Current Conference


Cantate: Sing to the LORD a New Song

July 23-26, 2024 at Concordia University Nebraska

Please join us for our CCLE XXIV summer conference! Over 50 sessions will be offered covering all aspects of classical Lutheran education for teachers, homeschoolers, pastors, administrators, college students, professors, and youth.
Five hundred years ago, in 1524, the first Lutheran hymnal—entitled the Achtliederbuch (book with eight songs)—was published by Martin Luther and Paul Speratus. To commemorate the first Lutheran hymnal, the CCLE XXIV summer conference theme will be: “Cantate: Sing to the Lord a New Song.” Lutherans have always been known as “the Singing Church.”  Luther’s liturgical reforms included an emphasis on congregational singing, and Lutheran chorales have become treasures of Western music. Our conference this year will feature daily worship, a hymn sing, an organ recital, and choral performances.

Plenary Speakers

Rev. Mark DeGarmeaux

Hymns as Declaration, Doctrine, and Doxology

Rev. Dr. David Petersen

Militant Praise against Polytheism,
A Call for Full-Throated and Unapologetic Confession
in an Age of Apostasy based upon the Psalter and the History of Israel

Rev. Dr. Christian Preus

Return to Reality: Praying and Living the Psalms

Bio: Mark DeGarmeaux grew up in southwest Wisconsin and attended Luther High School (Onalaska, WI). He holds a BS-Elementary Education (Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN), Master of Divinity (Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, Mankato, MN), and Master of Sacred Theology (STM, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI). For 10 years he served as a parish pastor in northeast Iowa. Since 1995 he has served at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, MN, first as chaplain and teaching religion classes, and currently as chapel organist and teaching languages (Hebrew, Latin, and Norwegian), organ lessons, and church music classes.

His interests include theology, music, and languages. He was one of three members of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod worship committee that prepared the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary. His recently-published Every Sunday Organist is an anthology of easy hymn preludes (original and classic) for organ or piano, for each Sunday of the church year. As one of the organists at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Mankato, he particularly enjoys playing Baroque works of Bach, Buxtehude, and Pachelbel, and 20th century North German works of Micheelsen, Walcha, and Bender.

He has translated hundreds of hymns, especially Norwegian and Danish hymns. Publications of his translations include: Book of Family Prayer by N. J. Laache; Mother of the Reformation by Ernst Kroker; U. V. Koren’s Works; Pontoppidan’s Catechism Explanation (Truth unto Godliness, in an anthology); and The Venerable and Adorable Eucharist by Tom Hardt. He also translated items for the newest Luther’s Works volumes. He wrote articles for Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns. Mark was co-editor of My Savior’s Guest: A Festschrift in Honor of Erling Trygve Teigen, and associate editor of The Christian Year of Grace, by Johann Spangenberg, translated by Matthew Carver. He has been an instructor for Norwegian language weekends for adult learners at Skogfjorden near Bemidji, MN.

In 2024, God willing, Mark and his wife Rebecca (née Krueger) will celebrate 40 years of marriage. They enjoy reading, traveling, British comedies, classic movies, and attending music, art, and theatre events.

Presentation Title: “Hymns as Declaration, Doctrine, and Doxology”

Presentation Description: Ecclesia canit. The church sings.
Ecclesia canit: declarationem fidei, doctrinam fidei, doxologiam fidei. The church sings: the declaration (confession) of faith, the doctrine of faith, the doxology of faith. The presentation will look at hymns as confession, declaration, and expression of the Christian faith. We will explore how hymns teach and reinforce the doctrinal content of the Christian faith. We will see how hymns are a doxology to the Triune God here in this life, and a foretaste of the eternal doxology in the life of the world to come.

Bio: Rev. Dr. David H. Petersen became Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, IN in 2000. He earned a B.S. in History from Central Michigan University. He also earned a Master of Divinity degree, a Master of Sacred Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry from Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne. He and his wife Jacqui have three grown children and seven grandchildren. He is a regular guest on Issues, Etc, a contributing editor to Gottesdienst: The Journal of Lutheran Liturgy, where he writes both for the print journal and the blog, and occasionally writes for the Lutheran Witness, and is a member of the CTCR.

Presentation Title: “Militant Praise against Polytheism: A Call for Full-Throated and Unapologetic Confession in an Age of Apostasy based upon the Psalter and the History of Israel”

Presentation Description: The word Alleluia is often translated into English as “Praise the Lord” or “Praise Yahweh.” This presentation will provide evidence that it is better translated as “Boast in the Lord” and that it was used by God’s people not in a polite way or simply as an expression of individual ecstasy, but as a boast in the truth and reality of their monotheistic hope in the midst of a demonic polytheistic culture. The use of these boasts in the Psalter will then be considered in light of Paul’s warning in Ephesians 5 against idolatry and his insistence on reverent, content rich worship.

Bio: Rev. Dr. Christian A. Preus has served as pastor of Mount Hope Lutheran Church, Casper, WY since 2016. He is the son of Pastor Rolf and Dorothy Preus. Pastor Preus received a BA in Classics from the University of North Dakota (2006) and an MA and PhD in Classics from the University of Iowa (2008, 2012). He studied at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, graduating with his M.Div. in 2016. Dr. Preus’ scholarly works include his translation of Philip Melanchthon’s Loci Communes 1521 (CPH) and a translation of Luther’s Labors on the Psalms to be included in an upcoming edition of Luther’s Works (LW 64). He has a regular column in LOGIA and has published numerous articles on the Lutheran exegetical tradition. Dr. Preus is the Chairman of the Board of Regents for Luther Classical College and editor of the quarterly magazine, Christian Culture: A Magazine for Lutherans. He and his wife, Lisa, have nine children. They live happily at the foot of Casper Mountain, in Casper, Wyoming. Dr. Preus enjoys skiing and running on the mountain, playing Lutheran chorales on the piano, playing football with his boys at the park, and talking theology, politics, and history with his wife and children.

Presentation Title: “Return to Reality: Praying and Living the Psalms”

Presentation Description: American culture increasingly pushes the fake and the unreal on its citizens’ minds, not only through the barrage of meaninglessness and hedonism consumed on the internet, but also through the cancellation of talk about God, creation, sin, forgiveness, and spiritual warfare in everyday life. The psalms as daily confession and prayer draw the family back into reality, and the struggles and joys of living the Christian life.

Sectional Speaker Information

Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman

Bio: Rev. Dr. Christopher S. Ahlman is Associate Pastor and Director of Parish Music at Memorial Lutheran Church & School, Houston, Texas, where he administers and directs the parish music program and school choral/theory curriculum. He and wife, Elizabeth, have four children. His organ study took place with Charles W. Ore, Craig J. Cramer, and Gerre E. Hancock. 

Presentation Title:  “Lecture-Recital: Dietrich Buxtehude’s Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein, BuxWV 210”

Presentation Description: The melody associated with Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein (as well as other texts) in the Achtliederbuch of 1524 has served as a source of compositional inspiration throughout much of the history of organ literature, of which Dietrich Buxtehude’s extended organ chorale setting on Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein, BuxWV 210 serves as a prominent example. Attention will be drawn to the various compositional devices Buxtehude employs in support of rhetorical effect, informed by the Lied text, all to persuade the listener unto a particular proclamatory end, itself fully realized in a full-length performance of the work. 

Deaconess Elizabeth Ahlman

Bio: Deaconess Elizabeth Ahlman serves at Memorial Lutheran Church and School in Houston as the English and Humane Letters teacher for the Upper School (7–12th). Deaconess Ahlman has her BA in English from the University of Iowa (2005) and an MA Theology with Deaconess Certification from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO (2007). Elizabeth is married to Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman, and they have four children. She has written two in-depth Bible studies for Concordia Publishing House: Ruth, More Than a Love Story and Demystifying the Proverbs 31 Woman. When she isn’t teaching, taking classes, or cooking for her family, she enjoys a nice cup of tea and curling up to cross stitch—usually something book related, of course! 

Presentation Title: “The Classroom Catechism: The ‘Song’ of the Heart, Mind, and Body”

Presentation Description: A Classroom Catechism in the upper grades (middle and high school) is a “song” which we “sing” together in class, the melody of which forms our souls to think about love, duty, excellence, sacrifice, story, and more. This presentation will introduce the concept of a classroom catechism, discuss how it reflects course content, offer examples, make suggestions for developing one, and demonstrate how it creates a classroom culture and impacts classroom management.

Mrs. Jocelyn Benson

Bio: Jocelyn grew up in Fort Dodge, Iowa, attending Lutheran school through 8th grade. She has a B.A. in English-teaching and an M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. She also completed three and a half years of doctoral work in Educational Psychology with emphases in Technology and Education and History/Foundations of Education at the University of Iowa. She loved teaching English and coaching many sports at the high school level before returning to school full time. Jocelyn lives in Chatfield, MN, with her husband, Justin, and their four children—Asher, Malachi, Ephraim, and Miriam. In her free time, Mrs. Benson enjoys spending time with her family, reading, walking, and hiking.

Presentation Title: “AI: The latest wolf in sheep’s clothing?”

Presentation Description: Artificial Intelligence is all around us and we use it/benefit from it probably more often than we realize. However, should we be wary? What dangers are lurking and how should we teach our children to be on guard against this emboldened attack on language and reason?

Mrs. Leah Bromen

Bio: Leah is a recovering engineer, endeavoring to cultivate her own spirit in Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. For nearly 30 years, Leah has served as a catalyst for classical education — for her own family, as well as families around the world. Over the years she has founded and administrated a hybrid classical school; consulted with Lutheran schools adopting the classical model of education; assisted in Lutheran school accreditation; spoken and trained on classical education nationally; taught at the elementary and high school levels; and galvanized tens of thousands of families in the pursuit of a liberal arts education. Leah is impassioned to rearticulate, reclaim, collaborate, and build distinctly Lutheran classical education that energizes us, our families, our schools, and our churches toward Truth, Goodness, and Beauty found in our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we might confidently educate our children to understand and embrace their faith, learning what it means to live vocationally in loving God and serving our neighbor. 

Presentation Title: “Seven Components of Teaching from Rest”

Presentation Description: Does teaching ever seem harried and hassled? Without realizing it, the educational fragmentation and anxiety of progressive education can penetrate our teaching. Classical education aspires to a different approach. Seven Latin phrases encapsulate teaching principles that nurture and encourage rest: Optimus Magister Bonus Liber; Repetitio Mater Memoriae; Festina Lente; Multum Non Multa; Docendo Discimus; Ad Fontes; Scholé. When these maxims are heeded the actual substance and skills of classical pedagogy shine forth and the telos of education surfaces. As restful teaching is embodied, both we and our students are awakened in wonder and curiosity, and teaching and learning become restful. 

Mrs. Nicole Busarow

Bio: Nicole Busarow is a wife, and mother of four boys. Mrs. Busarow holds a Masters of Sacred Music Degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Music Degree in Church Music – Organ from Valparaiso University. A native of Wisconsin, she has served churches and schools in Michigan and Indiana. 

Presentation Title: “Teaching Music in a Classical Lutheran School: Curriculum and Culture”

Presentation Description: Music is commonly cited among the subjects of the quadrivium; however, its place among the seven liberal arts is not how and why we teach music in our classical Lutheran schools today. Classical Lutheran schools need a music pedagogy that is Lutheran and harmonious with its classical pedagogy of grammar, history, and literature. Beginning with the Biblical directive to sing, song is the sine qua non to a classical Lutheran music education. Through practical examples, this presentation will demonstrate how a curriculum is organized by making song, hearing song, and reading song. Song creates a Christian culture in schools, and schools also have the chance to preserve a nearly extinct secular folk music culture. 

Rev. Paul Cain

Bio: Rev. Paul J Cain is Senior Pastor of Immanuel, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster Emeritus and Instructor of Liberal Arts at Martin Luther Grammar School and Immanuel Academy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education, First Vice-President of the Wyoming District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Chairman of its Board of Directors, Rhetoric Teacher for Wittenberg Academy, a regent for Luther Classical College, a Director for Steadfast Lutherans and Associate Editor of Curriculum for Steadfast Press, and Editor of Lutheran Book Review. He has served as an LCMS Circuit Visitor, District Worship Chairman, District Evangelism Chairman, District Education Chairman/NLSA Commissioner, and District Secretary. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Rev. Cain is a contributor to Lutheran Service Book, Lutheranism 101, the LSB Hymnal Companion hymn and liturgy volumes.

Presentation Title: “Aristotle’s Appeals: Ancient Rhetoric to Defeat Cancel Culture”

Presentation Description: What are Logos, Ethos, and Pathos and how can they help a person resist, refute, and defeat Cancel Culture?

Rev. Rene Castillero

Bio: Rev. Castillero is the headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School and Immanuel Academy. He has served as lead teacher and taught in the classroom since he graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, IN) in 2017. Rev. Castillero enjoys dabbling in continued education opportunities especially as it relates to Lutheran classical education. He is married to Martha Castillero and has one son, Lukas, and another child on the way. 

Presentation Title: “Introduction to Classical Lutheran Education”

Presentation Description: In Part 1, we will explore the theological underpinnings to Classical Lutheran Education. Fundamentally, we will answer the questions “what is Lutheran in education?” “Why should we educate?” “Who do we educate?” And many more. In Part 2 we will walk through the philosophy of Classical Lutheran Education especially as it relates to the means and modes we teach. Namely the trivium, quadrivium, progymnasmata, integrated catechesis and other topics. Part 3 will look into the roles of the school, its teachers, its curriculum, its students, over all school culture, and other practical matters.

Mrs. Stephanie Cholak

Bio: Stephanie Cholak has been teaching infants through eighth graders for twenty years. Her homerooms have included multi-level and single level classes between seven schools. She currently teaches third grade at Our Savior Lutheran in Houston Texas. She follows her husband, Pr. Steven Cholak around the country with their standard poodle Dottie. In every situation, there is a song to sing. Sometimes it’s just a bar to hum and other times a four-stanza hymn hits the spot.

Presentation Title: “Learn, Love, and Teach Hymns Using Song Cards”

Presentation Description: There will be a discussion of ‘how‘ and ‘why’ with time to practice the illustration process. There will be a make-and-take period with supplies provided. When using song cards with 3rd graders or younger, even the older children appreciate the imagery. Each hymn is packed full of Bible stories that can be seen with song cards. Even if these drawings or collages are only for personal use, song cards help study and memorization our favorite hymns.

Rev. Steven Cholak

Bio: Pastor Cholak learned sign language in seminary. He has used sign language to tell the Gospel of Christ to the Deaf at church services, youth conferences, church functions, and the classical classroom. He has served LCMS parishes and schools as pastor, teacher, headmaster, and chaplain. Pastor Cholak and his wife, Stephanie, live in Houston, Texas. He enjoys reading, hiking, drinking coffee, and talking theology.

Presentation Title: “Sign Language (for the classical classroom”

Presentation Description: One of the principles of classical education pedagogy is embodied learning. Join Pastor Cholak as he discusses the inclusion of American Sign Language in the curriculum and classroom instruction.

Rev. Brennick Christiansen

Bio: Pastor Brennick Christiansen is a husband and the father of five children. He graduated from Concordia University Chicago in 2015 and from Concordia Theological Seminary in 2022. He is now associate pastor and headmaster at Peace Lutheran Church & Academy in Sussex, Wisconsin.

Presentation Title: “Lady Rhetoric: the Commander, the Teacher, the Parent”

Presentation Description: What is the purpose of rhetoric? It is the tool of persuasion for moving hearers into action, but toward what end? The greatest military leaders of history have wielded their golden-voices to encourage armies to enter into battle. In De Doctrina Christiana, Saint Augustine tells us that a good speech moves a hearer into action. In De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, Martianus Capella paints the confident Lady Rhetoric herself as a virtue. Is there an application also for parents and teachers to move children into action?

Rev. Dr. David Coe

Bio: Rev. Dr. David Coe is associate professor of theology and philosophy at Concordia University, Nebraska and author of Provoking Proverbs: Wisdom and the Ten Commandments (Concordia Publishing House, 2020) and Kierkegaard and Luther (Fortress Academic Press, 2020). Dr. Coe graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in philosophy before serving two years as a volunteer missionary with LCMS World Mission in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea, West Africa. After study abroad at Westfield House, Cambridge, England, he earned an M.Div. and Ph.D. in historical theology from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Before Concordia, he served as associate pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Fremont, Nebraska. Dr. Coe loves his wife Joanna and their two sons, Samuel and Caleb.

Presentation Title: “Where Charity and Love Prevail: Aristotle on Humility and Friendship”

Presentation Description: Refreshed through Word and Sacrament, Lutherans implore God to strengthen them “in faith toward You and fervent love toward one another.” Since Lutherans confess that “Aristotle wrote about civil morals in such a learned way that nothing further about the topic needs to be demanded” (Ap IV 14), this presentation will present Aristotle’s wisdom on the virtues of humility and friendship, emphasizing their catechetical connection to keeping the two tables of the Ten Commandments under the Lord’s forgiveness, love, and lead. Get ready to preach, teach, and practice humility and friendship with your parishioners and classical students.

Mrs. Catherine Deddens

Bio: Kate is active in leadership within educational communities in homeschool co-ops and hybrid/micro-schools. She has classically instructed PreK-12 ages in inflected languages; Classics; Literature, Drama and Poetry; Composition; History; Public Speaking and Formal Debate; Informal, Formal, and Material Logic; Theology and Apologetics; Philosophy; Mathematics; Music; and the Sciences. Her endeavors included affiliation with Classical Conversations directing, tutoring, and in corporate leadership focused on program and curriculum development. She co-authored Classical Acts and Facts® History Cards and Artists and Composers and contributed to The Question; The Conversation; Classical, Christian Education Made Approachable; Prescripts; and Math in Motion: First Steps in Music Theory. Other publications appear at CiRCE Institute, Imaginative Conservative, The Federalist, and the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education. Kate received her BA in the Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, completing their Classical Great Books Program instruction through the Trivium and Quadrivium. She later earned an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, but her vocation has long been dedicated to cultivating classical, Christian education. Kate and her husband, Ted, live in southern Ohio. They have four children, three of whom they classically home educated from birth through high school graduation. They continue to classically educate their youngest. 

Presentation Title: “Introduction to Norms & Nobility”

Presentation Description: In David Hicks’ highly respected treatise on education, Norms & Nobility, he writes: “Education must address the whole student, his emotional and spiritual sides as well as his rational. The aims of education, the teacher’s methods, the books and lessons, the traditions, and regulations of the school – all must express not just ideas, but norms, tending to make young people not only rational, but noble” (vi). This presentation offers an introduction to Norms & Nobility, inviting those new to it to dive into its pages and offering a refresher for those who wish to revisit the text.

Mrs. Liz Ekblad

Bio: Mrs. Liz Ekblad is a trivium teacher for Wittenberg Academy. She graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2018 with a degree in Classical Lutheran Education and is a CCLE certified teacher. She resides in Sheboygan, WI with her husband Anders and their sons Johannes (5), Kristoff (3), and Lukas (born in January). In Sheboygan, they attend Trinity Lutheran Church where she teaches music, choir, and personal finance two days a week. Otherwise, she delights in being a mom at home with her kids.

Presentation Title: “Teaching the Littles to Sing: A Lutheran Approach to Preschool and Early Elementary Music and Choir”

Presentation Description: As a teacher, you’ve likely been asked to teach a subject which you have little experience or training. Often times, preschool and elementary music are given to a teacher who has sung in choir or played an instrument in order to give the Kantor a less full schedule. As Kantor, perhaps you have been tasked with teaching little Lutherans and have no clue where to start. In this session, Liz will share her methods for making little Lutheran musicians, incorporating aspects of music education while emphasizing hymnal literacy even to Kindergarteners. Bonus- all of the things shared can be done without being a proficient piano player!

Miss Hannah Engwall

Bio: Hannah Engwall graduated with a degree in Parish Music from Concordia University Wisconsin and currently teaches K-2, Advanced Music Theory, and choir at Mount Hope Lutheran School, Casper, WY. She enjoys playing the organ, choral conducting, and composing.

Presentation Title: “Early Lutheran Choral Music”

Presentation Description: This presentation will explore Lutheran choral music from the Reformation to Bach. Participants will learn the intriguing history of various kantors and musicians, listen to intricate and beautiful pieces, and discover a treasure trove of untapped choral publications. Lutheran churches of this period resounded with some of the finest choral music ever written, and the very same notes that filled the air centuries ago can be brought to life in our churches and schools today. To that end, this presentation will also provide resources and aids for reviving these excellent Lutheran choral works.

Dr. Elizabeth Grimpo

Bio: Elizabeth Grimpo has been teaching at Concordia University, Nebraska since 2008. She teaches four levels of Aural Skills, co-requisites of Music Theory, that focus on ear training for the music major; Music Appreciation, a basic music history course for the non-music major; and Beauty in Music and the Fine Arts, a course within the Luke Scholars program. Additionally, she gives piano lessons to upper-level pianists, collaborates with student musicians for recitals throughout the year, and performs with the A Cappella choir. In addition to teaching, she actively performs as a solo pianist, performing music from the classical repertoire as well as newly composed sacred music. In 2015, she received the student nominated Teacher of the Year award. In 2023, she was inducted into the Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame. She also does work in piano pedagogy and has written multiple volumes of graded settings of hymns and the liturgy, published by David’s Harp – A Center for Musical Development. She has also composed several hymn settings for the Piano Prelude Series published by Concordia Publishing House. Elizabeth holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Concordia University-Chicago and a MM and DMA in piano performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Presentation Title: “Built on the Rock: Communicating Text Through Music”

Presentation Description: The texts of Christian hymns are beautifully descriptive and continue to be personally meaningful to people throughout every generation. Special musical settings of hymns often elevate the impact of the texts. Composer John Kosch has recently written a tone poem for solo piano based on “Built on the Rock.” This presentation will broadly discuss the historical importance of tone poems and the power of music to communicate. Then, through musical analysis, the text painting in this piece will be highlighted. Finally, a performance of the piece will be given.

Mrs. Julia Habrecht

Bio: Julia Habrecht delights in her vocations as wife, mom, daughter, friend, godmother, and Headmaster of Our Savior Lutheran School in Grand Rapids, MI. Having previously served as Headmaster of Immanuel Lutheran School (Alexandria, VA), Julia possesses an earnest zeal for classical Lutheran education. She enjoys sharing her love and appreciation for the arts and strives to cultivate in her students an eye for the aesthetics that is crucial to a well-rounded classical curriculum. Julia has presented on themes of beauty, music, school culture, and school administration for the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education, the Lutheran Education Association, and the Association of Classical Christian Schools. 

Presentation Title: “Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in Faculty Formation”

Presentation Description: Classical Lutheran Schools fulfill their mission best when the administration and faculty work together, grounded in the cultivating forces of truth, goodness, and beauty. Join me for a practical demonstration and discussion of how to facilitate excellent faculty formation, essential for a thriving school. We will consider the ideal preparation, agenda, physical room arrangement, and outcomes for one-on-one mentoring conversations, daily staff meetings, and in-service trainings.

Mr. Nathanael Hahn

Bio: Nathanael Hahn teaches 6th-12th grade classes in math, science, and music theory at Mount Hope Lutheran School in Casper, WY. When he isn’t teaching, he enjoys composing for congregation, choir, and orchestra, singing Lutheran hymns, spending time with family in Wisconsin, and exploring the use of primary math sources in the classroom.

Presentation Title: “Sing to the Lord a GOOD New Song”

Presentation Description: Is praise band music appropriate for church? What about new hymn tunes? What about old ones? Songs from other denominations? Which hymns are good? Are some musically better for church than others? Why or why not? This presentation is an attempt to start answering these questions. Sound doctrine is a given, but what musically should we strive for as we sing to the Lord?

Mr. Bryce Hedstrom

Bio: Bryce Hedstrom loves teaching and teachers. He is a teacher and teacher trainer from Colorado. He taught Spanish for more than 30 years at all levels—elementary through college and now devotes himself full time to teaching teachers of all languages. Bryce’s daughter and her husband started a homeschool co-op at their church and asked him to teach Latin. He has acquired Latin the way he teaches: through Comprehensible Input. Bryce received the Best of Colorado award from CCFLT, and the Award for Excellence in Teaching from the college where he taught for 22 years. He has also trained employees and managers at Fortune 500 corporations and has translated corporate training materials and operations manuals. Bryce is a regular presenter at state and national conferences and gives custom workshops and keynotes to train and inspire teachers around the world. You can find his blog, materials, his popular “Free Stuff” page, and books by noteworthy independent authors on his website: In Bryce’s sessions you can expect to learn both principles and practice— how Second Language Acquisition theory and solid classroom practices combine to create good teaching.

Presentation Title: “Teaching Latin with Comprehensible Input: The Books and The Back-and-Forth that Make it Happen”

Presentation Description: Teaching languages with comprehensible input is strongly supported by Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research. It’s also effective and enjoyable—even with Latin. In this session you’ll learn about the vocabulary-controlled books that allow even Latin 1 students to start reading from the early weeks of the class. There will be plenty of explanations about the activities and techniques that can make this happen and keep it going in upper levels. The back-and-forth is how to talk with students with questioning techniques, student interviews in Latin and how turning over a certain degree of control enhances student engagement like nothing else.

Rev. Dr. Adam Hensley

Bio: Rev. Dr. Adam Hensley serves as Associate Professor of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, teaching Old Testament, where he also earned his Ph.D. in biblical studies (2015). He joined the CSL faculty in 2023 having previously served as an Assistant Professor of Theology at Concordia University Irvine, CA, and Lecturer in Old Testament at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) in North Adelaide, South Australia where he also served as Dean of Chapel. He was ordained in 2000 after receiving his theological and pastoral education at Luther Seminary (now ALC), and has served as a pastor in Lutheran congregations in Hamilton, Victoria and Adelaide, South Australia. Dr. Hensley is known internationally for his work on covenant theology in the Psalms and is currently working on a commentary on Psalms 101–150 for the Concordia Commentary Series, for which he also serves as Old Testament Editor. He is the author of Covenant Relationships and the Editing of the Hebrew Psalter in The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies series (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018), and has contributed several journal articles on the Psalms. Dr. Hensley is married to Joanna. They have six children: Samuel, Mary, John, Lucy, Thomas and Hannah. 

Presentation Title: “Ad Fontes: A New Song for a New Exodus in Book IV of the Psalter?”

Presentation Description: A source of inspiration for hymn-writers for millennia, the Psalter calls us to “sing to the Lord a new song!” What song? What’s “new” about it? Who leads it? This presentation addresses such questions by examining Book IV of the Psalter. It explores the striking affinities between Psalms 93-100 and Moses’ Song of the Sea (Exodus 15), and Psalms 101-106 as they shift focus to “David,” the Messianic King, as a Moses-like leader of a new exodus and of its “new song.” The presentation also considers how these themes carry forward into Book V (e.g., Psalms 110, 145, 149). 

Miss Faith Hoppen

Bio: Faith Hoppen is math teacher at Lifegate Christian School in Omaha, NE. She grew up in Omaha, attended Concordia University, Nebraska, and student taught in Queensland, Australia. From there she went to be a part of Black Hills Lutheran School, a classical school in Rapid City, SD. Her graduate degree in Math is from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Faith’s time working in classical education has ignited her desire to see students grow in their abilities to dissect, process, and defend primary sources. She loves all of the ideas and growth that can come from socratic discussions and works to implement that in her math classes. At this conference, she will be presenting on bringing Euclid back into the geometry classroom and how attainable this can be! 

Presentation Title: “Geometry, as Told by Euclid”

Presentation Description: What is our goal when teaching students geometry? Is it to obtain a passing grade, be able to construct geometric figures, know all of the necessary terms? I would like to propose that the purpose is to cultivate a love for the logic, art, and argument of geometry. Instead of relying on memorizing confusing acronyms for congruent figures, let’s give the students an opportunity to use the original geometry text written by Euclid to see the beauty behind the properties. By using the methods outlined in this curriculum, students will experience geometry, study how to accurately justify their work, learn how to discuss, disagree, and defend respectfully, and know the math behind the theorems.

Mr. Caleb Hoverson

Bio: Caleb Hoverson studied classical liberal arts and philosophy at Patrick Henry College for three years before transferring to Liberty University. After graduating from Liberty in 2022 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies: religion and social sciences, he moved to Fort Wayne, where he is now an M.Div. student at Concordia Theological Seminary. Caleb enjoys long walks, talking theology, and spending time with his wife Delie and their two young children. 

Presentation Title: “Of Lions, Logic, and Lutherans: The Place of Reason and the Imagination in Theology”

Presentation Description: “‘Logic!’ said the Professor half to himself, ‘Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?’” The famous Professor scene from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series reminds Christians of an important point: often the magisterial use of reason is simply bad reasoning. Its users employ a logic that is flawed, not excessive, and an imagination that is not overactive, but limited. The presenter will apply conditional logic to one such example: the Calvinist and Synergists’ answers to the question, “Why are some saved and not others?” Biblical doctrine offends the vain imagination of men, not the laws of logic themselves.

Mrs. Cheryl Jordan

Bio: Cheryl has over thirty years of experience in mathematics education, both as teacher and leader. Early in her professional years, as part of her school’s leadership cohort and local university research team, she began building her pedagogical “toolbox” which already pointed to classical learning strategies. It was not until her work as a Lutheran school board member and, eventually, administrative team member, however, that she was introduced to “classical” education for the first time. While homeschooling her children, she fell in love with classical teaching strategies, realizing their effectiveness with a range of student abilities and learning styles. She has enthusiastically continued her study and use of these approaches in tutoring students, directing programs, and encouraging parents. Cheryl also influences modern educational practice while serving as a board member and volunteer at a local community math center. More importantly, she is wife to her husband of thirty years, Andy, mother of two young adults, Joshua and Marissa, and caretaker of her 92-year-old father, Melvin. Her home congregation is Emmaus Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana.

Presentation Title: “Teaching Math Classically: Using Tools of the Trivium to Support K-12 Mathematics Education”

Presentation Description: What does it mean to teach math “classically?” Are there any math curriculums that use “classical” approaches? Why and how should math teachers help students build the skills of memory, inquiry, and rhetoric? In this session, we will discuss the history and philosophy of classical mathematics education as well as activities proven to build student success.

Rev. Stephen Kieser

Bio: Pastor Kieser is headmaster at FLS and serves associate pastor at Faith Lutheran Church. He likes to stay in the classroom as much as possible, and enjoys teaching Alegbra I and New Testament Greek at FLS. Pastor Kieser previously served as teacher and administrator at Lutheran schools in Florida and Illinois. He also served as pastor in Storm Lake, Iowa and Darmstadt, Indiana. He graduated from Concordia – Ann Arbor in 1993 and received a Master of Arts in School Leadership from Concordia – Chicago in 2000. He graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in 2006 and was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry that same year. He has served as the president of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education since 2006. ​ Pastor Kieser and his wife, Julia, have seven children and ten grandchildren. 

Presentation Title: “Opening Address”

Presentation Description: Classical Lutheran Education

Mrs. Marie MacPherson

Bio: Marie MacPherson is a CCLE certified educator, writer of curriculum, and author. More importantly, she is a wife, mother, and baptized child of God. Marie has published Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood, Volumes 1 (2018) and 2 (2023), Mothering Many (2016), and Lutherans for Life booklets “The Story of Baby Shalom” and “Teaching Children Chastity for Life.” Her Bachelor’s Degree is in Elementary Education, with a specialty in Communication Arts and Literature and Synod Certification, from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN. A life-long learner, Marie is enrolled in graduate courses from Memoria College’s Great Books program, and has coached speech team students in rhetoric and the progymnasmata and directed numerous homeschool musicals. Her husband Ryan serves as the Academic Dean of Luther Classical College in Casper, Wyoming. Together, they are blessed with seven children. Visit their website at 

Presentation Title 1: “Table Talk—Classical Morning Meeting, A Daily Dose of Beauty”

Presentation Description 1: In a busy day filled with excellent literature, captivating history, linguistic pursuits and more, it can be difficult to carve out time to reflect upon and receive the great works of Western art and music. Bringing together all ages and disciplines, a brief “morning meeting” incorporating classical art and music can set a beautiful tone that rings true the whole day long. Join Marie as she shares her vision for a classical morning meeting, explore how she has adapted it throughout her years in her home and co-op, and brainstorm how such an idea might serve your students.

Presentation Title 2: “Why Lutherans Should Read Dante’s Purgatorio

Presentation Description 2: When an excerpt of Dante’s Divine Comedy is presented to students, it is often from Inferno. This presentation will detail why Lutheran teachers might prefer Purgatorio instead. In light of scholarship positing that Dante’s purgatory is a metaphor for a Christian’s life on earth and specifically The Divine Service, there is a redeeming quality to an otherwise heretical teaching. Purgatorio delves into some beautiful Biblical teachings, including repentance, inspiration, angels, the two kingdoms, and more, that propel thoughtful class discussion. In comparison to Inferno’s grueling biographies, base humor, and vengeful punishments, if nothing else, the songs of the liturgy featured throughout Purgatorio make this classic worthwhile.

Dr. Ryan MacPherson

Bio: Dr. Ryan MacPherson serves as the Academic Dean of Luther Classical College. He brings to LCC twenty years’ experience as a professor of history and philosophy, plus a passion for classical Lutheran education at all levels. His publications include Rediscovering the American Republic: The Quest for Ordered Liberty and Studying Luther’s Large Catechism: A Workbook for Christian Discipleship. He and his wife Marie are homeschool parents of seven children. Learn more at

Presentation Title:Ars Docendi: The Best Teaching Methods for Your Students”

Presentation Description: Which techniques of classroom instruction and which kinds of assignments serve students best in a classical education? When should students read whole works, excerpts, or secondary-source summaries? When should they write short reflection papers or longer research papers? When should the teacher lecture, lead a discussion, or let students present to one another? Applying twenty years of college teaching experience and fifteen years of homeschooling, Dr. MacPherson will share wisdom for the classroom, from college down to the elementary levels. 

Mrs. Heather McCoy

Bio: Heather McCoy is a classical Lutheran home educator to three scholars and one graduate. Professionally, she is a teacher for students with learning differences with 20 years of experience in a variety of settings. She is currently a Special Needs Instructor with the Center for Students with Learning Differences at Schole Academy, a School of Classical Academic Press. Heather’s passion is to find paths for students with learning differences to access what is true, good, and beautiful in their education.

Presentation Title: “Learning Modalities as Instruments in the Symphony of Instruction: Tuning Up Students with Learning Differences”

Presentation Description: Home educators, classroom teachers, and virtual instructors will benefit from recognizing and using learning modalities of their students.Students with learning needs have many hurdles in their path of education. Identifying their learning modalities, and using those to help them overcome the hurdles provides a more positive education experience for all. When students learn to use their strengths to overcome their challenges, they develop a life skill that allows them to not just access, but appreciate the knowledge and beauty in God’s creation. They become a more productive participant in the symphony of the learning environment.

Mr. Tim Merritt

Bio: Mr. Merritt was born in Montana. His father was a pastor, missionary, and the head of disaster relief for the LCMS. Mr. Merritt graduated from Concordia University Irvine, CA in 1994 with a degree in Elementary Education. He has taught 2nd and 3rd grade prior to moving into high school. In addition to Faith, he taught at Grace Lutheran in Arlington, TX and Heavenly Host in Cookeville, TN. Mr. Merritt is privileged to serve in many roles including High School Principal, Technology Coordinator, and high school teacher. He has been at Faith since 1998 and was instrumental in starting the high school. He teaches Omnibus (a combination of Theology, Literature and History), Logic, Rhetoric, Computer applications, Speech, and Drama. Mr. Merritt and his wife have four sons, all of whom graduated for FLHS. Three are in college and one graduated from Texas A&M and is now an officer in the army. 

Presentation Title: “Table Talk Discussion: Lessons learned while starting a Lutheran classical high school”

Presentation Description: Starting a Lutheran, classical high school is a highly satisfying, complex, and demanding endeavor. This workshop aims to discuss some of the joys and challenges and offer practical tips on what it takes to start a high school.

Mr. Kirk Meyer

Bio: Kirk and his wife, Lawanda, own and operate Kloria Publishing, known for fostering the love of Lutheran hymns since 2005. Mr. Meyer graduated from Bethany Lutheran College with a degree in the Liberal Arts, a concentration in religious studies, and a mathematics minor. Outside of Kloria, he operates a software engineering consultancy and is an accomplished musician, playing piano and organ. The Meyers classically educate their four children at home in Casper, Wyoming. 

Presentation Title: “The Joy of Song in Home, Church, and School”

Presentation Description: Christians have always been found with music on their lips. Luther harnessed the catechetical impact of the Word in song; Lutherans today can reclaim their heritage as “the singing church,” resounding prayers and thanksgiving to God in and out of season. Attendees will appreciate the importance of memorizing time-tested hymns to sing at any time and during appropriate seasons of life. Practical suggestions will include: improving memorization; inviting more hymnody throughout the day; occasions for singing in the home and classroom; and which hymns to sing and why. Be ready to join together in song at a moment’s notice! 

Mrs. Erika Mildred

Bio: Mrs. Mildred lives in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She receives Christ’s gifts at Faith Lutheran Church in Plano. In 1999, Erika earned her B.A. in Secondary Education – English and Communications, with her Lutheran Teachers Diploma, from Concordia University, Chicago, IL. In 2017, Mrs. Mildred obtained her Classical Lutheran Educator Certification through the CCLE, and in 2021, she earned her M.Ed. in Mathematics Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington. Over the years, she has been privileged to work with children of all ages as a classroom teacher, a high school girls’ JV and varsity basketball coach, a personal and group tutor, an online educator, a day school principal, and a home school mom of two girls. She currently teaches for both Faith Lutheran School in Plano, TX, and for Wittenberg Academy. Mrs. Mildred has been involved with the CCLE since 1999, serving as a board member and treasurer from 2013 – 2019. Her favorite parts of teaching are those “aha moments,” when a concept clicks or a connection is made. She states, “Building confidence and a love for learning in students are gifts to them that last a lifetime; it is a privilege from God to impart those things to His children.”

Presentation Title: “Building Number Sense”

Presentation Description: This session will focus on tasks, activities, “chalk talks,” and examples that teachers of mathematics can use in their classrooms to help students improve their mathematical reasoning using the quadrivial arts of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

Deaconess Mary J. Moerbe

Bio: Mary J. Moerbe is an LCMS deaconess, writer, and educator. She loves to enable and encourage others and is particularly interested in words and theology. She and her husband, Rev. Ned A. Moerbe, are raising their six children at Memorial Lutheran Church and School in Houston, Texas. Mary’s books include Family Vocations: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenthood, and Childhood; How Can I Help: God’s Calling for Kids; Whisper, Whisper: Learning about Church; Blessed: God’s Gift of Love; Dear Mother, an LWML devotional; Ecclesial Poetry: Volume 1, and Trinity for Tots. Her website is She is also the founder and webmaster of 

Presentation Title: “Mercy and Classical Lutheran Education”

Presentation Description: In light of God’s Word and vocation, God does not call us to recite each word of a curriculum, but to teach specific embodied souls. He calls us to tailor our words and actions to our neighbors, and that means that every relationship, including the ones between students, teachers, families, and schools, may be surprisingly full of Christ’s mercy! How does mercy coexist with instruction and discipline? How does our mercy, as classical Lutheran educators, stem from Christ and the family? How does mercy affect our educational vocations to shape the whole man of our students?

Mr. Erik Morrissey and Mrs. Sarah Morrissey

Bio: Erik and Sarah Morrissey are both teachers at Our Savior Lutheran School in Houston, Texas. Sarah has been teaching at Our Savior for 18 years. She is a first grade teacher and head of the Lower Grammar School. Erik has been teaching at Our Savior for 24 years. He is the Language Arts teacher in the Logic School and head of the Literatus Lingua.

Presentation Title: “Learn By Heart and SQS”

Presentation Description: SQS stands for Scire Quod Sciendum– to know what to know. SQS is a designated time in each classroom to recite out loud and all together. The scholars recite memory Learn By Heart, timeline events, geography, Shurley English jingles, science and math facts, Latin grammar, and Literature Learn By Heart. Recitation and memorization are foundational in an Early Grammar classroom, practiced in Upper Grammar, and understood in the Logic School. This presentation will describe the planning and utilization of the curriculum and demonstrate the daily classroom practice in a Lower Grammar and Logic School classroom.

Rev. Dr. John Nordling

Bio: Dr. Nordling is a Lutheran pastor and professor of New Testament who has taught at Concordia Theological Seminary since September 2006.

Presentation Title: “Singing the Christ Hymn: Philippians 2”

Presentation Description: I have been working on Philippians for the Concordia Commentary Series for several years and in this context have been studying the Christ Hymn (Philippians 2:5–11). In this approximately 25 minute PowerPoint presentation I shall share some of what I’ve learned, spending time on the following aspects of the Hymn: authorship, structure, select theological themes, and the church’s enjoyment of this scripture through the centuries. We shall conclude the presentation by singing a verse from one of the many hymns that have been generated by this text of scripture.

Rev. Robert W. Paul

Bio: Pastor Paul lives in Houston, Texas and holds a BA from Concordia College, New York, Bronxville, New York (2008); M Div and STM from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana (2012 & 2013); and is a PhD candidate at Concordia Seminary, St Louis, Missouri. Pastor Paul serves as Associate Pastor and Headmaster at Memorial Lutheran Church and School, Houston, Texas. Pastor and his wife Amy have two sons and three daughters. 

Presentation Title: “Pedagogical Pick-Me-Ups: Restoratives from Augustine and Melanchthon”

Presentation Description: All teachers struggle with apathy in themselves and their students. Sometimes it comes in the second quarter of the school year, sometimes halfway through the first week of school. Teaching is a difficult task, albeit rewarding and fortifying. Then, even when teachers can actively overcome malaise and apathy, there are the still the challenges that come with bringing new material to their students. Learn from Augustine’s “On Catechizing the Uninstructed” and Melanchthon’s “On the Miseries of Teachers” this summer and through commiseration, catharsis and catechesis come away refreshed and encouraged for another year of teaching.

Mr. Joshua Pauling

Bio: Joshua Pauling is a classical educator, furniture-maker, and vicar at All Saints Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Charlotte, NC. He is the author of the book Education’s End: Its Undoing Explained, Its Hope Reclaimed, and co-author with Robin Phillips of the book We’re All Cyborgs Now: Technology and the Christian Faith. A contributing writer for Salvo and Modern Reformation, he has also written for Touchstone, Public Discourse, FORMA, Classical Lutheran Education Journal, LOGIA, Front Porch Republic, Mere Orthodoxy, and Quillette. He studied at Messiah University, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Winthrop University, and is pursuing additional studies at Concordia Theological Seminary. He also is a tutor with Classical Conversations, and worked in public education for thirteen years as a high school history teacher and coach. 

Presentation Title: “Humane Learning in the Machine Age: What History and the Classics Teach Us about Technology”

Presentation Description: Teachers, administrators, pastors, and parents are all facing massive challenges regarding AI, smartphones, and other digital technologies. This presentation will briefly highlight research on the impacts of digital technology and effective classroom strategies, but will focus most on enhancing our curriculum on this issue. How should we teach about technological changes? What assessment strategies and assignments are AI-proof? What does the classical tradition have to say about such questions? We will explore some curricular improvements and classic texts that can help students and teachers engage with these vital questions of what it means to be human in a machine age.

Mrs. Kristi Pauling

Bio: Kristi Pauling is a wife and homeschool mama, as well as the recipient of the 2023 Classical Exemplar Excellentiae Domi Award.

Presentation Title: “Memory Work that Works: A Homeschool Conversation”

Presentation Description: In this session I will share grammar-level strategies that have served me well in our family, specifically utilizing the Living Memory method as described in Andrew Campbell’s book of the same name. Attendees will assemble a three-ring binder (materials provided) to create their own memory notebook to take home. Be prepared to share with the group other strategies that have worked well in your own homeschool for memory work, including ideas for poems, hymns and other recitations. The strategies and methods discussed in this session also have applicability beyond the homeschool.

Mr. Nathaniel Pullman

Bio: Nathaniel Pullmann is a husband and the father of six children. He and his wife are both graduates of the finest liberal arts college in the country, Hillsdale College. He has spent more than a decade developing classical, Christian education options in Fort Wayne. In 2017, he founded and opened Redeemer Classical School. He is the headmaster of the school and a teacher there. Under his leadership, the school has grown every year since opening, quadrupling the number of students and faculty. He has also consulted with several other schools that are in the process of making their education more classical and with several groups that are trying to start new classical, Christian schools.

Presentation Title: “Preserving the Hierarchies: The Antidote to Woke Poison”

Presentation Description: Wokism is a postmodern mind virus; the popularization and culmination of the degenerate philosophies of Foucault and others like him. It is an anti-Christian, anti-Western system of thought created explicitly and deliberately to destroy the Church on earth and Western civilization. There is hope. Classical Lutheran education is the antidote to this poison. This presentation will briefly explain wokism and its philosophical roots as well as how classical Lutheran education is the best solution to it. We will discuss how proponents of wokism are trying to sneak it into both classical and Lutheran education, and how we can resist them.

Rev. Andrew Richard

Bio: Pastor Andrew Richard is the Assistant Pastor and Headmaster of Mount Hope Lutheran Church and School in Casper, WY. He teaches Religion, History, English, Literature, Poetry, Logic, and Rhetoric to the upper level students, as well as Latin classes. Pastor Richard serves on the board of regents for Luther Classical College and is the lead editor for Christian Culture: A Magazine for Lutherans. He is also one of the founders of the Bach to Church Project ( He enjoys studying the biblical and classical languages, writing poetry and hymns, singing, and reading great works of literature. Pastor Richard is married and has six children.

Presentation Title: “How to Read a Poem”

Presentation Description: Poetry is the height of any language, and yet can prove challenging because of its loftiness. Through studying the poems of great poets—such as Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, and John Donne—attendees will become more familiar with meters and rhyme schemes, rhetorical figures, and archaic words. Attendees will receive a packet with rhetorical figures, poems for practicing analysis, recommended reading, and more.

Mrs. Christine Rivers

Bio: Mrs. Rivers holds a B.A. in English Secondary Education from Concordia University Chicago and an M.A. in English Literature, Composition, and Rhetoric from The Ohio State University. She began teaching in 2001, and she has taught every grade level from kindergarten to college. Mrs. Rivers loves Victorian novels, iconography, absurd amounts of coffee, and taking epic road trips with her husband and three children.

Presentation Title:Semper Viligans: Faithful Management of the Classical Lutheran Classroom”

Presentation Description: While the classical Lutheran teacher must be an expert in his subject matter, he must also be an expert in managing his classroom. In this presentation, we will discuss what it means to manage a classroom, what common pitfalls we as teachers face, and what is at stake.

Mrs. Katie Schuermann

Bio: A native of central Illinois, author Katie Schuermann studied vocal pedagogy and literature at Greenville University before earning graduate degrees in both choral conducting and music history from the University of Missouri—Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music. Today, she is a full-time homemaker, part-time musician, and seasonal writer whose “authentic, lyrical” (Arthur Just, 2011) voice has been enjoyed by readers across the world. Mrs. Schuermann’s feature article, “A Light in the Darkness,” in the September/October 2013 issue of Lutherans Engage the World, was given an Award of Merit from the Associated Church Press, and her debut novel, House of Living Stones (CPH, 2014), was a 2015 Christy Award finalist under the category of First Novel. Most recently, her hymn text, “Open Wide the Chapel Doors,” was chosen as the winner of the 175th Anniversary hymn competition of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mrs. Schuermann currently resides in Champaign, Illinois with her husband of 22 years, the Rev. Michael P. Schuermann. When not writing, she can be found singing, gardening, cooking, holding babies, or trying to climb the nearest tree.

Presentation Title: “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Presentation Description: Join author Katie Schuermann as she discusses the art of writing hymn texts in collaboration with composers.

Mr. Davis Smith

Bio: Davis C. Smith is a student of the liberal arts who earned his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (emphases in Music, English, and Philosophy) from Bethany Lutheran College in May 2024. In Fall 2024, he will be attending Hillsdale College to study for an M.A. in Classical Education, and hopes to pursue doctoral work in literature and/or theology. His academic interests include the Western literary tradition (particularly the English Renaissance and Romanticism), modern cultural history, church music, and aesthetics. 

Presentation Title: “The Light of Faith in Sound: J.S. Bach and the Lutheran Mind”

Presentation Description: This paper offers a paradigm for understanding the music of J.S. Bach through Lutheran eyes: as a supremely creative engagement with the theology of Luther and the Confessions, and a prime model for the serving of God and one’s neighbor through the artistic vocation. I will also demonstrate that familiarity with Bach is a pivotal component of Lutheran classical education. To present a typical example of Bach’s fertile theological imagination, I will discuss three instances where he uses Luther’s chorale Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin (the Nunc Dimittis) to provide “glory to God and refreshment to the soul”.

Mr. Daniel Snyder

Bio: Dan Snyder comes to classical education via a path of many turns that saw him as a Marine, a soldier, a video game designer, an international opera singer, and professional church musician. His work has been featured and reviewed in Wired magazine, PCgamer, on the Discovery Channel as well as in Opera News and the Kurt Weill Newsletter among other publications. He has performed as a vocal soloist in dozens of major works and operatic roles ranging from Verdi to Wagner, with symphonies and opera houses from Berlin to San Francisco. With the U.S. Army Chorus he frequently performed at the White House. His education has progressed through Bryan College, George Mason University, Mannes Conservatory of Music, and the New School in New York, continuing his graduate work at New St. Andrews College in classical studies. As an educator, he designed military training for the US Army and Marine Corps, and was instructional video producer for the American Red Cross. He began teaching at the Classical School of Wichita in 2013 in the Rhetoric School, and since 2022 has served as headmaster of Concordia Academy-Wichita. His wife is Tracee Snyder, accompanist and music teacher.

Presentation Title: “Sonnets: Material Logic and Rhetoric”

Presentation Description: By working within the Sonnet’s fertile basis, students will learn to think deeply, plan their work in conformation to Sonnet form, use the principles of invention and the understanding of the properties of language itself to synthesize work that delights in its creativity and informs by its academic acuity.

Mr. Tom Strickland

Bio: Mr Strickland taught in higher education for 15 years. He is a seasoned executive, volunteer church worker, a graduate from Immanuel Lutheran School in Alexandria Virginia (“in a really olden time”). He was Chairman School Board of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church and School during the conversion to classical education in 2004 and presided during the call of the first Headmaster.  He has served many years on the school board and recently returned to school board service.   He was Chairman of the Trustees presiding over a 6.2 million dollar building and renovation program of the church and school as well as many years of service on the board of Trustees. Professionally Mr Strickland has served in leadership positions in both the area of technology and operations with a passion for helping companies grow. He and his wife attend Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Alexandria Virginia and enjoy flying light aircraft at every opportunity.

Presentation Title: “Screen Time: Concerning, Evil, or Useful?”

Presentation Description: This discussion explores  technology, screen time, social media,  the evils and suggests proper use of technology.

Mr. Joshua Swigart

Bio: Mr. Joshua Swigart is Headmaster of Zion Lutheran School in Nampa, Idaho and student of the American Lutheran Theological Seminary. He has taught Theology, Biblical Studies, and Marriage and Family Ethics to upper level students. He enjoys teaching, reading the Church Fathers, and discussing Theology and Philosophy. He and his wife, Allie, have two children and live in Nampa, Idaho.

Presentation Title: “Teaching Marriage and Family Ethics”

Presentation Description: Today the attack against the Church is the greatest against God’s design for marriage and family and many drift from the faith being tempted by the World’s views of gender, marriage, sex, parenting, and children. Classical Lutheran educators usually integrate Marriage and Family ethics into their curriculum, but this implicit way of teaching is insufficient by itself. We need to intentionally and systematically teach Marriage and Family Ethics to upper level students. This presentation provides the purpose and implementation of such a course.

Mrs. Kate Thoelke

Bio: Kate Thoelke serves as Principal of Our Savior Lutheran School and previously served as St. Paul-Hamel’s principal, Lower Grammar and Music Teacher. She has served Lutheran schools and congregations in Chicago, Ft. Wayne, and St. Charles County, MO. She classically homeschooled her three daughters for nearly ten years, serving as a Classical Conversations Tutor, Tutor Trainer, and St. Louis Parent Practicum Speaker 2015. 

Presentation Title: “Choosing Classical Curriculum for Your School”

Presentation Description: While choices may seem endless, the right choice for your classical school or homeschool is out there. It takes careful consideration to select the best classical curriculum . Your choices will determine how your school will deliver the beauties of classical Lutheran education.

Dr. Jackquelyn Veith

Bio: Jackquelyn Veith, married to Gene Edward Veith, has three adult children and twelve grandchildren. She earned her BS from the University of Oklahoma, her MS from Concordia University Wisconsin, and her Ed.D. from Shenandoah University. Her research and experience (33+ years) have convinced her that classical education is the strongest approach that Lutheran schools can provide for the future of the church and society. She supports the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education (CCLE) through school accreditation and teacher /administrator certification processes. She is a member of Village Lutheran Church, Ladue, MO.

Presentation Titles: “Accreditation” and “Certification”

Presentation Description: Dr. Veith will describe the process of CCLE school accreditation from the perspectives of a school and a visiting team member. If you’re thinking about accreditation, this satisfies the first step–to attend the conference accreditation session.

Dr. Gene Edward Veith

Bio: Gene Edward Veith, Jr., is a writer and a retired literature professor. He is Provost Emeritus at Patrick Henry College and the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He previously served as Culture Editor of WORLD MAGAZINE and Professor of English and Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Concordia University Wisconsin. He is the author or editor of 28 books, including Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture; The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals; Classical Education; and God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. Dr. Veith was born in Oklahoma in 1951. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1973 and received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Kansas in 1979. He was given an honorary doctorate from Concordia Theological Seminary in 2005 and from Concordia University California in 2014. He has taught at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and was a Visiting Professor at Wheaton College, Gordon College, and Regent College (Vancouver). He was also a Visiting Lecturer at the Estonian Institute of Humanities in Tallinn, Estonia. He and his wife Jackquelyn have three grown children and twelve grandchildren. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.

Presentation Title: “Teaching the Imagination”

Presentation Description: We often think of “imagination” in terms of creativity, the arts, and aesthetics. It does relate to those things, but, properly, it is a faculty of the mind that everyone has: the ability to conjure up “images”–pictures, experiences, sense impressions–in our minds. Imagination, like the other mental faculties, needs to be trained, shaped, and developed. We can sin with our imaginations, just as we can use our imaginations to be more effective in loving and serving our neighbors. Literature is one way classical educators build up the imagination, but it is also important as a tool for science, philosophy, ethics, and pretty much every subject.

Sectional Sessions

Introduction to Classical Lutheran Education I
Rev. Rene Castillero
Mercy and Classical Lutheran Education
Deaconess Mary J. Moerbe
Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in Faculty Formation

Mrs. Julia Habrecht

Learning Modalities as Instruments in the Symphony of Instruction: Tuning Up Students with Learning Differences

Mrs. Heather McCoy

Introduction to Classical Lutheran Education II

Rev. Rene Castillero

Singing the Christ Hymn: Philippians 2

Rev. Dr. John Nordling

Seven Components of Teaching from Rest

Mrs. Leah Bromen

Learn, Love, and Teach Hymns Using Song Cards

Mrs. Stephanie Cholak

Introduction to Classical Lutheran Education III

Rev. Rene Castillero

Building Number Sense

Mrs. Erika Mildred

Sonnets: Material Logic and Rhetoric

Mr. Daniel Synder

Ad Fontes: A New Song for a New Exodus in Book IV of the Psalter?

Rev. Dr. Adam Hensley

Table Talk Discussion: Lessons Learned While Starting a Lutheran Classical High School

Mr. Tim Merritt

Ars Docendi: The Best Teaching Methods for Your Students

Dr. Ryan MacPherson

Teaching Latin with Comprehensible Input: The Books and The Back-and-Forth that Make it Happen

Mr. Bryce Hedstrom

Teaching the Littles to Sing: A Lutheran Approach to Preschool and Young Elementary Music and Choir

Mrs. Liz Ekblad

Aristotle’s Appeals: Ancient Rhetoric to Defeat Cancel Culture

Rev. Paul Cain

CCLE Accreditation
Dr. Jackquelyn Veith
Semper Viligans: Faithful Management of the Classical Lutheran Classroom

Mrs. Christy Rivers

The Light of Faith in Sound: J.S. Bach and the Lutheran Mind
Mr. Davis Smith
Memory Work that Works: A Homeschool Conversation

Mrs. Kristi Pauling

Pedagogical Pick-Me-Ups: Restoratives from Augustine and Melanchthon

Rev. Robert W. Paul

Why Lutherans Should Read Dante’s Purgatorio
Mrs. Marie MacPherson
Early Lutheran Choral Music
Miss Hannah Engwall
Do You Hear What I Hear?

Mrs. Katie Schuermann

CCLE Certification
Dr. Jackquelyn Veith
Humane Learning in the Machine Age: What History and the Classics Teach Us about Technology
Mr. Josh Pauling
Introduction to Norms & Nobility

Mrs. Catherine Deddens

Choosing Classical Curriculum for Your School
Mrs. Kate Thoelke
Sing to the Lord a GOOD New Song

Mr. Nathanael Hahn

AI: The latest wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Mrs. Jocelyn Benson
The Classroom Catechism: The “Song” of the Heart, Mind, and Body

Deaconess Elizabeth Ahlman

How to Read a Poem

Rev. Andrew Richard

Teaching the Imagination

Dr. Gene Edward Veith

Teaching Math Classically: Using Tools of the Trivium to Support K-12 Mathematics Education

Mrs. Cheryl Jordan

Teaching Marriage and Family Ethics

Mr. Josh Swigart

Built on the Rock: communicating text through

Dr. Elizabeth Grimpo

Preserving the Hierarchies: The Antidote to Woke Poison

Mr. Nathaniel Pullmann

Learn By Heart and SQS

Mr. Eric Morrissey and Mrs. Sarah Morrissey

Teaching Music in a Classical Lutheran School: Curriculum and Culture

Mrs. Nicole Busarow

Lecture-Recital: Dietrich Buxtehude’s Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein, BuxWV 210

Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman

Where Charity and Love Prevail: Aristotle on Humility and Friendship
Rev. Dr. David Coe
Of Lions, Logic, and Lutherans: The Place of Reason and the Imagination in Theology

Mr. Caleb Hoverson

Geometry, as Told by Euclid

Miss Faith Hoppen

Table Talk Discussion: Faculty Formation

Mrs. Jocelyn Benson

Lady Rhetoric: the Commander, the Teacher, the Parent

Rev. Brennick Christiansen

Table Talk Discussion: Classical Morning Meeting: A Dose of Daily Beauty

Mrs. Marie MacPherson

Screen Time: Concerning, Evil, or Useful?

Mr. Tom Strickland

The Joy of Song in Home, Church, and School

Mr. Kirk Meyer

Plenary Speakers Panel Discussion

Rev. Mark DeGarmeaux

Rev. Stephen Kieser

Rev. Dr. David Petersen

Rev. Dr. Christian Preus


22 July(Mon) 23 July (Tue) 24 July (Wed) 25 July (Thu) 26 July (Fri)
Information Desk
Information Desk
Information Desk



Plenary: Psalms


Plenary: Hymns


Plenary: Spiritual Songs


CCLE choirs performance
Sectional sessions 1
Sectional sessions 5
Sectional sessions 9
Plenary panel discussion
Vendor set-up
Itinerarium & end
Sectional sessions 2
Sectional sessions 6
Sectional sessions 10
Sectional sessions 3
Sectional sessions 7
Sectional sessions 11
Sectional sessions 4
Sectional sessions 8
Sectional sessions 12
Dinner on own
Fellowship dinner
Scholasticus social


by Wittenberg Academy


7:30pm Organ concert


Hymn sing

Children's Programs

Children are encouraged to attend the CCLE summer conference with their parents! Each year, we offer programs for our younger attendees while parents attend the adult sessions. Lunches, dinners, and evening events are enjoyed together as a family.

The CCLE’s Grammaticus and Pre-Grammaticus programs provide an enriching, edifying environment for your children to interact with new and existing friends. Children will engage in educational activities and enjoy games outside. They will sing beautiful hymns and sacred music with meaningful texts and their imaginations will be kindled as they listen to our program’s featured read-aloud novel. Crafts and hands-on activities are also included.

The Grammaticus program will include a sub-track for children aged 6-12 years old with enriching and edifying content, activities, and fun.
The Pre-Grammaticus program is for children aged 3-5. Children ages 0-5 are also welcome to spend time in our dedicated playroom with their parents.

Space for the Grammaticus program is limited! Be sure to register early to secure your spot (registration opens March 1).


Ages 3-5

The Pre-Grammaticus program will engage the younger children at their developmental level and provide closer supervision with a lower child to caregiver ratio. A playroom is also available for parents and children ages 0-5.


Ages 6-12

Students will sing beautiful hymns and sacred music with meaningful texts. Their imaginations will be kindled as they listen to our hero’s adventures in the program’s read-aloud novel. Of course there will also be games, indoor and outdoor playtime, crafts, and more. 


Ages 13-18

Designed to create educational and formative opportunities for attendees aged 13-18. The program will include instructional sessions, educational activities, and fellowship opportunities with like-minded Lutherans of the same age.

Register your family

Discounted registration prices are available for families. Discounted conference registration for volunteers.
Members must be logged in to receive member discounts. Registration prices will increase on May 1.
Click the button below to see options.

Lodging Suggestions

CUNE Dorms

Rooms and suites available.

Space is limited, reserve now!

East Hill Inn & Suites

131 E Highway 34
Seward, NE 68434


2 mins from CUNE.

Cobblestone Inn

2575 Progressive Road,
Seward, NE, 68434

7 mins from CUNE.

Blue Valley Campground

There are NO RESERVATIONS for camping, it is on a first come basis. 

Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities

The annual conference attracts pastors, administrators, teachers, homeschool parents, students, and higher education faculty from al over the country who are interested in classical education, classical curricula, or Lutheran theological materials.

Availability is limited, register now!

Discounted registration prices are available for families. Discounted conference registration for volunteers.
Members must login to receive member discounts. Registration prices will increase on May 1.
Click the button below to see options.
Register Now