The APS Education Foundation is a non-profit for Albuquerque Public Schools. They partner with the community to invest in innovative and enhanced learning opportunities that help APS students reach their full potential. The grants they award go towards innovative and creative academic projects, programs, and clubs.  

At West Mesa High School, Major Mark Hendricks and Senior Chief Kirk Nicholson, have been expanding upon a STEM program called the Mustang Makerspace. About 22 years ago, STEM started to be taught.

“We knew kids were better with hands-on learning, experiential learning. And we started flying rockets and doing other things, but then when I got to senior chief on board, we started building remotely operated vehicles, going to the pool, really taking that as far as we could,” said Major Hendricks.

Major Hendricks says eventually they needed more space to continue the projects they were working on. The principal at West Mesa gave the teachers permission to purchase a full-length portable, and that was the start of the Mustang Makerspace.

“We did the first half on our own and then the education foundation cleaned up and helped us finish the rest.” said Major Hendricks.

The APS Education Foundation awarded the Mustang Makerspace a grant to continue to work on and expand the STEM projects they are doing.

“It’s going to afford us the opportunity to purchase more equipment and supplies so we can continue that base of having kids go out and learning how to build things and 3D print things,” said Senior Chief Kirk Nicholson. “And I think one good thing that it will definitely allow us to do is to be able to expand that to more people.”

Each year, the APS Education Foundation recognizes three outstanding teachers, the ‘Best in Class’ and their program’s impact and sustainability of their ideas.