In June 2022, Core Virtues transferred to the stewardship of the University of Dallas. This transfer was borne of mutual admiration, great synergy, and months of conversation. UD is the only university in the country to offer a Master’s degree in Classical Education. The Core Virtues program (piloted in 1992) predates the burgeoning classical school movement, but shares many of its goals. Classical schools are distinguished for their commitment to academic rigor and virtues-based character education. The University of Dallas, through its Saint Ambrose Center and its Center for the Arts of Liberty, is a robust resource for classical schools and assists a network of K-12 schools that share these goals. Now part of the university’s educational toolkit, the Core Virtues program will offer K-6 schools in their network and beyond an intentional and uplifting approach to character education.
We at the Core Virtues Foundation sought out and welcomed this opportunity for the future of Core Virtues. We have strong confidence in the talents of key people at the University to advance this work. In the years ahead, we foresee an army of energetic faculty and graduate students at UD, working to expand both the reach of the program and the range of its literary offerings.
Core Virtues schools and teachers, who rely on the regularly updated Core Virtues website, should fear no loss. The website will be strongly supported and advanced in its new stewardship, and eventually will be fully integrated into the U.D. platform. Until such time, however, the website will maintain its current address, configuration and accessibility. All the resources you’ve come to rely on will still be found here, and key members of the Foundation will be working with UD to assist in a smooth transition.
This springboard program, building character “one story at a time” as our tagline announces, is designed to inspire all children to know and love the good through the structured reading of quality literature. Our new home will ensure that Core Virtues lives on. We hope you’ll join us in tossing hats in the air at this Core Virtues-University of Dallas commencement.
Jean Behnke is the former Head of School at Crossroads Academy. A graduate of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jean holds her Ed.M. from Harvard University. Prior to her headship, she was a teacher and division head at the Tower School in Marblehead MA. During her thirteen-year tenure as Head of School (2009-2015) at Crossroads, Jean oversaw the implementation and integration of Core Virtues into a highly challenging and rigorous academic program (the Core Knowledge Sequence). She has been deeply impressed by the impact of Core Virtues on the formation of student character, social skills, and habits of mind that improve academic performance and understanding. Jean was responsible for two NEASC accreditations, a major capital campaign, creation of the school endowment, mapping of the school's academic and Core Virtues programs, and also served as the first female Board member of Independent School Association of Northern New England (ISANNE). She returned to Crossroads as Acting Head in 2020-2021, and retired in Spring 2021.
John Cribb is a bestselling author who has written about subjects ranging from history to education. His most recent work is his novel on our sixteenth president, Old Abe (Republic Publishers, 2020). His previous work includes coauthoring The American Patriot’s Almanac and The Educated Child, both New York Times bestsellers; co-editing The Human Odyssey, a 3-volume world history text, and developing on-line history courses. He also worked as Bill Bennett’s collaborator on the New York Times #1 bestseller The Book of Virtues. His writing has been published in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, National Review Online, Fox News Online and several other publications. During the Reagan administration, he worked at the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was also a co-founder of Bulletin Intelligence, a leading digital publisher of open-source intelligence briefings.A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, he studied literature at Vanderbilt University. He lives in Spartanburg with his wife, Kirsten, and his daughters, Molly and Sarah.
Kevin Ryan is the founder and Director Emeritus of the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character at Boston University, now called the Center for Character and Social Responsibility. A former high school English teacher, he earned a Ph. D. in Education and has taught on the faculties of Stanford, the University of Chicago, the Ohio State University, the University of Lisbon and Boston University. He was a founding member of the Board of St. Benedict's Classical Academy in Natick, MA. He has written twenty-two books on character formation and teacher education. His book with Karen Bohlin, Building Character in Schools, Practical Ways to Bring Moral Instruction to Life (Josse-Bass, 2003) remains a classic and is still in print. Kevin is married with three grown children and ten grandchildren. Now retired, with his wife Marilyn, he writes regular columns on education and other social issues for two publications.
Javier Valenzuela is the founder and President of Mikros Technologies in Claremont, New Hampshire. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Javier holds his M.S. and Sc.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Valenzuela is a successful entrepreneur and business owner, who has at times turned his engineering expertise to the field of education. He is one of the founders of Crossroads Academy (1991), served for eight years on that School’s board, and is co-founder of the Core Virtues Foundation, where he serves as CVF’s Treasurer.
Betsy Warren has over thirty years of experience in education, including twenty-four years at Crossroads Academy, where she was a founding teacher who helped launch the Core Virtues curriculum. A graduate with a B.S. in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, Betsy worked and taught for three years at the L’Abri Fellowship in Huemoz, Switzerland, and then at high schools in Colorado and Missouri, where she particularly enjoyed coaching. She home-schooled her three children before becoming a founding teacher at Crossroads, then Director of the Lower School Character Education program, and Director of Admissions for thirteen years. She is married with three grown children, and three adorable grandsons, and enjoys hiking, cycling, skiing and volunteering at The Haven and community dinners in Lebanon, NH.
Emily Lehman is our Artistic Director, responsible for our social media presence, newsletters, and maintaining the website. Emily designed the Arts of Liberty website for the University of Dallas, has worked in publication for online magazines, and has an active scholarly life. She is currently completing her Ph.D. thesis on "Literature as Moral Narrative" at the University of St Andrews, and is a visiting researcher at the University of Notre Dame.
Eileen Sweeney is retired from work at Core Virtues. A graduate of St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, Eileen holds a B.F.A with a concentration in photography. She was the owner of Heirloom Portraits and did professional photography for many years before pursuing her graduate work in Web Design. Eileen developed the first Core Virtues website, and has contributed to numerous websites, designs for electronic newsletters, and marketing brochures. Eileen is a passionate quilter, and teaches courses in Custom Longarm Quilting. She lives with her husband Morgan in Michigan.