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

Bridge Program Staff

HomeAbout BridgeBridge Program Staff
Mr. Kirk Vander LeestHead of SchoolM.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 Head of School 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
Mrs. Heather JenningsAcademic 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. My husband Brian and I lived in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area for about seven years, while I earned my doctorate and taught at the University of California Davis and Sonoma State University. I enjoying raising our two daughters, reading, entertaining, CrossFit, and spending time beautiful surroundings by camping, hiking, and traveling.
Mrs. Melody TracyDean, Bridge ProgramOne 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
Mrs. Mandi MooreBridge Program Assistant Dean; 7th-8th Physical Science and Math (Pre-Algebra, Algebra)B.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 Bridge Program, a model that combines the best of Christian Classical education with the best aspects of home schooling.

As native Texans, it has been a delight to experience 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.

Affiliations:
All Saints Presbyterian Church, Boise
Cross Classical Academy – Board President
Cynthia HymerAdministrative AssistantA.A., Fullerton College, Liberal Studies, Fullerton, CA.
B.S., Business Management, University of Phoenix, Irvine, CA.
Nouthetic Counseling Training, The Institute for Nouthetic Studies, Simpsonville, SC.

I grew up in Northern California near our family dairy in Sonoma County, CA. I moved to Southern California to pursue my college education, and a career. In 1999 after several years of college and working full-time, I met and married my husband, Brian, a Software Consultant at Quest, Inc., supportive husband and great dad. When we began our family it was mutually decided I end my professional career at Apple, Inc., and retire to the position as full-time wife, and mother. We have two children; a son, and a daughter. When we began our venture in Home Education, 16 years ago, we desired for our children to grow to be careful thinkers, who loved Christ. Therefore, when we were introduced to the Classical Christian School model of educating we were drawn in and we continue to serve as our children’s primary educator's.

Our daughter attends the Bridge. We began the Bridge Program it's first year in the 2017/18 school year. Because we were already teaching our children at home a Classical Christian model of eduction, when we heard about The Bridge Program at the Ambrose School, we knew it would be a perfect fit for our daughter. We have been more than delighted as she has grown, and thrived.

I enjoy running, being outdoors (when it's above 40), hospitality, serving, teaching and training our children, and most passionately pursuing Truth through inductive Biblical studies, discipleship, and a desire to finish well.

Church Affiliation: Treasure Valley Bible Church, Meridian
brandon 16 Mr. Ben BrandonBridge Program Humanities Chair;
7th and 8th Grade Humanities
B.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
Mrs. Jamie LanginKindergarten TeacherB.S. in Nutritional Science from Seattle Pacific University.

I began teaching grammar, science, and PE at a homeschool co-op in 2005 and taught for for ten years. I also coached high level gymnastics for seven years at Cincinnati Gymnastics. When we moved to Idaho from Kentucky in 2015, I fell in love with The Ambrose School. I currently sub everything from Kindergarten to 12th grade at Ambrose on the days I am not teaching at The Bridge Program.

I chose to teach at The Bridge Program at Ambrose because I believe classical Christian education challenges and prepares students mentally and spiritually. Every subject is rooted in the Word of God. I love that I get to come alongside parents in teaching their children. I want my students to enjoy learning and to learn to love Christ more every year.

I have been married to my husband Raoul for 20 years and we have three children in The Ambrose School and one who graduated in 2018. We have lived in Idaho for the past three years and enjoy hiking and biking as a family in God's beautiful creation. I also love to do CrossFit, trail running, and coach coach cross country and track.

Church Affiliation: Calvary Chapel Boise
Mrs. Becki Bervig1st Grade TeacherB.S. in Education from Pensacola Christian College, 2005; M.S. in Education Administration from Pensacola Christian College, 2007; M.A. in Biblical Exposition from Pensacola Theological Seminary, 2013.

I have taught for more than 12 years — from teaching individual and group lessons, Third Grade Theory, and conducting Third Grade Band at Pensacola Christian Academy in Florida, to running a private piano studio out of my home. I love teaching children and watching them grow in their love of learning. I chose to teach at The Ambrose School Bridge Program because I believe in the strong academic model of classical education and how it develops a deep a love for learning, enabling children to fulfill God’s calling for their life. I am humbled by the life changing influence that I am able to have on children and love being able to freely share the Lord, His Word, and guide children to a stronger faith in Christ.

My husband and I both grew up in Colorado, have been married for almost eight years, have two beautiful children, and are excited to have moved to the Boise area. We enjoy all the outdoor activities that Boise has to offer. We’re thrilled to see what God has in store for our family at The Ambrose School.

Church Affiliation: Bridgepoint Church
Mrs. Ann Kesl2nd Grade TeacherM.S. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in Developmental Disabilities, University of Nevada Reno

In the past, I worked within the special education system of the public schools, homeschooled my own children for 10 years, and taught 3rd grade at an University-Model program. I am excited to explore classical Christian education at The Ambrose School with my family and am impressed daily by the staff and students. I value the opportunity to work in tandem with parents, empowering them to provide the best education for their children within the Bridge Program model. It is my desire for children to walk out of my class not only knowing how deeply they are loved by Jesus but also to love learning.

My husband, Jim, and I have four children. Being a military family, we have had the pleasure of living in many places. We came to Idaho five years ago and finally feel at home. It is our plan to remain here permanently. When I’m not shuttling children around, I enjoy CrossFitting, reading under a snuggly blanket, and trying new foods.

Church Affiliation: Eagle Christian Church
Mrs. Jordan Douglas3rd and 4th Grade TeacherI earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University and a Master of Arts in Christianity & Classics from Knox Theological Seminary. I have served in teaching roles in various children’s ministries for more than ten years.

I am privileged to work alongside the staff and parents of the Ambrose community to apply the good news of the gospel to education. Ambrose is not merely focused on imparting knowledge, but on training the whole person, especially the heart, and encouraging students to love God and love others. As a parent and a follower of Jesus, this is my highest goal. I want my students to leave my classroom with a deepening confidence in the goodness of God's triumph over all things; our God is a great Redeemer who is working to restore His creation to beauty and peace.

My husband Brian and I have three children, all students at Ambrose. I am a library devotée who finds history fascinating and people and their stories endlessly compelling. Art, photography, films, and conversation refresh and inspire me. I am an Ohio native who has lived in the Boise area since 2008. My family recently moved to downtown Meridian and we enjoy walking in our neighborhood and community events near our home.

Church Affiliation: All Saints Presbyterian
Guin Carson5th GradeClassical education has been at the heart of my teaching since my oldest son’s first-grade year of homeschooling. It was then I realized that traditional curriculum and methods might teach him how to read but they would not feed his soul. Our homeschooling endeavor took on new life as I began researching and training in classical methods. Our family enjoyed seven years of homeschooling, but we also spent eight years in small private Christian schools. I have taught a variety of subjects, but my passion has always been literature. Watching students’ eyes light up as they discover timeless truths within great books is my favorite moment in the classroom. And now, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to continue the great conversation with students in the Ambrose Bridge Program.

My husband and I have been married for 23 years and have lived many places in the United States, ranging from the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest. But we are pleased to call the Treasure Valley our home. Here we have raised our three sons and have participated in a myriad of ministries. He now serves as a pastor, and I am pleased to partner with him in service to the body of Christ. In our free time, we try to keep up with our adroit border collie, Hugo.

Church Affiliation: Star Community Church
Mrs. Amy Cummings5th and 6th Grade TeacherB.S. in Nursing from BCIT

After working as a nurse for five years, I shifted gears to homeschool my children for five years, and taught French to students preK-4th grade.

I chose to teach at the Ambrose Bridge Program because it is a community where students are encouraged to pursue what is good and beautiful, and to study all things under the lens of Scripture. I am passionate about teaching from a place of joy and wonder, and passing on the love of learning to students. I want my students to be amazed at God’s world and to explore it from a place of faith.

I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. After moving south of the border, I met and married my husband Mark in Moscow, ID. We have been married 12 years and have three children. When we are not reading and discussing books, we can be found hiking in the foothills or gathered around the dining table with friends.

Church Affiliation: Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Mrs. Michiko Miller5th and 6th MusicA.M. Piano Performance and Voice minor, Fukuoka Women’s College, Japan; Music Performance (Piano and Voice) Non-Degree Course for Graduates, Fukuoka Women’s College, Japan; English Teacher Certificate Course, Nippon University, Japan; Junior High School Mathematics Certificate Course, Nagasaki Board of Education, Japan; Special Needs Homeroom Teacher Certificate Course, Nagasaki Board of Education, Japan; B.M. Music Performance (Magna Cum Laude), Boise State University

I taught music and several subjects in the public school system in Japan for 15 years. At that time, I did not know of God’s existence. Later, after I came to know the Lord, He gave me a job teaching Japanese in two schools in El Paso, Texas. While there, I was also given the opportunity to teach music at a Classical Christian School in New Mexico. This was my first exposure to classical education. Reading “Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning” by Douglas Wilson helped change my approach to teaching music. Instead of focusing only on the improvement of musical technique, I began to also focus on how I can conduct my classes to please God and see Him working in the students. One of my favorite verses and my goal in my music classes is, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name, Make His praise glorious.” Psalms 66:1,2
McKenzie Warmouth6th Grade Humanities & LatinB.A. in Liberal Arts and Culture from New Saint Andrew’s College in Moscow, ID.

I have grown up in classical education, attending a K-12 much like Ambrose and recently graduating from New Saint Andrew’s. I was raised in Alabama, moved to the lovely North West to attend college, and haven’t left since.

As far as subject matter goes, my passion lies with the Latin language. I love to watch my students’ eyes light up when they realize they suddenly understand my Latin joke. I love to hear all that they have to say about the way language is connected to science, to history, to our communication with one another, how it is connected to the way we love one another, the way we understand speech and words and THE Word.

But regardless of what I am teaching, I love being in the classroom and teaching young minds and getting to know young hearts. Watching classical education take place from a teacher’s perspective has somehow deepened my belief in and passion for it even further, and I am continually honored and excited to be a part of the Ambrose community.
Mrs. Jen Barbour7th and 8th Grade Composition
Mrs. LeAnn SchieboutArtB.A., English, ASU West; ESL Tutor, Glendale Community College; Substitute Teacher, Ambrose, 2014-2015; 4 years of Art in high school; self-taught artist.

We discovered Ambrose through Bill Stutzman when we were looking to enroll our oldest child in kindergarten. We realized that classical education wove Christ into the lives and conversations of its students in a organic, loving way. We have been impressed by how well the classical model dovetails with the development of children and engages the whole person: Heart, soul, mind and strength. I am heartened by what our children are memorizing and able to apply to their walk with the LORD.
I love knowing that each time I meet with my students I can share my love for God and the joy He has given us, enabling us to reflect His glory through Art.

I pray that my students learn to love God better through studying the gift of beauty. He is the Master Artist. I desire that they learn a deeper gratitude to the God who made us and gave us a world full of so much beauty. I want to help them slow down and appreciate the detail that He designed for His glory and our pleasure.

I am a wife to my best friend Mark Schiebout, mother of 3 children whom I love fiercely, friend, artist, and servant to the King.

Church Affiliation: United Reformed Church, Nampa
Mrs. Kathy ShanerArtB.A., Liberal Studies, CSUChico, 1987. Continuing education, including training in Classical methodology. I have taught in California public schools, Dept. of Defense schools in Europe, and private Christian schools since 1989; I started at the Ambrose School in 2007 and can honestly say this is the most dynamic, exciting place I’ve ever worked!

My introduction to Classical Christian education came through family whose daughter attended Ambrose; I saw immediately that this model of education reaches deep inside students, nurturing and stimulating much more than just their minds. Our students attain astounding levels of spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical growth through their interaction with centuries of great ideas. They learn to think honestly and with great skill and confidence, and they are uniquely prepared to make an impact on the people around them for the cause of Christ.

I am honored to be part of the work that God is doing at Ambrose.

My husband and I moved to Boise in 2006, and we love our beautiful surroundings— the four seasons, the abundant sunshine, the variety of outdoor activities available, the friendly people, and so much more. We can’t think of a better place to be!
Mrs. Anita WasdahlLatinLiberal Studies II, San Diego State University. I classically homeschooled my children for 15 years, before teaching Latin, Mathematics, and English at a Christian school in San Diego. I arrived at The Ambrose School in 2004.

I have the joy of working alongside a staff who seeks to encourage students in both excellence and in the love of a higher good. It is my privilege to be an active participant as students begin the shift from culturally based assumptions to Christ centered assumptions. Over the years, I have had the blessing of watching Ambrose students, including my own children, challenged and encouraged in all areas of their life.

My husband, Mark, and I have five children, the three youngest have graduated from The Ambrose School. We also delight in our four grandchildren. During the chillier months, I love reading books at Barnes and Noble, while enjoying a cup of hot coffee, and during warmer weather, I enjoy biking the greenbelt. Mark can often be found scorekeeping in both the basketball and volleyball Archer games.

Church Affiliation: All Saints Presbyterian Church
Kaitlyn McGrathGeometryM.S. Mathematics Education, University of Utah, 2015

B.S. Mathematics University of Utah, 2013

I have taught in the public school system for 3 years in both middle and high school. This is my first year at Ambrose and I am thrilled to be here!

After working in multiple public school settings, I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to teach at a school where we can openly talk about God. My instruction of Logic centers around the purpose of discerning truth: that we may know and love God, and in turn, love others. My instruction of Geometry centers around seeing and understanding this beautiful world that God has made, and as we see the consistency and patterns present, we know more of Him and are drawn to worship. I get to teach students to love the truth and to love what is good – in their studies, relationships, and behavior. I get to pray with my students and hear them sing praises to God. Teaching is my passion, and I am so thankful to be here worshiping God alongside my students and teaching things the way they ought to be taught – rooted in Christ. What a joy it is!

My husband and I have been married for 4 years and, after moving around a bit, are so happy to be settled in the beautiful state of Idaho! We love being in the outdoors with our puppy.
Seth ConderPhysical EducationB.S. in Physical Education from Linfield College

I have always enjoyed working with children and physical activity. Being a physical educator has allowed me to teach students about the value of physical education and how to properly use and care for their bodies. I aspire to create a fun classroom environment where students can grow and develop their physical abilities and character.

My background as a CrossFit coach has allowed me to work with students as young as five years of age to adults in their seventies. No matter what the age I enjoy teaching others how to utilize the one body they have been given by their Creator. There is immense value in Physical activity and I want to help students fulfill this potential.

My wife Kendra and I live in Emmett. In our spare time we enjoy camping, fishing, or any other way to enjoy the beautiful creation right here in Idaho!

I look forward to serving the Ambrose community and helping students excel in their physical and spiritual growth!

Church Affiliation: Grace Church of Christ
Mrs. Raegan BrownB.A., Liberal Arts with a Concentration in French, Pepperdine University, 1997. Taught Fourth Grade and was the Gifted and Talented Coordinator at a small school district in Texas.

After taking a break from education to live overseas and start a family, I found myself drawn back to the classroom through my children. Once they were both school-aged, I began substitute teaching and became an active participant in their school community.

Looking at educational options for our children, we discovered classical Christian education. In our time at classical Christian schools, we have witnessed the enormous benefits of this model and the value of teaching students to think well and express themselves well. Bringing all of their education under the design and authority of God's creation develops them as whole people and I love that they do not have to compartmentalize school from their faith. It has been a blessing to me to be able to come alongside parents at the Ambrose Bridge Program to do the same for their children.

My husband and I moved to Boise with our two children in 2017. As lifelong Texans, we love the four seasons and enjoy all of the outdoor recreation opportunities available on our doorstep. Our children both attend the Ambrose five-day program.

Church Affiliation: Faith Community Bible Church

For more information call 208-789-7337 or email bridgeprogram@theambroseschool.org

Classically Connecting Home and School