Dear Albuquerque Academy community,
Greetings, and warm wishes to each and every member of our Albuquerque Academy family. Let me start by thanking all of our donors as the impact of your gift allows our beloved institution to thrive and continue creating a unique experience for every Charger on campus.
As we embark on another exciting academic year, I am delighted to share with you a glimpse into our future and provide an overview of what lies ahead. At Albuquerque Academy, we believe in the power of education to transform lives and shape a brighter future. Our commitment to excellence remains unwavering as we continue to innovate and grow as guided by our strategic plan, Academy in Motion.
Looking ahead, we are thrilled to announce several exciting initiatives that will enhance the educational experience for our students and strengthen our community. These initiatives embody our dedication to academic excellence, development of the whole child, and spirit of inquiry, empathy, and collaboration. These are outlined in our strategic plan as we lay out in A Stronger Path Forward, our case that outlines the vital importance of philanthropic giving to the school. Through this process, we aim to cultivate critical-thinking skills, creativity, and a deep love for lifelong learning.
Further, we are committed to nurturing a diverse and inclusive community that reflects the world we live in. Our aim is to foster an environment where all students feel valued, respected, and supported on their educational journeys. In addition to our academic endeavors, we seek to enhance our campus facilities to provide a stimulating and inclusive learning environment.
None of these initiatives would be possible without the incredible support and generosity of our Albuquerque Academy community. We extend our deepest gratitude to our dedicated parents, alumni, donors, and partners who make our vision a reality. Together, we are building a brighter future for our students and empowering them to make a positive impact on the world.
As we take our first steps on A Stronger Path Forward, I am optimistic and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. I invite each member of our community to actively engage, collaborate, and contribute to the journey as we continue to shape the future of Albuquerque Academy. Our advancement team will continue to ask our community to support our initiatives throughout the year, and I encourage you to give as generously as possible.
Thank you for your continued trust, support, and partnership. Together, we will inspire, educate, and empower the next generation of leaders, innovators, and compassionate global citizens.
With heartfelt anticipation,
Julianne Puente, Head of School
A Stronger Path Forward
For nearly 70 years, Albuquerque Academy has been the most highly regarded secondary educational institution in New Mexico and in the Southwest, providing exceptional learning experiences for its students and serving as a lodestar for educational opportunities in our region.
Albuquerque Academy’s investments in a challenging curriculum, highly qualified faculty and staff, state-of-the-art facilities, and comprehensive student support allow it to provide an unparalleled learning environment that fosters curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and love for lifelong learning and development – skills and attributes needed to thrive in our ever- changing world. The Academy’s commitment to both academic excellence and the wellbeing of its students is reflected in its remarkable outcomes, measured not only by the attendance of Academy alumni at the world’s top universities but also by graduates’ significant contributions in their respective fields and communities.
Why Giving to Albuquerque Academy is Necessary for Our Broader Community
Supporting Albuquerque Academy means investing in the education of our future leaders, scholars, and changemakers. By making a financial contribution to the Academy Fund, you are not only helping individual students but also contributing to the overall strength and vibrancy of our independent school, city, and state. Our school serves as a hub for intellectual and cultural engagement as well as community service that benefits the greater Albuquerque area. Since our school’s founding in 1955, the Academy has been a launchpad of fundamental importance to New Mexico. We prepare our students to enter their next phase of life to become community-minded, lead, and give back. Additionally, the Academy drives economic development by not only serving as one of the city’s larger employers but also by attracting new businesses whose employees seek exceptional educational opportunities for their children. By investing in Albuquerque Academy, you are investing in the educational, cultural, and economic infrastructure of our region, helping to build a brighter future for all.
Defined by Tradition
Traditions are part of the Academy’s heritage, helping to create the fabric of the school. Our community of alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff recall many of our traditions with fondness and cite them as highlights of their time on campus.
One of the first traditions that our newest Chargers experience is Convocation. Sixth graders walk up the Path with seniors, and together they make their way to a standing ovation from the rest of the school to celebrate their first and last years at the Academy.
Through Senior Projects, students have the opportunity to learn first-hand about a profession or topic that interests them, planning and designing their own active learning experience outside of traditional classes.
Community Day strengthens our community by providing opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills, celebrate the diversity of our community, and engage in new experiences together. Because Community Day was the lead-in to Homecoming in 2022, visiting alumni took part in several activities, including the Reynolds Regatta, another long-standing tradition.
Experiential education, a unique feature of the Academy since 1975, includes programming in outdoor, environmental, and wilderness education, as well as leadership development. This year’s trips included water adventures for sixth and seventh graders, canyon spelunking for the 8-9 division, and rock climbing and kayaking for the 10-12 division.
Leaders in Academic Excellence
The academic program at Albuquerque Academy is at the heart of our mission, which is lived out daily in a wide array of rich learning experiences. Our faculty aims to nurture children’s natural passion for learning and to instill habits of lifelong curiosity and reflection. Serving as mentors, our teachers pursue their passions in and out of the classroom, receiving recognition for their efforts. In just the last year, our faculty have published books, received prestigious summer fellowships, been recognized by the University of Chicago as outstanding educators, presented important work at conferences, published essays, and so much more.
Academy students develop the skills, confidence, and opportunities to become global citizens with jobs that have not yet been imagined and to leave their mark in so many ways. Recently, students helped pass a bill with the state legislature, had genetic research conducted in the Fly Lab published in a scientific journal, and took STEM lessons to underserved APS schools. And learning at the Academy goes well beyond traditional classroom walls, with curricular requirements that involve Ex Ed, community service, and the Desert Oasis Teaching Garden.
In her 2023 commencement speech, Head of School Julianne Puente recounted the graduating class’s academic and unique extracurricular accomplishments, including 2,615 days exploring the wilds of the Southwest on various Ex Ed trips, 21 state athletic championships and 49 district titles, the creation of a pronoun policy, and the establishing of our first affinity group for Native students. The Class of 2023 also follows in the footsteps of earlier graduates with 20 National Merit Scholars and a geographically diverse list of colleges – a total of 94 colleges in 27 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and France, the second-largest number of colleges in Albuquerque Academy history – and join a network of more than 8,000 alumni worldwide.
The Albuquerque Academy Tuition Model
Academy tuition provides the largest income stream each year and is the main pillar of our operating budget. Tuition assistance is the cornerstone of our mission, allowing access to deserving students while enrolling a student body that reflects the depth and diversity of the greater Albuquerque community. Tuition remission is a benefit that helps attract and retain the best and brightest faculty and staff while creating a special layer of investment in their work and our school. The children they bring to our community and their parent perspectives add to the richness and diversity inherent in our mission. The tuition model is a hallmark of our school, as the Academy remains committed to following the standards set by its founders, leadership, and other independent schools, positioning itself as a leader in generosity and inclusivity.
The Importance of Student Wellness and Belonging
Integrated in the Academy’s mission is the imperative to weave diversity and inclusion into all aspects of school life. With the expansion of our Diversity, Culture, and Belonging (DCB) Department and its goal of making sure that everyone feels they are part of the school community, the four-member, cross-disciplinary team has the capacity, representation, and expertise to be actively involved in student life and to make an impact on processes, like hiring and onboarding, that support our commitment to diversity.
This past school year, student-led and founded affinity groups increased from one to five, giving students a way to unite for common goals and a platform for sharing classroom experiences that have led to changes in school policy, culture, and curriculum. Student leaders also participated, along with trustees, faculty, and parents, in work on the Academy’s land acknowledgment, and there was positive progress in school policies and practices to enhance gender inclusivity, including initiatives to create opportunities for students to share their pronouns to ensure they are known and used by community members.
This fall, the Academy enrolled its highest number of Native American students, a result of years of strong advocacy from our tightly-knit Native parent community. And changes to the 2023 Multicultural Summer Honors Program, such as full-day programming, more-focused instruction and advisory, common time, and experiential education blocks, provided an Academy experience to high-achieving rising fifth graders with the intent of further increasing educational access.
Results of the well-being survey conducted in the spring – a collaboration between the DCB and Counseling and Human Development departments – provided an opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to express their voices and share their experiences in a safe and constructive manner. In addition to the raw data, the survey is benchmarked against similar schools that will guide us in our ongoing efforts to support all students.
The Academy’s Geographic Reach
Academy students come from neighborhoods that span a wide geographic swath across our city and the outlying area. This geographic diversity is the result of intentional outreach and recruiting efforts, such as the Multicultural Summer Honors Program, and our commitment to offering need-based awards that cover up to 100% of tuition. Students come from 46 zip codes, and 34 zip codes have at least one student receiving financial aid, allowing us to extend our reach by seven zip codes.
The Academy is a school that honors its past while embracing the future of education. In keeping with this guiding principle, several innovative changes have been made over the last few years, and more are on the horizon.
Our Bridge to Success program for rising 6th graders is designed to ensure a smoother and more comfortable transition to a new school. This week-long program includes instruction on study skills, a new-student orientation, team-building with new classmates, and an introduction to campus, including opportunities to use the bike park, visual arts studios, playing fields, pool, garden, and library. More than 90% of our newest students take advantage of this free, optional program.
The 13-month Path renovation project was completed just prior to Commencement 2023, providing a beautiful connection between East and West campuses. The project was funded by a draw on the endowment and included the East Campus quad. The new ADA compliant pathway and quad maintain their iconic shape, feel, and function, while conserving 1.2 million gallons of water a year and protecting the Eastern Cottonwoods that line the path.
Changes to history and physical education department graduation requirements give students even more flexibility to create schedules that best fit their interests and build transcripts that will help them meet their college goals. Over the last two years, the Academy has introduced nearly three dozen new course offerings, including Advanced Cybersecurity, Graphic Design, History Through Sports, World Religions, Personal Financial Literacy, Advanced Principles of Engineering, Data Science, Creative Writing II, Economics and Public Policy in America, Multi-Disciplinary Musical Theatre, and Introduction to Medical Science.
Albuquerque Academy is more than a school for grades 6-12. Community members of all ages have opportunities to learn and grow through programs like Think Summer, Charger Aquatics, and the new Levanta Institute for Music & Creativity – arts classes for grade schoolers to adults. Fall courses include music classes for grades 4-6 as well as acting, dance, and music classes for adults.
Established in 2020, the Albuquerque Academy Athletics Hall of Fame serves our community by honoring and recognizing the athletes, teams, coaches, and supporters who made significant contributions to the Charger tradition of athletic excellence. Since 1955, scores of outstanding athletes and individuals have defined the Charger spirit that continues to unite our community and make us proud, and each year, we honor five new inductees.
The Endowment Ensures Our Future
Seeded with a transformative gift from the Simms family, the Albuquerque Academy endowment plays an important role in the overall financial health of our school. Each year, a draw from the endowment is used to support the annual operating budget and other needs and initiatives, which allows tuition to remain far below the true cost of educating each student. Annual draws from endowment funds are typically based on 5% of a rolling 20-quarter average to ensure a smooth and sustainable draw that is not impacted by temporary market fluctuations.
Countless Opportunities for Students
Extracurricular activities are an integral part of the Academy experience. They all contribute to our students’ learning and well-being. In June, the Academy took home another NMAA Director’s Cup – the fifth in a row and the 15th since its inception in 2005. The Director’s Cup is awarded annually to the top New Mexico Activities Association member schools in each classification based upon success in activities, athletics, and sportsmanship.
Every season our student-athletes gain lifelong lessons in the value of competition, perseverance, hard work, and the true meaning of teamwork. And along the way, our teams and athletes achieved impressive success. During the 2022-23 school year, student-athletes won four state championships, including six straight for girls swimming and 20 consecutive titles for boys tennis, and we sent 16 seniors on to college athletic careers. We also introduced two new interscholastic teams – co-ed powerlifting and boys volleyball.
Chargers are involved in a broad range of clubs and activities, giving them the opportunity to take a deep dive into the things they are passionate about and contribute to school life outside of the classroom, such as leadership groups, career-development opportunities, student-led affinity groups, and outlets for their talents. This spring, Academy students represented New Mexico at the national level for spelling, mock trial, Science Olympiad, MATHCOUNTS, DECA, the Scholastic Art and Writing competition and speech and debate; received a mention on NPR for a student-written and -performed opera, earned a trip to Broadway, and had their artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol.
Operating Expenses Exceed School Income
Philanthropic support from endowment funds and annual giving provides the essential core of our annual operating budget, allowing tuition to remain far below the total cost of an Academy education. This difference is why we fundraise year after year. Without philanthropic support, tuition will rise at much larger percentages, creating a gap in affordability. The largest and most important expense at Albuquerque Academy is ensuring we can recruit and retain the best faculty and staff possible to serve our mission.
How the Academy Uses Your Donations
Giving to the Academy Fund allows community support to flow where funding is most needed to balance the operating budget. Gifts to the “area of greatest need” – also known as unrestricted gifts – support and sustain a culture of trust-based philanthropy that ensures the continuous delivery of our mission.
The Academy Needs Your Support
Supporting Albuquerque Academy means investing in the education of our future leaders, scholars, and changemakers. Albuquerque Academy would like to thank all our donors and partners for everything they have done for our community. We could not be successful without dedicated partners like you!
Board of Trustees
The Academy is fortunate to have a dedicated body of volunteers with diverse and expert backgrounds, to oversee the administration of the school and the stewardship of its financial and physical resources. Our trustees share a passion for Academy’s mission and a vision for the school’s ongoing excellence and leadership in education.
The alumni council engages with alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, volunteer boards, and friends of the Academy to support the mission of the Academy and to strengthen the Academy and its community. They recognize that, as graduates of Albuquerque Academy, they have a responsibility to the Academy to preserve its resources and serve generations of children to come.
Albuquerque Academy Parents’ Association
The Albuquerque Academy Parents’ Association (AAPA) serves a vital role in the Albuquerque Academy community. It works to increase parent and family involvement in Albuquerque Academy life; assist in welcoming new families to the Academy community; foster relationships among parents, students, faculty, and staff; support and assist the student governance structure, and serve as an advocate for the Academy mission.
Multicultural and Diversity Parent Council Leadership
As part of its commitment to creating a caring, inclusive, and just community, Albuquerque Academy is home to five Multicultural Parent Councils. The African American; Allies, Friends, and Parents of LGBTQIA+ Academy; Asian American; Hispanic; and Native American Councils are affinity spaces for members with similar backgrounds, identities, and/or objectives to connect, encourage, mentor, advocate for, and support students of color and families.
Albuquerque Academy’s Mission
We believe that children's lives change when their natural passion for learning is nurtured and transformed into habits of life-long learning and reflection. We believe that the world changes as these children learn to serve country and community with wisdom, conviction, and compassion.
In light of these beliefs,
We serve students of talent and character, offering them an education that broadens their perspectives, sharpens their minds, strengthens their bodies, and engages their hearts.
We commit to creating a caring, inclusive, and just community, using the geography and culture of our home in the Southwest to enrich our educational programs and to foster creativity, personal balance, and a connection to the natural world.
We devote our resources to ensure economic accessibility to our students and to support the wider community through outreach and community service.
We entrust this mission to our graduates and successors as we preserve our resources and serve the generations of children to come.