- We began this project as seven families who wanted to explore the Church’s history of education. We found a beautiful, perennial form of education – Catholic classical education. Since then, we have been working to bring this kind of education to Wichita.
- In Fall 2021, we held two different interest nights to assess the desire, and we found that many parents are looking for options for their children using the Catholic classical model.
- In December 2021, we brought our idea to Bishop Kemme. He asked that we work on three items in order for him to have confidence: location, governance, and funding.
- Based on the Bishop’s ideas, we created a Founding Committee to start this work. The Founding Committee completed its work in March 2022.
- In June 2022, Bishop Kemme gave the school his blessing.
Board of Directors
Isaac Traffas, President: The story of Isaac Traffas could be told by the books he reads. He was born in Wichita and grew up with his head whirling with stories of adventure and heroism – under the trees, on the seas, and among the stars. After graduating from Northfield School of the Liberal Arts, he attended Benedictine College. There he encountered the wisdom of the Church in Her philosophy and theology while studying biochemistry and mathematics. And he met his wife, Margaret Mary! As they considered how to educate their fledgling children, they rediscovered Catholic classical education. In this grand tradition, the Church’s understanding of man’s purpose is woven together with knowledge of creation and its Creator to form a trellis upon which their children could grow towards and flourish in the radiance of the eternal God. Forming a small band with like-minded friends, together they set off on the adventure of bringing a Catholic classical school to Wichita. In his spare time, he can be found reading to his five children, cultivating his home, playing board games, and enjoying the culinary delights of his wife.
Michael Mayans, Secretary: Michael is a lifelong member of the Diocese of Wichita who has worked in law and risk management for financial institutions. He earned a JD degree from the University of Texas followed by a Master of Theological Studies from Newman University, which deepened his appreciation for the Catholic intellectual tradition. The Mayans have two girls and a boy whom they are currently homeschooling. He is grateful for this opportunity to assist with expanding education options for Wichita Catholics.
Joe Timler, Treasurer: Joe’s journey with classical education started in middle school where he attended Trinity School at Greenlawn, a Christian classical school in South Bend, Indiana. The school’s motto of “Truth, Beauty, and Goodness” went from being a buzzword to truly resonating with Joe as he matured in his high school years and eventually graduated from Trinity. He graduated from University of Houston with a Bachelors in Economics, followed by Rice University with a Masters of Accounting. Joe has public accounting experience with Deloitte and Touche, as well as experience working in the corporate accounting sector in the Koch companies. He is a Certified Public Accountant. Joe and his wife moved to Wichita in 2020, drawn by the strong faith and family oriented community, and recently welcomed their fifth child in early 2022.
Oscar Tran: Where formal education was lacking, grace, monasticism, and friendships did much to impress upon Oscar a great admiration for classical education, great books, Latin, poetry, and the fine arts. He had been brought up with what is the predominate, contemporary approach to education; what little may have been reminiscent of classical education he received through Catholic schooling of the 80s and 90s. Yet later in his 20s as he discerned a possible vocation with the now renown Benedictines of Clear Creek Monastery (Abbey), he met a world of monks, discerners, former students of the legendary John Senior and the KU Integrated Humanities Program, and alumni from schools such as the University of Dallas and Thomas Aquinas College. These people showed Oscar what true, beautiful, and good lives looked like. And buoyed by such inspiration and by Providence, he and his wife Alanna have sought out classical education for their own 8 children, 5 of whom attend Christ the Savior Academy, an Orthodox Classical School.
Anthony Seiler: Anthony Seiler’s encounter with classical education began, in part, with a desire to avoid milking cows. He grew up on his family’s dairy farm northwest of Wichita and attended diocesan schools K-12. When it came time to choose a college, his goals were to find a rigorous, Catholic university that was far enough from home that he wouldn’t need to milk cows on the weekend. These conditions led him to the University of Dallas. His encounter there with the Church’s ancient traditions of classical education was an unlooked-for blessing. In the midst of a study abroad semester in Rome, these threads of the Western tradition came together for him in the realization that he could pursue education and his classes because they were interesting, not because they were a means to some other end. This awareness was a watershed moment in his life and has inspired him to join in efforts to bring classical education to our diocese. After college, his farm background and degree in political philosophy led him to serve on the staff of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee. His time away from Kansas helped him rediscover an appreciation for farming and home. He moved back to Wichita in 2019 both to be close enough to help with the family farm and to marry his wife, Tory, who is also from Wichita. As he and his wife start their young family, he is grateful for the opportunity to use his experience in advocacy and rhetoric to help share the ideas of the Catholic classical tradition in the hope that they can provide a vibrant education for their children and others in the diocese. In what little free time he can find between working for the local Farm Bureau and farming, he is passionate about studying history, architecture, and Shakespeare; sharing Italian dinners; and playing with his two young sons.
Emily Simon: Emily is a Wichita local who graduated from Newman University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and history. After teaching English in South Korea, Emily returned to Newman University to help support the two departments that played a significant role in her college formation: Campus Ministry and the Honors Program. Now she gets to accompany college students as they make their own college journey, all while earning a Master in Theological Studies on the side. Emily has always had a great love for stories and the way they shape the mind and heart. Through her efforts on the Board, she hopes Mary Seat of Wisdom Academy will soon be nourishing the minds of students here in Wichita with the great tales of virtue and heroism that shaped her own (and ever ongoing) formation.
Howard Clark: Howard Clark is a native of Wichita, KS. He is a graduate of KU, where he studied in the Pearson Integrated Humanities Program. He has worked for over 30 years as an educator in public, parochial, and private Catholic schools, teaching at a public school in Fort Scott and at parochial schools in Wichita. His longest tenure was at St. Gregory the Great Academy, a Catholic classical boarding school for high school boys, where he taught for seven years and served as headmaster for twelve. He is now retired from teaching full-time, but still teaches occasionally. He lives in Wichita with his wife, Jane, close to his children and burgeoning number of grandchildren.