The Albuquerque Academy Board of Trustees announced to the school community September 13 that Julianne Puente has been named the seventh Head of School. She will take on the new position for the 2020-21 school year.
Ms. Puente is a graduate of Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y.; Cornell University; and Columbia University. She worked at Hackley for 14 years in a variety of roles: kindergarten intern, history teacher, admissions, college counseling, dean, coach, and Director of Middle School Life. In 2009, she was recruited as Deputy Headmaster and Dean of Students to help establish a new independent school, King’s Academy, in Mabada-Manja, Jordan. Still in that role today, Ms. Puente has been involved in the design, construction, and implementation of most of the school’s programs, systems, and policies, and she plays a large role in academic affairs, finance, curriculum design, development, alumni affairs, admissions, safety, operations, and the recruitment and evaluation of faculty.
“Ms. Puente has spent more than a decade at King’s Academy, essentially building that school from the ground up,” said Albuquerque Academy Board Chair Thomas Smidt. “She brings to Albuquerque Academy experience in nearly every facet of operating an independent school. In addition, her work at King’s Academy, which includes students from all over the world, has provided her with a broad knowledge of developing a healthy, connected, kind, and inclusive school culture.”
“I have been a fan of the Academy for more than a decade,” said Ms. Puente. “In the early days of creating and building King’s Academy, we developed a clear vision of who we wanted to be partly by reading about other schools whose approach to teaching and learning was in alignment with our own educational philosophy. Albuquerque Academy, from the beginning, was a school from which we learned. Although I have only recently spent time on campus, I feel as though I have been well acquainted with the school for years.”
Current Academy Head of School Andrew T. Watson, who has held the position since 2001, announced in January 2019 his plans to retire, beginning a months-long hiring process led by the Head of School Search Committee. In the retirement announcement, Mr. Smidt highlighted Watson’s accomplishments in the areas of student achievement, diversity, community outreach, sustainable practices, and bringing national recognition to the school.