IPS Staff Member Mike Winther

Michael R. Winther is the Founder and President of the Institute for Principle Studies.  Previously, Mike worked as a professional campaign consultant in Washington and California.  Afterwards, he served as the Executive Director of the Society for Disabilities in Modesto for 19 years.

Mike is also a student and teacher of speech and debate.  Mike competing throughout high school and college in academic debate where he learned much about logic and rhetoric.  Using this experience, Mike and his wife, Mary, coach a local home school debate club, Modesto Debate. They have taught and trained hundreds of students for nearly 20 years through this club. They have also written a textbook on rhetoric and academic debate called, “Rhetoric Through Policy Debate.”

Mike founded the Institute for Principle Studies in 2005 as a Christian research and educational organization. IPS is dedicated to researching and teaching biblical principles of government, economics, and history.  Mike founded IPS so that both Christians and non-Christians would know the framework that constitutes a free and prosperous society.  His responsibilities at IPS include:  vision and direction for the organization, strategic planning, executive management, teaching, writing, and financial decision-making.

Mike sits on the Board of Scholars at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy; holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Idaho; and is a Board Member of Stoa USA, a Christian Home School Speech and Debate League.


Director of Operations


IPS Staff Member Carole McFarlane

Carole L. McFarlane  is the Director of Operations at the Institute for Principles Studies.

Carole joined the IPS staff in June of 2011 after working at the Society for Disabilities for 12 years.  Carole has worked in non profit management for over 10 years. She has an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration.

Her responsibilities at IPS include:  strategic planning, marketing and development, staff recruitment and training, bookkeeping, accounting, scheduling, and office management.


Marketing & Development


IPS Staff Member Steven ButnerSteven F. Butner is part of the Marketing and Development team at the Institute for Principles Studies.  He joined the IPS staff in May of 2015 after graduating from California State University Stanislaus. In December of 2014, Steven earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration.

His responsibilities at IPS include:  grant writing, donor relations, event planning, promotion, volunteer development, fundraising, and outreach.

Steven is a former member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Yosemite Chapter. He is also an alumni of the Grant Writing USA workshop.  Steven regularly attends “Catalyst,” a monthly meeting hosted by City Ministry Network, aimed at creating space to affect beneficial community change together.


LFA Program Director


IPS Staff Member Matthew Vasquez

Matthew J. Vasquez is part of the Marketing and Development team at the Institute for Principle Studies.  After previously completing a paid internship at IPS, he joined the IPS staff in May of 2015.

Matt is a former debater who competed in the Stoa USA homeschool league.  In his last year in speech and debate, Matt finished 5th in the nation in Team Policy Debate.

His responsibilities at IPS include:  coordinating and promoting the Logos Forensic Association, event planning, volunteer development, class coordination and promotion, research, and outreach.

Matt is part of the Association of Christian Schools International as well as the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.