Arete Speakers

James K.A. Smith

James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview.  The award-winning author of Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? and Desiring  the Kingdom, his recent books include Imagining the Kingdom (2013), Who’s Afraid of Relativism? (2014), and How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (2014).  His new book, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, was just published by Brazos.

His popular writing has appeared in magazines such as Christianity TodayBooks & Culture, and First Thingsand periodicals such as the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and USA Today.  Smith is also a Senior Fellow of Cardus and serves as editor of Comment magazine.

Greg Thornbury

Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury leads The King’s College as its sixth President. A man of classical intellect and deep, abiding Christianity, he  continues to lead the College in its commitment to the Bible, the liberal arts, and to educating and training superior graduates  to lead and to engage culture.

Formerly a Professor of Philosophy, Dean of the School of Theology and Vice President for Spiritual Life at Union University in Tennessee, Thornbury has spent his career in higher education. A writer and speaker on philosophy, theology, education, spirituality, and public thought, Thornbury is poised to help The King’s College further the legacy of the great Christian intellectual tradition that has shaped Western culture.

Keith Nix

Along with serving as the Head of School at Veritas School since 2010, Mr. Nix serves as the Chairman for the Society for Classical Learning. He also serves on the board of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) and has served on the Board of the Virginia Council for Private Education since 2013. Prior to moving to Veritas in 2010, Keith was a board member, and then later Head of School at The Westminster School in Birmingham, Alabama from 2004 – 2010. He is a founding Arête Fellow and has facilitated the Arete Fellowship gatherings since 2009. He frequently consults with classical Christian school boards and leaders. Prior to working in classical Christian schools, Keith was President of Nixgroup, a boutique consulting firm working with start-up and early stage organizations and businesses. Mr. Nix plays tennis competitively, hopes to improve his golf game, and loves to read great books. He is married to Kim, an accomplished artist; the Nixes have two grown sons and a daughter in college.

Eric Cook

Eric Cook is from Lexington, Kentucky, but worked in schools in Ohio and Virginia before joining Covenant Classical School in 2009. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from Transylvania University, and a master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from Northern Kentucky University. He has taught history, political science, psychology and philosophy in public schools, and served as an assistant principal for several years. In 2006, Eric felt called to join the classical Christian school movement and became the Middle and Upper School Head at Faith Christian School in Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to his leadership roles, Eric taught apologetics, theology, philosophy of religion, and served as thesis director.

Eric serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Society for Classical Learning. The Society is a national organization that exists to “foster human flourishing by making classical Christian education thrive.” Eric is excited about the work God is doing among classical Christian schools across the country and is honored to serve the movement. He speaks and writes about classical Christian education in a variety of contexts, but is most honored to lead a growing and thriving K-12 school in Fort Worth.

Amy Burgess

Amy Burgess joined Covenant’s administration team as the Admission/Marketing Director in 2013. Amy attended Biola University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism, and a minor in Biblical Studies. After college she was the Associate Editor on the VMI Alumni Review magazine, a newspaper reporter for the Wichita Falls Times-Record News, and a freelance writer for a variety of publications. Amy and her husband, Josh, have two children who attend Covenant.

Peter Baur

Peter Baur has been professionally involved in the field of independent school education for over thirty years. His tenure has been marked by firsthand experience in nearly every aspect of a kindergarten through grade twelve private schools including admission, college guidance, development, community service, capital campaigns, conferences, strategic planning, major events, marketing and public relations, camp director, teaching, and coaching.

Prior to coming to Faith Christian School in 2014, Peter spearheaded Westminster Academy’s (Memphis, TN) growth and development through active direction and participation in the strategic reassessment of its Mission, Vision, Purpose, and definition of Classical Christian education as it has grown from just over 100 students to over 300. Peter’s experience has led to other classical school’s seeking his expertise in areas ranging from strategic planning where he has facilitated numerous retreats and admission, college guidance, fundraising, board development, and event planning. Peter most recently served as Westminster Academy’s Headmaster.

Peter is known for his ability to articulate the power and simplicity of a classical and Christian education. He has presented at national conferences including the Association of Classical Christian Schools, The Society for Classical Learning and the CiRCE Institute. Peter’s speaking has taken him to schools in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi.