Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Teacher Feature: Dr. Avery

We are overjoyed to announce that Dr. Josh  Avery is joining our faculty next year!

Dr. Avery earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Literature from the University of Dallas, as well as a Ph.D. from the Institute for Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas.  He is the author of numerous publications on Shakespeare and Thomas More--two significant authors in our curriculum! He has taught at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Palm Beach Atlantic University, North Lake College, and Mountain View College.  In the coming school year, he will teach Humane Letters.

Our students prepared a few questions for Dr. Avery:

When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
As is the case with a lot of teachers, it was from experiencing good teaching myself. I had a particularly inspiring teacher for Shakespeare when I was taking a British Literature course at a community college. She connected the literature with philosophy in a way that no previous teacher had ever done for me, and I decided I wanted to learn how to do that myself.

What interests do you have that might support an extracurricular club?
I really enjoy complex strategy games. For example, I am an avid fan of a Cold War simulation called Twilight Struggle. I also used to play a good deal of chess and backgammon.  Although my body is having a tougher time of it of late, I also have loved playing Ultimate Frisbee for quite a while. Another possibility would be to host a Great Books discussion club that focused on books not already covered by Humane Letters.

How do you best connect with students?
A lot of currently fashionable trends in pedagogy strike me as technocratic nonsense, soon to be replaced by other trends probably equally nonsensical. It's remarkable how the basic qualities of a good teacher really are timeless and universal: good humored-friendliness, passion, honesty, and commitment. One of my favorite comments from a student read: "You can tell he really cares, and so you learn to care." So I try to let the students see my humanity and personality, and most of them seem to appreciate that. It's helpful for them to see that literature and ideas are genuinely fun, not just promoted out of official prestige or abstract duty. I think many students suspect the study of the humanities to be a pretentious farce, and a human approach helps remove that prejudice.

If you could have dinner with anyone from history or literature, who would it be?
Aside from Jesus Christ, I think I'll say Socrates. There is hardly any major Western figure whom I find more mysterious and enigmatic. Another on the list would be Dostoevsky, whose insights into the human psyche never cease to amaze me.

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Dr. Avery!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Thanks to all of our faculty, staff, families, and students for making our inaugural year at the new campus truly memorable.  It's hard to believe that the 2017-2018 school year is now a thing of the past.  Just one year ago, our campus was still under construction, and all of our books, furniture, and equipment were in temporary storage.  That summer was certainly full of activity, and I know that everyone on staff is happy to have much more stability this time around, as we excitedly work to make the coming school year truly excellent. 

Summer is an active time in the life of our Academy.  Together with several Prep student helpers, Ms. Powell from the Archway side is now organizing our newly-furnished Library.  New artwork and display boards will go up in the Prep academic building this week.  In addition, we are installing acoustic paneling in our multi-purpose room.  As of this week, our summer school programs are underway.  In July, North Phoenix has the honor of hosting Great Hearts' New Faculty Orientation, an intensive training for all new teachers throughout the Great Hearts network.

So although this will be the final Headmaster Letter until we start school in August, our team will still be working hard behind the scenes to get ready for next year.  Please stay tuned to our Facebook page & the Gladiator Press for periodic updates, which will continue throughout the Summer months.  For example, families of rising Freshmen should keep an eye out for my introductory letter on the Freshman Retreat.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a restful and relaxing Summer vacation.  Hopefully, all of us can find at least a few days away from the heat!  The first day of school (August 6th) will be here before we know it, so let's all be sure to take some time for family, friends, and rejuvenation.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Freshman Retreat

Our 2018 Freshman Retreat will be held at Lost Canyon in Williams, Arizona!

The retreat will take place from August 15-17.

Parents of rising Freshmen will receive an introductory letter from Mr. Weinhold this week!

Teacher Feature: Ms. Shisler

We are thrilled to announce that Ms. Debbie Shisler, daughter of Mr. Bob Shisler, is joining our faculty next year!

Ms. Shisler graduated from Cal State San Bernardino with a B.A. in Liberal Studies and earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University.

She has taught math and elementary grades throughout her career, and she has tutored in math since she was in high school. She has taught at Accelerated Learning Center, Career Success High School, and at the North Phoenix Sylvan Learning Center.  Ms. Shisler will teach Geometry at North Phoenix Prep in the coming school year.

Our students prepared a few questions for Ms. Shisler:

When did you decide to become a teacher and why? 
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a teacher for multiple reasons. Firstly, I saw what kind of an impact my dad made on the lives of his students as a teacher, and I wanted to make that kind of impact on others as well. I also noticed how important organizational skills were for teachers, and being a person that enjoys organizing things, that fit right in my wheelhouse. As I grew up and began tutoring classmates in math in high school, I could see that I had inherited my dad’s passion for teaching math concepts.

What interests do you have that might support an extracurricular club? 
I am an athlete and have played multiple sports throughout my life. Fastpitch softball was my primary sport (and my life) for over 20 years, and I have done some coaching in that sport. I have also played volleyball, run cross country and track, and currently do figure skating.  I would love to kick-start a club having to do with those sports.

How do you best connect with students? 
I best connect with students by simply conversing and listening to them. I try to see things from their point of view, and try to remember what life was like as a teenager. Taking that perspective, I do my best to treat them with respect, and my desire is to set a good example for them knowing that they will be going out into the real world someday equipped with whatever knowledge and experience they receive from their teachers.

What do you look for as signs of positive engagement? 
When students want to participate, give input, and do problems on the board, it tells me that they are taking in the material well, that they are not scared or unsure about the concepts, and that they are not bored. I also see it as a positive when students are asking questions about the concepts or the problems they are working on, as well as how it can help them for real-life application.

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Ms. Shisler!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Teacher Feature: Ms. Strickland

We are proud to announce that Ms. Marianne Strickland is joining our faculty next year!

Ms. Strickland earned a B.A. in Classics from the University of Colorado, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with distinction.  She also earned an M.A. in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management, and she is completing an additional M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John's College.

Her experiences include many years of international work and travel in the business sector.  Our students will certainly want to consult with her regarding opportunities to study abroad, as she possesses a wealth of knowledge about the challenges and benefits of living and working overseas.

Our students prepared a few questions for Ms. Strickland:

When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
After my children graduated from university, I decided to attend St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico to pursue the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts in order to become a teacher at a classical charter school. My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Antiquities from the University of Colorado at Boulder where the study of the Great Books first inspired me to seek Western classical values and this pursuit remains with me today. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to teach the history of our Western heritage to the NPX students who will be positioned to lead our world into the future. I am honored to be a part of their journey.
What interests do you have that might support an extracurricular club?
I would love to start a Global Education Club. I received a Master of Global Management from Thunderbird in Glendale, Arizona where I met my husband, Robert. We traveled extensively as a dual career couple overseas in Europe, East Asia and in South America. I was a banker specializing in cash management and he was an executive for the Coca-Cola Company. We lived overseas for ten years in Santiago, Chile; Quito, Ecuador and Caracas, Venezuela. Our daughters Katie and Margaret were born in Santiago and Caracas respectively and hold dual citizenship in the United States and the country of their birth. The opportunity to live overseas has enriched my life and I hope to encourage the students of NPX to engage in global exchange programs, as well as to participate in domestic cultural activities to enrich their lives through the celebration of our common humanity.      

What are your favorite books in our curriculum?
As a history teacher, I must say my favorite book is The Histories, by Herodotus since the work is both foundational and aesthetically pleasing. From the medieval period of historic philosophy, I will have to say the Summa Theologica, by Thomas Aquinas.  

If you could have dinner with anyone from history or literature, who would it be? 
I would choose to have dinner with William Shakespeare because he has a profound understanding of the human condition. Shakespeare often presents his characters in a multidimensional and winsome manner which I find to be fascinating.

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Ms. Strickland!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

There's plenty of activity lately as we conclude the school year on a crescendo.  A thousand thanks to everyone who attended our Spring Concert last Thursday.  I am incredibly proud of Ms. Harris, Dr. Mann, and all of the students who made it such a special evening for all of us! 

On Saturday we held a New Family Orientation, which was a fantastic opportunity to welcome the newest members of our community.  Attendees learned more about the mission, vision, and programs of our Academy.  They also received a packet full of important information and enjoyed school tours led by our rising Seniors.

The coming week brings Final Exams on Tuesday through Thursday, as well as our Awards Ceremonies on Friday.  Furthermore, we are delighted to host our first ever Graduation Ceremony on Saturday at Calvary North Church.  Please do join us for this inaugural moment in the life of our Academy!

Finally, if you are a parent of a rising Freshman, stay tuned for a separate communication this week about our annual Freshman Retreat this August.

Here we go, Gladiators!  Let's run this race all the way through the finish line!

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Monday, May 14, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

A thousand thanks to everyone who participated in Teacher Appreciation Week!  Our faculty certainly enjoyed the mountains of tasty food, treats, and gift baskets in the faculty office.  What a great way to begin the final month of the school year!

Please take note of our Spring Concert this Thursday.  You won't want to miss this high cultural moment in the life of our Academy.  In addition, this coming Saturday is our New Family Orientation, where our soon-to-be Gladiators can receive helpful information for the start of next year.  Finally, you are cordially invited to attend our first ever Graduation ceremony Saturday, May 26th 2:30 pm at Calvary North. We are so excited to have our first alumni! 

Here's to another great week at North Phoenix Prep.  Let's finish strong, Gladiators!

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Teacher Feature: Dr. Bain

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Stephen Bain is joining our faculty next year!

Dr. Bain earned a B.A. in Humanities and Biblical Studies from Point University and Master's degrees in Humanities and Philosophy from the University of Dallas.  In addition, he completed a Ph.D. in Humanities and Philosophy from Faulkner University.

He has taught at Coastal Alabama Community College, Auburn University at Montgomery, the University of West Georgia, and Atlanta Metropolitan State College.  Most recently, he has taught at Scottsdale Prep, one of our sister Great Hearts Academies.

Dr. Bain will teach Humane Letters at North Phoenix next year.

Our students prepared a few questions for Dr. Bain:

When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
I suppose that I was first intrigued by the idea when I was in my senior year of high school. I had several very good teachers that year, and I was impressed by the way that they had impacted me, and I thought it would be a good profession to be able to impact others. This idea grew when I was in college, where I was able to do some teaching myself as a TA. It was there that I discovered that I loved teaching. Teaching allows me to make a living doing one of my favorite things: encountering the great ideas of history and civilization, study them, and then share and discuss those ideas with others as they encounter them for the first time.

What do you look for as signs of positive engagement?
Students are positively engaged in a topic when they are asking questions about it. It shows interest and a desire to discover more about a particular topic. I also see positive engagement when students disagree with a thinker, a writer, or one of their ideas. This shows me that students have not simply encountered an idea, or expressed a like or dislike of it, but are analyzing and passing judgment on a topic, and comparing it to their own ideas and, perhaps, altering their own views in light of those new ideas.

What interests do you have that might support an extracurricular club?
I have always been very fond of games, whether board games, card games, or collectible card games. It might be enjoyable to have a club based on a love of games where those with similar interests might come together and share in some fun “analog” pastimes, as it were.

If you could have dinner with anyone from history or literature, who would it be?
I think that I would like to have dinner with G. K. Chesterton. I would imagine that the dinner conversation would be magnificent, not only because of his scholarship, which I greatly admire, but also because of his wit, his humor, his profound sense of wonder, and the unique manner in which he engages with ideas.

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Dr. Bain!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Spring Concert is May 17! 7pm, Calvary Church North Sanctuary

The Spring Concert for ALL students taking music in the spring semester is Thursday, May 17. The concert begins at 7pm, and all students taking music need to arrive in concert attire by 6pm. The entire community is invited to attend!  

The concert performance will be the culmination of weeks of preparation for the 7th and 8th grade recorder ensembles, as well as the 9th and 10th grade choirs. This is a mandatory performance for all fall semester Music students, and will count as 10% of their semester grade. If they do not attend this concert, they will receive a ZERO.

WHEN: Thursday, May 17, 2018. Students need to be checked in to the Calvary North MPR at 6pm. 

WHERE: Calvary Chapel North Phoenix, 14201 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85032.

IMPORTANT DETAILS: Students must arrive promptly by 6:00 p.m. for a warm-up and dress rehearsal for the concert. We ask that no parents enter the sanctuary until 6:45pm.

CONCERT ATTIRE: All students must be dressed in Concert Dress attire as stated in the NPX handbook, when they arrive. Boys must be in long sleeve, white, collared dress shirts, with black slacks, black socks, and black shoes.  Girls must wear black and/or white, (separates are fine), shoulders must be covered, and black dress shoes (open-toed shoes and heels 2 inches or less are permitted). Dress slacks, skirts, and dresses are permitted. If a skirt or dress is higher than mid-calf, students must wear black stockings, tights, or leggings. Please contact your student’s music teacher with any questions.

Please contact your child's music teacher for any questions: Ms. Kara Harris, kharris@northphoenixprep.org; Dr. Joseph Mann, jmann@northphoenixprep.org, Mr. Ryan Fleming, rfleming@northphoenixprep.org 

Monday, May 7, 2018

9th and 10th Grade Social May 19th!

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Last week's Cabinet of Curiosities and Drama Club performances were truly spectacular!  I am so proud of our students and faculty for the hours and hours of preparation and rehearsal that went into making our experience so enjoyable.

It's moments like these that remind us why we're engaged in the vital work of cultivating the hearts and minds of our students, and that gives us the perspective that we need to continue every day.  The fine arts are important because they breathe aesthetic life into us.  They fill us with a yearning for the highest, noblest, and finest things.  It's so beautiful that our students can give us this tremendous gift!

It was equally inspiring to see the contributions of Mr. Lugo, our Facilities Technician, who displayed several pieces at the Cabinet of Curiosities.  When I spoke with Mr. Lugo, he expressed how thankful he is to be part of our community, and that he hoped his art might inspire our students to pursue their dreams.  We are so thankful to Mr. Lugo for sharing his talent with us!


With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Teacher Feature: Ms. Foglesong

We are overjoyed to announce that Ms. Karin Foglesong is joining our faculty next year!

Karin Foglesong, Soprano, made her operatic debut as Fiordiligi with the National Opera Company’s production of Così Fan Tutte. Roles performed include: Alice Ford in Falstaff with the New York Verismo Opera Company, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus with National Opera Company, Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro with Opera-To-Go (New England), Cendrillon in Cendrillon, Belinda in Dido & Aeneas, Corilla in Viva La Mama, Antigone in Antigone (World Premiere) with Alea III, Gloria in Territories (World Premiere) with New Opera Theatre Ensemble, Rose Maybud in Ruddigore with Boston Academy of Music Repertory Company, Princess Ida, (understudy) with New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and Katisha in The Mikado. She also spent several years touring with several opera companies in school shows, performing operas for K-12 aged students, from the Mississippi to the eastern parts of the nation. She spent a year as soloist singing in a jazz club, and performing 365 days in musical theater reviews.

An accomplished singer and actress, Ms. Foglesong toured and performed with various professional singing groups and has performed as soloist with regional symphonies. Her awards include Regional Winner Metropolitan Opera Auditions in California, Regional Finalist in the Bel Canto Foundation National Auditions in Boston, winner of the National Endowment Fund for the Arts Scholarship, and the Director’s Award Recipient both at Boston University, where she received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance.

Ms. Foglesong's voice and theater students have gained admittance to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, perform with Goode Time Carolers (Disney), perform solo roles and professional chorus work with Arizona Opera, gained admittance to the American Singer’s Opera Project at the Wake Forest University, entered Shenandoah University Conservatory and Manhattan Marymount Theater College, have won the jazz Idol in the Skye Vocal Competition in Arizona, and perform with Phoenix Theater Company. She has also trained worship leaders and music educators in the greater Phoenix area. Karin's passion is seeing her students fulfill their vocal and dramatic potential.

Our students prepared a few questions for Ms. Foglesong:

How did you become interested in music and drama?
Music goes back a ways in my family. My great-grandfather was a composer and choir director who traveled the western states, giving choir workshops, in addition to keeping up with a farm in Canada. Music was also an integral part of my nuclear family. My mom and dad both played the piano for fun. Every morning, after breakfast, we all sang songs at the table, in four-part harmony. When I was little, my parents and I would sing trios in public. One day, when I was about seven, they got sick and I went on to sing my first solo. After that, I just continued on singing solos and it became normal.

As for drama, my Dad was a classical radio announcer and speech therapist, and he trained me how to speak. We would read the Chronicles of Narnia aloud, playing all the different parts. I never thought of this as acting, but Mr. Simokat, my 6th-grade teacher was casting for a play: Sorry, Wrong Number, by Lucille Fletcher. I auditioned, and was completely surprised to get the lead role! Playing this part was fun, because the character I played was alternatively pompous and condescending, yet had to scream with fear, afraid of a murderer. It was a pleasure playing a part with such emotional contradictions! I was hooked!

When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
I never thought of myself as a teacher. When I was taking sophomore-level voice lessons in college, I was shocked to find out that my voice teacher, Mr. Griessinger, wanted to send me beginner-level voice students that he could not take. I was a very shy person at that time and didn't know how I could possibly do it, but the minute I started to teach, I seemed to know just what to do and how to help. It was a relief to me to discover that teaching was not really about me, but about what the student needed. I surprised myself with a wealth of confidence in communicating, that I didn't know I possessed and found I deeply enjoyed helping others to discover their talents.

How do you best connect with students?
I try to take time to get to know students and how they view the world. I'm always happiest if students feel free to ask me questions because those questions create a great partnership between student and teacher--making us collaborators in the learning process. I'm a big believer in the idea that we all think in different ways, and that having multiple ways to communicate on the same subject can help a student come to understand.

What interests do you have that might support an extracurricular club?
I love choir and have been conducting choir and orchestra for the last six years. I would love to start a choir club on campus. Choir is such a great opportunity to bond together to enjoy great music, and to discover your voice in a non-threatening situation. Sometimes the friendships that you make in choir can last for a lifetime!

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Ms. Foglesong!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

I was encouraged to learn today that the Governor’s office and Arizona Legislative leadership worked through the weekend to draft the final language of the state budget so that it could reach the house floor today. It then enters the requisite three-day review period and will be up for a floor vote likely on Wednesday or Thursday. We are told it will pass.

This week’s vote is a welcome step in the right direction. We look forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of our amazing teachers and protecting the culture of our academies while delivering our classical, liberal arts education model in the years ahead.

Thank you for all you do to support our school.

Please reach out directly with any questions.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Monday, April 23, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Some families have inquired about the planned teacher walkouts happening across Arizona this Thursday. While we certainly respect the rights of teachers to make their voices heard through this activity, we are planning to proceed with a regular school day on Thursday, April 26th here at North Phoenix and across all of our Great Hearts Academies. We will update you should anything change as the week moves ahead.

Please reach out directly with any questions.

In other news, please note that the “Cabinet of Curiosities” exhibit, formerly known as the Art Walk, has been moved to next Thursday, May 3rd. We’re looking forward to a great event in the Prep Multi-Purpose Room! Note that this is the same day as the Middle School Drama Club performance, so you can make an evening of it! In addition, be sure to check out our athletics calendar, as there are a number of wonderful opportunities to cheer our Gladiators on to victory in the coming days.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

7th Grade Field Trip to the Herpetological Society! Thursday, May 10th 2018


  Students will leave at the end of 1st period and return during 4th period

Field trips to the Phoenix Herpetological Society include a behind-the-scenes look at a reptile sanctuary and its inhabitants. On the tour, students will learn about over 1700 reptiles including:

  • tortoises, like our native Sonoran Desert Tortoise as well as the three largest species of tortoises in the world
  • large lizards such as iguanas and the carnivorous monitors and tegus
  • venomous snakes (safely within their habitats/enclosures) such as rattlesnakes, cobras, and mambas
  • 22 species of crocodilians (the second largest collection in the country) with alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and gharials
  • non-venomous snakes such as king snakes, ball pythons, and gopher snakes
  • small lizards like bearded dragons and chuchwallas
PHS Field Trips are very hands-on and interactive; we give students the chance to meet, touch, and interact with as many animals as possible while teaching about adaptations, life histories, and considerations that we must take into account by having them in our sanctuary. We also teach about desert safety and what to do if they ever see a rattlesnake in the wild. 

It is definitely a unique experience that students will not forget. They get the chance to hold a lizard and a snake...for many kids, this is the first (and maybe the only!) time they will ever do that. They learn about safety and responsibility of having a reptile as a pet and they learn why reptiles are such amazing animals. 

Support the Art Department! Fundraiser Saturday April 28th at Savers

Monday, April 16, 2018

Teacher Feature: Mr. Pagani

We are delighted to announce that Mr. Sebastian Pagani is joining our faculty next year!

Mr. Pagani has been with Great Hearts since 2008. He obtained his first BA from St. John's College in Santa Fe, NM. He holds a second BA in Classical Philology from the University of Cincinnati, where he took multiple graduate level courses and was welcomed directly into the Ph.D. programme in Classics at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to Ancient Greek and Latin, Mr. Pagani had also taught Spanish and English before joining Great Hearts. He also served as the head Cross-Country and Track & Field coach at Scottsdale Prep, before he joined Veritas, where he helped to coach the Cross-Country team in his first year.

Mr. Pagani loves and continues to cultivate his knowledge of classical philology, literature, languages, and linguistics. He has created and led student & faculty clubs focussed on Old English, Old Norse, Old Irish, J.R.R. Tolkien's Linguistic Creations, Classical Hebrew, Conversational Latin, and Classical Latin verse composition. He is particularly fascinated by ancient languages, literatures, and music.

Our students prepared a few questions for Mr. Pagani:

When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
I always loved being in school, and I loved learning. Life is rich and beautiful when I am learning and discovering new (or very old) things. In college, every subject fascinated me, and I loved the structure that the academic life provided. I always enjoyed learning together with others and helping them with the languages. Joining Great Hearts only defined and formalized my vocation. At first, I did this because I loved the languages and the literature; I soon discovered that I loved spending my days with the students. The chance to continue pursuing the things I love and to share them with others has kept me in the profession.

How did you become interested in languages?
I discovered foreign language very early in life. My mother-tongue is Spanish, but I heard a lot of Italian and Portuguese as well before I even realized that these were different languages. When I finally arrived on north-American shores, I really could not speak English, and could not go to school until I had learned it a year later. At the age of nine, I decided I wanted to learn German; this was the first language that I tried to learn from books. In school, I was given French, Latin, and more German. I went on to study more of these and other languages on my own from books and in my travels, and I never stopped.

The reason I love them so much is that each one is a different way of thinking or speaking; each has its own intellectual flavor and beauty, its own melody, rhythm, and musical quality; each is a different way of considering and experiencing the world. Languages make it possible for the student to travel through books to distant times and places.

How do you best connect with students?
Through the great literature that we read together; or through the languages we are studying. I like to run philological clubs that have focussed most recently on medieval languages: Old English, Old Norse, Old Irish, but also classical Hebrew, and Middle Egyptian (that’s hieroglyphic). I have also run clubs on Tolkien’s linguistic inspirations, conversational Latin, and Latin verse composition. I have thought about starting a creative writing club because I don’t think we do enough creative writing. I also like chatting with the students during lunch. 

If you could have dinner with anyone from history or literature, who would it be?
Ah, but I do this all the time! I have the books, and when I sit to read I enjoy the thoughts and company of ancient minds in their own languages. A book is like a ship that carries a writer’s thoughts down along the streams of time until they should wind up upon our shores. When we open one of these books, we board that ship and find ourselves in other times and places. 

The answer to such a question for me always varies according to my mood at any given moment, or perhaps depends upon what I am reading or studying at the time, but why limit this to a dinner? Let us spend a bit more time and see what we could do. Here is a brief list of possibilities that suggested themselves to me this time: Jesus, Charlemagne, Vergil, Ovid, Caesar, Cicero, Scipio Aemilianus Africanus, Livius Andronicus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Clodia, Tolstoy, Herodotus, Albert Schweitzer, an Anglo-Saxon bard, J.R.R. Tolkien, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and St. Exupéry.

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Mr. Pagani!

Spirit Week! 4/30-5/4

April 30-May 4 
NPX Spirit Week!! 

Monday, 4/30- Mayhem Monday: Wear your crazy socks and your most outrageous hair! (Wear uniform top, bottom, and shoes)

Tuesday, 5/1 - College Day:  Gear up for National College Decision Day.  At NPX and around the country, seniors will be making their final decisions for where to go to college!  Wear a college t-shirt to represent your favorite school!  (Wear uniform bottom and shoes)

Wednesday, 5/2 -   Where you at? Wednesday:  Dress in camouflage so your friends can't see you! Or, dress as the most hidden character around...Where's Waldo?!  FULL DRESS-OUT DAY! See guidelines below. 

Thursday, 5/3 - Fast Forward to the Future!  From future careers to future grandparents!  Dress as you see your self 20... 40....60....80(!) years from now!  
FULL DRESS-OUT DAY! See guidelines below. 

Friday, 5/4  - Field Day Spirit Wear:  Come to school dressed in your athletic Gladiator wear for Field Day.  Please see the Family Handbook for guidelines regarding athletic wear.  

 Spirit Week Guidelines
Spirit week is an opportunity for students and staff to enjoy shared experiences centered on generating excitement for our school. As exciting as we would like it to be, there are also clear expectations that are to be strictly adhered to. Anyone not in compliance will be removed from the activity. 

All Spirit Days are still considered regular academic school days. In general, students should refrain from wearing items that would call undo attention and create distraction. Attire cannot interfere with your or another student's learning - no distractions or obstructions, and must be completely functional for the school day. 

Students must wear uniform shoes all week, and all spirit wear must comply with length, fit, and function of the uniform. Bottoms must meet uniform requirements on length and fit (see Family Handbook), tops must have sleeves with appropriate necklines. All clothing must be clean, neat, reasonably pressed, and in properly fitting condition, and free of messaging (small logos, e.g., Nike, are okay). If it is questionable, do not wear it. 

Please do not try to bend, twist, stretch or otherwise modify these guidelines or otherwise take advantage of the Spirit Week opportunity. Any imitation of a faculty or administration must receive consent in advance. 

If students choose not to participate in the theme of the day, they follow the regular dress code as listed in the Family Handbook.

Hats, gloves, and wigs are allowed outside of the classroom and must be removed in class. Tasteful, relevant costume makeup is allowed, though the entire face may NOT be covered. No masks. No color in hair. Nail polish guidelines are the same as in the Family Handbook. No fake weaponry. 

Faculty and administration will make the final determination regarding appropriateness. Students will be asked to change or parents will be called to bring in appropriate clothing if applicable. 

All Spirit Wear attire must be free of pop culture, postmodern media, and/or contemporary politics, and culturally sensitive and appropriate.

Please help us keep the positive spirit in Spirit Week! 
Go Gladiators!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

In anticipation of nationwide student protests and school walkouts planned for April 20th, I want to share with you our Academy’s proactive approach to this national moment. In partnership with student representatives, I have identified an opportunity for our students to honor those who have fallen in the tragedies of school shootings, to do so in a manner that is civil and not politicized, and to do all of this in partnership with the school.

Although the broader culture seems increasingly polarized these days, I was so proud of our students when I spoke to them about this day and what it means to them. They understood that our Academy is a public, non-sectarian institution serving a variety of Arizonans, and so any action on their part could not espouse a particular political perspective. They also showed a keen interest in preventing an attitude of dissent from overshadowing what they really desired: a moment of solemn remembrance.

With these principles in mind, our leadership team worked with the students to plan a mid-morning assembly just prior to Lyceum on April 20th. The purpose of this assembly is to honor the lives that have been lost in school shootings by participating in a moment of peaceful, silent remembrance. Our students will also have the opportunity to write notes of kindness or notes that acknowledge the lives that have been lost. They can then place these notes at a designated spot on our campus fence for the remainder of the day, where they will serve as a vivid memorial.

Please take a moment this weekend to speak with your student about this assembly. If, after reflecting together as a family, your student wishes to refrain from participating, then please know that we will offer an alternative space as well.

I want to thank our students for working together with me to organize this special event in the life of our school. Their ideas and their hearts of service have made me so proud to be a Gladiator!

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Final Countdown!

We have just 5 days left!

We still need

Family tax credits ($2,955) to reach our Tax credit Goal!
Last Day to get your dollar for dollar State Tax Contribution is Tuesday April 17th!
Thank you if you have already made your contribution and please share!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Teacher Feature: Mr. Chancellor

We are proud to announce that Mr. Roy Chancellor is joining our faculty next year!

Mr. Chancellor earned a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University.  In addition, he earned an advanced graduate certificate in statistics from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a post-baccalaureate teacher certification from Rio Salado College.

He has taught at Mesa Community College, Saguaro High School, and Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, one of our sister Great Hearts Academies.  Mr. Chancellor was a founding faculty member at Scottsdale Prep and was the primary shaper of its math curriculum for the first five years, having taught all courses for grades 7-12.  All told, Mr. Chancellor brings 12 years of total teaching experience to our math students at North Phoenix.

Outside the classroom, Mr. Chancellor has industrial experience as a manufacturing engineer with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, as a statistician with Intel, as a Six Sigma Master Black Belt with Rogers Corporation, as a mechanical engineer with Orbital Sciences Corporation, and as a process engineer with W. L. Gore and Associates.

Our students prepared a few questions for Mr. Chancellor:

What did you do before you became a teacher?
I worked as a manufacturing and process engineer in the electronics and aerospace industries for a total of 14 years before becoming a full-time teacher.  Growing up, I always loved figuring out how things work and explaining them to others, both of which are big parts of being an engineer and a teacher.  While I really liked the interesting products and machines I worked on, the call to become a teacher proved too great.  I became a full-time teacher 12 years ago and truly love my time in the classroom!

How do you best connect with students?
I best connect with students by seeing them as young adults that could someday be my colleague.  I meet my students where they are and get to know them as people rather than as mere recipients of knowledge.  One of my engineering mentors often said that his primary job was to help those under his leadership become ready to take his job.  By taking a long-term view of my students, I focus on their growth rather than getting immediate results at a particular moment in time.  I also use humor liberally to create a joyful environment, yet approach each class with serious purpose.

What do you look for as signs of positive engagement?
Some signs are obvious, such as taking notes every class or doing the daily homework problems, but by far the best sign of student engagement is the "curiosity" questions they ask.  I love when my students wonder why things work in addition to how.  The why questions promote the best class discussion and are the most intellectually enjoyable.  Other signs of positive engagement are coming to class with a sharp-looking uniform, with all materials required for learning, and with a smile.

What interests do you have that might support a club?
I enjoy activities that involve being outside.  At the top of the list is motorcycle riding (dirt and street), followed closely by hiking, and occasionally 4-wheel driving.  I live near North Phoenix Prep and love hiking the mountain trails in the immediate area such as Lookout Mountain.  Sounds like a hiking/outdoor club!  I also enjoy computer programming when there is time and often integrate elements of programming into my classes.

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Mr. Chancellor!

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

We have an exciting week ahead of us!  Our seniors are continuing to defend their theses, and all of our students are moving ahead with AzMERIT exams.  I want to thank Mr. Warczinsky for getting our Senior thesis program off to a solid start.  We now have a senior thesis tradition at our Academy!  I also want to thank Mr. Huynh for his dedication and careful planning as our testing coordinator.  The state exams are computer-based for the first time this year, and Mr. Huynh has navigated this transition very well.

Please note that our Juniors and Seniors will perform Shakespeare's The Tempest this Thursday at 7pm, across the street at Calvary North.  We also have a full slate of athletic events this week, so there are plenty of opportunities to attend an event & support our students!

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

P.S.  There's still time to receive a Tax Credit!  100% each gift stays at North Phoenix Prep.  Contact our Director of Academy Giving, Jackie Curtis, with any questions you may have (jcurtis@northphoenixprep.org).

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

NPX Drama Performance is April 12 at 7pm!

Come support our seniors and juniors in their double bill curricular drama performance: Shakespearean scenes and The Bard's enchanted island drama "The Tempest"!

Admission is $5 at the door the night of the performance on Thursday, April 12 at 7pm at Calvary Church North. 

Prom is April 21st at Moon Valley Country Club!

Tickets are $60 until Friday, April 6! 

- General information here 

- Dress Code and Attire Guidelines here

- Guest form application here

8th Grade Promotion Semi-Formal is on April 27th!

Attire is semi-formal. Please see NPX Family Handbook for more details here

This dance is for 8th Grade NPX students only.

Questions? Please email Ms. Kara Harris at kharris@northphoenixprep.org 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Congratulations, Ms. Coughlon!

Congratulations to Ms. Coughlon, who participated in the Great Hearts Headmaster College Class of 2018. She put in more than 200 hours of study in addition to her current job within Great Hearts to become an even better school leader.  Last Thursday, she received her Certificate of Completion.

Way to go, Ms. Coughlon!

To watch the ceremony, please see the video below:


AZMERIT is an exam that is aligned with Arizona's state learning standards, which detail what students should be able to do at each grade level. These exams are used as a benchmark to inform the state, school, and community about the educational progress of our students.  Under Arizona Law, there is no right of opt-out from these mandatory assessments required in all public schools. 

From April 3rd to April 20th North Phoenix Prep will be administering the computer-based AZMERIT/AIMS standardized tests to our 7th-11th-grade students. Students will test over a period of three to four days depending on their grade. Please remind your student to get a good night's rest and to bring their plug-in headphones to the exams.

Teacher Feature: Mr. Herrera

We are thrilled to announce that Mr. Christopher Herrera, a good friend and professional colleague of Ms. Harris, is joining our faculty next year!

Mr. Herrera earned bachelor's degrees in both English and Music from California State University and an M.M. in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona. He is currently completing a doctoral degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona.

In addition to private lessons, Mr. Herrera has taught at the Arizona Opera, Grand Canyon University, Arizona Christian University, Glendale Community College, Phoenix Community College, and Pima Community College. Overall, he brings 12 years of teaching experience to the choral performance program at our Academy.

Mr. Herrera is also an award-winning singer and featured soloist with the Phoenix Symphony, Catalina Chamber Orchestra, Phoenix Opera, and the Phoenix Chorale.

Our students prepared a few questions for Mr. Herrera:

How did you become interested in music?
In 7th grade, I was enrolled in choir against my will! I did everything to try and get out of it but was told no. Once in the class, I excelled. By the end of my second year, I was choir president, I had sung my first solo, and I had joined all of the extracurricular choirs available. My teacher, Mrs. Anderson, was a motivating force behind my discovery of my passion for music. She introduced me to so much wonderful repertoire by numerous composers, igniting an interest in classical music at a young age.

When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
In 2003, I was granted a graduate teaching assistantship by the University of Arizona which involved working in several first-grade classrooms. Along with a female singer and pianist, we taught children their reading and writing curriculum standards through music. I fell in love with teaching immediately! This led to an opportunity teach a group voice class at a local community college. I remember being extremely nervous and not too sure I would be good at teaching students older than seven, but it turned out to be an amazing experience and solidified my path as a music educator. 

How do you best connect with students?
I have always been told I’m an excellent listener. As a former student, I remember how important it was for me that my thoughts and ideas were heard and considered. As an educator, I want my students to be the best critical thinkers and problem solvers they can be. It’s my job to provide them with an environment in which they feel free to speak their minds and create without judgment.  A good sense of humor goes a long way, too!

What interests do you have that might support a club?
I’m an avid dog lover, rescue dogs in particular. I have two rescue pups at home—Dash & Simba. I would love to see a club which involves donating their time to a local no-kill animal shelter. Musically, I love holiday music! It would be great to form a wassailing group that goes out into the local neighborhoods in December and spreads holiday cheer through song! 

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Mr. Herrera!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Teacher Feature: Mr. Boyer

We are excited to announce that Mr. Paul Boyer is joining our faculty next year!

Mr. Boyer earned a B.A. in English from the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University and an M.A. in Communication Studies from Arizona State University.  In addition, he is a Quintilian Fellow in classical education through the University of Dallas.

Mr. Boyer serves as a state representative in legislative district 20, where he is Chairman of the House Education Committee, and as a member of the House Rules, House Judiciary, and Public Safety Committees.

He has taught at the University of Phoenix and at Veritas Preparatory Academy, one of our sister Great Hearts Academies.  Mr. Boyer will teach Humane Letters in the coming school year, which will be his fifth year teaching for Great Hearts.

Our students prepared a few questions for Mr. Boyer:

When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
I had to step down from my job at Mesa Public Schools because the Arizona Constitution prohibits a state legislator from having a state, county, or city job with one exception--teaching.  At the time, I needed the work, so a friend told me about Great Hearts.  I'm so grateful for all of this, as it's become the best job I've ever had.  Teaching at Great Hearts has made me a better, more effective legislator, and an even better husband to my wife Beth.

How did you deal with stress when you were in school?
Sports--I played football, basketball, baseball, wrestled, ran track & field, and took gymnastics as a class.  We moved a lot, so I just played whatever sport I could at the new school.  So now I tend to do push-ups or walk on my hands between grading essays or writing evals.

What are your favorite books in our curriculum?
It's a tough call between Dante's Divine Comedy (Paradise and Purgatory in particular) and the Republic.  Then there's Augustine's ConfessionsHenry V.  A Tale of Two Cities.  And then Vergil's Aeneid.  And then . . .

If you could have dinner with anyone from history or literature, who would it be?
Cicero--I'd love to ask him why he valued public service so highly, what motivated him to remain in public service (I think he'd say duty but I'd want to know why) and if would've done anything differently before his death.

Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Mr. Boyer!