6 December 2019: A well-deserved award to Dr. Lou Ellen Kay, our founder and Head of School at the Las Cruces Academy. We students, parents, teachers, Board, volunteers, and friends of the school – are extremely proud of her. The Las Cruces Bulletin just announced that she is one of 13 Outstanding Women of the Mesilla Valley in their inaugural program! The Bulletin will recognize all of them in a special publication on December 20th.
Lou Ellen’s nomination for the award cited her extreme devotion of time, funds, and care of students to the Las Cruces Academy. The Academy is a huge part of her legacy in education that also includes 23 years of caring teaching at NMSU. Also noted is environmental work since 1990 with Earth Day and the Southwest Environmental Center. She’s also an accomplished craftsperson (her furniture had been shown at noted galleries: Shidoni inTesuque as well as in Sedona and Las Cruces), a world traveler (to 40 countries, from which she shares her cultural insights), and a cherished wife and mother.
We at the LCA thank Lou Ellen for all these years of work to found the school, to support it financially from the very start, and to run it as Head and as a teacher. She used money inherited from her parents for the building renovations at our first site in the Downtown Mall and to support teachers, students, and the programs in the lean first years. Even now she continues to work 7 AM to 6 PM and on weekends. She had the vision and charisma to engage so many of us – family, friends, students, teachers, board members, and businesses – to join her in donating goods, funds, and the time that she and we have spent searching for the site, teachers, and students; building furniture; bookkeeping; doing publicity on the Web and beyond; teaching; running fundraisers; doing outreach programs in the community). She made all of us believe in the school and its mission. She thinks of the Academy as the best thing she can do with the rest of her life. It has all come together, recognized by grateful students and their families, and, now, with this award.
The LCA serves advanced and motivated students of extremely diverse origins and family backgrounds, so that they may develop their talents, enriching the community. There’s a lot of the story of the LCA at our website, lascrucesacademy.org, and on our Facebook page.