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.
Andrew Kern is founder and president of the CiRCE Institute, the founding author of The Lost Tools of Writing, a co-author of the best-selling book Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America, which he wrote with Dr. Gene Edward Veith. Since establishing CiRCE as a research and consulting service to classical educators, Andrew has trained teachers, led board retreats, and assisted with institutional development and start up in over 100 schools since 1996. He has been directing the CiRCE Institute full time since the summer of 2000. Andrew helped start Providence Academy in Green Bay, WI in 1993, where he served as “Lead Teacher,” Foundations Academy (now Ambrose School) in Boise, ID, where he served as Director of Classical Instruction from 1996-2000, The Great Ideas Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he served as Headmaster from 2001-2003, and The Regent Schools of the Carolinas where he served as Dean of Academics from 2006-2008. He and his family live in North Carolina.
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!
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 Melbourne, an Anglican theological college in Australia.
David is our Goodwill officer, meaning he's involved in many things, from marketing to customer service to content and program development. He also directs our annual conference and plans LTW workshops. If it has our logo on it, he's involved. David and his wife, Bethany, have two young boys, Coulter (2) and Jeremiah (1) and they live in Concord, NC near both sets of grandparents. In his spare time, David enjoys rooting for the Green Bay Packers; reading books by folks like Wendell Berry, Flannery O'Connor, and Cormac McCarthy; and baking homemade bread or cinnamon rolls. Also, guilty-pleasure-wise, he loves television. It's an art form, you know.
Our newest staff member, Graeme and his family (wife, Ashlee, and son, Rowan) moved here to North Carolina this fall to be our Creative Director. That means he's 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 is the Headmaster of The CiRCE Academy and Director of CiRCE Consulting, in addition to writing a regular column for the Institute.
Having been involved in classical education for about 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, a board member of the Cabarrus Women's Center, an adjunct faculty member at Belmont Abbey College, and the author of Sunday Mornings: An Introduction to Biblical Worship.
He has a B.A. and M.A. in Theological Studies, as well as 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 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.
Cathy Rape is a home schooling mother of three living in The Woodlands, TX. She directed a local classical home school co-op in Spring, TX for four years before joining the CiRCE Apprenticeship in 2010. She taught The Lost Tools of Writing at Oak Ridge Christian Academy for two years, and currently teaches literature classes to high school home school students. Cathy serves as Director of the Apprenticeship, from which she recently graduated.
Andrew Jon Kern
Photo and bio coming soon!