Great Hearts’ Special Student Services Pathway encourages current Great Hearts teachers to pursue training for a career in special education, ESL, and more.  Such careers offer intrinsic rewards and competitive compensation.  For participants in our pathway program, Great Hearts pays certification and training costs.

The application process for the Special Student Services Pathway varies by region.  See below for more information.

Pathways Overview

Point of Contact Paul Weinhold

Tom Doebler

Summary In Texas, state certification is required in order to work in a SPED or ESL field.  Teachers must first earn a general certification, then earn an additional, supplemental certification.

For Pathway participants, Great Hearts covers program costs for a 10-12 month online certification program through Region 10.  This covers both the initial certification and the supplemental, as well as testing fees associated with both.

In Arizona, state certification is required in order to work as an ESS-C.  Teachers can earn a special education certification separately from any general education certifications.

Great Hearts covers program costs for a two-year program at Rio Salado College.

Certifications Covered EC-6, 4-8, Secondary, Special Education, ESL Special Education
Program Details Online, Self-Paced, Asynchronous Online, asynchronous, and award post-baccalaureate credit
Timeframe 10-12 Months 2 Years
Recommended Program Region 10 Rio Salado College
Handbook Texas Special Student Services Pathway Handbook Email
Application Apply Here Email

Q. How do I apply for the Special Student Services Pathway?

A.  Begin by speaking with your Headmaster about your interest.  In Texas, click the application link to request recommendations from your Headmaster and a second recommender.  In Arizona, email Tom Doebler ( for an application link.

Q. Am I eligible to participate in the Special Student Services Pathway?

A. The application process includes a recommendation from your Headmaster and a second recommender.  The certifying institutions (Region 10 and Rio Salado) have their own admissions requirements as well.  Any Great Hearts employee may apply for admission, and we can walk you through the process.

Q. I am a Texas teacher with general certification and only need a supplemental SPED or ESL certification.  Can I do that?

A. Yes!  Once you’ve earned your initial certification, you need only pass an exam for additional certification areas (e.g. EC-12 Special Education, ESL).  Great Hearts will provide funding for your TEA fee and exam preparation fees.

Q. What if I’m not interested in SPED?  Can I still earn a general teaching certification?

A. Yes!  For Texas certifications, we have a program partnership with Region 10.  Visit our Teacher Certification page for more information about available programs.  We do not currently have any program partnerships for certification in Arizona, but you can contact Paul Weinhold if you’d like assistance navigating the process (