A Classical Christian School Serving K-12 in the Greater Boise Area

Bridge Program Staff

HomeAbout BridgeBridge Program Staff
Vander Leest 16Mr. Kirk Vander LeestHeadmasterM.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
Jennings 16Academic DeanPh.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.
m tracy 16Mrs. Melody TracyAdministrator, 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
brandon 16Mr. Ben BrandonUpper School Dean, Bridge ProgramB.A. Political Science: International Relations, M.A. History: European Civilization, Boise State.

I have taught homeschoolers at local co-ops (Aaron Academy, Boise Classical), and college courses at The Biblical Studies Center and Boise State. I have been teaching at The Ambrose School since 2014.

I love studying history and philosophy, especially that of the Greco-Roman world, and my greatest hope as a teacher is to pass on this love of learning to my students. As I’ve studied, I’ve seen how Christ is the fulfillment of true philosophy and the center of history, as He came in the fullness of time. I felt especially called to teach the 10th grade at Ambrose upon learning that the goal of the class is to teach the students “How God prepared the world for the Christ to come.”

I also enjoy history as it gives me an excuse to dress up in armor and play with swords. When not teaching, I hope to be scoring points in Ultimate Frisbee, or having philosophical discussions with my friends at local coffee shops. I also spend free time with my family, as my mother, father, and four siblings all live in Boise!

Church Affiliation: Boise Church of Christ
Moore 16Mrs. Mandi MooreBridge Program ConsultantB.S. Multi-Disciplinary Science, Texas Tech University – College of Education; Texas Educator Certification – Secondary Science Composite (Grades 6-12); M.A. Physical Therapy, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

While prayerfully researching education options for our oldest child, my husband, Tim, and I became convinced that classical Christian education was the most effective method for raising our children to love the Lord whole-heartedly, think deeply from a Biblical worldview, discern truth, effectively communicate the gospel, and deeply influence the world. This conviction led us to serve on the founding board of Cross Classical Academy (CCA), the first of its kind in the Heart of Texas region, in order to make Classical Christian Education available to families of our community.

Our daughter and son attended CCA and I served as Administrator from 2010 through 2015, when my husband accepted a cardiology position at St. Alphonsus and we relocated to Idaho. Our family is grateful for the opportunity to continue our journey in classical Christian education at The Ambrose School, where we are deeply committed to the school’s mission and are daily blessed by the community of exceptional staff and families. I am excited to participate in the work to extend Ambrose to more families in southern Idaho through the new Shared Instruction Program.

As native Texans, it has been a delight to experience for the first time the many activities Idaho has to offer. From spending time outdoors hiking, mountain biking, running, rafting, snowmobiling, and skiing to savoring restaurants and fine arts productions downtown, our family ENJOYS Boise life and the amazing people who call it home.

All Saints Presbyterian Church, Boise
Cross Classical Academy – Board President

Classically Connecting Home and School