Just for you! // Summer 2020
News & Information for Incoming Sandia Prep 7th - 12th Graders
WELCOME TO SANDIA PREP!
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!
Design class allowed
me to be creative,
help others, and
taught us how to
work with others,
including our clients.
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
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
Rising Sandia Prep 9th-Grader
LEARN THE LINGO
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
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.
MEET YOUR ASSISTANT HEADS OF SCHOOL & DEAN OF STUDENTS
Like Principals, but More Personalized
Assistant Head for
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.”
Assistant Head for
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.
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
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.
ORGANIZATION IS KEY
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
school and being
the manager of my
own time. I love
the energy Sandia
Rising Sandia Prep 8th-Grader
HELLO, MY NAME IS...
MEET SOME OF OUR TEACHERS
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
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
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
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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