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Learning Pod

About Lily Lake

At Lily Lake, we believe that families and children need a space to learn, work and grow together.  Our multi-use facility offers a homeschool learning center and toddler play café all in one location, creating a space for children and parents to do life together.

Who We Are

Cassie, Stewart and The Berger-Tinsmon Family

Cassie Tinsmon was born and raised in Wichita, KS attending Andover Public Schools for 13 years before graduating from Wichita State University with a degree in Social Work.  After graduation, she took her interest in helping others and became involved in politics to advocate for issues that directly affect individuals' everyday lives.  This allowed her the opportunity to live in Denver, Washington DC, and New York City before moving back to Wichita in 2012 to be closer to family with a new appreciation of the Midwestern lifestyle.  Along the way, she completed a Masters in Public Health from New Mexico State University.

 

Since 2008, Cassie has served as a political consultant working with political campaigns and committees advising them on campaign finance and operations.  In 2023, Cassie took over the company she had worked for for 15 years, becoming President of Katz Compliance LLC.

 

Stewart Berger grew up in New Orleans, LA, attending private Catholic Schools for 12 years.  For about a decade, he worked in and managed restaurants in the Atlanta area, before deciding to go back to school at Georgetown University, graduating in 2008 with a degree in Liberal Studies with a focus in International Affairs.  While attending Georgetown, Stewart worked for a leading political and non-profit fundraising consulting firm in DC, raising money for organizations such as Families of Flight 93 and the MLK Memorial that is located on the National Mall.  After graduation, he and Cassie moved to New York City for Stewart to pursue a career in finance and banking, eventually taking him to Wichita to come onboard with Curo Financial.  Currently, Stewart provides operations consulting for a number of organizations.   

 

Cassie and Stewart have two children together, a 10-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son who they have always planned to homeschool.  After struggling for years to find the community they envisioned for their children, they decided to start one of their own.  Together, with another homeschooling family, they started Bee Curious Learning Collective in 2022, receiving a $10,000 grant from Vela Education Fund to provide a self-directed, drop-off program for homeschool families in Andover.  For the school year 2022-2023, Bee Curious served close to 20 children, hosting classes two days a week in Andover Central Park.  When the opportunity arose to purchase Lily Lake, they looked at the old school and immediately fell in love and saw the potential to build a long-term village to raise and educate their children in.

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Our Campus

Located on just over two acres outside of Augusta, KS our location gives the feel of quintessential rural Kansas while being just a short drive from Wichita. 

 

The homeschool building was built in 1920 and served as the local school for over 40 years before closing in the mid-sixties.  With a large outdoor garden, sports court and plenty of room to run and explore nature, the location is perfect for all of us wanting just a bit slower pace of life to raise our children in.

 

Our beautiful, sun-lit,  interior space was intentionally designated to be as flexible as possible allowing for a wide range of activities.  The buildings’ rich history and connection to the past, along with the beautiful rural setting, provides us the opportunity to begin again, regenerate and rebuild our communities.  

Our Values

  • We believe in Community.  The last few years have shown us just how important in-person connections are.  Raising children is one of the most difficult, but rewarding, stages of life.  We are here to provide support for families throughout this time.

  • We believe in Family.  The busyness of today’s world puts a constant strain on families trying to do it all, while not allowing them time to simply be together.  While it doesn’t always look picture-perfect, we believe strong family bonds (whatever that “family” might look like) is essential in growing good humans.

  • We believe in being good humans.  Basic friendliness, ability to disagree effectively, respecting different viewpoints, helping and supporting one another.  Today’s world is full of polarizing language, we feel it is essential to teach our kids to do better than we are at this moment when it comes to this simple rule.

  • We believe in building a truly diverse community.  As a non-sectarian organization, one of our fundamental goals is to bring together those with different political and religious affiliations, philosophies on education and more.  We want our children to grow up in an environment where they can build strong friendships with families from different backgrounds and learn how to communicate and disagree effectively.

Image by Samuel Myles

Visit Lily Lake

Come visit the beautiful Lily Lake Campus! 

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