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New Faculty Travel from Afar to NFO

Great Hearts Academies July 10, 2024 -

Audience at NFO

Day three of the Great Hearts Arizona New Faculty Orientation (NFO) marks the end of the overall orientation phase and the beginning of New Faculty Training (NFT). Over the next couple of weeks, new faculty will undergo in-depth training specific to their roles, including academy and grade-level-specific training.

Read more about day one of NFO at:
Read more about day two of NFO at:

Through the years, the NFO at Great Hearts has continued to fine-tune, grow, and improve. However, some aspects of the orientation have become true staples. It’s no secret that we love tradition at Great Hearts, and NFO is no exception.

Each year, our co-founder Dan Scoggin delivers his address on the “Six Loves of Great Hearts.” Although, up until recent years, Scoggin could not get through all six bullet points in the time allotted. Many presenters and organizers of the event would often make predictions on what number they thought he would reach—all in good fun, of course.

Jerilyn Olson presenting at NFO

Another annual pastime at NFO comes from Chief People Officer Jerilyn Olson. Each year, at the beginning of her session, she plays a game with the attendees to see who has traveled the furthest to come and work for Great Hearts in Arizona. This year, when asked who came from out of state, about half the crowd stood up. Olson continued to move further away from the southwest, having attendees sit down until she finally reached anyone who came from a state that bordered the Atlantic Ocean. While the number of those remaining standing dwindled, a few dozen still remained.

Then came the question that everyone anxiously awaits each year – Who came to work for Great Hearts from outside the United States? Four new faculty members remained. The new staffers came from India, Germany, Kenya, and Colombia, making a long journey to begin new lives and careers with Great Hearts.

Douaa Alallaf was one of the attendees left standing. “I actually moved from Germany,” she said. “I moved in April and I’m very excited to be part of the ESS Team.” Alallaf will be joining the team at Archway Arete.

Alallaf said she heard about Great Hearts through her family. “I have my niece that attends Great Hearts, and she loves it every day. When I talk to her she’s very excited to come back and just tell me about her day… It just makes you kind of sense how amazing the culture is and the curriculum, and I’m excited to be part of the team.”

Douaa Alallaf at NFO

“Everyone’s been so helpful,” she remarked. “I like the culture. Mostly, I feel like everybody likes to help each other. Our Headmaster has been amazing, the HR team, everybody that I’ve worked with [has] been very helpful… I like how the teachers connect their heart and mind together and that’s something you don’t find in every school. I feel like they care so much about the teacher that the teacher really cares about the students, and they kind of connect everything together to make this amazing culture.”

Having international teachers and faculty is a great experience for our scholars as well, opening their worldview to broader cultures. It is a rich exchange between the scholars and their teachers, where teachers share their heritage while absorbing American culture in a classical environment.

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