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Board of Directors and Staff

Karen Skelton, Chair, 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 Danny (13) and supporting Liam (20) long-distance in his endeavors in college. Tom enjoys cooking, woodworking and playing music with his friends (and now Danny).

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 director of Brave Learner Home, Brave Writer's online community for parents. 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. 

Harriet E. Heath, PhD, was also a subscriber to Welcome Home and shared our interests in the importance and impact of parenting both for children and parents themselves. Her early work with breastfeeding mothers led her to pursue a PhD in clinical developmental psychology, and she was the Creator and Director of the Parenting Center at Bryn Mawr College for some thirty years. As a visiting faculty member at DePaul University, she and a colleague developed a Masters program for parent educators. Her parenting education curriculum includes Plan How to Get Where You Want to Go in Nurturing Your Children and Using your values to raise your child to be an adult you admire. Currently, Harriet is the Convenor for the Quaker Parenting Initiative which provides parenting programs nationally and internationally and trains facilitators. She also sits on the Council of the National Parenting Education Network of which she is a founding member. Harriet has three children and six grandsons—one grandson lives with his wife in the apartment above her home in Maine, and others live within a few hours drive.

Kimberly Novod is the founder and executive director of Saul’s Light Foundation, a New Orleans-based nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the unique social-emotional needs of Louisiana’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and bereaved families. As an equitable healthcare advocate and birth doula, Kimberly is most passionate about maternal mental health issues, prematurity, and infant loss in the Black community. After experiencing all three, she knows that the most impactful thing we can do after loss is to lead a meaningful life. In 2019, Kimberly was the recipient of the Millennial Changemaker Award and a New Orleans City Council Proclamation for exceptional community service. The following year, she was appointed to the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies Advisory Council by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and in 2021, Kimberly was recognized as a Fearless Striver by the Fearless Fund and Mastercard. Kimberly is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and received a master’s degree from Troy University. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Executive Director Catherine Myers first volunteered for FAHN in the mid-1980s and has served in many roles since, including as Publications Director of FAHN's journal, Welcome Home and several of their books. 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 spent a lot of time planning and managing a home renovation in order to share their home with her parents until the end of their lives. In that home, their daughter gave birth to their first grandson in 2006, and a few years later his brother was born there. Cathy and Fred moved to Durham, NC in 2015 to be close their daughter and grandsons (now 12 and 15). They enjoy frequent visits with their son and daughter-in-law and five-year-old grandson in New Orleans. 

Rita Brhel, Consulting Writer/Editor, is a stay-at-home, work-from-home, and homeschool mom of three ages 15, 14, and 10. She is the 15-year Executive Editor of Attachment Parenting International (attachmentparenting.org), including The Attached Family Magazine (theattachedfamily.com), and currently heads up #normalizenurturing affiliated with Nurturings.org. Rita has a long history as a journalist in the area of parenting science for a variety of platforms including La Leche League International's New Beginnings and Mothering.com. She is a Certified Attached at the Heart Parenting Educator and spent six years working for the WIC Supplemental Nutrition Program as a local breastfeeding peer counselor and Certified Lactation Counselor. Rita and her family live in rural Nebraska where they are involved in sustainable living and reclaiming the native prairie on their little farm.

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.