Dr. Susan Orr Traffas, Headmaster – Great Books, Natural History
Dr. Susan Orr Traffas comes to us after 15 years at Benedictine College, where she was the founder and co-director of both the Honors Program and the Great Books Program as well as an associate professor in political science. For the past several years, she has taught American Political Philosophy through the Benedictine College’s summer learning program (BCYC) for high school students.
Prior to returning home to Kansas in 2008, she had a decades-long career in public policy in Washington, DC with 13 years of experience at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With a BA in Politics from the University of Dallas and Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate School, she is the author of Jerusalem and Athens: Reason and Revelation in the Works of Leo Strauss, as well as numerous articles on political philosophy, child and family policy and the role of women in society.
She is very much looking forward to returning to her home town with her husband, John, and their dog, and happily anticipates more involvement with their grandchildren in Wichita.
Jackie Arnold – Scripture & Catechesis, Trivium
Jackie Arnold has lived in the Wichita area for most of her life. She is wife to Joel, and mother to five children. They live on a farm west of Wichita. Jackie received her bachelor’s in Humanities and Catholic Culture from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and her master’s in Theology from Newman University. She has worked in the world of education in a variety of ways in the past 15 years: co-authoring a textbook, adjuncting at community colleges, homeschooling her own children, and pondering the Great Works in the meantime. Most recently, she has worked as the Curriculum Director, Middle School Literature teacher, and Latin enrichment teacher for St. Patrick Catholic School in Kingman, helping in the transitional process toward a Catholic Liberal Arts approach. Catholic classical education has been a passion for her since her introduction to it in college.
Nathan Carpenter – Gymnastic, Music
Mr. Carpenter is a Catholic husband and father of two. He has a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in voice from Wichita State University, a master’s degree in education from Fort Hays State University, and has completed a certificate in classical learning through the Classical Education Graduate Program at the University of Dallas. During college, he worked renovating homes around the WSU campus. He conducts the choir for the Latin Mass at Saint Joseph, Wichita. For the past five years, Mr. Carpenter has worked at Saint Anne Catholic School, teaching kindergarten through 8th grade music and middle school social studies and English.
Dr. Susan Crane-Laracuente – Latin
Susan Crane-Laracuente is an Associate Professor of English at Newman University. She completed a Ph.D. in English with a focus on medieval literature in Old English and Latin in 2006 at Stony Brook University in New York. She has lived in Wichita for nearly 15 years, teaching writing, the structure and history of English, world literature, and Latin (including to the seminarians in the St. Joseph House of Formation). She continues to marvel at and ruminate upon the wonders of words, phrases, clauses, and sentences along with gardening, cooking, baking, and many forms of art.
Joshua Sturgill – Geometry
Joshua Alan Sturgill, M.Div, MA, has recently returned to Wichita after completing a master’s degree in the literary classics of the Far East at St. John’s College, Santa Fe. His long association with Eighth Day Books and love of travel have led to speaking and teaching engagements in Kansas and across the globe, and he is pleased to bring his love of learning to our community at Mary Seat of Wisdom Academy.
The St. John’s style of Shared Inquiry education has deeply influenced his teaching style. Shared Inquiry emphasizes communal learning and an integrative (rather than a specialist) approach to knowledge. The study of mathematics, which is daunting for many, can be made more rich and fruitful through discussion of ancient texts and use of the compass rather than the calculator.
Mr. Sturgill is the author of two books of poetry, As Far As I Can Tell (2018) and Now a Major Motion Picture (2022), as well as numerous short stories, articles and essays. His writing has appeared in The College, Cresset, Synaxis Journal, the online blog of Darkly Bright Press, and has been rejected by many other fine publications.
Outside the classroom, Mr. Sturgill plays bodhran, crafts fine homebrews, studies origami, and works in his garden. He is a tenor in the choirs of St. George Cathedral, Wichita, and Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Santa Fe.