Seth Dunham, who recently joined Edovate Learning Corp. as its new president, was just named the new president of the Homeschool Trade Association (HTA). The HTA is a professional networking organization that helps business and nonprofit leaders serve more homeschooling families more effectively. Edovate is the parent company of Bridgeway Academy, Elephango, Curriculum Express, and Discover! curriculum.
About the HTA
The HTA conducts market research, creates professional training webinars, hosts live events to bring leaders together for connection and education, and provides forums to facilitate ongoing discussion between members. In his role as president, Seth is determined to “ensure that our members are well supported, receive a great deal of value as a result of their involvement with the HTA, and see our membership grow as a result of that.”
Seth’s Homeschooling Story
Seth’s path leading to the presidency of both the HTA and Edovate is a fascinating one. As Seth explained during a recent group interview with the HTA’s outgoing president, John Notgrass (you may know the name from Notgrass History, a leading history curriculum provider with a Christian worldview), homeschooling wasn’t part of his background growing up, nor was it the original plan for his own children.
“I went through the public school system growing up, and I got bored quickly, found trouble, and didn’t get the best grades,” explained Seth. “Homeschooling was just never on my radar growing up or even when my wife and I had kids.”
“My wife and I did all the parent/public school things and thought everything was great. Until our twin girls told us things weren’t so great,” Seth continued. “They asked to be homeschooled, but we said no. We thought everything was fine and didn’t see the need.”
As much as parents stay connected with their children, however, they don’t see or know everything that happens at school. And it soon became clear that Seth’s daughters were not happy at school. It took a blunt conversation with his girls to reassess the situation and consider homeschooling.
“One day, I picked kids up from school, and this is the moment that changed everything,” Seth recalled. “The twins said, ‘You raised us to be good, kind, and compassionate. We are afraid we’re going to fail at all of that if we stay in public school. We need to get out of this toxic environment so we don’t fail.’”
“I sat in the car with the girls in the driveway for an hour and wondered how I missed this,” Seth said. “I told my wife, ‘Angel, we have to homeschool.’ She said, ‘Are you crazy?’ But I went through the conversation I had with our daughters, and we decided to quickly pull them out of school and start homeschooling.” He and his family have not looked back since. In fact, homeschooling became an integral part of Seth’s life moving forward.
A Career in Homeschooling
After working in the corporate world for years, Seth left for the ministry and became a pastor, during which time he helped homeschool his daughters. As homeschooling grew in importance to Seth, he decided he wanted to make a difference for other families in similar situations. So he began working for Alpha Omega Publications, a leading publisher of homeschool curriculum. As their director of schools/business and sales director, Seth provided leadership, vision, motivation, and a culture of accountability to ensure customer satisfaction and growth.
In 2014, Seth moved to Demme Learning, a company that has been providing innovative learning solutions (including Math-U-See and Spelling You See curriculum) for homeschoolers, parents, and small-group learning environments since 1990. There, he served as the company’s director of sales and service before climbing the ranks to become president in 2019. It was during his time with Demme that Seth joined the Homeschool Trade Association, a group for which he has much respect.
“Each and every organization that supports and serves the homeschool industry is doing something profoundly impactful, and their success matters,” Seth said. “I want to help strengthen and maximize the success of those organizations and those individuals in any way that I can. It is not a job, it’s a mission.”
Passing the Torch
As the HTA’s new president, Seth succeeds John Notgrass, who oversees business planning, finances, and the company website at Notgrass History. Seth knows he has a tough act to follow.
“John Notgrass has done a terrific job and, to be honest, those are some big shoes to fill,” Seth said. Going forward, “we have some new ideas that we will work to implement that we believe will add even more value to our HTA member organizations. I am really looking forward to seeing our reach expand, and, more importantly, the positive impact on the homeschool market multiply.”
John is quite confident that Seth is the right person for the job, or, as Seth calls it, the mission. “Seth brings a rich set of experiences to the role of president to help this organization accomplish our ultimate goal, which is to help parents and students succeed at homeschooling by serving the people who serve families directly,” John said. “His knowledge about the homeschool marketplace, his connections with other leaders and groups, and his positive attitude make me confident that the HTA is in good hands. I wish him all the best as he takes on this opportunity.”
Seth’s Plans as President
In his new role, Seth and the HTA’s board of directors plan to identify and take action on new initiatives designed to expand the association’s reach and better support its members. These initiatives include working with a marketing firm to provide strategy to partners, creating new networking opportunities while strengthening current connections, developing peer groups and forums that enable members to connect and learn from each other, and seeking ways to acquire and leverage industry-specific data to ensure members have the most up-to-date market and business information possible.
But his primary responsibility as president of the HTA, he says, is “to ensure that our members are well supported and receive a great deal of value as a result of their involvement with the HTA, and see our membership grow as a result.”
The Edovate-HTA Connection
As president of both Edovate and the Homeschool Trade Association, Seth is looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship. “I sincerely hope and believe that my involvement with the HTA will be of great benefit to Edovate,” Seth explained. “The networking connections I make will serve to not only challenge me to be a better leader but will provide opportunities to gain insight and perspective that you can only get through connecting with other leaders and thought leaders in our industry. And I am confident that we will continue to learn best practices that will impact Edovate, our staff, and our customers in positive ways.”
A Personally Meaningful Opportunity
To Seth, the presidency of the HTA is more than just a title and goes beyond its many responsibilities. “It means that I have an opportunity to give back and serve those who, over the years, served my family and impacted our lives in ways that cannot be measured,” explained Seth. “I am excited for the opportunity and the challenge,” Seth said. “It means a lot to me to have the opportunity to give back and support the homeschool industry. It is truly very personal to me. I take the responsibility very seriously and pray that I am able to have a positive impact and see our reach grow.”
Under Seth’s guidance and leadership, it certainly will.