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Meet the Leaders

Uplift Central Oregon Current Leaders

Cassie Johnson - Director

My name is Cassie.  I have been married to my husband since 2002.  Together we have three children from 14 - 8 years of age.  Pre children I was a real estate broker for many years, and before that my dream was to be a missionary.  I was trained in a school of ministry in Colorado and traveled around on short term mission trips.  Years later, its fun to see God moving in my life working in the mission field in my own town.

We moved to Bend in 2007.  Prior to having children I did not know I would homeschool, but as soon as my oldest got close to that age I new this was the only option for our family, so I have now been homeschooling for the past 11 years.  I am grateful I have been able to stay home with my kids this entire time.

Uplift started in 2022.  I did not know this was God's plan until the ball was already rolling and I got caught up in it.  I am grateful to be apart of Uplift, bringing faith, connection and opportunities to our community.  Leading with my friends and amazing woman is for sure a highlight!  It is such an honor to be connected to the youth, they are pretty cool kids :)

Sara Jones - Operations director & Community Day Class Coordinator
My name is Sara Jones. I have three children and have been homeschooling
for the past 11 years. We love our Bend community and have lived here
for almost 15 years. Before having children I was a public school
teacher. I love watching my children learn and grow as we do life
together.

Cammie Bray - Redmond director
Hi, I am Cammie I am married to Joe. We live in Redmond with our 11 (yes, you read that right) children. We own and operate a handyman business, homeschool, enjoy being creative and most of all, we love Jesus!

My oldest is almost 22 and the baby is 4. We have a split of 6 girls to 5 boys. We have been homeschooling from the start. I have tried numerous curriculums and styles of teaching over the years. It has been different with each child and season of life. But it is a joy to see, as my children grow, just how much homeschooling has benefited them. 

I have been with Uplift as a leader for about 2 years. I love seeing the community grow! I am encouraged by the relationships being built and all the connections made. I am always available for questions, so feel free to reach out!


Nicole Zollman - Redmond director - Class Coordinator
My name is Nicole. My husband, Keith and I married in 2005, the same year we moved to Central Oregon. We have 4 sweet and silly daughters. As a child, my own mom homeschooled my 3 siblings and I. I ended up going to public high school and graduating in 2004 in Klamath Falls. Having been homeschooled myself, it was always on my heart, and in 2020 when our 2 oldest daughters were in public school, I was deeply convicted by the Lord to take the leap to homeschool them. At that time, in addition to the world looking so different, and experiencing a challenging pregnancy with our 4th daughter, we were desperately looking for support and community in our new and scary endeavor. God answered our prayers and we found Uplift. We instantly fell in love with the program and what they stood for, and knew this is just what Redmond needed. We love the new friends and connections we have made and look forward to our homeschooling future!

Kelsey Burns - Redmond leader during Community Day


Jenna Sheridan - Bend early development director


High School Initiative

Mary Stewart is our Current HSI Director.  She is stepping down this spring - See a note from her:
Hello Uplift families,

I know some have caught wind of a change when it comes to my role as HSI director, so I wanted to take a moment to officially announce my stepping down from this role at the end of this semester so our family can prepare for what looks to be an upcoming graduation year (and the wrap up of our homeschool journey!).   I am blessed to have been a part of HSI and feel that serving the homeschooling community by helping to build this space was such a wonderful way to cap off all these years! 


It is my hope that this day has served the community of high schoolers in such a way that our community sees it as a space to be carried into next year as the Lord sees fit.  There is already conversation around what needs may be met next year through HSI offerings, including a new addition, with the potential for GCU dual enrollment cohorts.  As always, we love to hear what is needed to help support the high school level, so remember to save the date (5/3) to attend a community meeting focusing on this very topic. 


It’s been a pleasure getting to know all the families and hanging out with all you amazing high schoolers and I ask that you please be in prayer with us over who the Lord may bring to take the hand-off of the HSI director.  If you feel a nudge, come have a conversation with us as you prayerfully consider! 

Mary Stewart 


Christy Villa - High School Initiative Director 24/25

Hi Uplift Community, my name is Christy Villa and my husband and I have 4 boys aged 9-18 years old. We’ve been married 22 years and moved to Redmond last summer. My journey with homeschool began in my own childhood when my parents pulled me out of traditional school in 5th grade and continued homeschooling me through highschool. I’m so grateful for my homeschool experience and knew I wanted to homeschool my own kids someday. I’m now in my 13th year as a second generation homeschooler getting ready to graduate my oldest son in June. My experience with homeschooling with my own kids has been vastly different from my own. From the first year I began homeschooling my kids, community has always been a huge key to navigating the diverse and sometimes complex needs of my 4 boys. We’ve pretty much done every type of homeschooling including independent homeschool, psp (in our former state), charter school, and our youngest son has also been in traditional school. We believe homeschooling is an ideal way to educate but at the same time we need to listen to God’s direction for each of our children because ultimately he knows what’s best for each one. 

When we moved to Oregon last summer we were so blessed to find the Uplift community. From the first conversation I had with Cassie I felt that we had a very similar perspective and vision for what a good homeschool community is. Prior to moving I had been running my own homeschool support group for 2 years and God provided an amazing mom to take things over when I left. Getting involved in Uplift was never a question of “if” but more of a question of when. Our family needed this year to transition to this new area and get our oldest kiddo graduated! Years ago before I began homeschooling my own kids I taught classes for different homeschool groups and worked with a youth theater for several years. I have a degree in Music Education and 20+ years of private music teaching experience. I’ve been involved in different ministries with church and love serving however I can. My oldest son has really enjoyed the HSI classes this past year and I’m so excited to use my experience to support Uplift in helping grow and build this program. Mary has been such an amazing administrator for the site in helping to create a really strong foundation to build on. My goal is to continue to build on what is already working and tailor this program to meet the needs of our students. I look forward to getting to know more of the families and your wonderful students! Let’s be in touch as we prepare for next year!