Benjamin Brandon teaches History 12 and serves as Director. He loves to learn, and one of his favorite ways to learn is through teaching. He has gained valuable experience teaching almost every age group, including elementary, jr. high, high school, university, and adult classes, in a variety of settings, including home-schooled co-ops, private schools, Church, and University. No matter the age of his students, Benjamin hopes to exemplify a true love of learning that is not limited to the classroom, but overflows into all areas of life. He is deeply drawn to the study of Western Civilization, especially ancient history and political philosophy. He received his B.A. degrees in International Relations and History, and completed his M.A. thesis on Christian Political Philosophy (specifically on Constantine, the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire). Benjamin has an eclectic teaching style, weaving together reading material with various media and activities as he aims for an integrated understanding of different subjects. When not teaching, he is often found making game-winning catches in Ultimate Frisbee, or conquering the world in Risk.
Derek Ririe, teaches Rhetoric, Literature 10, Economics, and History 11 and serves on the Administrative Team at BCA. He completed his B.A. in Philosophy at Boise State University 2014. His areas of interest on the academic side include the History of Ideas, Political Economics, and Teaching these interests to engaged students. Outside of these academic interests he enjoys reading literature, discussing politics with friends, traveling abroad, playing ultimate Frisbee and riding his bike in the summertime!
Abra Renk teaches Composition of Grammar, History 10, and College Prep and serves as Executive Assistant at BCA. She is currently pursuing a History Degree with a German Minor at Boise State University. Abra has had the opportunity to Study Abroad in Germany to increase her conversational skills and travel to neighboring countries. She also was able to attend a summer program in Oxford. Having been homeschooled from elementary school up until high school, Abra has a deep passion for the Education system and Academia. She believes that that the job of a student is never over and that learning is a life-long process.
Brenna Blair teaches Foundations of Composition and serves on the Administrative Team. Brenna has a drive to understand and to communicate well, and hopes to pass these emphases on to her students - in writing and in life! Her background in Public Communication and in Counseling compels her to seek shared understanding for the good and the growth of all involved. She is excited to be a part of the Boise Classical Academy community! When not at school, Brenna can be found sampling Boise's best coffee, reading, or enjoying the great outdoors with family and friends.
Manna Hancock, who teaches Literature 12 and Aesthetics at BCA, has a passion for engaging students in the wonders of the world through art, music, and the written word. Ms. Hancock received a B.M. in Piano Performance from Biola University, where she also studied in the Torrey Honors Institute. Her classes are full of thought-provoking discussions, creative projects, and laughter. When not teaching, she loves being outside as much as possible!
Roy Wiersma teaches Biology and Health Science at BCA. He received his BA in Philosophy with a minor in mathematics from BSU in 2010. During this year he discovered his aptitude for teaching while working in a math tutoring lab at BSU. After graduation he volunteered for Americorps. As a volunteer he was placed at Jefferson elementary school where he further developed his teaching skills working with children K-6. After his stint with Americorps Roy began work with Huntington Learning Center preparing high school student for SAT, ACT, and AP math and science tests. In this one-on-one scenario his teaching style came to light. He believes that learning is a naturally rewarding behavior, and it is the responsibility of the educator to demonstrate how satisfying and energizing the act of discovery can be. By cultivating this recognition of value in discovery students will become impassioned lifelong learners and will be able to adapt to any challenge they face.
Alisha Barrera teaches Latin at BCA. She discovered her love of the Latin language and history at a young age and continued her studies on through high school and into college. She received a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Latin from Boise State University in the fall of 2015. She has a keen interest in historical linguistics as well as modern language documentation efforts. She is also an advocate for homeschooling methodologies, as she was homeschooled through most of her childhood. In her free time, she can often be found bike riding, swimming, reading, or drawing.
Deandra Holzerland teaches Spanish at BCA. Deandra has receivedan elementary Spanish certificate through BSU, although she has been surrounded by the Spanish language for the majority of her life. She learned Spanish from her surroundings and developed a deep love of the language and cultures associated with it. She has traveled through Mexico and Spain and immersed herself in those cultures, and has been able to learn their different dialects through her travels. She hopes to do more travelling in the near future. Her love of language is what she likes to share with the students. She aims to show them why learning a new language is beneficial and exciting.
Tonya D. Leavell teaches Pre-Algebra and Latin I at BCA. She is passionate about being creative and inspiring others in their own creativity. She is finishing a degree in the History of Art and Visual Culture at Boise State. After homeschooling her own children, Tonya is thrilled to be part of the dynamic atmosphere at BCA.
Jennifer Alles teaches Literature 7 and 8 as well as History 7 and 8 at BCA. She earned her B.A. in Humanities from Willamette University in 1981 and then went on to earn a teaching endorsement at Portland State University. Her first job was teaching kindergarten in a Catholic school, and since then she has taught piano, marriage prep classes, chastity education in public and private schools, religious ed, and history in several homeschool co-ops. Over the last 27 years her teaching energies have mostly been devoted to homeschooling her seven children, five of whom have now graduated and moved on into their own surprising and rewarding adult lives. She favors an integrated approach to education that emphasizes curiosity, inquiry, critical thinking, and experiential learning, which is always ordered toward the end goal – union with God in this world and the next.
Sarah Westcott teaches Physical Science and Human Biology. Additionally, she teaches her very favorite subject, Human Anatomy and Physiology for both NNU and the College of Western Idaho as an adjunct instructor.
Her hope for her students is that they learn to deeply appreciate their Creator and His creation through exploration of the natural world. With experience and continued interest in the best pedagogy associated with the classical curriculum, she endeavors to foster a learning environment where students feel comfortable yet can be challenged and inspired by the material.
Sarah has 3 wonderful children who make she and her husband Aaron laugh: Emma, Asher and Benjamin. Sarah enjoys exploring nature through hiking with the family as well as quiet evenings cozied up to a thrilling book or documentary.
Heather Haley teaches Geometry and Algebra II at BCA. Heather has been teaching and tutoring students of all ages in math and sciences since 2008 throughout the treasure valley. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Zoology from Boise State University.
After college Heather has traveled extensively throughout the world. The inability to quench her thirst for adventure, and insatiable passion for other cultures and landscapes, has led her far and wide. Heather is also an artist with an affinity for painting. She regularly has her artwork on display throughout the city and nation.
Lisa Hess teaches Literature 11 at BCA. Lisa Hess comes from a long line of educators, so when she went off to college at University of Oregon, she decided to break the mold, get a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Editing and marry an archaeologist named Sean. While writing has been a life-long passion (Lisa is a fiction and non-fiction author and blogger), she also found herself continually drawn back to education. She worked in Alumni Relations at UO, in the Corporate and Foundation Relations division at Washington State University, on the Administrative Team as Director of Development for Portland Christian Schools, and ultimately became a P.R. and Development consultant to non-profit educational organizations. When she became a parent, she realized her upbringing informed her parenting such that she was constantly on the lookout and exulted in those “teachable moments” with her kids—so it was a natural next step to decide to homeschool them. Thus, she ended up following in the family footsteps after all, and became their teacher. Boise Classical Academy was a perfect next step in the education of her eldest son, Joe, who was among the first students at BCA, and was a member of the first BCA graduating class. Joe now assists with classes at BCA, and Lisa’s youngest, Jake, is also a BCA student.
Administration & Staff
Lori Hancock serves as our Administrative Advisor. After moving to the Boise as a young couple, Lori and her husband, Roger, homeschooled their four children on their North End property for more than twenty years. Throughout that time of teaching at home, they explored a variety of methodological approaches and accessed a wide variety of educational helps including co-ops, private school & online classes, public school & college dual enrollment programs, and tutors. As their kids launched off to college and careers, Lori discovered that her love of teens, teaching, and all things classic made investing her time in Boise Classical Academy a perfect fit. She now continues to work with the BCA community using the wisdom gained from her homeschool & mothering experience.