Mr. Wade Ortego
Head of School
B.S., Business, Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee; M.Ed., Abilene Christian University.
As a leader in classical Christian schools, my great passion is to assist families in the education of their children toward a Biblical worldview that acknowledges Christ as the author and perfecter of the Christian faith. I am committed to the classical Christian model of education and enjoy introducing families to its many benefits. I put a strong emphasis on maintaining and building a student culture.
I was most recently Headmaster of the Classical Christian Academy in Post Falls, Idaho. Prior to that, I led the Classical School of Wichita in Kansas.
My wife, Rachel, and I have been married for 23 years and have three boys: Matthew, age 17; Elijah, 16; and Jedidiah, 5.
Mrs. Mandi Moore
Dean of Bridge Program
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
Dr. Heather Jennings
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.
Mrs. Cynthia Hymer
A.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. When we began our family it was mutually decided I end my professional career at Apple, Inc., and retire to the position of 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 model of educating we were drawn in and we continue to serve as our children’s primary educators.
We began the Bridge Program with our daughter in its inaugural year (2017-18). Because we were already teaching a classical Christian curriculum at home, 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
Mrs. Kim Jacky
B.S., Cum Laude, University of the Ozarks; taught and directed a homeschool group for seven years using the classical Christian education model; speaker and trainer at multiple classical education conferences for almost 12 years; during the 2018-2019 school year, substituted at Bridge in various classrooms.
I have a passion for classical education and development of children. I love to share biblical truth and am excited to be part of a school that allows the Lord to be first and foremost in education.
I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband and have two daughters who both attend Bridge.
Mrs. Karli Stobie
1st Grade Teacher
B.S., Business Management & Human Resources emphasis in Foreign Language from the University of Idaho.
Studied Historical & Geographical Settings of the Bible at Jerusalem University College and held an internship at the International Foundation, Washington D.C.
I spent a decade in business development and marketing consulting before homeschooling my four girls in the classical Christian tradition. I have also tutored with Classical Conversations and taught history for several years at another classical school. All four of my girls are enrolled in the Bridge Program.
My greatest joy comes from helping people, big and little, see the wonder and glory of God and His purpose in all things. Whether it is integrating the gospel while teaching math or helping people see how God reveals himself throughout history and in the order and wonder of science, I have developed a passion for teaching and love watching as eyes light up with understanding.
In my free time, I enjoy writing and speaking, dreaming up business ideas with my husband, Joel, and adventuring with my girls. As a family we love to hike, camp, Crossfit, run Spartan races, read great literature and spend time around the table feeding peoples’ bellies and souls.
Mrs. Ann Kesl
2nd Grade Teacher
M.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, home schooled my own children for 10 years, and taught within a University model run school. I am enjoying the 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 Ambrose Bridge Program. I consider it a real pleasure and true gift to build those relationships. 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, three of whom are students at Ambrose. 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. Marie Beck
3rd Grade Teacher
B.A., Sociology, Cedarville University; currently working through the Liberty University education graduate program.
I love to get to know people’s stories and the experiences that have shaped them. I home educated my kids in the classical philosophy for nine years. My passion is to walk the journey of life and parenting with other moms, encouraging and empowering them.
I enjoy all things ‘school’ and education, especially elementary age kids, and feel privileged to be part of the Ambrose Bridge family.
For the past 22 years, my husband, Matt, and I have worked together in full-time church ministry, including church planting in the Pacific Northwest then, worship and family ministry in northern California. A year ago, we moved here to the Treasure Valley where my husband grew up. Together we have four amazing kids, and enjoy having people into our home for food and laughter, reading, hiking, and playing music.
Mrs. Catherine Pierce
4th Grade Teacher
B.A., Communications, Regent University.
I have over six years of teaching experience as a Latin teacher at classical Christian schools. I value how classical Christian education fosters the faith, teaches reason, sparks the imagination, and develops a love for truth, beauty, and goodness.
I am originally from the Washington D.C. area and moved to Idaho with my husband. I have a passion for books, baking, biking, and am a proud mama of two adopted cats.
Mrs. Guin Carson
5th Grade Teacher
Classical 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. Anita Wasdahl
Latin, Grades 3 - 6
B.A., Liberal Studies II, Teaching Certificate, San Diego State University.
After homeschooling my five children for 16 years and learning Latin in the process, I began teaching in the classical Christian environment. I developed the “Step into Latin” curriculum now used not only at The Ambrose School but in the Bridge Program as well.
I taught at The Ambrose School as the 7th Grade Humanities and Latin instructor for many years before moving over to The Ambrose Bridge Program to focus on Latin. As a homeschooling veteran, I am delighted to join with parents in the instruction and development of their children.
My husband, Mark, and I have five children and 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
Ms. Rachel Plew
Upper School Art
Currently completing a Ministries Certificate in counseling and leadership from Valley School of Supernatural Ministries.
My appreciation of all art disciplines began when I was a young child, singing with my dad. My love of classical dance was an enormous part of my life growing up. I danced professionally and taught dance classes as well. As I grew, drawing, painting, and sculpting classes were scheduled in my spare time.
I have a deep love of teaching about things I’m passionate about, including; dance, art, CrossFit, and my church’s children’s Sunday School lessons. In 2018 I started a business called Stella’s Eyes in order to help women and children coming out of domestic violence situations. I sell my original artwork and donate proceeds to women in need.
I home schooled my two boys for 10 years using Classical Conversations and then ultimately joined The Ambrose School Bridge Program in 2017. I love the classical Christian education model and have seen how it has impacted my family so positively that I wanted to be a part of it. I was able to be a part of The Bridge Program’s teaching team during the 2017-2018 school year as the physical education teacher for grades Kinder through second. I was the Upper School art teacher, and substitute for the Grammar school art class during the 2019-2020 school year. I love to see the talent God has placed in people, and to help pull it out of them.
I and my sons enjoy watching movies, being in nature, exercising, and spending quality time with family and friends. My Saturdays are spent as a nail technician at a salon and spa in downtown Boise where I can connect with the women in my community.
Ms. Ruth Hoffmann
Upper School Latin
B.A., Liberal Arts and Culture, New St. Andrews College
I have been in the world of education for over ten years, filling various roles ranging from elementary homeroom teacher to Latin instructor, to full time tutor and educational mentor. I have walked with students in grades 3 – 12 as they have navigated through literature, history, languages, thesis, and the ups and downs of life.
I love to share the beauty of learning a new language with my students. I believe that languages give a unique window into the worldviews and mindsets of other cultures, an invaluable perspective for classical students seeking to understand the greatest minds of the Western tradition.
When I am not with students, I enjoy cultivating my personal library, competing with my previous personal best on the climbing wall and at the crag, and exploring new perspectives and thoughts that consistently broaden my horizons through book clubs and impromptu conversations with strangers.
Mrs. Kelly Poirier
7th & 9th Grade Composition
B.A., English, Santa Clara University; MEd., Cal State Fullerton
I have served as an educator and administrator throughout my 20+ year teaching career. I was born and raised in southern California and am married to my husband, Mark, who until recently was an Army active duty physician but has since joined a private practice in Boise. We have two teenage daughters. I enjoy traveling, writing, reading, gardening, and outdoor adventures with my family.
Mrs. Mikaela Shurtz
7th-9th Grade Humanities
B.A., Secondary English Education, Boise State University (Summa cum laude).
I was homeschooled in the (mostly) classical tradition from kindergarten through high school, and am passionate about both ancient literature and history and the importance of their inclusion in modern education.
After spending a year interning and student teaching at a local public middle school, I decided to pursue a teaching position at a school whose values align more tightly with my own, and the Lord graciously opened a door for me at the Ambrose Bridge Program. I work to be an energetic, engaging teacher and am eager to fully immerse myself in the classical tradition in a teaching role. I aspire to continually learn alongside my students, to collaborate effectively with others for the benefit of my students, and to create a classroom environment that celebrates learning and excellence.
My husband, Briton, is active duty in the US Air Force and is currently completing training in Texas and Mississippi while I stay in Boise and teach through next June. In my free time, you’ll find me hiking, rock climbing, going for long walks, spending time with family and friends, or trying to convince Briton to get a puppy.
Dr. Cara Aspesi
8th Composition, 10th-12th Grade Humanities
B.A., English and Anthropology, Biola University, and Masters in Early Christian Studies and Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) from the University of Notre Dame.
My doctorate isn’t useful for getting any prescriptions written however (pity). For those, please ask my husband Anthony, a family medicine physician. Anthony and I have been married for almost seven years, and we have three delightfully energetic sons, Cyrus, Ezra, and Ian. We also have one cat-dog, a Russian Blue named Mimsy. We spend a lot on milk…
I love working within the classical tradition and its wholehearted embrace of encouraging students to develop both academic and moral virtue. As a believer in Jesus, I am even more delighted to have the opportunity to work at a classical Christian school, for in Christ, we are free to pursue excellence of skill and character not under the crushing burden of justifying themselves, but because we have already been justified through faith in Jesus. This, in my view, is the liberating beginning of maturing in Christ, the foundation of becoming the kind of servant-leaders who, empowered by the Spirit and walking in step with Him, can truly change the world. It is my prayer, then, that my students leave my classroom each day not only more knowledgeable and skillful but also more grounded in God’s love, so that they become unstoppable forces for good wherever God takes them, for the display of His glory.
I have a fantastic resource in my father, a secondary school teacher for over 30+ years. I also bring my college-level teaching experience of subjects such as Old and New Testament, Early Christianity, and Western Civilization.
When I’m not teaching (or cleaning purple marker off my walls), you’ll find me running, digging in my garden, advocating for theologically-sound worship songs, or scheming to get to Rhodes with Anthony.
Mrs. Tiffany Twait
9th-12th Grade Science
B.S., Nursing, North Dakota State University.
After working as a nurse for several years, I spent over two decades raising seven children with my husband of 28 years, Brian, and continuing my own education while homeschooling my family.
I was introduced to Charlotte Mason and classical Christian educational models early in my homeschooling journey and strove to implement them in my home. The result was many years of joyful learning together. I have three privately homeschooled graduates, three enrolled at Ambrose Bridge, and one still little enough to remain at home. I am thrilled to continue my own learning in science and math alongside my students at Bridge.
I love to keep my home filled with good company, good books, and lots of conversation.
Mrs. Rachel Smith
10th-12th Grade Math
B.S, Mathematics, University of Texas.
I was born and raised in Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas in 2005. I then began my teaching career at a classical Christian school in Austin, where my eyes were first opened to the wonders of classical education. In 2009, I had my first child and began to homeschool in the classical tradition, always in pursuit of the true, the good and the beautiful in my home. I have continued my private study of mathematics and classical education ever since.
I moved to Idaho with my husband, Levi, and our three children in 2016, where they currently attend the Bridge Program and take advantage of all the outdoor life that Idaho has to offer.
I am currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Mathematics at Indiana State University.