For Leslie, each class is unique since it includes a mix of uniquely created individuals. She and her students savor the silly and profound interactions that create the class DNA. Leslie likes to enliven studies with games, jokes and collaboration. Occasionally, she may welcome a “guest,” like the zany Professor Nerdly, who reminds students to “follow ze directions.” She believes humor helps make ideas memorable. An incurable language nerd, she delights in relating grammar to real life, though her favorite classroom moments are those lively, profound literature-discussion epiphanies when deeper truths suddenly become personal through artful dialog.

After undergraduate studies in marine biology at Long Island University, Leslie felt called to focus on helping people and not just whales, so she headed to seminary at Columbia International University for a masters in intercultural studies and then Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). She honed her grammar-teaching skills, and her heart for the world, with ESL students at Boston University.

Leslie fell in love with classical education while homeschooling her own children and has been teaching literature, composition, grammar, science, public speaking, debate and classical methodology to students and parents for over fifteen years. Leslie has been a keynote speaker at youth and women’s retreats and homeschool conferences, bringing passion and humor to the platform. Her efforts as a speech and debate coach have produced numerous champions at both a regional and national level and, more importantly, have influenced many in the league to consider “How would Jesus debate?” A bit theatrical, she recently adapted and performed a dramatic interpretation of The Screwtape Letters.

Leslie and her husband, Tom, live in rural New Hampshire close to their four children and one grandchild. Captivated by the Caribbean while spending a semester at sea, she is an avid scuba diver, with the Red Sea and Great Barrier Reef on her bucket list. In the meantime, when not teaching or preparing to do so, you can find her reading, running, napping or nibbling dark chocolate.

“Before this class, I never really understood writing and thought it was tedious and painstakingly hard. Now I really enjoy it! Thank you for bringing me joy through writing and your class!” —2021–2022 Student

Courses taught by Leslie Burns