Samuel Vanderplas '08

Founding Headmaster,           Founders Classical Academy             of Flower Mound

John Jay Fellow

Sam Vanderplas’s vision for education reform goes beyond college prep. He wants to teach students the best of the Western tradition and inspire them to seek the virtues.

When Sam became a John Jay Fellow in 2008, he had earned his B.A. in biblical languages, Greek and Hebrew, studying as a National Merit Scholar and graduating summa cum laude. He decided to go into education after encountering Thomas Jefferson’s famous claim that a republic only functions properly when its citizens are enlightened enough to exercise proper oversight. For him, this elevates education to an act of patriotism and gives it profound significance. As he encountered the writing of John Henry Newman, E.D. Hirsch, William Kilpatrick, Rudolf Flesch, Tracey Lee Simmons, Vigen Guroian, and Daniel Willingham, classical education in particular grew in his esteem, and he came to consider it a vocation especially worthy of the dedication of his long-term efforts.

Since then, he built his experience teaching and running schools. In addition to various administrative roles, he has taught every grade from 3 to 12; algebra II, life science, physical science, computer science, SAT preparation, English, Latin, and Greek; boys-only, girls-only, and coeducationally; and in public, private, and charter schools. His writing on education has been published in Crisis Magazine and the Journal of the Society for Classical Learning.

In 2015, Sam was announced as the founding headmaster of Texas’s newest charter school, the Founders Classical Academy of Flower Mound.

“I want to teach students the best of the Western tradition and inspire them to seek the virtues.”