Great Hearts Institute Welcomes New Director, Dr. Carol McNamara

Great Hearts Institute November 2, 2023

Great Hearts is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Carol McNamara as the new Director of the Great Hearts Institute for Classical Education.

“I am thrilled to join the Great Hearts team to help cultivate and lead the national conversation about classical education and how we can work together to contribute to the pursuit of wisdom and excellence in K-12 education across the country,” said McNamara. “I believe that ideas matter and that when students receive the kind of education that introduces them to the most important ideas and questions throughout human history, they are on the right path to becoming thoughtful citizens and educated human beings.”

The Great Hearts Institute for Classical Education works to renew the tradition of classical education by directly supporting educators, school leaders, and families in collaboration with nationally recognized experts. Specifically, the Great Hearts Institute hosts experts and scholars who address the content and teaching methods of classical education. Through a variety of programs, publications, and research, GHI helps to clarify and deepen our understanding of the classical model. Great Hearts Institute’s flagship event is the National Symposium for Classical Education, an annual forum where Great Hearts teachers and school leaders join classical educators from around the country to experience the finest research and training available.

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Dr. McNamara joins Great Hearts from the Center for Constitutional Design at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Prior to joining the law school, she served as the inaugural associate director for public programs for the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership also at Arizona State University, and the founding director of the Governor Olene Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service at Weber State University in Utah. In each of these roles, Carol distinguished herself by creating programming and events that not only enriched the host institutions, but also drew interest and support from well beyond academe.

Dr. Carol McNamara“I dedicated my work to teaching and writing about political science and philosophy and literature and mentoring students at universities in Utah and Arizona,” said McNamara. “And to create an academic and public programming that engages students and the surrounding community in a discussion about the most pressing matters facing education and society as a whole in the United States today.”

“We are thrilled that Great Hearts will now benefit from Carol’s entrepreneurial outlook, operational acumen, and finely honed instinct for engaging public programming,” said Jake Tawney, Chief Academic Officer for Great Hearts Academies.

McNamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and French from the University of Toronto and a PhD in Politics from Boston College. She has taught classical political philosophy, politics, and literature, for nearly thirty years, with particular expertise in Shakespeare and Xenophon.

“I look forward to working with the extended Great Hearts community of leaders, educators, and students to advance this conversation,” she said.

a panel of presenters on stage at The 2023 National Symposium for Classical Education.

You can meet McNamara and hear from an impressive lineup of speakers at the 2024 Symposium held on March 20-22 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Registration is NOW LIVE!


This year’s Symposium will focus on Renewing the Great Conversation concerning great works and perennial ideas. This year we will underscore the importance of teaching and modeling the conversations that lead to insight–among colleagues, between teachers and students, with families, and across our communities. At a time when our society most needs genuine dialogue, classical schools provide a sanctuary of genuine civility. Join us to discover how classical education embodies the good conversations, providing both the means and the model for a more civil society.

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