Sandia Prep's PREParation Newsletter - Summer 2020


Sandia Prep's PREParation Newsletter for incoming 7th-12th grade students

Just for you! // Summer 2020



News & Information for Incoming Sandia Prep 7th - 12th Graders

What’s Inside


Learn the Lingo

Thoughts from Current Students

Tips and Tricks for Next Year

Meet Our Heads of School


You may have questions about what it will be like to attend

Sandia Prep. That’s why we’ve put together this newsletter for

students who will be new to Sandia Prep this fall.

Inside you will find a variety of topics and answers to some of

your questions before the start of the school year. We’ll cover

specific information for middle and upper school students, as

well as general things you should know.

We can’t wait to welcome you in the fall. Have a great summer!

Page 1


The DareDevil

Design class allowed

me to be creative,

help others, and

taught us how to

work with others,

including our clients.

Auggie ’24

Rising Sandia Prep 9th-Grader

Stay connected with classmates and keep up with

everything Sandia Prep by following @sandiaprep on

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

“My time at Prep

has been nothing

but fantastic. I

came as a new

student in the

third quarter of

sixth grade.

I was very nervous

to start a new

school at the end

of the year, but

all of the students

and teachers went

out of their way to

make sure that I

felt welcome.”

Everest ’24

Rising Sandia Prep 9th-Grader


When you go to live in a new country, the best way to adapt is to learn the

language. Going to a new school is similar; there are new words you need

to know.

Your Advisor

Every student at Sandia Prep has an advisor. This person is a teacher who

will help you throughout the year and be the first point of contact if your

parents/guardians have a question or concern. You’ll meet regularly in a

group of 10-12 students called an “Advisory” to talk about your academic

plans and progress. You’ll also discuss things that are happening in school

and in the world around you.

Assistant Heads of School and Dean of Students

The Assistant Heads of Schools’ responsibilities include working with

teachers, meeting with parents/guardians, and helping students with

issues or concerns. They are like school principals, but more focused on

their grade levels. If you want to change a class, you’ll need to work with

your Head to make sure the change is possible. Our Dean of Students, Mr.

Jeffries, makes sure that students are honoring our standards of behavior.

These are listed in the Student-Parent Handbook, which will be made

available to you before school starts.


Like Principals, but More Personalized

Ms. Hochrein

Assistant Head for

Middle School

Ms. Hochrein has taught at Sandia

Preparatory School since 2010 and

has taught both middle and upper

school math courses. Ms. Hochrein

attended the University of New

Mexico, graduating with top honors

and receiving her bachelor’s degree

in math/education. She has lived in

New Mexico almost all of her life.

Ms. Hochrein’s husband, James, is

a manager at Sandia Labs, and her

daughter Madi graduated from Prep

in 2018. Ms. Hochrein says, “It is a

privilege and an honor to be able to

work with Prep families. Sandia Prep

showed me everything education

should be. I’m happy to be able to

give back to this community, a place

I call my second home.”

Dr. McMillan

Assistant Head for

Upper School

Dr. McMillan grew up in New

Orleans, but in 2012 made the trip

cross country to Sandia Prep with her

daughter, a 100-pound yellow lab,

and a 20-pound cat with an attitude.

Though she sometimes misses the

Bayou and the French Quarter, she

loves the open vistas and raw beauty

of the Albuquerque landscape.

Dr. McMillan has been an English

teacher since 1979 and in

administration since 2003. Her

bachelor’s degree, master’s degree,

and Ph.D. are all in English, with a

focus on British literature. She has a

son, who is also an English teacher,

and a daughter who is a new mom

to twins! Teaching and working

with kids is still the greatest joy Dr.

McMillan can imagine.

Mr. Jeffries

Dean of Students

Mr. Jeffries is the Dean of Students

and has been a part of the Prep

community since 2007. Before

becoming Prep’s Dean of Students,

Mr. Jeffries was the Dean of Students

in Grades 9 and 10. He has also

served on the judicial committee,

and was the sponsor of Sandia Prep’s

Student Government Association.

Mr. Jeffries was born in Aurora,

Colorado, and lived there until his

sophomore year of high school when

he moved with his Air Force father to

Okinawa, Japan.

Mr. Jeffries’ wife, Lynn, also works at

Sandia Prep as the full-time school

nurse. They have two children,

Samantha, a 2020 Prep graduate and

Alex, a rising Prep sophomore.


Sandia Prep has a required assignment

planner for all middle school students.

It contains a school calendar, middle

school study skills guide (prepared

specifically for Prep students), important

phone numbers, and helpful homework

and research tips. Teachers will work with

you in classes to help you utilize your

planner. Planners will be made available

toward the beginning of the school year.


Be sure to regularly visit your PrepNet Portal


Your login information will be sent to you

before the beginning of the school year.

On your PrepNet Portal you will find:

• School calendars

• Curriculum guide

• Your class schedule

• The Student-Parent Handbook

• and much more!

I love my

independence at

school and being

the manager of my

own time. I love

the energy Sandia

Prep has!

Macario ’25

Rising Sandia Prep 8th-Grader



Ms. Nakigan

Ms. Nakigan teaches middle and upper school art and has been at

Sandia Prep since 2014. Ms. Nakigan’s main goal as a teacher is to be

supportive and inclusive, while providing a fun and challenging classroom

environment. During her free time, Ms. Nakigan loves the outdoors and

enjoys hiking, camping, and sketching outside. She also loves writing and

spends much of her free time reading good novels.

She says, “Prep is a wonderful school full of amazing opportunities,

inspiring teachers, and new friends. I am very happy that you are joining

our community, and I can’t wait to learn more about you.”

Mr. de León is Prep’s Director of Innovation and teaches 6th-and

7th-grade DareDevil Design, as well as Entrepreneurial Studies for

upper school students. Mr. de León is a first generation American

and comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and innovators.

Mr. de León

He started his journey at Sandia Prep in 2000, where he taught all

levels of Spanish. During the last few years, Mr. de León has shifted

his focus to STEM and expanding Prep’s makerspace and designthinking


Mr. Westerlund

This will be Mr. Westerlund’s fifth year teaching science at Prep, after

working as a teacher in both the private and public sectors for nine years.

He also coaches the Girls Varsity Soccer Team, which won its fourth state

championship in a row last fall!

In his free time, he enjoys exercising, spending time with family (especially

his 5-year-old nephew, Logan) and enjoying life to its fullest. He recently

discovered cooking, baking, and dancing. He claims to have some pretty

sweet moves!

Ramona ’22

Rising Sandia Prep 11th-Grader

Prep’s engineering program

has allowed me to explore my

passion for engineering and

creativity through a variety of

projects, from building bridges

to programming cars.




What are Sandia Prep’s Lions and Unicorns?



Will I have a lot more homework?

That’s difficult to say, since you come from

many different schools. We can tell you that

you won’t be bogged down by homework.


Lions and Unicorns came from the original

Sandía School seal, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s

Through the Looking Glass. They are mascots

for two teams within the school and have been

a school tradition for more than 50 years.

The amount will be appropriate. Sandia

Prep takes into account that students need

to balance homework and after-school

commitments and activities. The best advice

we can offer as you transition to Prep is to talk

to your teachers and advisors about questions

and challenges.



What are the Five A’s?

Sandia Prep’s “Five A’s” represent the five

areas that, together, create the school

experience and well-rounded students:

Academics, Arts, Athletics, Activity, and




Where do I go if I have a question?

If you have a question involving a class, first

talk with your teacher. If you have any other

type of question, speak with your advisor.



What is Sandia Prep’s school mascot?

We are the Sandia Prep Sundevils!

Sandia Preparatory School

532 Osuna Road NE

Albuquerque, NM 87113

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