Our Founder, Dennis 'Coach' Snyder
Dennis 'Coach' Snyder is the founder of American Heritage Charter Schools and president of the American Heritage Education Foundation, which manages our facilities and provides financial support to our schools.
Coach Snyder came to Escondido as a boy and played football at Escondido High School. His experience there led him to return as a teacher and coach, serving for 35 years in the Escondido Union High School District and touching the lives of many young people with his passion for education and his drive for excellence.
When the charter movement began, he saw the potential to provide educational choice for parents that focused on fundamentals and helped develop character - all within the public school system.
With his vision and a credit card, Coach Snyder opened the doors to Escondido Charter High School in a business park on East Valley Parkway in 1996. He assembled a small but dedicated team of teachers and support staff who embraced his vision, and carried out the 'back-to-basics' mission off the school.
Escondido Charter High School quickly gained a reputation for excellence, and ultimately outgrew the facilities in the business park. This led to the purchase of the old Edward’s Cinema across the street, which Coach Snyder and his well-seasoned team turned into a world class high school campus.
As the high school settled into its new home, Coach Snyder worked to secure a charter for Heritage K-8 Charter School as a way to prepare students for the academic rigors of Escondido Charter High School and to instill in young students a love of country and the traditional values of hard work, integrity, and personal responsibility. That school, housed on the old Escondido Charter High School campus, has grown steadily and has provided a solid educational foundation for thousands of students.
Throughout the years, Coach Snyder has assembled great teams of educators and overseen the expansion of the American Heritage Charter Schools which now include Heritage Elementary, Heritage Junior High, Heritage Flex Academy, and Escondido Charter High School. His vision to provide educational choice in the public school system has become a reality for nearly 2,000 students and their families in and around Escondido.