Heisman Brings His Legacy to Baton Rouge

Great Hearts Academies September 29, 2022

Samuel HeismanSam Heisman is the Founding Head of School at Great Hearts Harveston, the first Great Hearts Academy to break ground in Louisiana.  The newly constructed campus will be opening in Baton Rouge for the 2023-2024 school year.

His last name may sound familiar to you and for good reason.  The Heisman Trophy is the most prestigious award in college sports and named after John Heisman, the great great grand uncle of Sam Heisman.  John Heisman was the athletic director of the Downtown Athletic Club, the organization that created the award in 1935 to recognize “the most valuable college football player east of the Mississippi.”  The award was named in his honor after his death in 1936 and broadened to include players west of the Mississippi.  John Heisman had a rich career in college athletics as a football player, a head coach, and an athletic director.

Sam Heisman grew up the only boy in a family of six.  Although football was in his namesake, Heisman’s favorite sport in high school was basketball.  He wasn’t a naturally academic or gifted student.  “I didn’t really know what hard work looked like in an academic context until college.  I realized that I had a lot of catching up to do.”

He has a great love for poetry. Among his favorite poems are the Aeneid, Paradise Lost, and Sonnet 73. Heisman specified that it is not so much because of their content, but for the transformational experience he had while reading them, writing about them, or teaching them.

Heisman graduated Hillsdale College and began his career in education as a teacher and coach at Veritas Prep in Phoenix, Ariz.  He moved to Texas and expanded on his teaching portfolio with Great Hearts, leading young scholars in Poetry, Literature, Composition, and Humane Letters.  Heisman served as an Assistant Headmaster before taking the helm at Great Hearts Northern Oaks as Headmaster.

“I love building a community centered around a life-changing course of study,” explained Heisman.  “More particularly, I love helping teachers become excellent teachers and professionals. I love running a nimble and high-performing leadership team, and I love seeing our mission communicated in accessible ways.”

Heisman is committed to the Great Hearts culture and its mission of cultivating minds and hearts through the pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  “Making our community stronger and clarifying that vision such that it can be actualized … that inspires me every day.”

Without hesitation, Heisman agreed to move his family of 7 from San Antonio to Baton Rouge, the second largest city in Louisiana and considered one of the major educational hubs of the American South.  You do not have to spend very much time with him to see his love for his family and his passion to make a classical education in liberal arts accessible to all students.

Founding an academy in a new state from the ground up isn’t easy.  But Heisman believes in the work he is doing.  “What I would say is that embodying the classical spirit or Ethos is most important,” said Heisman.  “Continuing to iterate and articulate what our mission is and helping faculty to fulfill it, students to buy into it, and families to visualize it at any given unique and varied point of a school year—that is the most important thing a school leader can do.”

Open Enrollment for the ’23-’24 school year begins on October 8th. Submitting an application during Open Enrollment gives you the best chance of receiving an offer to our brand new, tuition-free, classical academy.  Visit https://harveston.greatheartsamerica.org for more information.

Heisman and the Great Hearts Harveston Team will be hosting a breaking ground ceremony at the site of their soon-to-be newly built campus located in the master-planned community, The Preserve at Harveston, near Bluebonnet & Nicholson at 11801 Bluebonnet Blvd.  You can view the event on a livestream through the Great Hearts America YouTube or the Great Hearts Harveston Facebook.

Do you have a story or know of a story that you would like to see featured at Great Hearts?  Please contact jmoore@greatheartsamerica.org.

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