|Mr. Kirk Vander Leest||Headmaster||M.B.A., Copenhagen Business School, B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from Seattle Pacific University. After 15 years in the business world - from corporate banking to entrepreneurial ventures - I accepted the post as Headmaster in 2014. I also serve on the National Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Learning.
My family and I have been involved with the school in various capacities for over 6 years - board chairman, homeroom parent, and even recess volunteer. Over that time, we have come to an immense appreciation of Classical Christian education and the positive potential it holds for our children, our community, our churches and our world.
My wife and I have been married for 15 years and we have three children - all three of whom are enrolled at Ambrose. We love the outdoors and sports of all kinds so most weekends you will find us out at the soccer/lacrosse fields, paddle-boarding the river or running in the Boise foothills.
Church Affiliation: All Saints Presbyterian Church, Boise
|Dr. Heather Jennings||Academic Dean||Ph.D. in English literature, University of California Davis; M.A. in English literature, Boise State University; B.A. in government, Patrick Henry College.
My engagement with classical Christian education spans nearly twenty years, from taking courses on the literature and history of Greece and Rome in high school from Andrew Kern, a leading thinker and teacher in the cCe movement; to teaching 5th then 12th grades at The Ambrose School; to writing my dissertation on habits of learning in medieval England. I appreciate how classical Christian education situates learning as an expression of loving God with all our minds, equips students to be life-long learners by approaching education not simply as dispensing information but as the formation of habits, teaches students to make connections among all subjects they study, and prepares students to be culture-makers by engaging with the art and ideas that have shaped our world.
I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and spent the past six and a half years in the Sacramento and beautiful San Francisco Bay areas, pursuing my doctorate and teaching at the University of California Davis and Sonoma State University. My husband Brian and I have two preschool aged daughters; we love to read and discuss what we’ve read, entertain, do CrossFit, and spend time in beautiful surroundings by camping, mountain biking, hiking, and traveling.
|Mr. W. Davies Owens||Head of Vision and Advancement||B.S., Sociology Furman University; M.Div Duke University Divinity School; D.Min Gordon- Conwell Theological Seminary
I joined the staff of Ambrose in 2012 after witnessing at the school one of the most effective executions of classical Christian education I have seen in the country. I have a deep passion for training up the next generation, and know that schools are one of the most formidable influences, for good or ill, that shapes the hearts and minds of our children for a lifetime.
My wife, Holly, and our three children directly benefit each day from this amazing community of parents and seasoned educators. My years of working in local church ministry, non-profits and for profits, as well as serving as a head of school in Atlanta, have reinforced to me the unique and effective education that Ambrose provides.
Church Affiliation: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Boise
|Mrs. Melody Tracy||Dean of Bridge Program||One year Bible course, Masters College; B.S., Liberal Arts, Gutenberg College; Accelerated Latin course, Cork College University in Cork, Ireland; Masters in Teaching and a specialization in reading instruction, George Fox University. Previous teaching experience: 5th grade, 9th grade Humanities, House Governor at The Ambrose School; high school literature at Founders Academy - a classical charter school in Las Vegas.
I have the best job because I get to read the greatest stories ever written and talk about them with hungry minds. These stories are so beautiful and profound, one cannot help but be changed by reading them. I love teaching at a classical school because the emphasis is not on job preparation, test scores or district standards (all which have their place) but on teaching students to be wise: to encounter and decipher the truth from error, beauty from perversion, and good from evil. My hope is that as we read, discuss and write that I get to be a part of forming my student’s minds and desires to love and search for what is good, true and beautiful beyond the classroom.
My husband, Ian, is currently pursuing his doctorate in Physical Therapy through the University of Las Vegas. When we are not working for our respective schools, we are mountain biking, CrossFitting, camping, fishing, traveling, bow shooting, playing Ultimate Frisbee and tending to our two fish, Brock and Brody.
Church Affiliation: Holy Trinity Anglican Church
|Mr. Chris Browne||Dean of Upper School||M.A., History, Latin minor, Boise State University; B.A. History, Philosophy minor, Boise State University
I joined The Ambrose School in 2011. I embraced classical Christian education for two primary reasons. First, it maintains the proper goal of education, which is not to merely train good technicians or accountants, but to cultivate virtue in the lives of students. If you can cultivate virtue in a student so that he rejoices in the Lord always, loves his neighbor as himself, and does all things as to the Lord, then you will as a result get a good technician or accountant. However, if you set out to only train a good technician to the neglect of the moral character of the student, you run the risk of only producing what C.S. Lewis called “a more clever devil.” Also, classical Christian education is vastly superior to the modern approach to education because through the Trivium it utilizes the student’s natural developmental stages to produce a student equipped to both think and articulate great ideas.
I am an Idaho native. My wife, TJ, and I live in Boise with our two daughters, who both attend The Ambrose School. We love Boise because of the great Christian community and the many recreational opportunities here. In the summer I work as a river guide on the majestic Hells Canyon portion of the Snake River.
Church Affiliation: Faith Community Bible Church, Boise
|Mr. Carl Warmouth||Dean of Grammar School||B.A., Psychology, Tennessee Wesleyan College. I was Headmaster at Trinity Christian School in Opelika, Alabama before coming to The Ambrose School in 2014.
I first became convicted of the value of classical Christian education in 1999 after my wife introduced me to Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Excused Absence, and The Paideia of God, by Doug Wilson. As time passed, I sensed God calling me to be involved in a greater way. Little did I know that it would become an all-in family affair. After considerable time spent seeking God, I was hired as the upper school principal of a classical Christian school in Alabama. The following year I was asked to serve as headmaster. My daughter and son attended that school from K-12th and from K-9th grade, respectively. My wife served as a grammar school teacher for 14 years. We believe deeply in the vision and mission of The Ambrose School, and are honored to be a part of it.
My previous experience includes nine years in the resort industry and 10 years in child and family counseling as the Therapeutic Program Director at a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. We love the people and culture of the Treasure Valley and the opportunities for outdoor adventure, worship, and great food that the area provides.
Church Affiliation: The King's Congregation, Meridian
|Mrs. Susan Herrick||Admissions & Personnel Director||I began working for The Ambrose School in the fall of 2003, about the same time I was finishing up nearly 20 years of home schooling my own three children. During our home schooling years, our kids were given the opportunity to participate in seminars taught by gifted members of the staff at The Ambrose School. This was our first exposure to the classical method and as we watched our children learn and flourish, we became convinced of the value of this type of education. After their college graduations, our daughters, Heather and Melody, taught at the school for five years and nine years respectively.
In my jobs as Admissions Manager and Personnel Manager I get to meet people from all over who are involved in classical education or want to have their children in a classical school. All of us are united in our desire to pursue truth in a structured environment where the Scriptures are honored and God is glorified. I am grateful to be part of this community of learners and teachers.
I love to read, hike, camp, play piano and spend time with my family.
Church Affiliation: West Side Bible Church
|Mrs. Lisa Black||Registrar||B.B.A., Computer Information Systems, Boise State University
Our family came to The Ambrose School, then Foundations Academy, in 1999. That year we enrolled our oldest son in the fifth grade and continued homeschooling our three youngest children. We fell in love with the school that year and all of our children were enrolled the following year. After volunteering for five years as homeroom parent in the classrooms and doing some various substitute teaching I was hired as the school secretary. It has been a blessing to work in an atmosphere which I was able to see my children grow up, get to know their friends and families and be involved in their school activities all in a loving, Christian environment.
All four of our children have graduated from The Ambrose School.
Church Affiliation: Life Church
|Mrs. Debbie Skinner||Bookkeeper||B.S., Information Systems, University of Colorado
I started working at The Ambrose School in the fall of 2005. After helping in the classroom with anything from lunch duty to substitute teaching, I was confident I wanted to work at a place that is making an impact in our world. Working close to my children was a bonus. I started as the headmaster’s assistant working on special projects, eventually taking on additional duties as bookkeeper.
My husband and I chose a classical Christian education for our children not only for the rigorous educational experience but also because God’s word is interwoven throughout every subject. The Ambrose School guides students to live for God in all areas of their lives.
All three of my children have attended The Ambrose School, beginning with kindergarten. My two oldest have graduated, and my youngest daughter is in high school.
Church Affiliation: Rock Harbor
|Mrs. Angela Johnson||Office Manager||B.A., Communication, University of Idaho, 1997
I started out as a volunteer parent helping in the classroom and with various large office projects as needed. I was blessed to be hired as a part-time office assistant in 2008. Now, I get to work with the best people who encourage and challenge me spiritually everyday as the full-time Office Manager.
My husband and I fell in love with classical education after we researched different curricula and attended a conference as we started homeschooling our son. We continued to homeschool until our son reached 3rd grade when we enrolled him at The Ambrose School, formerly Foundations Academy. Time goes so quickly - our son graduated in 2015 and is studying physics in college. Our daughter is a junior in high school. This year we are hosting a Korean exchange student who is excited about her challenging and rewarding education at Ambrose. The school is a great fit for our family as it reinforces a Biblical worldview and offers many great challenges for growth in our kids, both academically and spiritually.
Church Affiliation: Grace Bible Church
|Mrs. Michele Vernon||Administrative Assistant||I began working at The Ambrose School in January 2015 when my two boys were in 4th and 7th grade. We were already part of the school family since my oldest started kindergarten at The Ambrose School, formerly Foundations Academy, in 2007. From the first time my husband and I visited the school, we knew this was the place for our kids. We love the classical Christian education and my boys are challenged academically and spiritually by teachers who love them and care about their character. As the administrative assistant, I am truly blessed to be able to work at the school where my boys attend.
My family loves the Idaho outdoors. We love water sports and to explore the Boise foothills on our mountain bikes.
Church Affiliation: Fellowship of Boise