Skip to main

Meet the Mathematical Jodi Folley

Arete Prep February 12, 2024 -

Jody Folley stands tall as a pillar of Great Hearts, both literally and figuratively at 6’1”. “I truly enjoy the act of teaching because I love building relationships with my students and being part of their growth process,” said Jody Folley. “I have high expectations for my students, but I get away with it because they know I care about them.  I hope my students remember this about me and not just that I am tall!”

Jodi Folley

With an unwavering commitment to Arete Prep, Folley is celebrating her 17th year teaching at the Great Hearts academy. To put that in perspective, Folley began teaching at Arete Prep the same year that Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, the first hashtag was used on Twitter, Netflix began streaming content, and NASA landed a spacecraft on Mars.

Folley is an Arizona native raised in Scottsdale and Cave Creek. She has dedicated her life to education and has proudly served for several decades. She embarked on her academic journey at the University of Arizona, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Education in Latin and Math. Folley began her teaching career at Paradise Valley High School, where she taught Latin and math for five years.

Folley then served as the state chairperson for the Arizona Junior Classical League. In this influential role, she collaborated with Latin students across Arizona, and her admiration for the caliber of students from Great Hearts academies inspired her desire to provide her own children with this type of education. “I knew I wanted my own children to have that experience and that I wanted to teach at a school like that,” she said.  Motivated by this vision, Folley joined what is now Arete Prep in 2007 as a founding faculty member, under the guidance of Karyn Mercado, who now serves as Director of Academics at Veritas Prep.

Over the years, Folley has shared her expertise by teaching 8th grade Latin, 6th-11th grade math, coaching volleyball for a decade, and taking on leadership roles such as Lead Math Teacher on multiple occasions. In the present academic year, Folley is engaged in teaching 9th and 11th grade math, leading the Math Department, and contributing to the mentorship of new teachers.

One of her most notable achievements at Arete Prep is her instrumental role in implementing and sustaining the Exeter Math curriculum. Exeter Math is an integrated, problem-oriented, inquiry-based approach to mathematics that differs significantly from the traditional approach to math curriculum. Introduced to students in 2011, the curriculum has empowered hundreds of students to become creative and confident problem-solvers. Folley’s dedication extends beyond the classroom as she has led numerous parent meetings, passionately advocating for the benefits of the Exeter curriculum.

Mrs. Folley's boys

Reflecting on her 17 years at Great Hearts, Folley expresses gratitude for the enriching experience it has been. “Great Hearts has been a wonderful place to work for the past 17 years,” said Folley fondly. “And I am so proud to say that all three of my sons are Arete Prep graduates.” A fact that exemplifies her pride in the academy. As she continues to contribute to the educational community, Jodi Folley stands as a testament to the dedication and passion that defines a lifelong educator.

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