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



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.

Matthew Bianco


Matthew Bianco is the Vice President of 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.

David Kern

Vice President of Integrated Resources; Director of Marketing


David directs CiRCE's multimedia initiatives, including CiRCE Press and CiRCE Podcasts. He is the host of Close Reads and The Daily Poem, and is editor-in-chief of FORMA Journal, the magazine of the CiRCE Institute. He is the editor of 30 Poems to Memorize (Before It's Too Late). 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 crime and western fiction, learning about wine, and cooking as much as possible.

Andrea Lipinski

Vice President of Training and Consulting


Andrea Lipinski is the Director of the Apprenticeship for the CiRCE Institute, where she also serves as a head mentor in their teacher training program, the 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 two more years at home. She and her husband David live in central Texas where they keep bees, swim in the creek, and sail on the lake. She is a co-author of A CiRCE Guide to Reading.

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.

Brandon LeBlanc

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.

Chuck Hicks

Business Processes Coordinator


Chuck (Marshall ’84) began coordinating CiRCE business processes in 2013. He has lived in Concord, NC most of his life. He is married to Stacey and dad to five adult children. In addition to general administrative duties, Chuck has contributed to the CiRCE blog, FORMA, and the CiRCE Lecture Series.  

Debra Sugiyama

Financial Coordinator


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 beginning 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 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 Kern

Director of Events; Customer Service and Sales Coordinator


Bio Coming Soon 

Kirstie Ruffatto


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

Assistant 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 a mother of six and grandmother of six, all educated at home. She works for the CiRCE Institute and loves Lost Tools, teaching all four levels of LTW to students and teachers in online classes, intensives, webinars, and YouTube videos in addition to her work in curriculum development. Camille's also taught history (ancient to modern), classical literature, logic, geography, economics, and government.  She holds a bachelor's degree in political science and enjoys spending time on her children, travel, reading, music, conversations that deepen understanding, and writing notes to herself on little pieces of paper. camille@circeinstitute.com

Courses Offered:

  • Lost Tools of Writing II (Wednesdays @ 10:00 am)
  • The Comparison Essay: Tales of Wonder I & II (Wednesdays @ 12:00 pm)
  • Lost Tools of Writing III (Wednesdays @ 2:00 pm)
  • Lost Tools of Writing I: Pre-Course (Thursdays @ 11:00 am)

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 taught for the last ten years in many differing Classical contexts, ranging from homeschool settings to private schools abroad. She has taught grades K-12, but for the last many years has focused on grades 6-12. She earned a B.A. from UNC-Charlotte where she studied Fine Art and Classics and an M.A from Oxford University where she studied Literature and the Arts. For the last five years she has lived in Uganda, where she became a mother and learned many survival skills hitherto imagined useless, the most important of which being the ability to wrangle together something good out of minimal resources. She hopes this will come in handy now!