Headmaster College and Residency


The Headmaster College is a leadership formation program launched in August 2016. The program includes a year-long residency in a Texas or Arizona school and is designed to cultivate the next generation of Great Hearts school leaders.

About the Great Hearts Mission

Great Hearts is the national leader in classical education, serving more than 14,000 K-12 students at 28 public charter schools in Arizona and Texas, with waitlists that exceed enrollment. Our mission is to provide American students the finest education and moral formation available anywhere in the world. Our academies are staffed by exemplary teachers and are founded upon the classical ideals of truth, beauty and goodness. Developing strong leaders for our schools is essential, as the Headmaster sets the academic, cultural tone of the academy and hires and attends to the growth of the faculty.

The Program

Headmasters-in-residence will experience integrative projects and study, executive coaching and directly-related fieldwork at one of our current schools. The program will provide a durable foundation for Headmastership and subsequent professional development, as Headmasters will use the year as a touchstone for what it means to shape an exceptional Great Hearts academy.

Participants will:

  • Acquire and apply the management skills required to lead in a school setting.
  • Develop skills in building a school culture and providing instructional leadership, as well as the key operational aspects of running a school.
  • Learn how to effectively articulate a vision for classical, liberal arts K-12 education to engage key stakeholders.

Program Components


  • Headmasters-in-residence will learn how to evaluate, manage and coach teachers.
  • The residency-site campuses are led by current veteran Headmasters.
  • Enrollees are offered direct experience in an environment rich with opportunities for observation, feedback, correction and practice.
  • Enrollee campus activities will include teaching and targeted leadership projects.

Customized Executive Coaching

  • Enrollees will be profiled using several assessment tools and assigned a Great Hearts executive coach.
  • Coaches will engage in a year-long discovery process to address weaknesses and further develop strengths.
  • Coaches will be the primary touchpoint for an enrollee, regularly interfacing with Great Hearts leadership to assess the enrollee’s readiness for the responsibilities of Headmastership.

Course of Study

  • The formal, year-long coursework focuses on the Great Hearts Headmaster profile and key functions.
  • The program includes interactive online work with fellow enrollees, study of the Great Hearts Headmaster handbook and start-up kit, evening workshops exploring Headmastership case studies, monthly seminars and two out-of-town retreats.


Headmasters-in-residence are compensated with salary and benefits by the Great Hearts academy where they are employed. Upon successful completion of the residency program, graduates will be considered for school leadership openings and appointed to them as the graduate readiness matches the school need.

Application Process

The application window for the 2019-20 cohort is now closed. Questions about 2020-21 admissions should be sent to hhayes@greatheartsamerica.org

The program is a year-long residency with cohorts in Arizona and Texas. Participants in these cohorts of up to 12 enrollees will engage in integrative projects, executive coaching and relevant fieldwork. Preference will be given to applicants with experience teaching at a Great Hearts school.

If you are from a school outside of Great Hearts and would be interested in participating in a virtual Headmaster College, please let us know here.


Q. What is the goal of the Great Hearts Headmaster College and Residency?


Great Hearts will recruit and develop outstanding leaders to serve as the next generation of Headmasters, Assistant Headmasters, and Deans within our growing network of academies. The model is designed to emulate the residency process which doctors complete, such that our emerging leaders (internal and external) have the support and direction needed to develop into excellent and confident school leaders. Our goal is to recruit up to 12 enrollees in the program.

Q. What are the date and time requirements for an enrollee in the Headmaster College?


The Great Hearts Headmaster College is a one-year, intense training program that consists of three program components: the apprenticeship portion takes place during school hours, executive coaching occurs weekly, and the course-of-study portion includes weekly evening classes and two site-based retreats. Orientation takes place in August, and the program concludes in mid-June.

Q. Where does the Headmaster College take place?


The program will primarily take place in Phoenix, Arizona, with most of our enrollees apprenticing at our older and established academies in this region. However, for those interested in apprenticing at one of our Texas academies in San Antonio or Irving, we provide teleconferencing for weekly courses, monthly seminars, and retreats, with periodic travel to Arizona for full-cohort activities.

Q. Are Headmaster Enrollees compensated during the year of the program?


Yes, Headmaster College participants receive a full salary and benefits during the year of the program from the academy where they are employed during their residency year.

Q. What happens after the completion of the Headmaster College year?


A number of key assessments and evaluations will be deployed throughout the Headmaster-in-Residence’s tenure. After successful completion of the program in May, the enrollee’s assigned executive coach and the veteran headmaster at the enrollee’s apprenticeship campus will consult with Great Hearts leadership to recommend a participant for a full-time headmaster or assistant headmaster position during the 2017-18 school year. Robert Wagner, Vice President of Academy Operations, makes the final appointments. Graduates of the Headmaster College are expected to commit at least two additional academic years of work within Great Hearts.

Q. After the year-long training, will graduates continue to be supported and receive ongoing professional development?


Yes. Graduates from the Headmaster College will receive ongoing professional development opportunities. In fact, many elements of the weekly coursework will be available for all new full-time headmasters to attend. The full-time headmaster’s direct supervisor, the Vice President of Academies, coaches new headmasters; full-time assistant headmasters and deans receive coaching from their school’s headmaster. Most importantly, headmastership will admit the graduate into the collegium of Great Hearts headmasters, who meet regularly (formally and informally) and have proven to be invaluable in their support and guidance of one another.

Q. Whom can I contact with additional questions about the Great Hearts Headmaster College?


Please direct questions to Helen Hayes at hhayes@greatheartsaz.org.