Many Paths Lead to Great Hearts

Great Hearts Academies July 11, 2023

The Great Hearts Arizona New Faculty Orientation (NFO) continued as day two kicked off this morning for all new staff at our academies across the Valley. Read more about day one at

Chief People Officer Jerilyn Olson addressed all new teaching staff at the first session and gave her story of how she came to teach at Great Hearts Veritas Prep. Olson had plans to go to law school when she was persuaded to come back and teach for Great Hearts. She told the academy that she would only be there for a year as she was still planning to pursue a career in law. “After a few months of teaching, you couldn’t drag me away.” She said she had found her higher calling.

Olson asked the audience who else had come back as alumni and saw some hands raised throughout the auditorium. Among those were Joey Frechette, who graduated from Arete Prep in 2019. Mr. Frechette will be teaching 6th grade history and 9th grade Humane Letters at Lincoln Prep. “It’s exciting and refreshing,” said Frechette. “I really like the purpose and philosophy [of Great Hearts] and I’ve really enjoyed these first couple of days of orientation.”

William Buckley was part of the first graduating class at Glendale Prep back in 2012. “It’s nice to see some of the changes between then and now… and how things have developed over the years.” Mr. Buckley will be teaching 7th grade Latin, 8th grade earth science, and drama club at Veritas Prep.

Ms. Haley at NFO

Emilee Haley also graduated from Glendale Prep, but a few years after Buckley in 2017. She is returning to Glendale Prep to serve in the middle school as the Exceptional Student Services (ESS) teacher and the Speech Language Pathology Assistant, where she will administer speech therapy intervention. “I love everything about the school. It really did shape me as a person,” said Haley. “And to have the full-circle moment to come back and do that for others is amazing.” Ms. Haley has enjoyed learning more about Great Hearts from the perspective of a faculty member. “It’s really insightful and it’s been nice to really dive into the philosophy and to see how passionate everyone is and how much they care about the mission. It’s been amazing.”

While many of our new faculty are local and “home-grown,” some have traveled great distances to teach for Great Hearts. Olson was surprised to see over a dozen hands raised when she asked the same audience who had come to Great Hearts from outside the United States.

Juan Gomez is from Bucaramanga, the capital and largest city of the department of Santander, Columbia. Gomez came to the United States to play college tennis in Iowa and then transferred to The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. It was there that Gomez heard a presentation from Great Hearts and spoke with members of the talent team. He visited academies in Texas and Arizona last December where he spoke with a number of administrators before landing at Veritas Prep, where he will be teaching 12th grade math.

Alice Faith is here from a town near Bologna in Italy. She came to the United States as an au pair. “The kids that I nannied for were students of Great Hearts and I would pick them up from the school each day.” She soon began volunteering at the school. Faith studied in Italy as a teacher and was captivated by the teaching methods of Great Hearts. “I decided that I wanted to be a part of the team,” she said. “I am really enjoying it because it [has given] me an understanding [of Great Hearts] and I am learning more about their approach.” Ms. Faith will be a 4th grade teaching assistant (TA) at Archway Veritas.

There are many more amazing stories about how each of our new faculty have answered the high call of teaching at Great Hearts. But more importantly, they will be instrumental in shaping the stories of each of their students as they cultivate wonder and exploration in their classrooms.

Interested in joining our faculty this fall? We are still accepting applications:

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