We're a motley crew, we admit, and we're spread out across the country, but we're dedicated to Christian classical 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.
President & CEO
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.
Dr. Matthew Bianco is the Chief Operations Officer 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 second graduated from Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, NC, where his youngest still attends their great books honors college. He is married to his altogether lovely high school sweetheart, Patricia. Dr. Matt Bianco has a PhD in Humanities from Faulkner University's Great Books Honors College. He is the author ofLetters to My Sons: A Humane Vision for Human Relationships.
Andrea Lipinski is the Vice President of Training and Consulting for the CiRCE Institute, where she also serves as a Head Mentor in their teacher training program, the Rocky Mountain 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 one more year at home. She and her family live in the Pacific Northwest where they grow fruit, ski Mt. Baker, and paddle the lakes. She is a co-author of A CiRCE Guide to Reading.
VP of Integrated Resources, Director of Business Development
Brandon is CIRCE's VP of Integrated Resources, managing the team of Directors for the CIRCE Press, Curriculum, and Digital Media divisions. He also hosts Quiddity and Overdue Classics on The CIRCE Podcast Network and leads our fundraising. Brandon is a two-time graduate of the University of Texas with a BA in History and a Masters of Business Administration as well as a graduate of the CIRCE Apprenticeship. Brandon’s better half is Kobi LeBlanc and they are homeschool parents with one graduate and two in the home stretch. They live in Katy, TX.
Contact Brandon LeBlanc at email@example.com
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.
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.
Director of Events; Customer Service and Sales Coordinator
Matthew Kern is the Director of events and the customer service and sales coordinator. If you are wondering why he is not, or ever was, a CiRCE Apprentice (like most of us at CiRCE) it is because he also works as a mental health therapist and runs his own private practice in his spare time. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a BA in History and MA in Clinical Mental Health. He lives in Concord, NC with his wife, Renee, and two daughters, Selah and Zuriah.
Patty Bianco is the Online Training Manager for the CiRCE Institute. She is a homeschooling mother of three, well, was as all three of her children have graduated and gone off to college. She now helps others educate their children and students. She graduated from Buck Holler's Master Teacher Apprenticeship group through CiRCE. She is married to Matt Bianco. Her favorite book is Pride and Prejudice and she prefers the BBC production of it, even though her husband prefers the Keira Knightley version (she forgives him for that). She prefers tea to coffee (though she enjoys a good latte).
Buck Holler is a former horse trainer and rodeo cowboy from Red Bluff, CA. Retiring from the rodeo circuit, Buck headed to New England to study theology and languages at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2001. Since then he has worked in three schools as an educator and moved to raise a family on a farm in eastern NC. Buck first joined The CiRCE Institute as an apprentice in 2007, became a head mentor of an East Coast Apprenticeship in 2017, began the Latin Apprenticeship in 2019, and now serves in Concord, NC as CiRCE's director of consulting.
Alec Bianco is the Director of Curriculum, and helps provide schools with the Lost Tools of Writing, as well as helps CiRCE develop new curricula projects. He received his Bachelor's from St. John's College, MD, where he studied the Great Books. He is currently pursuing a Master's in Theology, is happily married, and considers mathematics and music a significant part of a good education.
Katerina Hamilton has sought to make Classical Education accessible globally through teaching, consulting, writing, and speaking. She studied Fine Art, Art History, and Classics at UNC-Charlotte and the Liberal Arts at Oxford University, where she earned a Masters in Literature and the Arts. After teaching for five years in Uganda, she recently returned to the US and is an Adjunct Professor at Belmont Abbey Honors College and a Consultant and Researcher for the Circe Institute. She particularly enjoys researching Medieval notions of Beauty and Memory, the 7 Liberal Arts, Cosmology, and Mariology.
Jonathan Councell serves as the Director of School Development for the CiRCE Institute. He is a graduate of the CiRCE Master Teacher Apprenticeship Program, has experience as a CiRCE consultant and Head Mentor, and has taught in classical schools since 2012 in both teaching and leadership roles. He currently lives in Beaufort, South Carolina with his wife Laura, three children, and a variety of domestic and semi-domestic creatures.
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.
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.
Program Specialist for Training and Curriculum Development
Camille Hunt is the mother of six grown children and grandmother of seven, all educated at home. She works for the CiRCE Institute and loves The Lost Tools of Writing, teaching all four levels of LTW to students and teachers in online classes, intensives, webinars, workshops, and YouTube videos in addition to her work in curriculum development. Camille has also taught Humane Letters, logic, economics, and government. She enjoys spending time on her children, travel, reading, music, conversations that deepen understanding, and writing notes to herself on little pieces of paper.
Jared Hudson is the logistical specialist at the CiRCE.
As the “5 tool player” in the office, he handles everything from A-Z and always welcomes new challenges and opportunities.
His passion for travel and his lifelong pursuit of knowledge have lead him on many adventures. When he isn’t on the road or in the air, Jared spends his time watching sports (Go Gators), playing golf, and hanging out with his cat, Perseus.