Laura Leigh Birdwell '03

Laura Leigh Birdwell graduated from W&L in 2003 with a BA in Philosophy and received her MA in Literature from St. John’s College in 2006. Her love for the Great Books eventually led her to Great Hearts Academies, a network of non-profit, classical, liberal arts charter schools serving students in grades K-12. The mission of Great Hearts resonated with her own belief that all children are deserving of a college preparatory education regardless of their socioeconomic status. Laura Leigh taught 10th grade Humane Letters and coached middle school girls’ soccer from 2009-2015 and stepped into the role of Recruitment Officer in 2015. She hopes to hire W&L graduates to become teachers with Great Hearts Academies.


At Great Hearts, the aim of education is to become good, both intellectually and morally. Great Hearts Academies currently serve 15,800 students in Arizona and Texas, with over 13,000 students on the waitlist. Great Hearts Academies continue to outperform neighboring public and private schools, proving that tuition-free schools can educate students to reach their full potential if the schools are smaller, more efficient, and set high expectations for all students.  For the 18-19 academic year, Great Hearts will be hiring between 300-400 teachers for their academies in Arizona and Texas. As Great Hearts continues to expand beyond Arizona and Texas in the near future, hiring strong liberal arts candidates to fill their teaching and leadership positions remains of utmost importance.

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