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, Economics, and History 11 and serves as Administrative Coordinator on the BCA Admin Team. 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 completed her Honors History BA at Boise State University, 2018. Abra has studied abroad in Germany and in Oxford, England and has a love of traveling and learning in other cultures and countries. Having been homeschooled from elementary school up until high school, Abra was in the first BCA graduating class, and has a deep passion for the education academia. She believes the job of a student is never over and that learning is a life-long process.
Brenna Blair teaches Foundations of Composition and serves as the Student Affairs Advisor on the Admin 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 (Literature Lead Teacher), 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!
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 (Math & Language Lead Teacher) teaches Pre-Algebra and Latin I. 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 9 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 Biology and Human Biology. Additionally, she teaches her very favorite subject, Human Anatomy and Physiology for 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 10 and 11 and serves as Development and Communications Coordinator on the BCA Admin Team. Lisa 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 reading and 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 sons, Joe and Jake, both of whom have graduated from BCA.
Nilda Vickers will be teaching Algebra I and Math 7 at BCA this year. She earned her B.S. in Dietetics from San Jose State University in 1998. She has been teaching various age groups for the last 12 years and found her love for teaching math through substitute teaching middle schoolers. The ability to solve the puzzle of how to make a concept understandable to students is one of the reasons she finds teaching so challenging and rewarding.
Nilda lives in Boise with her husband of 22 years and their three teenage children. When she isn’t teaching, she can be found gardening, working on home improvement projects, cheering her children on in their activities, camping, and just generally enjoying the magnificent outdoors we are blessed with here in Idaho. She very much looks forward to being a source of encouragement and support to the students and families of BCA!
Todd Baker teaches Freshman Boys’ Foundations of Learning at BCA, and is an attorney focused on the technology and healthcare industries. He is a father of five (three of whom attend BCA) and is passionate about teaching young men and women the art of thinking well. Todd graduated from Boise State University in 2005 with a B.B.A. in Management, and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2013. He then worked for a large law firm in Washington, D.C. for two years before returning home to Boise. Prior to attending law school, he spent ten years in the IT industry as a network engineer and small business consultant. In his free time, Todd enjoys playing board games with his family, exploring God’s awesome creation in the Idaho backcountry, and discussing big ideas with friends.
Kelly Haldeman teaches both Drama and Freshman Girls' Foundations of Learning. As a lifelong teacher, Kelly brings a terrific love of learning to the classroom. She works to inspire her students to improve their communication skills both on and off the stage. Her dramatic experience ranges from classical acting, to music performance, to clowning (really). Kelly brings a passion for the English language and an abiding love for people to the classroom. Her students can expect to be challenged and inspired as they learn to think and express themselves in increasingly effective ways. Her most important work has been parenting her four children, and home educating for the past two decades. In her free time, she loves to run in the hills, spend time with her handsome husband, and read good books.
Austin Fender teaches Physical Science. He is currently pursuing a degree in Physics with a minor in applied mathematics. His emphases include studies in quantum foundations, quantum gravity and particle physics. He has a deep love of learning and exploring the foundations of creation through the sciences and human experience. Apart from education, he spends his time backpacking, rock climbing, reading, and woodworking.
Peter Leavell teaches Literature 9. He earned his BA in History from Boise State University in 2007 and is currently enrolled in the university's English Literature Graduate program. With his BCA students, Peter exults in delving into world-changing stories that reflect the human condition as well as the majesty and glory of the Creator. He finds the atmosphere at BCA, which brings every student’s perspective to the work, perfect for his interactive, roundtable-style teaching. The 2011 winner of Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author, and Meridian Idaho’s 2016 Writer of the Year, Peter is also a professional novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father.
Administration & Staff
Lori Hancock serves as our Assistant Director and Teacher Supervisor. After moving to 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.
Deanna Colgrove serves as the Financial Officer at BCA. Deanna earned her BS in Computer Science from Montana State University with a heavy emphasis in Mathematics all 4 years. She worked for Micron for 5 years doing software analysis and development before retiring to raise a
family. She and her husband, Kevin, have 4 children, two of which attend BCA currently and the other two have attended in the past. She
has been homeschooling to some extent for 11 years. She taught herself Italian, and when time permits, improves her knowledge of the language by traveling through Italy. Her interests include singing, camping, exploring nature, organizing, learning guitar, and reading for enjoyment.