The leadership team of Ascent Classical™ Academies (ACA) includes parents and founders of Golden View Classical Academy, founded in 2015. Based on student success and high demand for tuition-free classical charter schools, Ascent Classical™ Academies was created to expand opportunities to families across the U.S.

The ACA network includes open campuses in Lone Tree and Windsor, Colorado, and planned campuses throughout Colorado, North Carolina, and South Carolina. If you are interested in starting an Ascent Classical™ Academy in your area, please click here for information on how to partner with Ascent Classical™ Academies to start a classical school.


Derec Shuler

Executive Director

Mr. Shuler is an entrepreneur and, prior to founding Ascent Classical™ Academies and Golden View Classical Academy, worked in technology and technical operations with the U.S. government. He obtained his undergraduate degree in business administration from Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Shuler sits on the Advisory Board of the Leadership Program of the Rockies and is a graduate of Leadership Denver through the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation.

Jon Dahlberg

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Dahlberg comes to Ascent Classical™ Academies with over 30 years of financial experience. Throughout his career, he has held the positions of Senior Vice President, among other roles, at Wells Fargo where he worked for over twelve years, and Senior Vice President at Bank of America. Most recently, he combined an in-depth knowledge of financial best practices and a passion for helping charter schools find and secure funding and facilities in the role of Senior Vice President of Strategic Relationships and Facilities with Grow Schools (formerly Charter School Capital). He is a graduate of Bethel University, where he earned his degree in accounting.

Ronnie Spellman

Chief People Officer

Mr. Spellman is a business executive with over 20 years of experience in leading the national operations at Fortune 500 and small private equity-owned growth-based companies. Throughout his career, he has served on several nonprofit Boards dedicated to improving the quality of education at the K-12 level. Additionally, Mr. Spellman served on the Advisory Board for several leading Universities. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech.

Matthew Vlahovich

Chief of Schools

Mr. Vlahovich joined Ascent Classical™ Academies from Great Hearts Academies, where he worked for twelve years. While at Great Hearts, he was an exceptional leader for the organization and served as headmaster of schools in Arizona and Texas, opened three campuses, and reformed another campus. Vlahovich earned his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Arizona and an M.Div from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing his master’s in character education from the University of Birmingham.

Amy Willis

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Mrs. Willis discovered classical education as a parent and volunteer for a classical school in Texas. She utilized a fourteen-year career in education marketing to partner with schools and nonprofit organizations across the state, aiding with fundraising, grants, and branding/advertising design. Mrs. Willis is an award-winning graphic designer who earned degrees from Texas Tech University and Abilene Christian University. Prior to joining Ascent Classical™, she ran a successful small business dedicated to supporting nonprofit organizations through the sale of branded promotional gear and fundraising events.