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First Day for New Faculty

Great Hearts Academies July 8, 2024 -

New faculty members at New Faculty Orientation (NFO)

While our Great Hearts Arizona scholars are still enjoying summer break for the next month or so, new staff at Great Hearts returned to school today for New Faculty Orientation (NFO). New teachers, faculty, and support staff from academies throughout the Valley, filled with excitement and anticipation, began their exciting new careers with Great Hearts as they took their first steps into the Marley Center for the Performing Arts at the Maryvale Preparatory Academy.

The purpose of the first day at NFO is to familiarize these fresh faces with the mission and distinctives of Great Hearts, straight from the senior leadership team. The experience also allows the new faculty and staff of Great Hearts to see how they are part of a large family of academies, all in the pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty together.

New faculty members at New Faculty Orientation (NFO)

The morning kicked off with a welcome from Arizona Superintendent Brandon Crowe, followed by the first keynote of the day, “The Six Loves of Great Hearts,” presented by Great Hearts Co-founder and Academies Officer, Dr. Dan Scoggin. This has become a beloved tradition for NFO and a great way to hear what makes Great Hearts so different from other education models.

A highlight of NFO is learning the vastly different backgrounds our teachers and faculty come from. Whether they have taught for years at other institutions, come from a completely different industry altogether, are parents of Great Hearts scholars, or are returning alumni from the academies, everyone has their reason for coming to Great Hearts—something about the mission drew them in.

Grant Stambaugh, a new apprentice teacher at Archway Trivium, was drawn to Great Hearts when he learned how students are introduced to the Great Books. “A friend of mine originally told me about Great Hearts, and the first thing she did was show me the reading list, and I was instantly hooked,” he said. “I think it is great that Great Hearts is getting students engaged in the Great Conversation and the Western Canon. By studying these things, we show them that all of these texts and authors are also human beings with thoughts and ideas just like them.”

Daxton Strader, who will be teaching 8th-grade Medieval History at Scottsdale Prep, used to be a student at Great Hearts. He returned because he loved the classroom culture he experienced and the close-knit community. “Being on the other side of that, being able to pour into the kids what I got from teachers who poured into me is something I’m very excited about,” he shared. “I am excited to get to know the kids and learn from them as I teach.”

Mariamma John was an engineer before deciding to teach 6th and 7th-grade math at Trivium Prep. She said she initially switched careers to spend more time with her family, but like many of our faculty, felt a special draw to Great Hearts. “I have been in different schools, but what attracted me to Great Hearts was their vision of cultivating virtues in the students,” she said. “It’s not just studies; it’s the virtues that you can cultivate in those little ones, which will help in our future.”

New faculty members at New Faculty Orientation (NFO)

Of everyone we spoke to, one common theme kept resurfacing—their desire to contribute to the legacy of Great Hearts and to make a lasting impact on the students they interact with.

While they have day one of NFO in the books, they still have more days of orientation ahead of them before they eventually head back to their respective academies for further training before the new school year begins. Look for their bright eyes and infectious enthusiasm at your academy on the first day of school!

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