Our Board

Ambleside School is a non-profit corporation, managed by a Board of Trustees, which includes the Head of School as a non-voting member. The board has a three-fold responsibility of fiscal management, spiritual oversight, and operational accountability. Trustees are elected by the Board and meet once a month.

The Board is responsible for ensuring that the School is operating in accordance with its mission statement. It is also responsible for ensuring the long-term viability of the School, and for hiring and overseeing the performance of the Head of School. The day-to-day operations of the School are the responsibility of the Head of School.

The board has a three-fold responsibility of fiscal management, spiritual oversight, and operational accountability.


Letter from the Head of School

Faculty & Staff

Board of Trustees





Michael Abbey has been an Ambleside parent since 2009, with two alumni daughters and a current grade school son.  He is an emerging markets transactional lawyer, having graduated from UVA Law and Duke University, and a partner with the DC law firm Hills Stern & Morley LLP.  He and his wife Jacki love that Ambleside teaches a Christ-centric worldview, and that it focuses on both character and intellectual development.  A Chicago native, he has been living in NoVa since 1990.  The Abbey family worships and serves at McLean Bible Church.

Emily Borkholder, Secretary, sought out a school that was on a mission to engage the minds of her children. She chose Ambleside after reading Charlotte Mason's philosophy of instilling a life-long love of learning. Her daughter's kindergarten year at Ambleside was filled with learning good habits and excellent academic material. Her mind was being trained to learn and think about all aspects of life. Attention to detail in the small things: careful nature paintings with watercolors, the expectation of consistency and improvement in handwriting, and memory work with challenging vocabulary have all stretched her patience and focus in wonderful ways. The myths and tales, in conjunction with consistent Bible reading, has provided her with character lessons that have matured her thinking  about what is expected in her own day to day behavior. The confidence and character building that happens at Ambleside makes it a jewel in Northern Virginia education. A native of rural northern Indiana, Emily has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Indianapolis. She and her husband Brandon have three children, one enrolled at Ambleside and two who are preschoolers. Emily is a homemaker and loves all things handicraft with a special affinity for gardening and sewing. The Borkholder family worships at Sterling Park Baptist Church. 

Debra Christenson has a son who graduated from Ambleside in 2018, and three older sons who are attending or have graduated from college.  She and her husband Arne have been delighted by the excellent educational experience their youngest child has had in middle school at Ambleside.  They find the Charlotte Mason method builds self-confidence and intellectual curiosity, which leads to strong academic performance.  In addition, they value all of the daily components of social interaction and personal care which support strong mental health in each student.  Ambleside offers hope in a society where depression is far too rampant among school-aged children.  Debra graduated from Phillips University with a degree in communication and worked on Capitol Hill as an executive assistant to a senator and congressman before leaving the workforce to raise her family.  She and her husband have attended Truro Anglican Church for the past 27 years, and she has worked in a number of volunteer roles within both her church and school community.

Ashley Ewer first read Charlotte Mason’s books in college, and was inspired by her emphasis on forming godly, life-long habits, her passion for being outdoors, and her love of high-quality art, music, and literature. Ashley studied at Oxford University and graduated from Geneva College with a degree in History and Writing. She has been a professional fundraiser for 12 years, working with political candidates and non-profit organizations across the country. Ashley’s husband Jayson is on the facilities team at Ambleside School, and they have two sons and a daughter. The Ewer family worships and serves at Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Vienna, VA.

Jeremy Farber’s predilection for entrepreneurial ventures first emerged from a simple dorm room, a cottage industry during his time at the esteemed Military College of South Carolina, The Citadel. Witnessing a need for his fellow students to sport their team spirit during college athletic events, Jeremy began producing shirts for his fellow faithful. After graduating in 1999 with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting, Jeremy chose to travel for a year in South America, immersing himself in the study of Spanish and international business. Upon his return to the U.S., Jeremy began acquiring and selling previously-owned computers on eBay. As demand grew, Jeremy discovered some of the old computer systems he’d obtained weren’t fit enough for sale. It dawned on him that the disposal of these unsalvageable devices needed an environmentally-sound solution. Many recycling firms wouldn’t accept these devices for processing; however, Jeremy was not deterred. He developed his own process for the effective, secure, complete recycling of such products, and in 2003, established Securis in Albany, NY. Successful growth lead to an expansion into the Washington, D.C. area market in 2005, and demand for Securis's signature green solutions has yet to slow.

Jeremy and his wife Michele have three young children and attend Reston Bible Church.  Their son, Caden, started Kindergarten at Ambleside last year. The Charlotte Mason method encouraged a love and curiosity for learning within Caden. He became passionate about nature and his faith deepened as he connected Bible stories with his own life. Caden thrived in the small classroom environment, became close with his classmates, and learned when to be disciplined in his work and when it was time to play.  He also learned to work hard in subjects that might not be his favorite, and to do things “he ought” rather than what he felt like doing at the time.  Caden grew immensely in his first year at Ambleside. His sister, Julia, joins him this year as a fellow Ambleside student! 

Richard McDonnell serves as Chairman for the Ambleside Board of Trustees.  He is Director in the General Motor’s Washington, DC office where he manages both the Grassroots and Political programs.  Richard has an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and received his undergraduate degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH.  He and his wife, Julia, have three children at Ambleside.  They are both natives of Northern Virginia and worship at The Falls Church Anglican Church.

Rob Newton, Vice President, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and an MBA from Old Dominion University. He is working as an engineer and project manager supporting Naval Sea Systems Command at the Washington Navy Yard in DC. He and his wife, Jessel, have three children: Alana, Joey and Stephen. They have all attended Ambleside School, where their love for learning has been cultivated and continually nurtured by the Charlotte Mason education.  The Newton family worships and serves at Sterling Park Baptist Church.

Adam Soto attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, then Davidson College where he received a major in Spanish Literature.  He was commissioned into the U.S. Army, then attended medical school in Bethesda, MD at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).  He is Board Certified in Family Medicine, serving as a Flight Surgeon and Physician for a Special Operations Aviation Unit, Executive Medicine Clinic, and Telehealth program for 7 years.  He is now in a second residency in Anesthesiology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  He and his wife, Becky, have two boys at Ambleside. They are committed to raising, guiding and leading their children spiritually and emotionally and found Ambleside to be a wonderful fit.  He stated that, “Ambleside provides a seamless continuum of education, consistent with God’s word and that nicely compliments our parenting endeavors. The name of Jesus is proudly proclaimed at Ambleside.”

Alex Voorhees, Treasurer, was an Ambleside student from 2000-2004 after his mother, Leslie Voorhees, helped start the school. In 2014, he graduated from Christopher Newport University, where he met his wife, Emily. They live in Reston, VA and recently had their first child, Ezekiel (Zeke). They attend Christian Fellowship Church in Ashburn, VA where they lead a community group for young adults. He now works at Reston Wealth Management serving business owners and other families in the community.

Virginia Wilcox (ex officio)