Board of Directors

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”​


Building a Community to Build a School

The first step in what became Tulsa Classical Academy was taken in February 2020 when Nathan Phelps, Julie James, and Ryan Mullins visited Founders Classical Academy in Bentonville, Arkansas. A week later, this initial group hosted a meeting and invited several other people, including Michael Bates, to attend. A few months later, Steve Robinett joined the effort and we officially formed Classically Formed Inc. Thus, the initial board members were Michael Bates, Julie James, Ryan Mullins, Nathan Phelps, and Steve Robinett. This group of individuals then set to work on the Hillsdale K-12 Application, the charter application, and eventually, the Charter School Program Grant (CSP) application. Jonathan Wielenga, Molly Mooberry, and Andrea Hogue joined the effort in 2021.
The board grew through personal connections and the main criteria were a dedication to the mission of establishing a classical charter school and a willingness to work for free. Out of our initial proposals for schools in Tulsa and Claremore, Hillsdale College accepted the Tulsa proposal, but deferred Claremore, leading ultimately to the departure on good terms of our two Claremore-based board members: Mr. Mullins was hired to lead a classical school in Texas and resigned his seat, and Mr. Robinett left a few months later. They both played an incredibly important role in the formative stages of starting the school. Meanwhile, Michael Bates, Andrea Hogue, Julie James, Molly Mooberry, Nathan Phelps, and Jon Wielenga pressed forward into 2022. Adam Jones joined the board in December 2022. This group of individuals became the founding board.
While public school district boards are elected by the general public to oversee existing schools, Tulsa Classical Academy’s board consists of the men and women who joined forces to bring TCA into existence and have a demonstrated commitment to its success. Board members are appointed to three-year terms and can be reappointed to as many as three terms (though serving a third term requires a special exception). Nathan, Julie, and Michael started their second three-year term last July. Andrea, Molly, and Jon will complete their first three-year term this June. We do not plan to add additional board seats at this time as seven seems like the right size and balance. Should a vacancy occur, the remaining board members would choose a replacement. Board members are required to complete state board training as well as Hillsdale Board Development (which requires they travel to Michigan on their own time and dime). Our board members have dedicated thousands of volunteer hours, thousands of dollars, and hundreds of sleepless nights to the school over the last three and a half years. We are tremendously blessed by these individuals as they have put their heart and soul into this effort.
The board uses the Policy Governance Model (often called the Carver Model). This model of governance ensures a clear delineation of duties between the board (who governs the school) and the staff (who operates the school). The board does not evaluate, hire, or terminate anyone other than the school leader. The board sets the mission and vision, defines broad limits on acceptable means to those ends, and then holds the school leader accountable for implementing that mission and vision within the constraints given. The board governs through policy and that policy is organized into a Board Policy Manual.

Nathan Phelps, President

Nathan spent the first half of his professional life in the software business in a variety of roles including co-founding a healthcare technology venture in 2009. Nathan then discovered a passion for classical education after seeing the fruit of his own children’s education and intends to dedicate the second half of his life to the cause of expanding access to classical education. He has a Bachelor of Music Education from Texas Christian University and is currently pursuing a Master of Humanities in the Classical Education program at the University of Dallas.

Julie James, Secretary

Julie is the mother of five children, a real estate agent, and a member of a prominent, family-owned, commercial real estate agency. Julie is a third-generation Tulsan, a graduate of Jenks High School and has a Bachelor of Sociology from Baylor University.

Michael Bates, Member

Michael is a well-known writer focused on local issues and historic preservation who is frequently featured on local radio and has a substantial following on social media. Michael has a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is an engineer with a true appreciation for the liberal arts and a long-standing commitment to classical education. While at MIT, he developed a dual-major program so that he could study Latin and Ancient Greek alongside Computer Science. He has three children, all of whom were educated classically.

Andrea Hogue, Member

Andrea “Dree” Hogue is wife to Chris, and mom to Ashton (21), Noelle (16), and James (8). Chris and Dree started their life together in Tulsa, OK, and boomeranged back to Tulsa after a few years of adventures in church planting and ministry in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Although her focus has always been primarily around her own household, she has been given professional opportunities that include founding a local classical homeschool academic program, fundraising for a private Christian school, grant writing, researching and editing for book projects, serving on staff at her local church, and now working for a non-profit. She believes that healthy families are a powerful force of change for our communities and enjoys opportunities to cheer them on towards health and wholeness.

Adam Jones, Member

Adam is Deputy District Director for Congressman Kevin Hern. He is the recipient of a classical education himself, having graduated from Agustine Christian Academy–Tulsa’s first classical school. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Arts from Liberty University.

Molly Mooberry, Member

Molly and her husband, Philip, both grew up in Tulsa.  She graduated from Jenks High School and then received a Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma State University.  Molly worked in pharmaceutical sales for 8 years before pursuing her greatest joy—raising a family.  Classical education has been foundational in the lives of their four children and as a result, her interest and passion for classical education has grown.  She also enjoys opportunities in leadership and volunteering in the school setting, in women’s ministry and through civic engagement.

Jonathan Wielenga, Member

Jon is a client advisor at Gibraltar Capital where he provides investment and estate planning services. Prior to relocating to Tulsa in 2020, he lived in New York City where he was a Vice President at JPMorgan Chase. He holds an undergraduate degree in Mathematics Secondary Education as well as a law degree and an MBA from Baylor University. He is married with a son and considers it a great honor to play a role in bringing tuition-free classical education to Oklahoma.

Classically Formed Foundation

The Classically Formed Foundation is a Type I supporting organization dedicated to supporting Tulsa Classical Academy. Visit for more information.