Ande Lloyd graduated from AHS in 2015 and joined our faculty this fall after student teaching with us last spring. He was born and raised in Durango and graduated from Western Colorado University with a BS in Mathematics and an emphasis in Secondary Education. He believes in creating authentic relationships and has a deep passion for learning. During his college days, he worked as a climbing guide and volunteered with Search and Rescue for Black Canyon National Park. When not teaching, Ande loves to rock climb and ski.
What attracted you to AHS? How has AHS prepared you for life after high school?
Spring 2011 I was just an 8th grader trying to decide where I would go to high school and I decided to spend a day at AHS as a shadow. As I nervously shadowed the class of 2014, huddled among the cramped hallways of the infamous strip mall, I saw for the first time what made me ultimately choose Animas. Jessica McCallum was studying Shakespeare with her 9th grade Humanities class and the students were excited as they recited poetry and adamantly acted out A Midsummer Night's Dream. Even though I didn't have a primary role in this play, I saw the love and passion Jessica had for her students, and also the excitement from the students about learning.
The next year I became an Osprey and I learned how powerful project-based learning can be. It is a process where students take ownership of their learning, and make learning something they can be proud of. As a student at Animas, I felt empowered, loved by my teachers and challenged to broaden my understanding of the world. I believe that modern education is project-based learning. And my experiences at AHS prepared me to be a productive citizen in the 21st century, as well as inspired me to pursue education.
The quality education I received from AHS came from the love and devotion of my teachers. It is the love I received from my teachers that inspired me to follow their footsteps. And I am so grateful to be at Animas because it is a place where relationships are valued, and this school has a culture of excellence that is worth being a part of.
How do you see AHS positively impacting our community?
One thing AHS does that is unique is our LINK Internship program. Junior year students spend three weeks outside of school and get involved in careers that interest them. I had the opportunity to work with Inside Durango TV (now Durango Local News) and learn the ins and outs of running a TV station. This program is one of the examples where AHS students go beyond the walls of a classroom to participate in the real world. LINK has been an excellent way to connect with the community and inspire students to pursue their interests.
Exhibitions are another way AHS gets the community involved with our school that has had a positive effect. As an alumnus, exhibitions really gave me confidence talking to people and made me feel proud of the content and skills I learned in school. It is rare for the community to actually see what students learn, and having opportunities to showcase this makes people appreciate education while preparing students for the 21st century.
What's most exciting to you about AHS building our permanent campus at Fort Lewis College? What are your hopes for our permanent home?
I came into this school when we were still at the strip mall and graduated from AHS in the trailers we still use today. In my time here as a student and then later a teacher, I have seen AHS grow and evolve--and even now I feel like Animas has not reached its full potential. With this new building I believe we will grow more fully into what this school has been trying to do from the start. I am excited to have a permanent home, and have it in such an amazing location!
Where do you envision AHS in 10 years?
Just like High Tech High inspired the existence of AHS. I believe Animas is ground zero for modern education, and 10 years from now I see our school becoming a model for others to follow!