Verathon Academy Contributors

We’re a group of educators, entrepreneurs, pastors and investors partnering with parents to design the ultimate education and formation experience for all of our children.

Patti Bisenius

Portland, OR

Patti has been a teacher for over four decades. 

Patti schooled her two children for eight years, taught in the public schools for 30 years and also taught in a private dyslexic school. Her expertise is in helping teachers utilize best practices in their classrooms and to create differentiation for children. 

She is skilled in curriculum development and assessments.  Patti has held many leadership roles throughout her teaching career which include being the Talented and Gifted Coordinator, Mentor Teacher to many new teachers, Outdoor School Director and grade level Chairperson.  Patti won Teacher of the Year in her school district.

Patti holds a BA from Seattle Pacific University and her MA from George Fox University.  She majored in piano and elementary teaching while also getting a Reading Endorsement and receiving Slingerland training for dyslexic learners.

Outside of the classroom, Patti thoroughly enjoys spending time with her adult children and four grandchildren.  She likes to read, work in her yard, and spend time serving at her local church.

Mr. Brian Sullivan

Minneapolis, MN

Mr. Brian Sullivan is an innovative and award winning school leader with over 42 years of professional experience.

Brian serves as Head of School at Venture Academy in Chippewa Falls, WI. Prior to that, Brian served as Head of School at Maranatha Christian Academy in Brooklyn Park, MN, from June 1985 to June 2019. During his tenure, Brian played a pivotal role in defining the school’s mission, implementing innovative educational programs, and nurturing a community where students thrive academically, socially, and spiritually. Under his guidance, Maranatha saw unprecedented growth, including the establishment of STEAM and Entrepreneurship initiatives. It was also cited by the International Christian Accrediting Agency at Cognitia, formerly advanced as a “Flagship School.”

Brian has served on the Nonpublic Educational Council and as a member of the Independent School Forum in Minnesota. He has served as the Accreditation Chairman for North Central Schools of the International Christian Accrediting Association, and was elected as the State of Minnesota’s representative for the Association of Christian Schools (ACSI).

He was the Oral Roberts University Educational Fellowship Administrator of the year and was recognized in Minnesota as an outstanding educator in 2019.

Mr. Keith Nix

Richmond, VA

Keith Nix is a national leader of the Classical Education movement.

Keith has served as the Head of School at Veritas in Richmond, Virginia. since 2010 and Prior to his tenure at Veritas, he served as a board member and later as Head of School at The Westminster School in Birmingham, AL. Keith is a member of the President’s Advisory Council for The Society for Classical Learning (SCL), where he previously served as the Chairman of the Board. Keith also served as the inaugural Board President of the Classic Learning Test (CLT) and is an ongoing member of the Board of Academic Advisors. In addition, he serves as the Co-Director and an adjunct professor at Gordon College, where he guides and mentors classical Christian school leaders through their Graduate Leadership Program.

Keith draws from his extensive experience to support other leaders and schools in the classical education movement, frequently providing consultation and coaching to school boards and leaders.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Keith enjoys pursuits such as tennis, golf, and reading. He is married to Kim, an accomplished artist, and together they have three grown children and four grandchildren.

Joseph Clair

Newberg, OR

Joseph Clair is a life-long student of the history of education, formation and ethics.

Joseph serves as executive dean of the humanities and education and professor of theology and ethics at George Fox University in Newberg, OR. Before joining the George Fox faculty in 2013, he earned his PhD in the religion, ethics and politics program at Princeton University while also working as an assistant in instruction. His efforts were rewarded with a Department of Religion Teaching Award (2011-12) and a Graduate Prize Fellowship from Princeton’s Center for Human Values (2012-13).

Prior to Princeton, Clair earned an MPhil at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. He also holds master’s degrees from Fordham and Duke University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College.

His research and teaching interests include a wide range of the Christian intellectual tradition with a special focus on education, formation, ethics, and the role of faith in public life. He is the author of Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine (Oxford UP) and Reading Augustine: On Education, Formation, Citizenship, and the Lost Purpose of Learning (Bloomsbury).

Bill Gibbons

Vancouver, WA

Bill Gibbons is an experienced education entrepreneur.

Bill Gibbons is an innovative educational entrepreneur “disruptor” who has designed radical approaches to K-12 education. Bill founded HOSTS Learning in 1977, which grew to be the third largest provider of supplemental services in reading and mathematics in the nation. The Program served over a million students in 1,200 school across 44 states and Central America. The HOSTS Learning program holds the distinction of being the only research-based practices identified in the United States in the landmark legislation “No Child Left Behind Act.” The “Blue Chip” award was given to HOSTS Learning by the National Chamber of Commerce as one of the top four entrepreneurial companies in the United States.

Bill worked with national leaders in education, business, research, and politics, including two U.S. presidents, congressional leaders, and governors to create high-performing, low-cost, and scalable practices that advanced student performance in reading and mathematics. Upon retiring from HOSTS, Bill became the superintendent of Portland Christian Schools in Portland, Oregon, and later was asked by his pastor to become Superintendent at Cornerstone Christian Academy for Learning and Leadership in Vancouver, Washington. Bill served for eight years as Superintendent and used the school to design and incubate a high performing, tech-enabled, rigorous, relevant and relational educational practice, designed to help students and parents apply God’s truth to their daily lives and to cultivate their gifts and talents to serve God’s Kingdom.

John Mark Comer

Topanga Canyon, CA

John Mark is a pastor, author and practitioner of the way.

For nearly two decades he was the founding pastor at Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon. There Bridgetown spent many years working out discipleship to Jesus in the post-Christian West, and organized its community around a simple idea: practicing the Way of Jesus together. 

In 2021, after leading a five-year initiative around spiritual formation called “Practicing the Way,” John Mark stepped away to create simple, beautiful formation resources for church communities around the world.

Today, he spends his time developing new practices, courses, and podcasts for Practicing the Way and serves as a teacher in residence at Vintage Church LA with his wife T and three kids. 

John Mark is also the New York Times bestselling author of seven books, including his newest manifesto: Practicing the Way, the bestselling The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, and Live No Lies, God Has a Name, and Garden City. 

He holds a master’s degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, but these days you’ll find him out walking the oak groves of the Santa Monica mountains working on his next project.

Jonathan Collins

Portland, OR

Jonathan Collins is the co-founder of The Bible Project.

Jon was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and is proud to call Portland home. He has been married for 11 years and has two boys.

Jon received a BA in Bible and Theology at Multnomah University. After working overseas in Christian ministry and then serving for a year as a pastor, Jon stepped into the marketplace to explore digital communication. He started two digital communication companies and worked with clients ranging from Google and P&G to Silicon Valley start-ups and nonprofits. In 2009, Jon’s first company, Epipheo, introduced the business world to “explainer videos.” Jon has a long history of creating shareable videos that spread messages organically on the internet.

In early 2016, Jon ended his participation in former business ventures to work on BibleProject full-time. He is thrilled to be working on something so meaningful.

Richard Okello

Johannesburg, S. Africa

Richard is an international investor and board member.

Richard is a Co-Founder and Partner at Sango Capital. Prior to co-founding Sango, Richard, was a Principal at Makena Capital, a large private endowment. At Makena, he managed portfolios with substantial emerging markets exposure, and was a member of Makena’s 20-person investment forum that reviewed and critiqued hundreds of investment opportunities and ultimately invested over US$15 billion into over 300 funds and co-investments across all major public and private asset classes globally. He also led the firm’s investment research forum designed to anticipate and explore new geographies, investment themes and tactical asset allocation strategies. Prior to working at Makena, Richard was a Partner at Bridgewater Associates, a US$150 billion global hedge fund. His responsibilities at Bridgewater included building and refining investment ideas as part of the research department, portfolio construction, building the research-oriented client advisory team and managing a client business unit.

Richard was educated in Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, receiving an MBA Hons. from Pace University and a BA (Honors Program) Economics & Public Policy from Swarthmore College. He attended the UWC of the Atlantic in Wales on scholarship. He sits on several fund advisory boards, portfolio company boards as well as the boards of the African Leadership Foundation and Human Horizons Foundation.

Jimmy Bisenius

Portland, OR

Jimmy Bisenius helps steward the vision.

Jimmy is passionate about re-imagining education and aligning it with a father’s heart for his children.

From 20012-2019, Jimmy was helping make investments in agriculture, energy, and private education in sub-Sahara Africa. Prior to turning his focus to Africa, Mr. Bisenius spent a decade in business development for start-ups, real estate and private equity companies in the United States. Prior to that, Jimmy spent four years in business development in the software and technology sector and founded multiple companies after selling his first upon graduating from Westmont College.

Jimmy is husband to Heather and father to Hadessa and Axel.