In 1897 when Tomchei Temimim was founded it only had Mashpiim not Roshei Yeshivos. The yeshiva started for the older students who could learn on their own Nigla, Talmud. Younger students who needed daily lectures, started several years later. The initial mashpiim were Reb Chanoch Hendel Kugel, Reb Michoel Bliner, known as Reb Michoel der Alter or Reb Michoel Nevler (from the city of Nevel) and Reb Shmuel Groinom Estherman. See introduction to Kuntres U’Maayan.