Julie Eckhardt Retiring After 31 Years!

We’ll Miss You Ms. Eckhardt!


For those of us in the Academy community who have interacted with Julie Eckhardt, whether on a day-to-day basis or only once, it’s hard to miss her bright smile, cheerful and positive disposition, and the precision in her work. Signing students in, completing paperwork, calling parents, and doing work behind the scenes, many of us have had the opportunity to speak to and share a laugh with Ms. Eckhardt. After working at Academy for nearly 31 years, she has touched the lives of 1000s of students, faculty, parents, and staff, all while completing important clerical work vital to keep the school running. Now, as we say our goodbyes to Ms. Eckhardt, the current Administrative Assistant of the 10-12 Division Head, we learn more about the person behind the smile and the memories of her that members of the community continue to hold dear to them.
Ms. Eckhardt grew up in a small, artsy town in Florida called Saratosa, where she enjoyed the benefits of tourists coming in the winter; she listened to free symphonies and explored the local art museum which displayed Renaissance and Medieval paintings. Ms. Eckhardt reminisced over her time at home, swinging from a Banyan tree and biking to the beach in the summer. Her mother painted in her free time, and that love of the arts was passed on to Ms. Eckhardt, who paints as well. In addition to creativity, she says that paperwork and clerical work seems to run in her blood. Both her father and mother had similar lines of work, and raised her to put hard work into everything she does. Ms. Eckhardt says, “I love doing paperwork. I love keeping track of what [the students] are doing with the clubs or their grades. I love spreadsheets.” But, she says what she loves the most about her job is seeing the students, parents, and faculty on a day-to-day basis. Smiling, she says, “I have one daughter, but when I’m here I have a lot of kids.”
Ms. Eckhardt began at the Academy as an administrative assistant in 6-7, and then became a registrar, or a record keeper, in the Administration Building. Her next role was as the assistant to the Assistant Head of School, where she was in charge of newsletters, calendars, and the directories. She then worked with an English teacher, taking care of the faculty, professional development, diplomas, and many other necessary tasks to keep the school running. Finally, she ended up with the job she had until her retirement, as the Administrative Assistant for the 10-12 division. Sonia Roth introduced her to the job. “To this day I am so thankful because I get to see students.” Eckhardt says it’s truly the perfect job for her; she gets to spend her time doing work she enjoys, while forming connections with enthusiastic students, yet never having to play the role of the disciplinarian. Ms. Eckhardt also pointed out that she has fascinating and intellectual conversations with the teachers at the Academy. She loves to keep learning, and this environment is the perfect place for that.
It seems that Ms. Eckhardt has had as much of an impact on the community as the community has had on her. Her kind, joyous, and fun-loving nature, as well as her precise and invaluable work, has touched the lives of many over the years, so we asked members of the community to share some of their favorite moments with her. These are a few of the responses:

I’m so grateful for the friendship and support of Julie Eckhardt. After I cleared out obsolete computer parts to set up my classroom in the storage room behind her corner office in the administration building, she never stopped thanking me for the passing-period parade. She would stand in her door to bask in the noise of juniors and seniors. In every way the opposite of the bossy curmudgeons who are supposed to have her job title, Julie Eckhard encouraged us all to have rebellious good fun.

–John Gray, Albuquerque Academy English teacher, 1985-2009

Ms. Eckhardt is the most organized person I know. She is constantly on top of all the admin work and my life would not have gone as smoothly without her. She is kind, caring, and understanding. She is always willing to work around my schedule and conflicts that make me have to miss school. I loved our short conversations every time I checked in or out of campus. She filled her office and the hearts of everyone around her with joy. I will miss her compassion and kindness the most. She made Academy shine and without her, AA will dull a little.

–Naima Pyarali ‘22

First, from when I was a student. I had been at a Common Time where the Dance Troupe was performing, and it involved really beautiful and intricate lighting. I started noticing that the lights were flashing oddly on my eyes and lingering spots were left with some zigzagging that made me feel sick. I didn’t know it then, but I was experiencing my first ever migraine accompanied by visual aura. I called my mom panicked and she came to get me, but first, I had to wait by Julie’s office to be signed out. I was feeling physically awful, emotionally and mentally scared. But Julie calmed me, without even trying. She just spoke with such love and genuine concern and I left feeling like everything would be alright. She’s had that same effect a NUMBER of different instances, but I’ll always remember that first one.

–Elise Matton, 10/12 History Faculty

Second was this year. I had left campus to go home but realized I left something crucial that I had written on a whiteboard I have hanging in my office. I knew Julie was the most likely person to still be on campus, so I sent her an email timidly asking, only if she had the time, to see if she could let herself into my office and find the specific item I had written down. Less than 10 minutes later I got an email with NOT ONLY that specific written item, but also an entire transcription of the absurd scrawling that usually end up on my whiteboard, complete with her best attempts as a translation for me. I was blown away. It’s a perfect anecdote to exemplify Julie- she always goes above and beyond to drop everything and help a colleague out with even the most inane of requests. She truly wants to help and serve us, and she’s done so impeccably, in ways I continued to be surprised by even after knowing her for over a decade. I will always be grateful for her.

–Elise Matton, 10/12 History Faculty

She has been one of the sweetest and most helpful staff members at school. She has constantly gone above and beyond to make me as comfortable as possible when it comes to my preferred name in everything from report cards to my name on sign-in sheets. She’s a gem. I’m lucky to have had her help and support during my last few years here. It has made a huge difference. I wish her all the best 🙂

–Aaron Parmeter ‘21

We all know how kind Ms. Eckhart is, and how practical. But did you know that a paint color combo seen in many offices and classrooms around Brown Hall—the beige color tastefully contrasted with a deeper brown accent wall—was originally her inspiration, and has been dubbed “the Eckhart” in her honor? Think of her fondly every time you sit in a room with this color scheme. I am so happy that my own office is one such space.

–Laura Matter, 10-12 English Teacher

Julie and I have worked on many projects together, and I have enjoyed every one. She is so efficient, creative, and upbeat! I will miss working with her, but I’m so happy for her that it makes it all OK. Thank you for being a fantastic colleague, Julie!

–Jill Brown, Technology

Julie is a woman who wears many hats, and uses humor for her hatpin.

–Paula Crawford, 8-9 Division Administrative Assistant

Ms. Eckhart’s infectious smile genuinely got me up in the morning.

Zoe Calott-Wang, ‘21

Ms. Eckhardt says she is looking forward to retirement, spending more time hiking, gardening, making art, taking road trips around the West and Midwest, grabbing coffee with friends, and of course coming to Academy concerts and events to see the students and teachers. Although Ms. Ekchardt will be missed at school, we will still be seeing her around. She says, “I’m looking forward to having some quiet time, but I’ll miss the activity. This was a great place for fun. I’ve been really lucky that way.”