Officers & Staff

Dr. Rachel Coleman, Co-Founder, Executive Director, & Director of Research

Rachel was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school in Indiana, where her parents were on the board of a regional homeschool organization, the Southwestern Indiana Home Educators Association. In 2010, Rachel completed her M.A. thesis at Ball State University, titled “Ideologues, Pedagogues, Pragmatics: A Case Study of the Homeschool Community in Delaware County, Indiana.” In early 2012, Rachel was invited to be present at the founding of the International Center for Home Education Research. In 2013, deeply moved by several high profiled deaths of children in homeschool settings, Rachel co-founded Homeschooling’s Invisible Children with Heather Doney. Rachel Coleman recently completed her dissertation on the role of children and childhood in the rise of the Christian Right, and received her Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in 2018.

Kathryn Brightbill, Legislative Policy Analyst & Board Member

Kathryn Brightbill was homeschooled from the start of formal schooling in 1st grade through graduation from high school. She is the second of four children and the first in her family to be homeschooled all the way through school. Growing up in a politically active family, at one time Kathryn was the youngest ever precinct committeewoman elected to her county Republican Executive Committee. She has a B.A. in Information and Computer Science from Covenant College, a graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, and her J.D. at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Prior to law school, Kathryn dabbled in several different fields, including spending time on the English faculty at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam in Hanoi, VN, where she taught reading and writing for international relations to foreign affairs and international law students.

Kieryn Darkwater, Tech Director & Board Member

Kieryn Darkwater spent their childhood in activism and bridging the gap between grassroots organizing and technology. Homeschooled through highschool and graduated at age 15, they taught themselves how to code, write, and organize.  As an educationally neglected homeschooled student who spent more time raising their 7 siblings than studying, Kieryn is passionate about the need for accountability in home education, and increasing awareness about the pitfalls as well as the advantages of homeschooling.  They currently live in Oakland, California, and are working on establishing the first local chapter of CRHE while studying Industrial Maintenance and Machine Technology at Laney College. 

Alisa Harris, Board Member

Alisa Harris was homeschooled from kindergarten through twelfth grade. As a homeschooled graduate who had a positive experience, she is passionate about working to ensure that all homeschooled children have access to a quality education. She has worked on a wide range of causes as a nonprofit communications professional and a volunteer: economic and social rights, addiction treatment, mental health, early childhood education, child abuse prevention, and women’s rights. She received a Feminist Leadership Award from the National Organization for Women–NYC for her participation in the Activist Alliance, a year-long fellowship for young women leaders. Alisa has a B.A. in English from Hillsdale College and is currently attending Boston University School of Management to complete a Master of Business Administration. She is the author of Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics.

Giselle Palmer, Board Member

Giselle Palmer attended private school during kindergarten in New Hampshire and first grade in Virginia. Because of her family’s frequent moves, she began homeschooling in Alabama in 1985. Other than a few months of sixth grade and her eighth grade year (both in private schools), Giselle continued to be homeschooled in Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee until graduating in 1996. She was part of the ATI program beginning in ninth grade and continuing past graduation until she began college at the age of 21. Giselle has an Associate of Science Degree from Chattanooga State, a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Lee University, and a Masters of Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Giselle has focused much of her research on issues related to students with behavioral challenges and the particular struggles faced by minority students. She has been teaching in the public school system since 2005, and has taught at two different magnet schools in Tennessee. She is currently working in a low-income neighborhood teaching a group of adorable, hardworking, and enthusiastic students who truly believe that education is the key to a successful future.

Rachel Lazerus, Director of Operations

Rachel Lazerus received her MPP at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago with a focus on educational policy. She has previously worked for Brown University, the Urban Institute, and the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and has consulted on projects for Chicago Public Schools, the Urban Education Institute, and the Wyman Center. While she was not homeschooled herself, she attended both public and parochial schools.

Chelsea McCracken, Senior Research Analyst

Dr. Chelsea McCracken grew up near D.C. and attended high-quality public schools K-12. She has a BA in math and a PhD from Rice University in social science, including graduate work in statistics. She is familiar with a variety of qualitative and quantitative social science research methods since her dissertation involved several years of fieldwork, research, and analysis. She lives in the southwest with her spouse and their two fur babies.
Credit: Caroline Singletary

Hännah Ettinger, Policy Analyst

Hännah Ettinger works in economic policy consulting as part of an independent progressive activist team in Washington, DC, called 20/20 Vision. She is also an MFA in Creative Writing candidate at Hollins University, and a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Kyrgyzstan 2015-17). After being homeschooled K-12 in both CA and VA, she studied English at Grove City College and has worked in communications and strategy for NGOs focused on issues relating to the ACA, community development, and the ERA. She is passionate about advocating for children, disability, mental health, queer, and working class concerns and rights.