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

President & CEO

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.

Dr. Matthew Bianco


Dr. Matthew Bianco is the Chief Operations Officer 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 second graduated from Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, NC, where his youngest still attends their great books honors college. He is married to his altogether lovely high school sweetheart, Patricia. Dr. Matt Bianco has a PhD in Humanities from Faulkner University's Great Books Honors College. He is the author of Letters to My Sons: A Humane Vision for Human Relationships.

Andrea Lipinski

Vice President of Training and Consulting

Andrea Lipinski is the Vice President of Training and Consulting for the CiRCE Institute, where she also serves as a Head Mentor in their teacher training program, the Rocky Mountain Apprenticeship. A homeschooling mother of two sons, she has graduated her oldest son who attends the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Her younger son has one more year at home. She and her family live in the Pacific Northwest where they grow fruit, ski Mt. Baker, and paddle the lakes. She is a co-author of A CiRCE Guide to Reading.

Brandon LeBlanc

Interim VP of Integrated Resources, Director of Business Development


Brandon is the Director of Business Development, a title both specific enough and vague enough to cover a wide range of business activities. He handles sales with schools, co-ops, and vendors. He oversees our fundraising efforts. And he works with our partners in Christian Classical Education that help to make the podcasts, FORMA Journal, and our conferences possible. Brandon is a two-time graduate of the University of Texas with a BA in History and a Masters of Business Administration. He is currently entering his final year of the CIRCE Apprenticeship, and teaches high school humanities and rhetoric at their local co-op. Brandon’s better half is Kobi LeBlanc and they are homeschool parents to three teenagers. They made the move from Austin, TX to Concord, NC in 2018 to join CIRCE. They are still adjusting to the change in BBQ.

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. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three children.

Patty Bianco

CiRCE Online Academy, Headmistress


Patty Bianco is the Online Training Manager for the CiRCE Institute. She is a homeschooling mother of three, well, was as all three of her children have graduated and gone off to college. She now helps others educate their children and students. She graduated from Buck Holler's Master Teacher Apprenticeship group through CiRCE. She is married to Matt Bianco. Her favorite book is Pride and Prejudice and she prefers the BBC production of it, even though her husband prefers the Keira Knightley version (she forgives him for that). She prefers tea to coffee (though she enjoys a good latte). 

Contact Patty Bianco at [email protected].

Matthew Kern

Director of Events; Customer Service and Sales Coordinator

Matthew Kern is the Director of events, and the customer service and sales coordinator.  If you are wondering why he is not, or ever was, a CiRCE Apprentice (like most of us at CiRCE) it is because he also works as a mental health therapist and runs his own private practice in his spare time. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a BA in History and MA in Clinical Mental Health.  He lives in Concord, NC with his wife, Renee, and two daughters, Selah and Zuriah.

Michael Buck Holler

East Coast Apprenticeship Head Mentor

Buck Holler is a former horse trainer and rodeo cowboy from Red Bluff, CA. Retiring from the rodeo circuit, Buck headed to New England to study theology and languages at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2001. Since then he has worked in three schools as an educator and moved to raise a family on a farm in eastern NC. Buck first joined The CiRCE Institute as an apprentice in 2007, became a head mentor of an East Coast Apprenticeship in 2017 and the Latin Apprenticeship in 2019, and now serves as CiRCE's director of consulting.

Kirstie Ruffatto

Marketing and Promotions Specialist; Teacher


Kirstie Ruffatto is an artist, illustrator, and classical educator. She obtained a BA in Studio Art from the Queens University of Charlotte with a focus in intaglio printmaking. Her most recent illustrations include CiRCE's 30 Poems to Memorize (Before Its Too Late). She moves back and forth between her art class at Covenant Classical School and her desk at the CiRCE office, where she can be seen posting to CiRCE's social media and discussing her love of Homer and all things lovely and beautiful.

Brian Phillips

Program Specialist for Training and Resource Development

Dr. Brian Phillips is the pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Church (Concord, NC), an adjunct faculty member at Belmont Abbey College, and a teacher-writer-consultant for the CiRCE Institute. After turning 40, he decided to pursue a childhood dream and also became an EMT. He is the author/editor of several books, including Sunday Mornings: An Introduction to Biblical Worship and Tales of Wonder (Volumes I & II). He and his wife Shannon have two sons, two daughters, and a dog named Ajax the Great.

Alex Kern

Financial Coordinator


Though she hails from Australia, Alex Kern now lives in Concord NC with her cousin and her two nieces. She obtained a B.A. in Theology from Belmont Abbey College, has been working for the CiRCE Institute since 2014, and is now a CIRCE apprentice. You will often find her rock climbing, knitting, or discussing the carnivore diet and conspiracy theories with other Concord locals. 

Camille Hunt

Program Specialist for Training and Curriculum Development

Camille Hunt is the mother of six grown children and grandmother of seven, all educated at home. She works for the CiRCE Institute and loves The Lost Tools of Writing, teaching all four levels of LTW to students and teachers in online classes, intensives, webinars, workshops, and YouTube videos in addition to her work in curriculum development. Camille has also taught Humane Letters, logic, economics, and government.  She enjoys spending time on her children, travel, reading, music, conversations that deepen understanding, and writing notes to herself on little pieces of paper. 

Contact Camille Hunt at [email protected]

Karen Kern

Program Specialist for Training and Resource Development


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. 

Katerina Kern

Research Specialist


Katerina Kern has sought to make Classical Education accessible globally through teaching, consulting, writing, and speaking. She studied Fine Art, Art History, and Classics at UNC-Charlotte and the Liberal Arts at Oxford University, where she earned a Masters in Literature and the Arts. After teaching for five years in Uganda, she recently returned to the US and is an Adjunct Professor at Belmont Abbey Honors College and a Consultant and Researcher for the Circe Institute. She particularly enjoys researching Medieval notions of Beauty and Memory, the 7 Liberal Arts, Cosmology, and Mariology.