The Heights Forum

Leaders Initiative

Professional Formation and Mentoring for School Leaders

Fall 2023

About the Leaders Initiative

The Leaders Initiative is a program of professional formation and executive coaching for current and aspiring school leaders. The Initiative convenes select groups of leaders for a series of targeted conversations on key topics relevant to school leadership. Drawing on the experience of The Heights School, the Leaders Initiative offers insights into the ideas and strategies behind directing a school, encouraging participants to think deeply about the principles informing practical decisions. Moreover, monthly meetings will give the opportunity for a collegial exchange of ideas and best practices. Ultimately, the program serves as a launching point for an ongoing relationship with The Heights, opening up opportunities for further professional development.

Program Details

  1. Fostering a Cooperative Home and School Culture
  2. Engaging Parents
  3. Faculty Hiring and Development
  4. Optimizing Patterns of Professional Life
  5. Mentoring
  6. Inspiring Habits and the Developing Will
  7. Developing a Curriculum for Contemplatives in the World
  8. Key Characteristics of a School Leader
  1. Access to presentations from the 2022 Teaching Vocation Conference
  2. School Tone with Alvaro de Vicente
  3. The Role of Parents in the Conspiracy for the Good with Alvaro de Vicente
  4. On Moral Imagination with Alvaro de Vicente
  5. The Heights School Mentoring Handbook
  6. Family: The Most Formative School with Andy Reed
  7. How Do WE See Our Boys? with Alvaro de Vicente
  8. The Bedrock Principle of Fatherhood with Andy Reed
  9. Drafting a Faculty of Friends with Alvaro de Vicente
  10. Guidance for Aspiring Teachers with Alvaro de Vicente
  11. Six Attributes of Great Teachers with Colin Gleason
  12. Why Boys Need to Be Given Freedom by Andy Reed
  13. On Nature Journals and Observant Souls with Eric Heil
  14. Fact or Opinion: On Preventing (or Unwinding) Moral Relativism with Michael Moynihan
  15. Parenting: Patience or Optimism with Andy Reed
  16. His Anxiety and Ours with Alex Berthé
  • Small cohorts of leaders meet virtually on a monthly basis for targeted conversations led by the program director on topics relevant to school leadership.
  • Sessions with other members of The Heights leadership team.
  • In anticipation of each monthly meeting, participants receive resources pertinent to the topic of discussion.
  • In addition to group sessions, each participant has the opportunity to meet with the program director at least once per semester for individualized mentoring.
  • As part of the program, participants also attend The Heights Forum’s Teaching Vocation Conference, where they participate in specialized sessions. Hosted on the campus of The Heights School, the conference provides participants the opportunity to develop professional friendships with fellow leaders, as well as the chance to meet aspiring teachers from around the country. Teachers are a school’s primary asset, and the conference provides a unique opportunity for leaders to find good men interested in pursing a career in education.

Cost per Participant


The cost per participant of programs of this nature often exceeds $2,500. We are honored to provide this opportunity at a highly discounted rate thanks to the generosity of donors who recognize the cultural importance of education and especially the leadership that makes such education possible. Nevertheless, if the discounted price is beyond your means and you are unable to receive support, financial aid is available on a case-by-case basis.

The Team


Andrew Reed

Director, Leaders Initiative

Andrew Reed began his career at The Heights School in 1998 and assumed his current role as Head of the Middle School in 2000. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in philosophy and the pre-medical sciences, as well as played on the varsity baseball team. Twice he declined his acceptance to Georgetown University’s School of Medicine out of a continued commitment towards his work at The Heights. Andy completed his graduate work at Johns Hopkins University and holds a Master’s in School Administration. Andy has written numerous articles and offers videos and podcasts, especially on topics at the intersection of parenting and education. He has also directed our national and international conferences at The Heights. Andy enjoys connecting with other schools and educators, believing that an exchange of ideas about education is essential to school leadership. Andy has also led a series of projects at The Heights, including the past several school accreditations and developing a number of engaging parent programs. Andy and his wife Mary Margaret have six children, two sons and four daughters.


Alvaro de Vicente

Headmaster, The Heights School

Alvaro de Vicente has served as Headmaster of The Heights School in Potomac, Maryland, since July 2002. Originally from Santander, Spain, Mr. de Vicente assisted the school in various positions, including coaching, college counseling, and mentoring prior to becoming Headmaster of the school. In 1987 he graduated cum laude from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Philosophy, and he received his J.D. from Georgetown University School of Law in 1991. He served as the Executive Director of the Tenley Study Center from 1989 to 2002, where he organized and managed supplemental development programs for several hundred students and professionals per year. Mr. de Vicente’s most important work, however, is in the classroom where he teaches Catholic Apologetics and mentors students daily.


Joe Cardenas

Head of Mentoring, The Heights School

Joe Cardenas is the Head of Mentoring at The Heights. He also teaches AP Art History and Freshman Theology.  Since coming to The Heights in 1994, he has organized cultural trips to Europe and service projects in South America. Mr. Cardenas completed his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a degree in American history; he received his M.A. in Private School Management from Columbia University in Manhattan. He taught at The Head-Royce School, an independent school in California, and at inner-city programs in Chicago and the Bronx before joining The Heights faculty.


Nate Gadiano

Executive Director, The Heights Forum

Nate is the Executive Director of The Heights Forum. He also teaches Natural History in the lower school. Prior to returning to The Heights School, Nate earned his A.B., summa cum laude, from Princeton University, where he studied a combination of literature, philosophy, and theology. After graduating from Princeton, Nate spent a year in the admissions office at The Heights. After his time in the admissions office, he worked for The Hawthorn Foundation in New York City before heading to South Bend, where he studied Italian literature and taught Italian language to undergraduate students at the University of Notre Dame. During his time at Notre Dame, Nate was a Bradley Fellow in the Mendoza College of Business.


Interested in participating in the 2023-24 Leaders Initiative?