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Redeem the Time

cheerful hope in evil days

June 14-17, 2023 · Dallas, TX & Virtual

Plenary Speakers

Justin Bailey

Author & Professor

Dordt University

David Bailey

Founder & CVO


Joseph Pearce

Best-Selling Author

Kelly Kapic

Author, Professor

Covenant College

Savannah Kimberlin

Associate Vice President

Barna Group

Pano Kanelos


University of Austin

Beck A. Taylor


Samford University

Sandra McCracken

Guest Musician

Nashville, Tennessee


The current cultural moment presents a host of challenges and opportunities for classical Christian schools. While it is tempting to become cynical or fearful, as believers, we are called to be wise and “redeem the time.”

What does faithful cultural stewardship and engagement look like for classical Christian educators? For our schools? For our students?

Join us and a thoughtful group of scholars and educators as we explore Paul’s admonition to walk in wisdom and redeem the time. We will draw from the Great Tradition to explore ways we can be discerning about our cultural context, learn to see the good, and find ways our schools can speak into the troubling milieu with clarity, purpose, and hope.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

– Ephesians 5:15-16

Pre-Conference Tracks

The SCL Pre-Conference is June 14th. Focused on helping you navigate the important issues in our world and in our schools, this in-depth day of learning features all-day workshops that take a deep dive into a specific topic. With interactive discussion and teaching designed for teachers and administrators, you’ll leave equipped with the practical knowledge you need for day-to-day school life.

Pre-conference ticket sold separately.

Successful Fundraising Practicum

Brad Layland &

Jason Smith

Collaborative Schools

Neil Anderson, Bret Billman, 

Jef Fowler & Starrla Fowler

Governance & Leadership

William R. Mott

How to Assess & Develop Intentional School Culture

Davies Owens

Fragile Students & Fearful Parents

Keith McCurdy

Teaching and Learning By Imitation

Carrie Eben

Cross-Cultural Access & Unity

Toyin Atolagbe, Ricardo

Brambila, Russ Gregg,

& Dan Olson

Maximize Your Talent

Michael Lindsay &

Colby Burke

Liberating Arts

Joe Clair, Jeff Bilbro,

Steve Prince, Joelle Hodge,

and Phillip Donnelly

Introduction to CCE

Allison Buras, Jennifer

Bankhead, Alisha Barker, 

& Carolyn Still

Redeem the Time


– The conference schedule is listed in US Central Time (CT) –
– All scheduling in Whova will be in your local time zone –

Friday Night Concert

6pm – Crystal Ballroom • Tickets $10
affinity group reception included

Reception sponsored by:


  • Wednesday, June 14th
  • Additional 10% off for Members
    *Discount code is found under the Member Benefits section of your account
  • In-Person Only


  • Additional 10% off for Members
    *Discount code is found under the Member Benefits section of your account
  • -------
  • Regular Group Pricing (10+): $460


  • All sessions included
  • Additional 10% off for Members
    *Discount code is found under the Member Benefits section of your account
  • -------
  • Schedule is in US Central Time
  • Whova will use your local time zone

Cancellation Policy: All cancellations are subject to a $100 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after May 19, 2023

Traveling to the conference?

Thank you to our annual Platinum and Gold Sponsors


The hotel group discount rate at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel is $159. Reservations can be made through the online reservation link or directly with the hotel at 888-236-2427.

In order to be eligible for the group discount rate, reservations must be made on or before June 3, 2022.

– 10% Early Bird discount which ends on Friday, May 19 @ 11:59 pm.
– Special rate for groups of 10 or more.
– SCL Members receive an additional 10% discount. Become a SCL member today to receive your discount; click here.

Whova returns! Back by popular demand is the Whova App. 

Whova is our all-in-one conference app where you can access the following: full schedule, speaker and breakout info, virtual sessions, exhibitor booths, sponsor info, job boards, community chat, and more!

The Whova App is a must for both in-person and virtual attendees.

Download here.

Whova Registration

You can purchase group tickets by selecting the group ticket option for either the main conference in-person or virtual ticket. You can enter the attendees’ information in advance or wait until you know who will be attending. Once you purchase your tickets, you can also send a link so that attendees can fill out their own information.

For questions related to group ticket purchases, contact Marissa Yanaga at

If you need to purchase your tickets by check or PO, click here.

Once you’re registered, you’ll be able to view the event on June 15 via the Whova App

You can learn more here and prepare by reviewing the Whova Event Guide.

Buy a ticket for each member of your team: faculty, administration, staff, and board.

Then, gather together at your school and enjoy the virtual conference in community! Need further advice on how best to watch as a group? Feel free to contact our hospitality coordinator, Sarah Spencer (

All tickets (including in-person) have access to the virtual sessions and the session recordings for 90 days following the conference.

SCL institutional members will receive an email with a code to receive a 10% discount off of their registration to be used at checkout.

Main Conference Cancellation Policy: All cancellations are subject to a $100 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after May 19, 2022.
Pre-Conference Cancellation Policy: All cancellations are subject to a $50 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after May 19, 2022.

Click Here to become a member school and apply your 10% membership discount to your conference purchase.

Have more questions?

© 2023 The Society for Classical Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Justin Bailey

Author & Professor - Dordt University

Session: Sowing in Hope: Generative and Generational Education

Session Abstract

The temptation in a world gone mad is to stand on the sidelines and point out the problems with everyone and everything. But there is an alternative to this: to criticize by creating, cultivating beautiful and generative spaces that do the work of generational faithfulness. Whatever we cultivate will always be imperfect, but it can imperfectly point to the kingdom of God, to “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

“Theology must grow and be sown into the soils of culture, be fed by the spring rains of love to be cultivated in multiple generations.” (Makoto Fujimura)


Justin Ariel Bailey is associate professor of theology at Dordt University. He is the host of the In All Things podcast, and his written work has appeared in publications such as Christianity Today, Christian Scholars Review and the International Journal of Public Theology. He is the author of Reimagining Apologetics (IVP Academic, 2020) and Interpreting Your World (Baker Academic, 2022). He is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church and has served as a pastor in Filipino-American, Korean-American, and Dutch-American settings. He is married to Melissa and they are blessed with two pre-teen children.

David Bailey

Founder & Chief Vision Officer - Arrabon

Session: The 5 Challenges to Being a Reconciling Community

Session Abstract

People form communities and communities form people. Christian communities ought to be reconciling communities, but unfortunately, too many Christian communities mirror the same practices as secular communities around conflict and division. In this breakout session, we’ll introduce the five practices leaders need to build a reconciling community within their organization.


David M. Bailey is a public theologian, culture maker, and catalyst focused on building reconciling communities. David is the founder and Chief Vision Officer of Arrabon, a spiritual formation ministry that equips the American Church to actively and creatively pursue racial healing in their communities. He is the co-author of the study series, A People, A Place, and A Just Society, and the executive producer of the documentary 11 am: Hope for America’s Most Segregated Hour and the Urban Doxology Project. David is rooted at East End Covenant Fellowship, serving on the preaching team, and his greatest honor is to be married to his wonderful wife, Joy.

Joseph Pearce

Best-Selling Author

Session: Wit, Wisdom, and Wonder: Life Lessons from G.K. Chesterton

Session Abstract

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly whereas the devil takes himself far too seriously, falling by the force of his own gravity. So says G. K. Chesterton, the self-described “jolly journalist” who is worth taking seriously because he took himself so lightly. With wit, wisdom and eyes wide open with wonder, Chesterton shows us the way to paradise by way of paradox. Joseph Pearce, author of Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton, gives a guided tour of Chesterton’s life, work, wit, wisdom and legacy.


A native of England, Joseph Pearce is the internationally acclaimed author of many books, which include bestsellers such as The Quest for Shakespeare, Tolkien: Man and Myth, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile and Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc. His books have been published and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Croatian and Polish.
He has hosted two 13-part television series about Shakespeare on EWTN, and has also written and presented documentaries on EWTN on the Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. His verse drama, Death Comes for the War Poets, was performed off-Broadway to critical acclaim. He has participated and lectured at a wide variety of international and literary
events at major colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Europe, Africa and South America.
He is editor of the St. Austin Review (, series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions (, senior instructor with Homeschool Connections (, and senior contributor at the Imaginative Conservative and Crisis Magazine. In 2022, he was awarded the St. John Henry
Newman Visiting Chair of Catholic Studies at Thomas More College (Merrimack, NH). His personal website is

Kelly Kapic

Author & Professor - Covenant College

Session: Learning to Value Process: God Likes to Take His Time

Session Abstract

We know that God is perfect and complete, but we are not. In our time together we will consider how God loves process. While we often judge only according to finished products, God has always been comfortable with process, and learning to appreciate this truth about God can free us to more fully embrace the process of growth and learning. The implications of this for Christian education are enormous, as we see our work not merely in terms of a ‘final product,’ but in terms of the value of formation and growth.


Kelly M. Kapic (PhD, King’s College, University of London) is a professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, where he has taught for twenty years. He is an award-winning author or editor of more than fifteen books, including You’re Only Human and Embodied Hope, which each won a Christianity Today Book Award. Kapic, a popular speaker, has been featured in Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition, has worked on research teams funded by the John Templeton Foundation, and contributes to the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care and various other journals.

Savannah Kimberlin

Associate VP of Church Engagement - Barna Group

Session: Faith & Culture

Session Abstract

Barna Group has researched faith trends in the United States and around the world for more than 40 years, specializing in the study of generations and the intersection of faith and culture. Together, let’s explore a handful of key cultural shifts and their impact on and implications for our organizations.


Savannah serves as the Associate Vice President of Church Engagement at Barna. Savannah loves facilitating Barna’s mission to provide the Church with knowledge to navigate a changing world through consulting services, CoLab learning cohorts and research efforts. She is passionate about taking Barna’s research and synthesizing it into helpful, actionable insights for Christian leaders.
As a certified data miner and predictive modeler, Savannah specializes in advanced analytics. Prior to her time at Barna, she worked in the big data and software development spaces.
She earned her B.S. in Mathematics from Samford University and her M.S. in Decision Analytics from the University of Alabama. Savannah currently lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Josh and her daughter Zoe.

Pano Kanelos

President - University of Austin

Session: Coming Soon

Session Abstract



Panayiotis (Pano) Kanelos is the founding president of the University of Austin.
From 2017 to 2021, Dr. Kanelos served as the 24th President of St. John’s College, Annapolis. After earning degrees from Northwestern University (B.A.), Boston University (M.A.), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.), he taught at Stanford University, the University of San Diego, and Loyola University Chicago.

He served most recently as dean of Christ College, the Honors College of Valparaiso University. An outspoken advocate for liberal education, he oversaw the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, comprising a network of more than 100 colleges and universities. Among the earliest participants in the Teach for America program, President Kanelos is as passionate about teaching as he is about writing and scholarship. He founded the Cropper Center for Creative Writing at the University of San Diego and is a noted Shakespeare scholar, having served as the resident Shakespearean in the Old Globe MFA Program and the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Shakespeare Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago.

Beck A. Taylor

President - Samford University

Session: Coming Soon

Session Abstract



Beck A. Taylor comes to Samford University after serving as the 18th president of Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, since 2010. Prior to this appointment, Taylor served as dean and professor of economics for Samford’s Brock School of Business (2005-2010), and associate dean for research and faculty development for Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business (1997-2005).

Taylor’s tenure at Whitworth was highlighted by a renewed emphasis on community involvement; efforts to enhance academic programs and quality; the building of new campus infrastructure to facilitate the university’s academic, athletic, and student life programs; the creation of newly endowed faculty positions and centers; leading Whitworth’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign; and an emphasis on overall institutional effectiveness.

After earning his undergraduate degree from Baylor with majors in economics and finance, Taylor was employed as an analyst for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in Houston, Texas. He went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University. After returning to the Baylor faculty, Taylor was named the first holder of the W.H. Smith Professorship in Economics. In 2002, he was appointed as a visiting scholar by Harvard University where he spent one year in residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

As dean of Samford’s Brock School of Business, Taylor led the rapid transformation of the business school, including its renaming to honor Harry B. Brock, Jr., founder of Compass Bank. Taylor led the Brock School of Business to establish eight new academic programs, as well as the school’s new honors program. The school’s entrepreneurship program was recognized in 2010 as the nation’s top emerging program by the U.S. Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship. In an effort to build bridges between students and the Birmingham business community, Taylor established the Samford Business Network, as well as a 45-member advisory board of the region’s top business leaders.

As a scholar, Taylor has published dozens of studies in economics journals such as Review of Economics and StatisticsJournal of Labor EconomicsJournal of Human Resources and Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. Illustrating his diverse research interests and his connections to the social sciences, Taylor has also published groundbreaking research in public health and child developmental psychology. His research has been cited in testimony given before the U.S. Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, and the California State Assembly, and also has been referenced in publications such as The New York TimesThe Boston Globe, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Taylor is a member of numerous professional and academic organizations, and he has served as a strategic business consultant for dozens of organizations. Taylor and his wife of 28 years, Julie, have three children: Zachary, 25, a Nashville-based music recording artist, Lauren, 22, a recent Whitworth graduate, and Chloe, 14.




Sandra McCracken will be leading worship from the main stage in the morning and afternoon of Friday, June 16, followed by her highly-anticipated concert at 6:00pm. See the conference schedule for further information!


Sandra McCracken is a singer-songwriter and hymn writer from Nashville, Tennessee. A prolific recording artist, McCracken has produced 14 solo albums over two decades. Her best selling release, Psalms (2015) received critical acclaim, followed by God’s Highway (2017) which made the top 50 on Billboard Heatseekers chart without a major label. She has had songs featured in TV, including ‘Ten Thousand Angels’ on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and has over 15 million streams. Blending the old and new, Sandra has also shown a unique ability to recast sacred scripture texts into theologically rich yet accessible songs. Her thoughtful lyrics and gospel melodies in songs like “We Will Feast In The House Of Zion,” “Steadfast” and “Thy Mercy My God” have become staple anthems in churches across the U.S. As a published writer, she contributes a regular column in Christianity Today and released her first book “Send Out Your Light” in September 2021.

Growing Your School Through Relational Fundraising: Principles and Practices

Speakers: Brad Layland & Jason Smith

Session Topics:

Session 1: Key Principles of Fundraising

Session 2: The Taking Donors Seriously® Framework

Session 3: Deep Dive into Prospects

Session 4: Deep Dive into Leadership


Brad Layland, CEO of The FOCUS Group, first learned how to raise money in 1993 as a college student and part-time Young Life staff. The expertise he developed in relational fundraising led to being asked to train area directors around the country, and eventually to become Young Life’s Chief Development Officer. In 2009, Brad joined The FOCUS Group as Senior Consultant, becoming owner and CEO in 2010. In 2013, he launched the Taking Donors Seriously® e-learning and coaching program making the firm’s expertise accessible to individuals and smaller nonprofits.

Brad’s nonprofit fundraising counsel expertise incorporates major donor strategies, training workshops, planned gift marketing, and capital campaign counsel. Capital campaigns he has led include Dallas Theological Seminary ($160M), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship ($89M), Union Rescue Mission ($83M), The Bowery Mission ($27M), and Veritas School ($5.3M).

Brad holds a B.A. Communications from the University of Florida and M.A. Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He, his wife Wendy, and four children reside in St. Augustine, FL and Richmond, VA. In 20 years, he has completed 55 marathons and two Ironman Triathlons. Brad is a classical school parent, SCL board member, and a Veritas Classical School parent-founder and board member. He is founder of Endless Summer Realty, the largest residential real estate brokerage in St. Augustine. Several years ago, Brad launched “Giving Day”, a platform for St. Augustine nonprofits, clients, and classical schools to raise funds and establish new donor relationships.


Speakers: Neil Anderson, Bret Billman, Jef Fowler, and Starrla Fowler

Session Topics:

Over the past decade, scores of Classical Christian Collaborative (or “hybrid,” “blended,” “university-model®,”`) schools have popped up across the country as parents seek educational opportunities that allow them to be more involved in the education of their children and provide them the time to raise up their children in the paideia of the Lord.  

While there are many similarities between 5-day-a-week classical Christian and classical Christian collaborative (CCC) schools, there are very distinct differences in structure, personnel, leadership, marketing, and equipping of both faculty and parents. 

Essentially, the design of these schools requires leadership to not only train faculty but also equip the extended “adjunct faculty” (a.k.a., parents) who possess little or no experience in educational instruction. Because parents are so highly engaged, leaders of these schools must invest a large percentage of their time equipping, training, and encouraging them. Additionally, the structure of on- and off-campus days means that the majority of the faculty are part-time which brings a host of advantages but requires creative solutions to scheduling and to professional development. Another major difference exists in the choice of curriculum and pacing with significant consideration given to curricula that lends itself to on- and off-campus learning.

Join four long-time leaders of three CCC schools as we explore together how best to meet the distinct needs of leadership within a collaborative model.

Opening: Recognizing the Quiddity of Your School

Session 1: Board Leadership…Beginning with the What & the Why

Session 2: Creating Thick Culture in a Collaborative School 

Session 3: Visionary and Executive Head of School Leadership 

Session 4: Developing Leadership Teams (B- & C-rings) Around the Vision


Neil Anderson is the founding Head of School for Trinity Classical School (Houston) and a board member for the Society for Classical Learning. After a few years of church planting and teaching at classical schools, Neil has been heading TCS for the last 13 years. He studied literature and theology at Wheaton College and then did his graduate work in the Liberal Arts at Houston Christian University. Neil’s wife, Marian, is the Dean of Campus at Harbor Christian Academy (an urban classical school in the center of Houston) and his four children are beginning to graduate from TCS (two of four so far) after being educated there PreK-12. Classical education has been a family affair and a way of life. Neil has recently become more involved in leadership development and helping to coach and launch collaborative schools (hybrid) across the U.S. He is also passionate about poetry, 20th century art and literature, music, hiking, running, and birding. 

Bret Billman has been the Head of School at Providence Preparatory School (Belton, Texas) since it opened in 2011. He and his wife Sarah (a Providence kindergarten teacher) have a son, Maddox (15), and a daughter, Olivia (12), who both attend Providence. Bret grew up in Wichita, Kansas and attended Baylor University, where he received a BA and an MA in English Literature. Following graduate school, Bret taught various levels of English, served as a department chair, and held the Chase Chair for Teaching Excellence in Secondary English in Fort Worth. Like most founding Heads, he has worn many hats and served in a number of different capacities at Providence, and he can safely say that he hasn’t been bored in his job in a long, long time. Over the years, he has developed a passion for supporting family discipleship, promoting a dynamic yet honorable student culture, and leading a “faculty of friends” in pursuing truth, goodness, and beauty. 

Jef Fowler is a Veritas Academy (Austin, Texas) School Board member and has served as the Head of School since its first year. Prior to co-founding the school in 2004, Jef was an experienced business owner, operator, and consultant, having started and/or served as a senior executive officer at several high growth companies in Houston and Austin. He earned an MBA in Finance from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and is a former CPA, possessing years of M&A and strategic/financial consulting experience with Big Four accounting and consulting firms. Jef has even more years of entrepreneurial business and church administration/board experience, and previously served the National Association for University-Model Schools (NAUMS) as an advisory board member and new school trainer for many years.

Starrla Fowler, too, has served at Veritas Academy since its inception in 2004 when she and Jef joined three other couples in co-founding the school. Since then, Starrla has served in various capacities as the Academic Dean, Academic Team Chair, Grammar School Head, and current School of Logic Head, in addition to her continued service on the School Board and its Governance and Nominations committee. Along the way she has developed curriculum and academic programs, trained hundreds of teachers, served on accreditation teams for similar schools, and helped many classical, collaborative schools launch and grow. Starrla is passionate about Kingdom building through the expansion of classical, Christian schools; and after receiving her Masters in Leadership through Gordon College, shifted her focus to developing programs for training future Christian school leaders. Starrla and Jef live in the Texas Hill Country and are the parents of three adult children, all graduates of Veritas Academy, five dogs and one surviving barn cat.

William r. Mott, ph.d.

consultant, author, and speaker

Session: Governance and Leadership

Session Topics:

Session 1: Working together for a shared vision should be the objective of the school’s board of trustees and the head of school. The recognition that our shared leadership has consequences on the school’s future should signal how important this relationship must be. Part of the key is for the board to acknowledge and live out fundamental responsibilities. The other factor is the work of the committee on trustees and their ability to impact the board.

Session 2: The idea of best practices suggests that the board should always be striving to improve. This translates into a healthy culture and a structure that allows the board to focus on the values at the core off their work. A well-structured board that has a culture that is positive and affirming, one defined by intentional actions, has the best chance for success.

Session 3: Health and success for a school can be defined in different ways. One sure way is for there to exist a thriving, supportive, and trusting relationship between the head and the board.

Session 4: The board chair of a Christian school has significant responsibilities and the execution of those responsibilities has much to do with the effectiveness and success not only of the work of the board but also the relationship with the school’s head and the school itself.


Over the course of his thirty-year career, Dr. Mott has had the privilege of working with many independent and faith-based schools. In this, his third book on governance, Dr. Mott concentrates on the significant importance of unity, relationships, and building a culture for the head of school and the board of trustees to thrive. Healthy Boards – Successful Schools: The Impact of Governance and Leadership on Independent and Faith-Based Schools is a book that will resonant with heads and boards who strive to be a best-practices governing board.

Over the course of his thirty-year career, Dr. Mott has had the privilege of working with many independent and faith-based schools. In this, his third book on governance, Dr. Mott concentrates on the significant importance of unity, relationships, and building a culture for the head of school and the board of trustees to thrive. Healthy Boards – Successful Schools: The Impact of Governance and Leadership on Independent and Faith-Based Schools is a book that will resonant with heads and boards who strive to be a best-practices governing board.

Dr. Mott’s experience includes being the head of school at three different independent schools and a member of the board of trustees of several independent schools as well as other nonprofit organizations. In addition to the above experience, Dr. Mott is on the faculty of Vanderbilt University as an Adjunct Instructor. Dr. Mott received his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.

davies Owens

Executive Director - Society for classical learning

Session: How to Assess & Develop Intentional School Culture

Session Abstract

Everyone plays a vital role in forming school culture, so this pre-conference is for everyone, from administration to classroom teachers. We will balance out time together with information sessions, group discussions, and case studies, guaranteeing you will leave equipped to take your school’s culture to the next level.

Session 1: What is “culture” and why does it matter? 

How does the culture outside our doors impact our success inside? Our schools are set in a cultural context in a particular place and time. We will examine the rapidly changing world from the influences of modernity, including invasive and changing technology, generational assumptions and expectations, and the ongoing changes in behavior, attitudes, and expectations influencing our parents, students and staff.

Session 2: What is our unique culture as a school?
Regardless of the swirl outside our doors, what culture and outcomes do we hope to create as a classical Christian school? How does our stated vision and mission form and establish our day-to-day “ethos” and normative values and standards? How well do our students, parents, and staff know and are able to articulate, own, and live out that culture? As every school has a culture, what are the symptoms of a broken or unregulated culture? And, what are examples of effective, aspirational cultures that compel and unite? What are common pitfalls schools face when trying to shape culture?

Session 3: Knowing our vision for a thriving school culture, how are we doing? 

Objectively, what culture actually exists in our school? What is the gap between our intention and reality in our classrooms, hallways, and home, and how do we know? What evaluation tools can we use to evaluate and know our effectiveness? And, how well do we know ourselves as individual leaders and culture makers?

Session 4: How do we practically build a thriving school culture? 

What are proven and unique strategies that effectively engage and guide the unique cultural needs of our parents, students, faculty, and staff. What are best practices as it relates to new parent onboarding and realigning year over year? How do we hire and align staff? How do we truly form virtues and affections of our students that they own and value? What are tips and tools you can take back and implement, including a proven culture training card system developed from a proven Chick-fil-A model already being used effectively by CCE schools around the country.


Davies Owens first discovered classical Christian education as an 18-year-old observing winsome, articulate, and joyful children playing at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland. He felt that they modeled a different way to that parents could raise the next generation. Fast forward to today and Davies has spent some three decades working with young people and helping schools and parents to raise thoughtful, classically trained, and joyful children.

Davies is a graduate of Furman University where he majored in sociology. He later earned an M.Div. at Duke Divinity School and a doctorate at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary focusing on leadership development and using technology to support Biblical community. After serving as a pastor in suburban Durham North Carolina and urban Orlando, Florida, he moved to Silicon Valley to work with In the early 2000s, Davies moved back to his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, where he established Blue Sky Ministries, an innovation lab for churches and nonprofits with a friend and former Walt Disney Imagineer. The ministry partnered with churches and parachurch ministries around the world using innovative strategy and technology. In 2004, he presented at the Lausanne Forum in Thailand on media and technology. Along the way, and thanks to his three school-aged children, he rediscovered that schools are ground zero for cultural impact for the next generation. After serving as a board member and then Head of School at Heritage Preparatory in Atlanta, GA, for almost a decade, he made the move West and joined the staff of the Ambrose School in Meridian, Idaho. He served as Head of Vision and Advancement for eight years before he joined the Society for Classical Learning full-time as the Executive Director.

He brings to the SCL years of experience in parent and teacher education and training, school culture shaping, and marketing and admissions best practices and strategies. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Gordon College teaching a class on Institutional Advancement as a part of their Master of Arts in Leadership track for classical leaders.

Davies loves to talk and meet other thinkers in the classical school movement! For five years he has served as host of the BaseCamp Live Podcast. His winsome presentation on “Ancient Future Education” at Q, a Ted talk environment, continues to be used by schools to explain “what is classical Christian education” and is one of many keynote talks he has given at various classical Christian schools and conferences around the world. When he is not behind the microphone or consulting, he enjoys traveling to Rwanda to support international classical Christian schools through his work with Africa Bright Future Schools, or serving with the non-profit group Rebuilding Generations, dedicated to reviving the servile arts by training teenagers in character and hands-on skills around restoring vintage automobiles. He recently led a team in the restoration of a unique hand-built Italian car that was shown at SEMA -the premier automotive trade show event in Las Vegas.

He and his wife, Holly, a Health and Wellness Coach, have been married for three plus decades. They have three amazing children who have all benefitted from a K-12 classical Christian education and who are now in college and beyond, thriving and flourishing.

Keith McCurdy, LPC

Total life counseling

Session: Fragile Students and Fearful Parents
How Did We Get Here and What Can We Do About It?

Session Topics:

Session 1: Where are we and how did we get here?

In the academic world, we are increasingly encountering students who are more fragile and emotionally unprepared than ever before. What has led us to this situation, and how has it impacted our children and students? We will explore the current state of emotional dysfunction among students, the influence of the Therapeutic Mindset on both students and educators, and the implications of this phenomenon for interacting with parents and the broader community.

Session 2: What does healthy child development look like – the counter argument to the Therapeutic Mindset.

We will examine a “Model of Healthy Child Development,” recognizing the crucial role of a stable family structure, and seeking to understand the factors that drive healthy growth and emotional development in children. A fundamental aspect of this development involves guiding a child from being a Consumer to a Contributor within their family. Failure to achieve this transition can impede their overall well-being and growth.

Session 3: Practical application in the classroom/school.

We will delve into the process of fostering healthy “Identity Formation” and explore practical ways to support this growth within the classroom setting. We will consider how to establish a healthy connection with students without assuming the roles of best friend or therapist. It’s important to recognize that our passion for teaching may not always result in effective engagement with students, highlighting the significance of relational skills in the educational process.

Session 4: Dealing with struggling or difficult people . . . parents and students.

We will explore constructive engagement with both parents and students, focusing particularly on conflict-driven situations. How can we maintain support for healthy “Identity Formation” while navigating the conflict resolution process? We will examine the dynamics of collaborating with parents during disagreements, seeking to understand the most effective approach in such scenarios.


Keith McCurdy is a licensed counselor and therapist who specializes in family and parenting education and consulting. He has over 30 years of experience in mental health and works with various clients across the country. He also offers retreats, counseling, and teletherapy services through his own businesses.

He holds advanced degrees from James Madison University and is the founder and president of Live Sturdy, LLC, and Total Life Counseling, Inc. Keith McCurdy is a sought-after speaker and consultant for schools, churches, and businesses on topics such as parenting, marriage, leadership, and stress management. He has also been involved in classical education as a board member and a podcast contributor.

His main goal is to help others see how a therapeutic worldview and psychology can harm morality, family functioning, and child development. He advocates for a different paradigm that allows children to struggle and grow into sturdy adults. Keith McCurdy is passionate about helping parents raise sturdy kids in a challenging world.

Carrie eben

Classical eben education consulting

Session: Teaching and Learning By Imitation

Session Topics:

Session 1: An introduction to imitation (mimetic) teaching form.

Session 2: An exploration of teaching facts by imitation across the grammar school curriculum.

Session 3: An exploration of teaching skills by imitation across the grammar school curriculum.

Session 4: An exploration of teaching ideas by imitation across the grammar curriculum.

Much of our natural learning comes from observing and imitating the things around us. By attending to different types (examples) and gleaning a truth (logos) from the types, students glean an assortment of knowledge, skills, and wisdom just by apprehending what is before them. Teachers can harness this natural phenomenon by presenting students with well-chosen types (examples) to demonstrate a fact, coach a skill, or draw out ideas through questioning. Then they can assess understanding or progress through a student’s articulation and/or practice of the fact, skill, or idea. Instead of just teaching via telling, a teacher can offer a form where students can apprehend and master a truth through attention and discovery. In this pre-conference seminar, teachers will learn and practice a basic mimetic (imitation) teaching form they can apply to all lessons involving academic skills or ideas across the curriculum. This seminar is ideal for grammar schoolteachers who are new to teaching classically and for veteran teachers who want to add to their teaching repertoire.


For over twenty-three years, Carrie Eben has championed classical education in both the private school classroom and homeschool arenas. She currently serves as founding board member at Sager Classical Academy in Siloam Springs, AR. Carrie passionately leads teachers and parents in the classical model of education. She develops and delivers customized workshops for administrators, teachers, and parents in both classical school and homeschool settings via Classical Eben Education Consulting ( Carrie holds a BSE in Intermediate Education from John Brown University and a MSEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Oklahoma State University. She is currently a PhD student in the Humanities program at Faulkner University and is a CiRCE Institute Master Teacher.

Toyin Atolagbe, Ricardo Brambila, Russ Gregg, & Dan Olson

Session: Cross Cultural Access & Unity

Session Topics:

Session 1: Building Cultural Bridges to Classical Christian Education, Dr. Anika Prather (pre-recorded video). 

Session 2: Models of Access & Unity Amidst Cultural & Linguistic Diversity (Ricardo Brambila, Russ Gregg, Debbie Harris, Jonathon Basurto, and Susie Brooks).

Session 3: Working Session & Application.

Session 4: Affinity Group Session – Governance & Leadership, Curriculum & Instruction, Admission & Parent Engagement, Development/Fundraising, New Models/School Planting.


Dan Olson (M.A., Christian Studies, Regent College (Canada)) serves as Managing Director of Anselm House, a center for Christian studies at the University of Minnesota, and is co-founder and director of the Spreading Hope Network. Dan began his career as a high school teacher, and has more than 20 years of non-profit governance and leadership experience, including serving the local church, The Gospel Coalition, Baker Publishing Group, and Hope Academy (Minneapolis), where he serves as a member of the Board of Directors. He enjoys galvanizing Christian educational entrepreneurship in cross-cultural contexts through writing, speaking, and consulting on advancement and leadership strategies and structures. He has lived in Honduras and Canada, but he and his wife Lucy and their four children call Minneapolis home. He writes occasionally for Mere Orthodoxy, The Gospel Coalition, and other Christian journals, and is the author of Oh, the Treasures You’ll Know (10 Publishing, 2022) and the forthcoming The Runaway Sheep (10 Publishing, 2024).

Ricardo Brambila (M.B.A., Texas A&M, M.Div, Liberty University, DMin (exp. 2024), B.H., Carroll Theological Institute) has served since 2021 as Executive Director of West Dallas Community School, a Classical and Christian school founded in 1995 dedicated to helping students realize their highest potential – spiritually, intellectually, physically, socially and creatively. Today the school serves 250 students (49% Hispanic and 44% Black) from Pre-K through 8th grade. WDCS boasts a 96% high school graduation rate and 81% of students attend college. Ricardo has more than 20 years of cross-cultural ministry experience in both churches and nonprofits, including many years as a senior pastor.

Russ Gregg (M.A. (exp. 2024), Educational Leadership, Gordon College) has served as Head of School of Hope Academy in Minneapolis since its founding in 2000, and is co-founder and lead visionary of the Spreading Hope Network. He has been a resident of the Phillips neighborhood since 1994. In 1999, he was an administrator at what is now Avail Academy in Edina, and quit his job to help lay the groundwork for a classical Christian school for his urban neighbors. Russ and his wife Phyllis, who teaches at Hope Academy, live four blocks away from the school. They have three grown children. Russ serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Learning. He is a regular speaker and writer on Urban Christian Education, Cross-Cultural Ministry, and sermons on various Biblical passages. He is the author of The Mark of God and our Education Crisis (2018).

Anika T. Prather (pre-recorded video only) teaches English at Howard University, serves as director of high-quality curriculum and instruction at Johns Hopkins University, and is founder of The Living Water School, a Christian school for independent learners that follows the educational philosophies of classical education and the Sudbury model. She is coauthor of The Black Intellectual Tradition: Reading Freedom in Classical Literature (Classical Academic Press, July 2022).

Michael Lindsay & Colby Burke


Session: Maximize Your Talent

Session Topics:

Session 1: Developing People Using Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model

This approach, developed by Christian leadership thinker Ken Blanchard, is based on the relationship between an individual’s developmental level (competence and commitment) and the leadership style the leader provides (direction and support). Faithful, effective leadership occurs when a leader matches his or her leadership style to the individual’s development level. When leaders are situational leaders, they partner with their people, working side by side to align on goals, development levels, and leadership styles. This “match” contributes to higher trust and stronger results. As we will discuss, it also aligns with the master-disciple developmental approach that characterized Jesus’ approach and the early church and the best developmental approaches that emerged through the apprenticeship model of the medieval period. Situational leadership has worked for thousands of years and is a great approach to developing people in classical Christian schools.

Session 2: Building Self-Awareness Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Just as typologies have helped us identify leaders and their strengths for many years, a key lesson for any leader is how to become more self-aware and team-aware. Personality profiling can assist with that. Building self- and team-awareness centers on knowing yourself (as God designed you) as completely as you can, understanding others as completely as you can, and understanding what happens when people who are different have to work together to get something done. There are many tools and instruments that provide insight into our thinking and decision-making patterns, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and blind spots. We’ll discuss how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can be used to develop greater levels of self-awareness and to strengthen your school and leadership team.

Session 3: Establishing a Common Leadership Language Using TalentTelligent’s Leader Library

We also know that leaders transform organizations. The impact of their success can be felt in the growth and continuity an organization experiences under their leadership or the rapid consequences of their poor leadership. The Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes (KSAs) needed to thrive as a Leader are unique to the circumstances they face and vary from what made them successful as individual contributors and managers. What roles, when consistently utilized, lead to effectiveness as a leader? What behavioral-based practices must a Leader develop over time to fulfill the most critical Roles? We’ll use this tool to help classical Christian schools better understand the knowledge, skills, and attributes that are needed to help schools deepen their leadership “bench” and build the leadership team that is most needed for the future.


Dr. Michael Lindsay serves as the President of Taylor University, assuming this role after ten years at Gordon College. Since assuming the Taylor presidency, the University has experienced significant momentum in several areas—including admissions and advancement. Prior to arriving at Gordon, Dr. Lindsay was a member of the sociology faculty at Rice University, and he authored two dozen scholarly publications and numerous books, including Faith in the Halls of Power, which was nominated for the nonfiction Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book, Hinge Moments, launched in 2021 and is available worldwide.

President Lindsay earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and graduate theological degrees from Wycliffe Hall at Oxford University and Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Baylor University where he has been named Outstanding Young Alumnus.

Lindsay has been married for over 25 years to his wife Rebecca, an accomplished teacher and speaker who serves as Taylor’s Ambassador for the University. They are the proud parents of three daughters, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Emily.

Colby Burke is the Founder of The Turos Group. He is a strategic momentum-builder who excels in talent development at all levels. Motivated by the collective potential of developing people and winning organizations, his research-based framework, The Five Rhythms, solves business problems with people solutions, maximizing employee engagement and organizational performance. With more than 20 years of leadership experience across a variety of organizations, he has proven success in performance development, cultural transformation, and career transition modeling.

Jeff Bilbro, Joe Clair, JOELLE HODGE, STEVE PRINCE & Phillip Donnelly

Session: Liberating Arts

Session Topics:

SESSION 1: Jeff Bilbro (Assoc. Prof. of English at Grove City College & Front Porch Republic editor) and Joe Clair (Exec Dean at George Fox) on The Liberating Arts: The Big Questions 

Why would anyone study the liberal arts? It’s no secret that the liberal arts have fallen out of favor and are often perceived as elitist, expensive, or politicized. The cost of college pushes students to majors and degrees with more obvious career outcomes or social relevance. How can teachers and administrators respond to the questions that prospective students and their parents have about the value of a liberal arts education?

SESSION 2: Joelle Hodge (VP Operations, Classical Academic Press) on Women in the Great Books:  In this workshop, Ms. Hodge will walk you through how to draw from Women in the tradition, providing a list of resources, guidance on how to use those resources and sample lesson plan ideas.

SESSION 3: Steve Prince (Pres of Christians in Visual Arts, How to Teach Art as Liberal Art 

Teaching Visual Art as a Liberal Art may seem obvious, however many of the core gifts of art education fall to the wayside of “end product”.

In this time, artist Steve Prince will  discuss the myriad of ways students can actively work toward human integration through their art work. Expect to be challenged and equipped to infuse your art instruction with an essential vitality. 

SESSION 4: Phillip J. Donnelly (Prof. of Literature in Great Texts at Baylor University) on Freedom to Participate: Why the Liberal Arts and the Manual Arts Need Each Other

How can a liberal arts education provide an alternative to the patterns of addictive distraction that characterize digital culture?  This presentation draws from the account of the arts provided by the medieval theologian, St. Bonaventure—an account that shows both the unity and distinctions among the liberal arts, the manual arts, and the fine arts.  Ultimately, Bonaventure’s account reveals how our lived experience of knowledge-for-making (art) has direct consequences for our ability to participate (or not) in any reality that is outside ourselves.


Jeffrey Bilbro is an Associate Professor of English at Grove City College. He grew up in the mountainous state of Washington and earned his B.A. in Writing and Literature from George Fox University in Oregon and his Ph.D. in English from Baylor University. His books include Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry into the NewsLoving God’s Wildness: The Christian Roots of Ecological Ethics in American LiteratureWendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place (written with Jack Baker), and Virtues of Renewal: Wendell Berry’s Sustainable Forms.

A native Oregonian, Joseph Clair followed his educational pursuit all over the world and earned degrees in both England and the United States. He became professor of Theology and Philosophy and now dean at George Fox University after receiving his doctorate in Religion, Ethics, and Politics from Princeton University in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College (IL), a master’s in theological studies from Duke, a master’s in philosophy at Fordham, and a master’s in philosophy of religion from Cambridge where he studied as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. He is the author of Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine (Oxford University Press, 2016) and On Education, Formation, Citizenship, and the Lost Purpose of Learning (Bloomsbury, 2017) along with numerous articles and essays on faith, culture, and ethics. He is currently co-authoring a book on Christian medical ethics entitled, Love Your Patient As Yourself, due out in 2022. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his wife, Nora, play with his four kids, fly fish Oregon’s many rivers, and work on his hobby farm.

Joelle Hodge holds a BA in history/political science from Messiah University in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Eastern University’s Templeton Honors College. She began her career as a staffer to United States Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa) before finding her professional home in the world of classical education in 1999. She has twenty years of classical education teaching experience. She has co-authored two logic books, The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies and The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic, both published by Classical Academic Press (CAP), and continues to support various editorial projects at CAP. Her primary focus is on supporting the growth and development of Classical Academic Press in her role as the Vice President of Operations, Sales and Marketing.

Steve A. Prince is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and he currently resides in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is the Director of Engagement and Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Muscarelle Museum at William and Mary. Prince received his BFA from Xavier University of Louisiana and his MFA in Printmaking and Sculpture from Michigan State University.  Prince is a mixed media artist, master printmaker, lecturer, educator, and art evangelist. He has taught middle school, high school, community college, 4-year public and 4-year private, and has conducted workshops internationally in various media. 

Phillip J. Donnelly is Professor of Literature in the Honors College at Baylor University where he teaches in the Great Texts Program and the English Graduate Program.  He also serves as Director (Dept. Chair) for the Great Texts Program. His scholarship and teaching focus on the connections between philosophy, theology and imaginative literature, with particular attention to Renaissance literature and the receptions of Classical educational traditions.  He is the author of Milton’s Scriptural Reasoning: Narrative and Protestant Toleration (Cambridge UP, 2009) and The Lost Seeds of Learning: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric as Life-Giving Arts (Classical Academic Press, 2021). He serves as a member of the editorial board for Principia: A Journal of Classical Education and as Director for the Texas Chapter of the Alcuin Fellowship.

Allison Buras, Jennifer Bankhead, Alisha Barker, & Carolyn Still

Session: Introduction to CCE

Session Topics:

Session 1: An Introduction to the History and Mission of Classical Christian Education

Session 2: The Liberal Art of Grammar in Theory and Practice

Session 3: The Liberal Arts of Logic and Rhetoric in Theory and Practice

Session 4: Breakout Sessions

Grammar Fundamentals: Imitation, Lesson Planning, Grading, Classroom Management and more!

Logic and Rhetoric Fundamentals: Socratic Discussions, Lesson Planning, Grading, Classroom Managment and more!


This team is from Live Oak Classical School which is entering its twentieth year.  Allison Buras and Alisha Barker lead the Grammar School after prior experience teaching in the school and both are visiting faculty with Institute for Catholic Liberal Education.  Jennifer Bankhead is Logic/Rhetoric Dean, and teaches Literature Composition alongside Carolyn Still, who Co-founded Live Oak and has served as Academic Dean and Senior Thesis Director in the Logic/Rhetoric School.

Hotel Info

The Renaissance Hotel in Addison
15201 Dallas Pkwy, Addison, TX 75001
Group Rate: $162 per night

Rooms are going fast! SCL conference rate ends 5/29/23.
Book Now. All conference sessions take place at the Renaissance.

Parking Info

3 Different Parking Options:
Valet, Surface Parking or Garage Parking.
On-site parking, $15 daily
Valet parking, $28 daily

Airport Info

Two Options:
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
Dallas Love Field (DAL)
*The hotel does not provide shuttle service.

Other Transportation