Ph.D., History, University of Texas at Austin
M.A., History, Virginia Tech University
B.A., History, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
C.F.R.E. (Certified Fundraising Executive), 2012
2012-2013 TEACHING ASSIGNMENT
Lower School Latin
12th Grade American History
12th Grade Leadership Capstone Seminar
Upper School College Counseling
Though retirement is many decades away, Dr. Roberts' dream retirement job is running a fly-fishing shop in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere.
A Lafayette native, Dr. Roberts' professional journey brought him to four states before his discernment to start John Paul the Great Academy. Roberts earned his doctorate in history, specializing in the history of slavery and the Church in the New World; while a professor, his research work included dozens of conference presentations, several articles, and a handful of books that he either wrote, edited, or for which he consulted. Dr. Roberts continues to be an active researcher and writer, as he currently is working on a biography of Archbishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States.
After spending a year, 2006-2007, planning and marketing the new school, Roberts led its opening for the 2007-2008 school year. He has served as its president and headmaster since that time. Though passionate about leadership, curriculum writing, faculty development, and marketing, Dr. Roberts lives to teach and interact with students, as he attempts to fulfill the classical understanding of "headmaster" as the head teacher of a school.
Dr. Roberts and his wife Michelle have four children, the oldest three of whom attend the Academy. When not at school, Roberts pursues a robust life of leisure by raising chickens, reading Wendell Berry, following politics, and watching his beloved Texas Longhorns sports teams.
A lifelong learner, Dr. Roberts is currently completing a Post-Graduate Certificate in Strategic Leadership from the University of Dallas.
During Lent 2013, Dr. Roberts has provided the school community with a daily reflection that focuses on a certain virtue, and on how that virtue is accentuated at the Academy. Click here to listen.
Dr. Roberts receives several invitations each year to speak on the issues of Catholic education, the role of Catholics in the public square, the Catholic family, and the history of Catholics in the United States; while his teaching and administrative duties prevent him from accepting every request, interested parties should e-mail their information here.
WHAT IS A HEADMASTER?
(From the CiRCE Institute for Classical Education, with which JPG has an affiliation)
The term “headmaster” is a synonym for principal teacher, an antiquated name that has been reduced to the principal with which we are all so familiar. It is important to note that the word master refers not to the man’s or to the woman’s rank, but to his mastery of subject matter. In short, “master” means teacher.
In the past, the headmaster was the teacher who headed the school. The management revolution that followed World War II continued a process that the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century had begun by which educators reduced the headmaster’s responsibility to that of an administrator. We can see this in the bureaucratic structures of schools and in the substitution of the relatively abstract and empty term “principal” for headmaster.
We believe it is a serious mistake to reduce the position of headmaster to administrator, not because we do not value administration (no school can succeed without it), but because the administrator and the head of school fulfill separate functions.
It follows that if the head of school is the administrator, no one is fulfilling the functions of the head of school.
To see the difference, consider that many people feel one can be an effective administrator without ever having taught well (and schools often hire accordingly), but almost no one would suggest that one can be an effective head of school if he is not also an effective and gifted teacher: thus, head master.
In addition, an administrator can be a specialist, at least theoretically; a headmaster must be a generalist, with a solid balance of the mind and heart, reason and intuition, left and right brain.
In short, then, the headmaster is the teacher (and he or she must be a teacher, whether in the classroom or not) who leads the school community.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT HEADMASTER?
To be a headmaster requires first and foremost that one be a master teacher. The ideal classical Christian headmaster is a master of the seven liberal arts who moves comfortably across the entire curriculum, including classical languages. He has strong literary and metaphysical (worldview) interests rooted in his theological commitments.
Like all great teachers, he is a skilled student who is continually mastering new ways to learn. He also communicates those new ways to his faculty.
As a result, he understands the school’s vision better than anyone else in the school. This enables him, in turn, to effectively communicate both within and beyond the school community and to plan with a clear understanding of the mission and purpose of the school.
To learn more about the qualities of an effective headmaster, click here.
WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF A HEADMASTER?
The first responsibility of the headmaster is to embody the vision of the school in his person. The headmaster is the incarnation of the school’s commitments.
The headmaster is the public face of the school, taking responsibility for all of its failures and passing all the credit for success to others.
The headmaster is a highly efficient person of leisure who operates from a state of rest.