children after fourteen great years of homeschooling. Gerald and Bev are enjoying two grandchildren. They have been involved in leadership with the Manitoba Association of Christian Home Schools (MACHS) since 1992. Gerald has been a director on the board of HSLDA of Canada since 2000.
Edric is the Managing Director of TMA Homeschool, the first international home education program in the Philippines, with approx. 600 students based in over 17 countries, spanning pre-school through high school levels. In 2009, he founded HAPI (Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands), the first national home education organization in the Philippines to champion homeschooling and meet the greater needs of families who are homeschooling. At present, HAPI represents about 1,000 homeschool families. Edric is also a licensed Guerrilla Marketing Coach, and Marketing 101 lecturer at the Ateneo De Manila University. He and his wife Joy homeschool their 4 children.
Alberto is the Guadalajara Coordinator and a frequent speaker for El Hogar Educador, a large homeschool association that serves Mexico and Latin America. He is the founder of Latinrep, where he has been president for 24 years. With previous experience in corporations like; Motorola and General Electric. He is formally trained as an industrial engineer and holds a Master’s degree in Manufacturing Process and an MBA. He and his wife Rosy, who holds a Bachelor’s in Administration and speaks Spanish, English, French, and Italian, homeschool their five children.
Leendert and Karin van Oostrum have practiced, studied, and advocated home education for eighteen years. They were instrumental in founding all of the homeschooling associations in South Africa and the Pestalozzi Trust, the South African Legal Defence Fund for Home Education. Leendert wrote much of the law on home education and currently serves as President of the Pestalozzi Trust.
Over the past decade, Leendert and Karin have counselled thousands of families on home education. Their own children (13, 17 and 23) have never been to school. Leendert worked for thirty years with young people in academic and work settings, observing the effects of school education on their development. His research on home education was the first in this field to be awarded a postgraduate qualification (M.Ed cum laude) in South Africa. This thesis is cited by almost all subsequent local research on home education. Leendert has testified on the merits and practice of home education in the national and provincial parliaments as well as in several superior courts where home education was challenged. He has often appeared in national and international TV and radio programmes on home education and is regularly quoted in newspaper and magazine articles. He presented a weekly radio programme on education for several years.
Pavel is the Chairman of the Board of the Interregional Public Organization “For Family Rights” in the Russian Federation which works to protect the family as “the natural and fundamental group unit of society” (Art. 16.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and to protect the right to choose home education.
When in 2010 the new proposed bill on education didn’t include the right to home educate, Pavel and his organization initiated a nation-wide effort to change the proposed bill. Eventually the right to education at home was restored in the bill, which is on its way to Parliament now.
In 2011 Pavel wrote and published a book for parents “Without a school: the legal guide to the family education and externship”. This unique guide provides information on how to resolve legal problems with home education in different regions of Russia.
Pavel is also one of the founders and member of the Board of the specialized social network for Russian home educating families called “Learning at Home: Home Education in Russia”. He leads seminars for home educators and appears in Russian media on the subject. He was also a co-initiator of the expert panel on home education conducted in the Public Chamber of Russian Federation in 2011. Pavel learned at home his last “school” years. He is single.