Our Team

Operations

Michael Van Hecke, M.Ed.
President

Elisabeth Sullivan
Executive Director

Colleen Richards
Director of School Services

Dr. Andrew Seeley
Director of Advanced Formation

Dr. Alyssan Barnes
Senior Faculty

Erin Heule
Communications and Program Associate

Elisabeth Seeley
Administrative Assistant

Board of Directors

Bishop Robert Barron
Auxiliary Bishop
Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA

Rev. John Belmonte, S.J.
Superintendent of Catholic Education
Diocese of Venice, FL

Marie de Lorimier
The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education

Mary Pat Donoghue
Secretariat of Catholic Education,
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Katherine Gschwind
de Nicola Center for Ethics & Culture
University of Notre Dame 

Mary Rice Hasson
The Ethics & Public Policy Center
Catholic Women’s Forum

Luke Macik, J.D.
The Lyceum

Rev. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dr. Andrew Seeley
Thomas Aquinas College

David Stiennon
St. Ambrose Academy 

Elisabeth Sullivan
The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education

Michael Van Hecke, M.Ed.
St. Augustine Academy
The Catholic Textbook Project

Advisory Board

Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, C.S.B.
Archbishop of Vancouver

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
Patron – Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Most Reverend James D. Conley
Bishop of Lincoln

Dr. Dominic A. Aquila
University of St. Thomas, Houston

Sr. Mary Anne Zuberbueler, O.P.
Principal, Mary Immaculate School, Dallas

Michael J. Van Hecke, M.Ed. 

President

Michael is the President and Founder of The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education. He has been a Catholic educator for 30 years, most recently he served as Headmaster of St. Augustine Academy in Ventura for 20 years. He received a B.A. in classical Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of North Texas. He is President and Publisher of the Catholic Textbook Project, a company producing the first history textbooks specifically for Catholic Schools in nearly 50 years. As a consultant and speaker, Michael loves to share his passion for Catholic liberal education across the country. When not doing that, he enjoys life with his wife doting on grandchildren and tending on their avocado ranch in bucolic Santa Paula, California.

Elisabeth Sullivan

Executive Director

A former journalist, Elisabeth developed her passion for Catholic liberal education while exploring authentic formation in faith and reason for her own children. She 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 our annual conference, and promotes our 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. She and her husband live in North Carolina and have three sons.

Dr. Andrew Seeley

Director of Advanced Formation

For more than two decades, Dr. Andrew Seeley has been a Tutor at Thomas Aquinas College in California. Dr. Seeley 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. He and his wife, Lisa, have six children and seven grandchildren.

Colleen Richards

Director of School Services

Colleen Richards is ICLE’s Director of School Services, leading our teacher training and school advising efforts around the country. After 17 years of classroom teaching in a variety of Catholic elementary and high schools, she spent eight years as the second headmaster of St. John Bosco Schools in East Rochester, New York. Colleen led the school’s adoption of the St. Jerome Academy Educational Plan, training teachers and growing in the school to double its size. In 2014, she led the opening of Chesterton Academy of Rochester as part of the new Chesterton Schools Network, making the institution an option for a complete Catholic education for students from Pre-K through twelfth grade. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Canisius College, a Master’s Degree from the University of Phoenix in Curriculum and Instruction, and holds New York State Teacher Certification.

Dr. Alyssan Barnes

Senior Faculty

Dr. Alyssan 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. She currently teaches a graduate course on the trivium for the master’s program in classical ed at the University of Dallas, and she also serves as an Alcuin Fellow for the Society for Classical Learning.

Erin Heule

Communications and Program Associate, Faculty Member

Erin Heule was first introduced to liberal education as a middle school teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School in Denver, Colorado.  Although she was not the beneficiary of a liberal arts education, she has always felt a strong affinity for the great works of the Western Tradition.  She received a B.A. from Gonzaga University in English Literature in 2014 and became a Certified Classical Teacher through the CiRCE Institute in 2019.  Erin was delighted to join the ICLE team as the Communications and Program Associate in 2020. She continues to enjoy learning more about the great  cultural inheritance of the liberal arts tradition. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, John, and three children, Martha, Otto, and Phoebe.

Elisabeth Seeley

Administrative Assistant

Elisabeth has been steeped in Catholic liberal education her whole life. She graduated high school from St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, CA and received her B.A. in classical Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA. She worked in the Human Resources department at the college for almost a year after graduating. The daughter of our Director of Advanced Formation, Dr. Andrew T. Seeley, she has long been inspired by the dedication of the Institute’s team members and the fruit their work has born. After several years of volunteering with the Institute, she was delighted to join the team in September of 2020.

ICLE Faculty Consultants

Rosemary Vander Weele

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Rosemary was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She earned an undergraduate degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville and graduate degrees in Catholic Leadership from the Augustine Institute and Education Administration from Regis University. In 2011, after teaching middle school English and history for seven years, Rosemary was appointed principal of Our Lady of Lourdes, which at the time had less than 100 students and was identified for closure the following year. At the encouragement of then-Auxiliary Bishop James Conley, she led the school through a renewal in the Catholic liberal arts that resulted in a return to maximum enrollment within seven years and the addition of a second campus in the fall of 2018. Rosemary now serves as President of Our Lady of Lourdes, overseeing the continued development of both campuses.

Danny Flynn

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Danny Flynn came to St Jerome Academy in 2010. He taught the 8th grade humanities core for 6 years. He has served as the Principal for the last 4 years. He holds a BA from Franciscan University and an MSE from Trinity University. He is happily married and the father of 13.

Dr. Arthur Hippler

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Arthur 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. He is married with five children.

Dr. Merrill Roberts

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Dr. Merrill 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. Dr. Roberts is the Co-director of Music at St. Jerome’s Parish, where he strives to emphasize the beauty and truth inherent in the Mass, along with his wife Elizabeth. Merrill and Elizabeth live in Hyattsville, MD, and are blessed to be the parents of four active, inquisitive young men.