Susan Wise Bauer, Founder of the Well-Trained Mind Academy

Susan Wise Bauer

Owner & Founder

Susan is a writer, teacher, and historian. Her books include Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education, The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory, The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had and The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, all published by W. W. Norton.

Susan is also the owner and editor in chief of the Well-Trained Mind Press, a small press publishing history and language arts resources for K-12 student, and the founder of The Well-Trained Mind Academy. She has a PhD in the history of American religion from The College of William and Mary in Virginia, as well as a master's degree in seventeenth-century literature and a Master of Divinity in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature. For fifteen years, she taught literature and composition at The College of William and Mary.

She now writes and raises sheep on the family farm in Charles City, Virginia, which is also the home base for her husband and her four semi-adult children, as well as four dogs, three cats, nine ducks, five Angora goats, three horses, a donkey, and a variable number of chickens.


Julia Kaziewicz Collier


Julia is a dedicated educational leader who is committed to providing students with excellent learning opportunities. She started working with the Well-Trained Mind companies in 2010, first at the Press where she authored three study guides for the History of the World Series, and then as a consultant and part-time administrator for the Well-Trained Mind Academy. In 2016 she joined the Academy full-time as Dean. In 2020 Julia led WTMA through the accreditation process, and in 2021 the Academy proudly accepted accreditation as a learning services provider from the Middle States Association.

During her time as Dean, Julia has worked hard to build the middle and high school course offerings to offer full curricular choices for every grade. She’s produced several community events where Academy families from all over the United States have been able to meet in person, and she spearheaded the Class Cohort Program, which is designed to offer advising and support to students through the high school years.

Before joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy as Dean, Julia was an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also taught at The College of William and Mary, Christopher Newport University, and Virginia Peninsula Community College. She earned a BA and MA at New York University, concentrating on English and American Literature, Creative Writing, and Art History, and completed her PhD in American Studies at the College of William & Mary.

Steve Otto, Headmaster of the Well-Trained Mind Academy

Steve Otto

Director of Operations

Steve, a graduate of The United States Air Force Academy, has over 20 years of leadership development, strategic planning, financial management, and business development experience across government, for-profit, and non-profit sectors. He now enjoys the opportunity to provide support and educational alternatives to families through the Well-Trained Mind Academy, so that they can continue to pursue the best academic options for each student in their family.

Steve and his wife live in the Williamsburg, Virginia area with their three children. Their family initially began home schooling in order to accommodate an unpredictable work schedule, but quickly grew to appreciate the daily opportunities to instill values in their children, increase the quality of their education, and to enjoy more experiences as a family.

elizabeth weber edwards

Elizabeth Weber Edwards

Human Resources Coordinator

Elizabeth received her PhD from Vanderbilt University in German Language and Literature. Prior to joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy, Elizabeth was the Associate Director for Graduate Student Development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she organized the Institute for International Teaching Assistants, conducted regular classroom visits and teaching consultations, and assisted graduate students preparing to apply for their first jobs after graduation. 

katherine proepper

Katherine Proepper

Operations Administration

Katherine Proepper has a degree in Business with an emphasis in Finance from Chapman University. She began her homeschooling journey in 2010 and her children have been taking classes at WTMA since 2017. She has a passion for homeschooling and is happy to be working with and offering support to WTMA families.
jenne Phillips

Jenne Phillips

Operations Support

Jenne Phillips has over twenty years of customer service experience. Prior to joining WTMA, she managed a Philadelphia-based wholesale stationery company and its retail gift shop. Jenne is a graduate of Villanova University. She has three mostly grown children, and one of the many lessons they taught her is that each student has their own unique needs, in and out of the classroom. 

Jenne recently moved to Williamsburg, Virginia to be closer to her family. She loves to hike, horseback ride, and practice yoga. She also quilts, needle felts, and enjoys relaxing with a good book.