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Cohorts

Get the Support You Need

Do you need someone to turn to as you encounter new challenges?

It’s always good to know you’re not alone! Connect with others in your role at classical Christian schools around the country. Build relationships, share ideas, and support each other in small groups while learning best practices in your field of speciality.

Cohort leaders are seasoned professionals in their field. Based on years of experience, they will share professional standards, help you avoid common pitfalls, and equip you with the resources you need to be successful.

Don’t go it alone! Connect with an SCL cohort and build a healthy, growing school.

About Cohorts

Cohorts are year-long mentorship learning groups led by experienced school leaders who are experts in their fields. They consist of ten, ninety minute sessions over the course of the school year. When participating in a cohort, you will find the vital support you need to serve your school with excellence. Content and mentorship are accessible to cohort members through the utilization of the online platform Zoom.

Cohort Offerings

Beck Brydon

Athletic Director Cohort

Description: 

This cohort is for current and aspiring Athletic Directors in Classical Christian schools who desire to learn best practices across a variety of topics, problem-solve at both the tactical and strategic levels, and build relationships with other AD’s for long-term support. 

 

Syllabus:

August – Leading Your Department

Establishing expectations and creating alignment

September – Building Community

Educating and energizing parents, faculty/staff and alumni

October – Coach Training & Development

Considerations for establishing a coach training and development program

November – Coach Performance Evaluation

Establishing, promoting and celebrating growth mindsets

December – Budgeting & Finance

Observations of the various budget and finance models and how to solve funding problems

January – Identity & Mission

The single most important question to answer – Who are you?

February – Planning & Calendaring

Working backwards to allow you advance forward

March – Spirit of Celebration

Ideas for ending seasons and the school year strong

April – Policies & Handbooks

Philosophy should drive policy.  Making sure all athletic department policies have a proper foundation.

May – Redeeming Sports for Christ        

A discussion on Christian worldview and theology of sport

 

Bio:

Beck Brydon joined Second Baptist School in June 2023 after 25 years at Regents School of Austin, which included 17 years as Regents’ Director of Athletics and two years as Regents’ Director of Advancement from 2004-2006. Beck is an Executive Board Member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS), the primary governing body of private school athletics and fine arts in the state of Texas. He and his wife Trish, a 9th grade English teacher at Second Baptist, have 3 children, all of whom graduated from Regents.

Meeting Dates and Times

Aug 13, Sep 3, Oct 1, Nov 5, Dec 3, Jan 7, Feb 4, Mar 4, Apr 1, May 6 (Tuesday) from 7:00 – 8:30 am CT.

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Keith Nix

Beginner Head of School Cohort: Fundamentals of CCE Leadership for Years 1 and 2

Description:

The Beginner Head of School Cohort exists to encourage, equip, and support classical Christian school Heads, through training, collaboration, discussion, and friendship. Each monthly session will include content addressing a key topic and open discussion time for issues and challenges.  Cohort members will have the opportunity to participate in weekly office hours (a scheduled time for any cohort member to join a zoom call with Keith Nix).  They will also have access to a mentor in between monthly virtual meetings when special needs/issues arise.  The cohort requires 1-2 hours of monthly homework in between meetings (readings, video, etc.)

 

Syllabus:

  • Vision-Casting
  • Board Development
  • Talent Management
  • Financial Leadership
  • Culture Building
  • Strategic Execution
  • Parent Education
  • Advancement

 

Bio:

Keith Nix has served as the Head of School at Veritas since 2010. Mr. Nix has served as Chairman of the Board of Society for Classical Learning (SCL), Vice Chairman of the Board of Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), and President of the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test (CLT). He consults and coaches classical Christian school boards and leaders and currently teaches at Gordon College in their Graduate Leadership Program, equipping Classical Christian school leaders. Prior to moving to Veritas in 2010, Keith was a board member and then later Head of School at The Westminster School in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a founding Arête Fellow, and he facilitated the Arete Fellowship for many years. Prior to working in classical Christian schools, Keith was President of Nixgroup, a boutique consulting firm working with start-up and early-stage organizations and businesses. Mr. Nix enjoys tennis, golf, and great books. He is married to Kim, an accomplished artist; the Nixes have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 4, Oct 2, Nov 6, Dec 4, Jan 1, Feb 5, Mar 5, Apr 2, May 7 (Wednesday) from 2:00 – 3:30 pm ET.

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Keith Nix

Advanced Head of School Cohort: Fundamentals of CCE Leadership for Years 3+

Description:

This advanced cohort is for Heads of School who have served in this position for three years or more. This advanced cohort follows much of the same flow as the beginner cohort but goes deeper into the main categories of school leadership. While essential principles of leadership will be discussed, this cohort is largely tailored to your pressing needs with the leader of this cohort soliciting from participants in advance of each monthly meeting the topics for discussion. In addition, we will also have a reading recommendation each month to add to our discussion. That could be a book, portion of a book, or article/essay.

 

Syllabus:

  • Leading Yourself: HoS well-being
  • Building a High-Performance Leadership Team (B-Ring)
  • Growing your Board and Deepening the Bench
  • Engaging and Empowering Parents
  • Building a Development Office and Team
  • Starting an Advisory Council
  • Mastering Your Money
    Managing Conflict
  • Mastering Surveys

 

Bio:

Keith Nix has served as the Head of School at Veritas since 2010. Mr. Nix has served as Chairman of the Board of Society for Classical Learning (SCL), Vice Chairman of the Board of Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), and President of the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test (CLT). He consults and coaches classical Christian school boards and leaders and currently teaches at Gordon College in their Graduate Leadership Program, equipping Classical Christian school leaders. Prior to moving to Veritas in 2010, Keith was a board member and then later Head of School at The Westminster School in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a founding Arête Fellow, and he facilitated the Arete Fellowship for many years. Prior to working in classical Christian schools, Keith was President of Nixgroup, a boutique consulting firm working with start-up and early-stage organizations and businesses. Mr. Nix enjoys tennis, golf, and great books. He is married to Kim, an accomplished artist; the Nixes have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 18, Oct 16, Nov 20, Dec 18, Jan 15, Feb 19, Mar 19, Apr 16, May 21 (Wednesday) from 2:00 – 3:30 pm ET.

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Jef Fowler

Beginner Collaborative School Heads (Years 1-2)

Description: 

This equipping workshop is for new or aspiring heads or board members of collaborative schools. The collaborative (hybrid, University-Model®, etc.) terminology is shorthand for schools that are programmed as a mixture of homeschooling and private education. Whether you are thinking of starting a school like this or have just started one, this cohort is for you. The cohort will work through all the principles and strategies that are essential to building and sustaining a collaborative model school.

 

Bio:

Jef Fowler founded Quiddity Consulting LLC after serving as the Head of School of Veritas Academy in Austin, Texas for 18 years. Though retiring from that role in the summer of 2023, he continues as a member of the School and Trustee Boards. 

Prior to co-founding Veritas Academy in 2004, Jef was an experienced business owner, operator, and consultant, having started and/or served as a senior executive officer (CFO, COO, &/or CEO) at several high growth companies in Houston and Austin. He earned an MBA in Finance from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and is a former CPA, possessing years of M&A, corporate finance, and strategic/financial consulting experience with Big Four accounting and consulting firms. Jef has even more years of entrepreneurial business and church administration/board experience, and has also served the National Association for University-Model Schools (NAUMS) as an advisory board member and new school trainer.

Jef and his wife, Starrla (Director of Leadership Development & Collaborative School Initiatives at the Society for Classical Learning), have three adult children—all graduates of Veritas Academy—and continue to serve the classical Christian school movement from their home in Memphis, Tennessee where they recently relocated to enjoy life with their kids and new granddaughter.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 10, Oct 8, Nov 12, Dec 10, Jan 14, Feb 11, Mar 11, Apr 8, May 13 (Tuesday) from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm CT.

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Neil Anderson

Advanced Collaborative School Heads (Year 3+)

Description:

This advanced cohort is for leaders—heads of school, board members, or executive leaders—who have been involved in a leadership role in a collaborative school for three years or more. The collaborative (hybrid, University-Model®, etc.) terminology is shorthand for schools that are programmed as a mixture of homeschooling and private education. While essential principles of leading a collaborative school will be discussed, this cohort is largely tailored to your pressing needs with the leader of this cohort soliciting from participants in advance of each monthly meeting the topics for discussion.

 

Bio:

Neil Anderson has been the head of school at Trinity Classical School in Houston since 2010. The school was founded in 2009, and Neil was hired as the first head of school. Neil has a deep passion for liberal arts education and spiritual formation. After graduating from Wheaton College with a degree in Biblical Studies, he served as an associate pastor at churches in the Midwest. With a growing family of four children, the Andersons moved back to his hometown of Houston. Prior to joining Trinity Classical School, Neil worked at Baytown Christian Academy, serving as teacher, department chair, and dean of students. During these years, Neil completed a Master’s of Liberal Arts degree at Houston Baptist University. He currently serves on the board of the Society for Classical Learning. Neil is passionate about leadership, family life, investing in students, poetry, classical literature, theology, carpentry, coffee, hiking, running, and bird-watching.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 6, Oct 4, Nov 1, Dec 6, Jan 3, Feb 7, Mar 7, Apr 4, May 2 (Friday) from 10:00 – 11:30 am CT.

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Jessica Gombert

Beginning Grammar School Heads Cohort (Years 0-2)

Description:

The Beginner Grammar School Heads cohort is designed to support, equip, and encourage classical and Christian Grammar School Heads in their first or second year. This cohort will explore a key topic each month, with discussion of the reading material assigned. Sessions will include time for fellowship to encourage one another in our good and challenging work. Additionally, Jessica Gombert will make herself available between monthly sessions for conversations with participants about particular situations they are facing. 

 

Syllabus:

  • The Foundation of a Classical and Christian Education
  • The Heart of Leadership
  • The Grammar School Learner, Curriculum, and Instruction
  • Communication and the Power of Words
  • Teacher Training, Hiring and Retention
  • Starting the School Year Successfully
  • The Heart of Grammar School: Maintain the Mission and Build a Culture
  • Personal Growth, Study and Care
  • The Reading Brain  
  • Assessment in the Grammar School

 

Bio:

Jessica Gombert is in her 19th year as the Grammar School Headmaster at Geneva School of Boerne. She holds an MA in Education and has been involved in many aspects of education for over 30 years. Teaching experiences include special education, kindergarten, adult classes for Region 20 Alternative Certification Program, and university student teacher supervision. She delights in teaching students to become life-long learners as well as encouraging and leading teachers. She is dedicated to Christian and classical education. Jessica has led The Society for Classical Learning’s Grammar School Head cohort for four years and has presented at numerous conferences. She is passionate about reading instruction and is currently writing student readers to supplement the phonics curriculum. She also has a love for serving and teaching children in Africa and has taught and trained teachers in Zambia, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 18, Oct 16, Nov 20, Dec 18, Jan 15, Feb 19, Mar 19, Apr 16, May 21 (Wednesday) from 11:00 am-12:30 pm CT.

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Jessica Gombert

Advanced Grammar School Head Cohort (Years 3+)

Description:

This advanced cohort is for Grammar School Heads who have served in this position for three years or more. It is designed to support, equip, and encourage classical and Christian Grammar School Heads and future Heads, through training, collaboration, and fellowship. Jessica will come each month with a topic to discuss, but participants are invited to bring current challenges and questions that might be timely for everyone. Additionally, Jessica Gombert will make herself available between monthly sessions for conversations with participants about particular situations they are facing.

 

Bio:

Jessica Gombert is in her 19th year as the Grammar School Headmaster at Geneva School of Boerne. She holds an MA in Education and has been involved in many aspects of education for over 30 years. Teaching experiences include special education, kindergarten, adult classes for Region 20 Alternative Certification Program, and university student teacher supervision. She delights in teaching students to become life-long learners as well as encouraging and leading teachers. She is dedicated to Christian and classical education. Jessica has led The Society for Classical Learning’s Grammar School Head cohort for four years and has presented at numerous conferences. She is passionate about reading instruction and is currently writing student readers to supplement the phonics curriculum. She also has a love for serving and teaching children in Africa and has taught and trained teachers in Zambia, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 12, Oct 10, Nov 14, Dec 12, Jan 9, Feb 13, Mar 13, Apr 10, May 8 (Thursday) from 11:00 am-12:30 pm CT.

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Robyn Burlew

Beginner Upper School Heads (Years 1-2)

Description:

The Upper School Head cohort is designed for Upper School administrators who are in the first one or two years in the position. We will work through topics such as leading faculty and student culture, working with parents, and overseeing student discipline. Preparatory reading will include articles and book excerpts. Each session will include conversation of the month’s topic, updates from participants, and prayer for one another. In addition to monthly meetings, Robyn will make herself available for conversations with participants about particular situations they are facing. 

 

Bio:

Mrs. Robyn Burlew came to Veritas as the Upper School Principal and Academic Dean in 2014, after serving in a classical Christian school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for fifteen years. Mrs. Burlew’s childhood in rural upstate New York laid the foundation for a love of the outdoors and the created world. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Houghton College and a master’s degree in Integrated Curriculum and Instruction from Covenant College. Mrs. Burlew has three grown daughters. In her free time, she enjoys the piano, hiking, and her golden retrievers.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 19, Oct 17, Nov 21, Dec 19, Jan 16, Feb 20, Mar 20, Apr 17, May 15 (Thursday) from 4:00 – 5:30 pm ET.

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Robyn Burlew

Advanced Upper School Heads (Years 3+)

Description:

This cohort is designed for Upper School administrators with more than two years of experience who are looking for a place to discuss issues that we face as we lead our faculty, students, and parents. Robyn will come each month with a topic to discuss, but participants are invited to bring current challenges and questions that might be timely for everyone.

 

Bio:

Mrs. Robyn Burlew came to Veritas as the Upper School Principal and Academic Dean in 2014, after serving in a classical Christian school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for fifteen years. Mrs. Burlew’s childhood in rural upstate New York laid the foundation for a love of the outdoors and the created world. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Houghton College and a master’s degree in Integrated Curriculum and Instruction from Covenant College. Mrs. Burlew has three grown daughters. In her free time, she enjoys the piano, hiking, and her golden retrievers.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 19, Oct 17, Nov 21, Dec 19, Jan 16, Feb 20, Mar 20, Apr 17, May 15 (Thursday) from 2:00 – 3:30 pm ET.

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Elizabeth Perkins

Admission and Marketing Cohort

Description:

The Admissions and Marketing Cohort is designed to connect Admission/Marketing Directors at classical Christian schools across the country to build a support network of like-minded professionals who will help you do your job better. It will include strategic assignments between monthly meetings that will help you streamline your workflow and make things like board reports and prospective parent communication easier. The cohort will include direct access to your cohort leader, Elizabeth Perkins, through regular “Open Office Hours” live on Zoom. There, you can ask specific questions about anything you’re facing at your school.

 

Syllabus:

Month 1: Enrollment Management

  • Admission team structures (ISM org chart)
  • Goal of the admission office
  • Admission policy 

Month 2: Admission Applications

  • Family interviews
  • Parent interviews
  • Right fit family rubric

Month 3: Admission Assessments

  • Who, when, why

Month 4: Tours and Events

Month 5: Contracts & Financial Aid Notification

  • Perpetual enrollment

Month 6: Onboarding and Welcoming New Families 

Month 7: Digital Marketing

Month 8: Retention

  • Retention committees
  • Faculty role in re-enrollment

Month 9: Word of Mouth Marketing & Wrap Up

    • Parent ambassadors

 

Bio:

Elizabeth Perkins currently works with K-12 independent schools on their marketing efforts with the North Star Management Agency. Previously, she served nine years as the Director of Enrollment and Outreach for Westminster Academy in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to joining Westminster, she served as adjunct faculty in the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis, teaching courses in organizational strategy, communications, and management. In her spare time, Elizabeth serves as the Director for the Memphis Ostrander awards (Memphis’ theatre awards for collegiate, community, and professional theatre) and as a judge for high school theatre. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors at Theatre Memphis. In her “previous life” (AKA, before children!), Elizabeth was the Internal Communications Leader for the Capital Aviation Services division of General Electric. She holds a BA in political science from the University of Memphis and an MBA from Union University. Elizabeth completed the Certification for Admission and Enrollment Professionals in 2018. Elizabeth has presented several times on admission topics at previous conferences for SCL, ACCS, ERB, and the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals. 

Meeting Dates and Times

Aug 28, Sep 25, Oct 23, Nov 20, Dec 18, Jan 22, Feb 26, Mar 26, Apr 23, May 28 (Wednesday) from 2:00 – 3:30 pm CT.

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Starrla Fowler

Elevating Leadership: Developing B-ring Leaders: Year 1

Description:

As a division head, principal, director, or dean, do you often wonder how you could have a greater impact in your school? Do you possess the character and relational skills to not only lead those in your department but to also lead and effectively support those in higher positions than you … including your head of school? Do you really understand the inner workings of your school … the roles and responsibilities from the school board to the head of school to operational and support roles? Leadership sets the tone, and determines the degree of success for any organization. While the top leader, your head of school, is ultimately responsible for all operations and the fulfillment of the school’s mission, the health of the school rests on a cohesive leadership team–quarterbacked by the head of school—who possesses a shared clarity of purpose. The head of school is only as effective as the team that surrounds him/her. B-ring leaders—as defined by Independent School Management (ISM)—play an integral part in supporting the head and carrying out his/her vision for the school. A head of school relies on an executive team that is of high character, is competent (not only in his/her department competencies but also in leadership), and is able to move and motivate others. 

 

This cohort, ideally, stretches over two years to allow for adequate study of the following topics:  self-awareness, relational leadership, skills for leading in various capacities (leading up, down, across, and self), communication techniques, conflict and crisis management, and exposure to school organization/governance. In addition to monthly 90-minute meetings, cohort members are invited to participate in office hours towards the application of skills learned. This cohort aims to not only strengthen individuals as leaders, thereby broadening and deepening the leadership bench in your school, but also to further develop future leaders in the broader classical Christian education (CCE) movement. For the cohort to be maximally effective, schools may consider enrolling two or three individuals as this will allow for collaboration and application of studied topics to each school’s unique purpose and organization.

 

Syllabus:

  • 360° Leadership—Leading Self, Across, Down, and Up
  • Self-assessment tools—Working Genius, Enneagram, Leadership Compass
  • Leadership vs Management—Is there really a difference?
  • Developing Prudence—The Basis of Leadership
  • Authentic Leadership—Skills are necessary but God has a unique design for your leadership
  • Relational Leadership—How well do you model Godly character and care for your people?
  • Change Management—Making the most of times of transition
  • Understanding School Structure—The roles and responsibilities of the board and the head of school
  • Recognizing the Importance of an Executive Team—The roles played and the importance of cohesiveness
  • Getting the Right People on the Bus—Being intentional in hiring … and firing  

 

Bio:

In her role as the Director of Leadership Development and Collaborative School Initiatives for the Society for Classical Learning, Starrla combines two big passions—developing leaders and expanding collaborative schools across the United States. Prior to joining SCL, Starrla  and her husband were co-founders of Veritas Academy in Austin, Texas, and over the course of 18 years, Starrla served in various capacities including Academic Team Chair, Grammar School Head, and School of Logic Head. She continues to serve on the Veritas Academy School Board and its Governance and Nominations committee.  

While at Veritas, Starrla developed curricula and academic programs, trained teachers, served on accreditation teams for similar schools, and helped many classical, collaborative schools launch and grow. She is passionate about Kingdom building through the expansion of classical, Christian schools; and after receiving her Masters in Leadership through Gordon College, shifted her focus to developing programs for training future Christian school leaders. 

Starrla and her husband, Jef (the longtime Veritas Head of School), are the proud parents of three adult children, all graduates of Veritas Academy. After living in the Texas Hill Country for nearly 30 years, Starrla and Jef now enjoy living close to their adult children and newborn granddaughter in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 11, Oct 9, Nov 13, Dec 11, Jan 8, Feb 12, Mar 12, Apr 9, May 14 (Wednesday) from 5:00 – 6:30 pm CT.

Register now
Starrla Fowler

Elevating Leadership: Developing B-ring Leaders: Year 2

Description:

As a B-ring leader (Division Head, Principal, Director, or Dean), you play a significant role in both supporting your head of school and leading your direct reports. Leadership at any level brings delight and accomplishment but also yields challenges. How equipped are you to handle the complexities of leadership decisions, the crises that invariably arise, the betrayal that sadly happens, and the loneliness of leadership? Do you recognize your important role as a shepherd to your people? How cohesive is your team, and do they possess clarity of purpose? Join fellow B-ring leaders from across the country to learn relational and practical skills that better equip you to effectively lead your people. 

 

Building upon relational concepts and skills learned in year 1, this cohort will unpack the wisdom from leadership books like Leading With a Limp, The Way of the Shepherd, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and The Speed of Trust. Participants will acquire a deeper understanding of the relational characteristics required of a leader and the strategies necessary for creating a unified team built on trust and clarity of purpose. While the content of this cohort is designed to build on the skills learned in year 1, you may certainly jump into year 2 if these topics are of particular interest to you.

 

In addition to monthly 90-minute meetings, cohort members are invited to participate in office hours towards the application of skills learned. This cohort aims to not only strengthen individuals as leaders, thereby broadening and deepening the leadership bench in the classical Christian education (CCE) movement, but also positions participants to better support their Head of School by creating a unified team galvanized around the school’s vision, mission, and distinctives. For the cohort to be maximally effective, schools may consider enrolling two or three individuals as this will allow for collaboration and application of studied topics to each school’s unique purpose and organization.

 

Syllabus:

  • Reluctant leadership … the risks, challenges, and costs of leadership—complexity, crisis, betrayal, loneliness, and weariness
  • Connecting, relationally with your people
  • Communicating effectively
  • Motivating and moving others towards a shared vision
  • Leading through a crisis
  • Building trust, the basis of leadership
  • Mastering healthy conflict towards establishing commitment to results
  • Leading through correction, confrontation, conflict, and discouragement
  • Growing in prudence

 

Bio:

In her role as the Director of Leadership Development and Collaborative School Initiatives for the Society for Classical Learning, Starrla combines two big passions—developing leaders and expanding collaborative schools across the United States. Prior to joining SCL, Starrla  and her husband were co-founders of Veritas Academy in Austin, Texas, and over the course of 18 years, Starrla served in various capacities including Academic Team Chair, Grammar School Head, and School of Logic Head. She continues to serve on the Veritas Academy School Board and its Governance and Nominations committee.  

While at Veritas, Starrla developed curricula and academic programs, trained teachers, served on accreditation teams for similar schools, and helped many classical, collaborative schools launch and grow. She is passionate about Kingdom building through the expansion of classical, Christian schools; and after receiving her Masters in Leadership through Gordon College, shifted her focus to developing programs for training future Christian school leaders. 

Starrla and her husband, Jef (the longtime Veritas Head of School), are the proud parents of three adult children, all graduates of Veritas Academy. After living in the Texas Hill Country for nearly 30 years, Starrla and Jef now enjoy living close to their adult children and newborn granddaughter in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 18, Oct 16, Nov 20, Dec 18, Jan 15, Feb 19, Mar 19, Apr 16, May 28 (Wednesday) from 5:00 – 6:30 pm CT.

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Athena Oden

PreK-2nd grade: Embodied Cognition in Classical Classrooms

Description:

Embodied cognition and embodied learning are becoming common educational terms. We believe, as Christians, that we are created as whole beings. Science now confirms the significance of embodied learning; we don’t learn with only our brains. In this cohort, we will discuss childhood development and review research supporting the idea that cognition is a product of the embodied being. This will influence our understanding of students and their cognitive growth, and thereby, our pedagogy.  Classroom strategies and applications will be discussed during each meeting. Participants will gain a better understanding of development and embodied cognition, allowing the participants the ability to change strategies and methods in the classroom for greater student success. The book, Ready Bodies, Learning Minds; Cultivating the Whole Child, will be supplied for each attendee.

 

Syllabus:

What IS Typical Development? 

The medical definition of development will help us understand how our children learn, along with what is typical and what is not.

Motor Control, Reflexes, and Sensory Systems. 

Understanding each of these functions will build the foundation for discussions of the term “embodied”. 

Embodied Cognition, Poetic Knowledge, and Executive Function.  

Are these terms compatible? How do we address each one of them in the classroom?

History of Early Childhood Classrooms. 

Our current practices in early childhood have a history that affects the way we teach and drives our classroom expectations. 

Differences in Learning and Behavior. 

Learning and behavior are both embodied responses to the environment. We will discuss how to recognize differences/problems in each and how to assist our students. 

Language Development Is Tied to Motor Control. 

Research has defined that language and speech are dependent on motor development. These connections will be defined and applications to learning will be discussed. 

Children with ADHD and Autism. 

These children are like all other children; they are embodied learners. We will discuss specific methods to assist these students in the classroom.

Handwriting, Mathematics, and Flexible Seating. 

Handwriting and mathematics are, of course, things to be taught.  But can they be taught in a method that increases working memory? Must it involve flexible seating?

Bio:

Athena is the owner of Ready Bodies, Learning Minds and works as an Early Childhood Intervention consultant with public and private schools and non-profit organizations for children. Athena has created and implemented successful motor programs for schools throughout the United States, led Assistive Technology teams, designed accessible playgrounds, and served as an expert jury member in the validation of three assessments for students with developmental delays. Additionally, she has presented at the local, state, national and international level on topics dealing with the neurological and physiological development of the child in the classroom. As author of the book/curriculum Ready Bodies, Learning Minds: Cultivating the Whole Child (3rd edition), Athena hopes to help children and schools perform at their peak. 

Athena earned her degree in physical therapy from the University of Texas Medical Branch and has spent the past 40 years in pediatrics. She was privileged to participate in the creation of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) white paper for “The Role of School-Based Physical Therapy: Successful Participation for All Students” in 2012 and again in 2023. She also served for six years as a Regional Representative for the South Central US states for the School Based SIG of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Additionally, Athena has written screening tools for typical and atypical children. 

She and her husband, David, classically trained their three children and were founding members of Gloria Deo Academy in Texas. Athena currently serves on the GDA board. She has a passion for classical education, old musty books, and a good cup of tea.

Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 12, Oct 10, Nov 14, Dec 12, Jan 9, Feb 13, Mar 13, Apr 10, May 8 (Thursday) from 7:30 – 9:00 pm CT.

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Carrie Eben

Grammar School Teaching: Using the Ten Principles of Classical Pedagogy

Description:

Are you a new or seasoned grammar school teacher, dean, or curriculum director? If so, you will enjoy monthly conversations in this cohort about 10 Principles of Classical Pedagogy directed toward grammar teachers. Carrie Eben (teacher educator and co-author with Dr. Perrin of upcoming book The Good Teacher: 10 Principle of Classical Pedagogy) will flesh out these principles each session through examples in context of the grammar school day. Participants will reflect on the principles in their own practice of teaching and receive encouraging feedback from their cohort and mentor. Each member will have the opportunity to improve the art of their own teaching throughout the year and share what they know with others in their own schools. 

 

Syllabus:

Session 1: An Ever Fixed Mark: Virtue

Session 2: Festina Lente, Make Haste Slowly 

Session 3: Multum Non Multa, Much Not Many 

Session 4: Repetitio Mater Memoriae, Repetition is the Mother of Memory/ Songs, Chants, and Jingles

Session 5: Liturgical and Embodied Learning Part 1

Session 6: Liturgical and Embodied Learning Part 2

Session 7: Wonder and Curiosity  

Session 8: Scholé and Contemplation

Session 9: Docendo Discimus, By Teaching We Learn

Session 10: The Best Teacher is a Good Book/ Friendship and Conversation

 

Bio:

For over twenty-four years, Carrie Eben has championed classical education in both the private school classroom and homeschool arena. She currently serves as founding board member at Sager Classical Academy in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Carrie passionately leads teachers and parents in the classical model of education. She develops and delivers customized workshops for administrators, teachers, and parents in both classical school and homeschool settings via Classical Eben Education Consulting (www.classicaleben.com). Carrie holds a BSE in Intermediate Education from John Brown University and a MSEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Oklahoma State University. She is currently a PhD student in the Humanities program at Faulkner University and a CiRCE Institute Master Teacher.

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Meeting Dates and Times

Sep 9, Oct 7, Nov 11, Dec 9, Jan 13, Feb 10, Mar 10, Apr 14, May 12, Jun 9 (Monday) from 6:30 – 8:00 pm CT.

Andrew Smith

Academic Leadership

Description:

The purpose of academic leadership is to clarify, implement, prioritize, and protect the school’s model of education. For classical schools, in particular, this model is the most important distinctive of the school, which means that being attentive to it is crucial to the very mission of the school. The person most responsible for academic leadership, therefore, plays a necessary role that cannot be overlooked in any school that desires to be healthy. However, academic leadership can be difficult to implement given that many schools do not have an official position named “Academic Dean” or “Director of Instruction.”  Even when a school does have such a position, the tendency in administrative work is to let priorities be dictated by the most pressing problems and not by a sustained vision for academic health. The good news is that there is a process by which academic leadership can function productively, being a source of strength to the admin team and a source of encouragement to the faculty and families. This cohort will walk you through that process and support you in fulfilling the purpose of academic leadership at your school.

 

Syllabus:

Sessions 1-3 Anchor Documents for Creating and Maintaining Alignment

One: Portrait of a Graduate, Portrait of a Faculty Member, Portrait of a Student

Two: Professional Development and Curricular Alignment

Three: Faculty and Parent Alignment; Principles of Partnership

Sessions 4-5 Understanding the Model of Education and How to Implement It

Four: Common Vocabulary and Goals

Five: Curricular Practices

Session 6:  Co-curriculars, Extra Curriculars, Electives, and Class Trips

Session 7: Academic Support, Sequencing, Tracking, and Giftedness

Session 8: Hard Decisions—Hiring/Firing, Admitting/Expelling

Session 9: Parent Education

Session 10: School Profile and Transcript 

 

Bio:

Andrew Smith serves as Academic Dean at Veritas School, in Richmond, VA. Before joining the senior administrative team at Veritas, in 2017, Andrew was Director of Upper School at The Geneva School, in Orlando, Florida, from 2014-2017 and before that was Head of Upper School at Westminster Academy in Memphis, Tennessee. Along with his 19 years of teaching and administrative work in three different classical schools, Andrew has provided training and consulting for numerous additional schools. He has been a national fellow of the Alcuin Fellowship since 2010 and currently serves as Director of the Mid-Atlantic chapter. He and his wife, Keri, have four children.

Meeting Dates and Times

Aug 26, Sep 23, Oct 28, Nov 18, Dec 16, Jan 27, Feb 24, Mar 24, Apr 28, May 26 (Monday) from 7:30 – 9:00 pm ET.

Register now

If you have any questions, contact cohorts@societyforclassicallearning.org.

In Each Cohort, Attendees Will:

Participate in monthly sessions with other school leaders to discover new tactics, collaborate on ideas, and ask questions about topics important to you.

Utilize one-to-one engagement with your group leader to help grow your knowledge and skill set.

Experience open dialogue to discuss issues, challenges, and victories.

Receive specialized resources, shared documents, and training material.

Connect with others in their field who share similar circumstances.

Hear from experienced school leaders and industry experts.

Cohort Pricing

Non-Member Individual Price

$1,650

SCL Individual Member Price

$1,485

Member Group (3+) Discount

Member: $1,188

Non-Member: $1,320

* requires payment in full at time of purchase or automatic withdrawal set up (3% fee required)

Here’s What Our Members Are Saying

We are both very excited about the direction we are taking in this role, and we could not be doing that if I had not learned all of the amazing things the SCL cohort has taught me. I am so enthusiastic about it and the plans I have to further develop and grow within it. Thank you for introducing me to this world!
LeAnne Hidde from the Marketing and Admissions Cohort

The Upper School Heads cohort has been a lifeline to me during difficult moments of this school year. It has been a place for sharing common struggles and offering solutions. It’s kept me grounded and passionate about the good work we get to do for our schools.
-Aaron Cosner from Upper School Heads Cohort

“I appreciated the opportunity to connect with others who work in positions like mine and talk about issues we’ve had at our schools. We could laugh, share about tough situations, and offer encouragement to one another.”
– SCL Attendee

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