Skip to main content
Business Profile

Heritage Christian Academy

It’s the middle of a typical Tuesday in Spirit Lake, Idaho. But the things happening inside a small, just-launched school are anything but ordinary. 

“It’s more like a family,” says Ann Matlock, Director (and founder) of Heritage Christian Academy. “We’re less than two months into our very first school year, and every day, it’s just incredible what we get to do together.” 

One example from today: the school’s older students had an interactive life skills and math lesson that turned into lunch. With guidance from a parent volunteer, they worked together to cook a big pot of stew, and then served it to the school’s younger students. The entire newly renovated building holds the aroma of the meal, which only adds to the strong sense of home and family one feels while visiting Heritage.    

Talking to Matlock, it is clear this is what she had in mind. She shares about the classical education model — a method steeped in western educational traditions that involves broad-based instruction in the arts, science, logic, and even Latin — and the benefits of the “one-room-schoolhouse” feel, encouraging learning through interactions between students of different ages. The conversation turns to balancing these group learning experiences with 1-on-1 instruction, and using technology for language learning. She shares about the ability to use Scripture and faith-based conversations integrated into each day’s learning, something she’s never been able to do as an educator until now. But the story of this new school starts with something far beyond education theories or methods or practices. For Matlock, it started with a voice. 

“I had a long career teaching and counseling in public schools in California, and we picked up our lives and moved here to North Idaho 5 years ago,” she remembers. “As my husband and I were beginning the long journey north, it was clear: I heard God saying to me fulfill your destiny. I didn’t know quite what that meant at the time, but now I do.” 

The phrase is now displayed on the building’s brand-new sign, and Matlock says that fulfilling her destiny is about empowering the students to do the same, whatever that means for each of them. 

At the moment, they are simply enjoying their new school. Today, a free-writing exercise asking about their school year so far certainly reveals that. Among the many positive responses is Trent’s (grade 4): “We are like a family, and that makes me feel good.”

There is a lot to feel good about, visiting this shiny new facility (Matlock’s husband has led the charge renovating a mid-century former doctor’s office). And the hope is that more and more students and families will experience what Heritage has to offer, allowing them to thrive in ways they haven’t in other settings. The current building is planned to transition into only the school’s Kindergarten facility within a few years, and land has been purchased and the site-plan process is underway for a new building that will house grades 1-12.

Along the way, the growth of any new organization includes a partnership with a bank that knows and understands its needs. For Heritage, it’s the INB location just a couple blocks down the road in Spirit Lake. From friendships with the staff to the convenience of the small-town bank, this connection has been nothing but positive. 

Fulfilling her destiny makes for long days working to establish the fledgling school, but Matlock wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“Walking in here every morning, I just get so excited about teaching again,” she says. “The students, the families, the things we get to do — it’s all just been so good.”