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Our Mission

The St. Ambrose Center for Catholic Liberal Education and Culture exists to extend the University of Dallas’ core mission—that the pursuit of wisdom, of truth, and of virtue are the proper and primary ends of education—to the world at large.

Our People

andrew-ellison

Andrew Ellison

Director

Andrew Ellison serves as the director of the St. Ambrose Center for Catholic Liberal Education and Culture. A graduate of Valparaiso University (BA '97), he has three decades of experience in K-12 classical education as a middle and high school teacher, school headmaster, and district administrator for a multi-state public charter school network. A teacher of Latin, German and drama, as well as a master of Socratic seminars with great texts for high school students, he has led numerous workshops for teachers on liberal education vision and pedagogy, poetry, seminar leader skills, music appreciation, leadership development, and linguistics; written teacher's guides on Plato’s Meno, Virgil’s Aeneid and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex; produced Shakespeare with fourth- and fifth-graders; hired and coached over twenty K-12 school leaders; and conducted annual summer K-12 teacher seminars on Plato and Aristotle for more than ten years. A convert to the Catholic faith, he and his wife, a third grade teacher of phonics and history, have six children.

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Dr. Shannon K. Valenzuela

Assistant Director; Affiliate Assistant Professor of Humanities

Dr. Shannon K. Valenzuela is an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Humanities and Assistant Director of the St. Ambrose Center. She is the writer and director of The Quest, a limited television series produced by the University of Dallas about discovering one’s purpose and living it with courage.

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Dr. Laura Eidt

Director, Living Latin Curriculum Project; Affiliate Assistant Professor of Modern Languages; Humanities Program Director

Dr. Laura Eidt received her BA in English Literature and Linguistics from the University of Hamburg (Germany) and her MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been teaching in the Spanish, German, Comparative Literature, and Humanities Programs at the University of Dallas since 2006 and published on German and Spanish poetry, and on Ekphrasis. For many years she taught an applied foreign language pedagogy class that sent students to local area schools to teach their language to elementary children, and she was a mentor at a bilingual school in Dallas for four years. Her courses include classes on Foreign Language Pedagogy, Teaching Classical Children’s Literature, and Great Works in the Modern World. She is the faculty advisor for UD’s Classical Curriculum team and is completing a Latin curriculum for K-5rd grade.

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William Perales

Director of PreK-12 Curriculum and Professional Development Services

William Perales has worked in Catholic education for over twenty years as a teacher and principal at both the elementary and high school levels. A graduate of the St. Ignatius Institute’s Catholic Great Books Program at the University of San Francisco where he majored in English and Philosophy, William also holds degrees in Theology (MA), Philosophy (MA), and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (M.Ed.). He has led and assisted schools transitioning to a classical liberal arts vision, designed curriculum for grades K-12, led professional development workshops, and designed and led instruction for a diocesan catechist formation program. In the Diocese of Fort Worth, he served on their Curriculum Committee and assisted with developing and communicating the Catholic classical vision for diocesan Catholic schools. He helped establish and led instruction in Fort Worth’s New Teacher Formation Institute, introducing new teachers to the vision of Catholic education while forming them in instructional approaches that are rooted in the liberal arts tradition of cultivating the imagination, faith, virtue, and wisdom.