We're a motley crew, we admit, and we're spread out across the country, but we're dedicated to classical Christian education and work hard to see it flourish. Don't hesitate to let us know if there's any way we can help you do the same. 

Karen Kern

With years of experience as a third grade teacher, Head of Grammar School, homeschooling mother of five, and school board member, Karen Kern has much to offer as a speaker and CiRCE consultant.  

Mrs. Kern has particular expertise in classroom practice, grammar school faculty development, and the moral imagination.  

She lives in Concord, North Carolina with her husband, Andrew, surrounded as often as possible by their children and grandchildren. 

Andrew Kern


At the moment of writing, Andrew Kern has seven grand-children. More trivially, having founded the CiRCE Institute after co-authoring Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America (with Dr. Gene Edward Veith), he has been compelled to serve as its president. Andrew also bears primary culpability for The Lost Tools of Writing, a classical rhetoric and writing resource.  

Since establishing CiRCE to serve classical educators through research and consulting while developing and providing integrated resources, Andrew has trained and apprenticed innumerable home and school teachers, heads of school, and school boards. He has also defined, defended, practiced, and supported classical education at many conferences, conventions, and book retreats. 

Andrew helped start Providence Academy in Green Bay, WI in 1993, Foundations Academy (now Ambrose School) in Boise, ID in 1996, The Great Ideas Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2001, and Regents School of the Carolinas in 2006, and the CiRCE Apprenticeship around the same time.

He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina, and their five more or less classically educated and more or less home educated children and ever more grandchildren live in various places, ranging from Uganda to Georgia, depending on when you ask.

Debra Sugiyama


Debra Sugiyama has been a integral part of classical education since 1996. She relishes the distinguished honor of being one of few who has attended EVERY CiRCE conference since its beginnings and has years of experience in Classical education as a school board member, teacher, staff bookkeeper, school administrator, classroom consultant, and conference speaker. She served on Michigan’s Governor Engler’s Early Literacy Committee for five years and is experienced in the best practices of helping children discover the English alphabetic code and the love of reading.  With two dyslexic children of her own, she is a strong advocate for children of all learning abilities. Currently, Deb assists the CiRCE office with its bookkeeping and conference planning. Deb is also the Executive Assistant to The Society for Classical Learning and a consultant for schools. Debra is a Registered Dental Hygienist and has been married to her favorite dentist, Paul for the last 30 years. Her three grown children were all classically educated in Grand Rapids, MI and are her greatest joy!

Matthew Bianco

East Coast Apprenticeship Head Mentor

Matthew Bianco is the director of The Lost Tools of Writing, curriculum development, and training for the CiRCE Institute, where he also serves as a head mentor in the CiRCE apprenticeship program. A homeschooling father of three, he has graduated all three of his children, the eldest of whom graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. His other two children attend Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, NC. He is married to his altogether lovely high school sweetheart, Patricia. He is the author of Letters to My Sons: A Humane Vision for Human Relationships.

Chuck Hicks


With roots in East Tennessee, Chuck has lived in Concord, NC (CiRCE's corporate home) for nearly four decades. The son of Charlie and Gail, he is married to Stacey and dad to Lindsay, Sarah, David, Ethan, and Erin. He teaches home school students and has taught in community college. After studying at Marshall and NC State he embarked on a career in property appraisal, working with people from all walks. A life-long fan of Shakespeare, Eliot, and the Fugitive poets, Chuck joined CiRCE in early 2013 to oversee operations and support the Institute's staff in advancing Christian classical education (that Southern drawl on the podcast is his, too). He has an extensive palate for music; enjoys tromping through the woods, and birding (a pair of Carolina wrens visit him daily for hand feedings). Chuck is also a distance learner at Ridley College, an Anglican mission and ministry school near Melbourne, Australia. 

David Kern

Director of CiRCE Books and Podcasts; Editor, FORMA Journal; Strategic Coordinator

David directs CiRCE's publishing initiatives and podcast network and works as Strategic Coordinator and Goodwill Officer for the Institute. He is the host of two Close Reads, The Daily Poem, and Libromania, available through the CiRCE Institute Podcast Network, and is editor-in-chief of FORMA Journal, the magazine of the CiRCE Institute. He often writes about film, television, books, and other culture-related topics, and has been published by Christ and Pop Culture, Think Christian, Relevant, and elsewhere. David and his wife, Bethany, have four children and they live in Concord, NC near both sets of grandparents. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports, reading old-school spy novels, and cooking as much as possible.

Graeme Pitman

Creative Director

Graeme is always thinking about the look and feel of our advertising and products. He's our Captain of Aesthetics, if you will. A photographer by training (Rocky Mountain School of Photography), Graeme loves the books of CS Lewis, Dostoevsky, and Wallace Stegner; would swim eight hours a day if he could; and pulls for his woebegone Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Brian Phillips

Headmaster of The CiRCE Academy & Director of CiRCE Consulting

Brian Phillips is the Headmaster of The CiRCE Academy, Director of CiRCE Consulting, and host of The Commons podcast. 

Having been involved in classical education for over a decade, Brian has served as a Head of Rhetoric School and a teacher of humanities and rhetoric. He is the pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Church in Concord, NC, and an adjunct faculty member at Belmont Abbey College. He is the author/editor of Sunday Mornings: An Introduction to Biblical Worshipthe third edition of Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America, The Space Between: A Guide to the Iliad, The Journey Home: A Guide to the Odyssey, Tales of Wonderand the Canon Classics guide to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

He has a M.A. in Theological Studies, a M.A. in Christian and Classical Studies, and an Ed.D. in Humanities/Classical Education.  More importantly, Brian is joyfully married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, with whom he has four little ones - Temperance, Ian, Asher, and Ellie Caroline.

Leah Lutz

West Coast Apprenticeship Head Mentor


LEAH LUTZ serves as a director, instructor, counselor, and tutor in multiple segments of the classical homeschooling community. She is the founder and president of a multi-grade classical Christian tutorial, Covenant Family Tutorial (CFT), which she established near Santa Cruz, CA. CFT offers high-quality, Christ-centered academic classes for home schooling families in Latin, history, fine arts, logic, humane letters, and writing. Leah also advises many other classical homeschooling programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and has served as a lecturer and teacher for the Classical model nationwide. She is a CiRCE certified Master Teacher, participating in the production of two levels of the Lost Tools of Writing, and is a head mentor in the CiRCE Institute’s Apprenticeship program. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops for both homeschoolers and private classical schools.

Alex Kern

Customer Service / Fulfillment

Bio coming soon!

Matthew Kern

Customer Service and Shipping

Coming Soon