ICLE introduces a groundbreaking national alternative to state teacher licensure:

Catholic Educator

Formation and Credential Program


Aquinas College, Nashville, TN

In-Person & Online Components

Program Description

The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education is now offering a robust alternative to state teacher licensure: a credential program that prepares educators to infuse a deeply Catholic philosophy and practice of education into their teaching. The credential earned by teachers in ICLE’s Catholic Educator Formation and Credential Program (CEFCP) is designed to be portable and recognized by dioceses across the nation in lieu of state licensure.

The 2022-2023 cohort will be limited to 40 teachers at the K-8 teaching level. Future cohorts will include teachers at the high school level.

FORMAT: The CEFCP is an 18-month program of five integrated courses delivered through in-person workshops and distance learning:

1. The Virtuous Classroom
2. Pedagogy: Leading From Wonder To Wisdom
3. Trivium: The Mastery of Language
4. Quadrivium: The Harmony of Number
5. Faith and Reason: The Foundations of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

In-person dates: August 1-5, 2022, January 12-16, 2023, and June 26-30, 2023
Location: Aquinas College, 4210 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205

Online components: Conducted via synchronous and asynchronous meetings; also includes teacher observations via video recordings.

For more information, please view our brochure:

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and a teaching position in the 2022-2023 school year.

TUITION: $5,900 plus books ($100-200)

RELATED COSTS: Lodging/meal costs at Aquinas College are approximately $1,800 total for three trips. Accommodations will be in a dormitory at Aquinas College, and all meals will be provided there. (Lodging/meal payments to Aquinas College will be made through ICLE.)

CONTACT: For any questions on programming or financing, please contact Dr. Alyssan Barnes at abarnes@catholicliberaleducation.org or 844-425-3832 x706.

MEET YOUR Instructors:

Alyssan Barnes, Ph.D.

Dr. Barnes studied the trivium at the University of Dallas in graduate school, and she began teaching at trivium-based schools in 2001. She most recently served as a teacher of formal rhetoric, AP English, and moral philosophy at a classical Christian high school in Waco, Texas. As a convert in 2010, she is delighted to bring her passion for liberal education together with her Catholic faith by helping develop teacher formation programs as Senior Faculty at ICLE. She is the author of two high school textbooks: Rhetoric Alive: Principles of Persuasion and Rhetoric Alive: Senior Thesis Student Workbook.

Merill Roberts, Ph.D.

Dr. Roberts is a post-doctoral researcher at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, where he studies solar coronal transients and performs forward modeling for the Parker Solar Probe mission. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from The Catholic University of America in 2018, where he is currently a lecturer, and his Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College in 2003. He combines his passions for nature and education as the Nature Studies teacher at St. Jerome Academy where he has instructed 5th through 8th graders from 2010 to the present.

Elisabeth Sullivan, M.S.

A former journalist, Elisabeth joined the Institute in 2010 to advance this vision and train educators in its philosophy and practice. As Executive Director, she develops ICLE’s program content and publications, designs the annual national conference, and promotes ICLE’s mission through speaking engagements across the country. Elisabeth is a CiRCE-Certified Classical Teacher who has taught middle school writing and literature, served on Catholic school boards, and served as director of communications for a liberal arts school in the Catholic tradition. She holds a B.S. in Humanities from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Andrew Seeley, Ph.D.

For three decades, Dr. Seeley has been a Tutor at Thomas Aquinas College in California. He received a Licentiate from the Pontifical Institute in Medieval Studies (Toronto) and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto (1995). He has taught joyfully and extensively in all the areas of a Great Books curriculum. Desiring to share his love of Catholic learning, Dr. Seeley joined the Institute in 2005, currently serving as its Director of Advanced Formation.

Arthur Hippler, Ph.D.

Dr. Hippler is Chairman of the Religion Department at Providence Academy, where he has taught since 2006. He also teaches as an adjunct professor in St. Paul School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas and as an instructor in the Harry Flynn Catechetical Institute for the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. A graduate of Thomas Aquinas College in California, he received his Doctorate in Philosophy from Boston College. He is the author of four books, two on Catholic social teaching and two iBooks on C. S. Lewis.

APPLICATION FOR DIOCESES: We invite and encourage cohorts from dioceses. Please contact Dr. Barnes through the form below.

APPLICATION FOR INDIVIDUALS: Individual applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis and can expect to hear back within two weeks of submitting the application. Please fill out the form below.

APPLICATION form for individuals

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Please enter the information for one person who can act as a reference.
This essay (maximum 500 words) should describe why you wish to participate in this program and how you hope to use what you learn.