Passion, Experience & Results

Founders' Welcome

Thank you for your interest in Valor Public Schools! We are incredibly grateful for the support that has grown around this organization. Our journey with Valor began with a desire to see an outstanding educational community made accessible to students, teachers, and families. Through Valor, we seek to support an educational community that has the most elevated and expansive view of human dignity and potential. We are very proud of the leadership team and look forward to supporting them as they seek to help students become fully alive and truly free.

~ David and Rebecca Williams, Founders of Valor Public Schools


Leadership Team

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David Williams is founder and President of Valor Public Schools. Prior to starting Valor, David served as Executive Director of Great Hearts in San Antonio for three years. In this capacity, he oversaw the founding of two high-performing K-12 liberal arts charter schools. During his leadership, both schools were fully enrolled and had a combined waiting list of nearly 3,000 students. Prior to moving to San Antonio, David served for five years as the Headmaster of Glendale Preparatory Academy, which he founded in 2007. In addition to his roles in school and executive leadership, David enjoyed a distinguished teaching career, beginning in public high school in New Jersey. The heart of his teaching revolved around the creation of an integrated humanities program that brought the best of art, music, literature, and philosophy to his students. In recognition of his teaching achievement, the National Endowment for the Humanities named him New Jersey Teacher of the Year, and the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly passed a joint legislative resolution acclaiming his excellence in teaching. David has also taught at the college level at the University of Dallas where he studied philosophy as a doctoral student. A graduate of Fairfield University, he holds Masters degrees in History, Liberal Arts, and Theology from the University of Notre Dame, St. John’s College, and the John Paul II Pontifical Institute. David also completed the Institute for Comparative Political and Economic Systems program at Georgetown University, and he is a CTI-trained professional coach.


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Steve Gordon is the Superintendent of Valor Public Schools. Prior to beginning with Valor, Steve served as the Director of Academics for Great Hearts in San Antonio. Responsible for overseeing curriculum, instruction, and assessment, Steve helped the schools to implement a comprehensive academic intervention program and achieve remarkable academic results, significantly outperforming surrounding schools on the Texas state assessments. In this role, Steve also provided ongoing direction and coaching to school leaders. Before moving to San Antonio, Steve served for five years as Assistant Headmaster and master teacher of Humane Letters and Poetry at Glendale Preparatory Academy in Phoenix. Previously, he worked as an English teacher at The Latin School of Chicago, Ursuline Academy in Dallas, and St. Monica School in Dallas. In addition to school leadership and teaching, Steve has extensive experience heading up community service programs in schools. Prior to beginning his career in education, he spent a year volunteering full-time in an inner city mission program in Philadelphia, helping to coordinate a soup kitchen, overnight shelter, and children's program. He received both his B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Dallas. sgordon@valorpublicschools.org


Jesse Bates is the Chief Operating Officer of Valor Public Schools. Before beginning with Valor, Jesse served as the Manager of Operations for Great Hearts in San Antonio. During the organization's launch in Texas, Jesse oversaw the business operations of the San Antonio charter management organization, including campus operations, facilities, IT, state compliance, accounting, HR, and enrollment. He also coordinated the opening of three school facilities, including a K-8 campus built from ground. Before this, Jesse served for two years as Director of Operations and master teacher of Math and Science at Glendale Preparatory Academy. Earlier in his career, he also taught at Anthem Preparatory Academy and has coached basketball and crew at the secondary level. Jesse received his B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College. jbates@valorpublicschools.org


Board of Directors

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Dr. Adam Muller is the President of the Board of Valor Public Schools. Adam currently works as a lead software architect for two engineering teams at a Fortune 50 company. For the past 10 years, he has worked as a UX architect and content strategist. Prior to his work in software design, Adam worked for 11 years as a secondary school teacher and school leader at the Highlands School in Irving, Texas. In addition to being Chair of the English and Classics departments, Adam served as an administrative lead on two accreditation steering committees, the employee benefits and HR committee, and as the faculty representative on the school board strategic planning committee. As Coordinator of the Middle School, he increased faculty retention from 40% to 90% in two years. He has published two textbooks for a secondary school curriculum: Logic for Writers and Classical Rhetoric through Structure and Style. Adam received his B.A. in English from Thomas More College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Dallas.


Catherine Van Arnam is a Board Member for Valor Public Schools. Catherine is currently the District Coordinator for City of Austin Councilmember Ellen Troxclair, acting as a constituent liaison for the residents of District 8 in Southwest Austin. Prior to a time at home parenting her two children, Catherine served as Executive Assistant to the CFO of Monitor Group, a multinational business strategy consulting firm. In addition, she worked for author Chris Argyris, a well-known innovator in the field of business theory and Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School. A member of the founding team at Founders Classical Academy of Leander, a K-12 charter school, Catherine served the academy in a number of administrative capacities. As an intern in the Center for Higher Education at the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, she gained experience researching policy issues related to institutions of higher education nationwide. Catherine is a passionate advocate within the community for high-quality K-12 educational options in Austin. In addition to her experience in higher education and charter school policy and operations, she brings to the Board a strong network of community relationships and a deep commitment to serving families and students in Austin. As a prospective parent, Catherine has partnered with the Valor team for our community outreach activities and our charter application preparation. She resides with her husband, two school-aged children, and dog in Cedar Park, Texas.


Dr. Thomas S. Hibbs is a Board Member for Valor Public Schools. As Dean of the Honors College and Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Culture at Baylor University, Dr. Hibbs oversees a number of interdisciplinary programs, including the Honors Program, Great Texts, University Scholars, and the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core. His areas of expertise include film and popular culture and contemporary virtue ethics. Dr. Hibbs has made more than 100 appearances on local, regional, and national radio and television to provide commentary on film and culture. He has written extensively about film, culture, books, and higher education for such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His most recent books include Shows About Nothing, Arts of Darkness: American Noir and The Lost Code of Redemption, and Virtue's Splendor: Wisdom, Prudence, and the Human Good. Prior to Baylor, Dr. Hibbs was a tutor at Thomas Aquinas College for three years before moving to Boston College, where he taught for thirteen years and served as Full Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Dr. Hibbs received his B.A. and M.A. in Literature and Philosophy from the University of Dallas and M.M.S. and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Notre Dame.

 

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Dr. Dan Connelly is a Board Member for Valor Public Schools. He currently serves as Assistant Professor and Course Director of the Department of Leadership at the US Air Force's Air Command and Staff College. Prior to this, he served there as Assistant Professor of International Security and the college's Director of Faculty Development. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Auburn University, an M.S. from the Joint Military Intelligence College, an M.A. from American University, and a B.A. from Trinity College in Russian Studies. During his doctoral matriculation, he specialized in Organizational and Social Psychology. He offers elective courses in Russian strategic culture and the contemporary applications of the Just War Tradition. Dr. Connelly was assigned to the Air Force's Squadron Officer College in 2004, returned there as Dean of Academic Affairs and Faculty Development in 2010, and was assigned to the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) in 2015 for his last military assignment before retirement from the US Air Force.