Andi Morency, founder and now Executive Director of the Honors Academy of Literature, located in downtown Reno, has been passionate about education and the community throughout her career. Beginning as a classroom teacher, Andi saw the incredible influence she was able to have on the lives of the children in her classroom; however, it was her passion for teacher education that drove her to complete a Master’s degree from Penn State in Curriculum and Instruction with plans to go back into the school system as a literacy coach. The more she learned about the field of education, the more inspired she became to have a wider by pursuing a Ph.D. It was this decision that lead her back to Reno. While researching at Penn State, Andi came across many familiar names from her undergrad studies at UNR. She realized the profound impact the faculty in the literacy department at the University of Nevada were having on the field of education, and decided there was no place like home to work with the best in the field. She entered the Ph.D. program with plans to stay in academia upon the completion of the program, but again, her path took an unexpected turn. Andi often shares the story of how she ended up deciding to open a charter school: “I was in schools doing research and found myself wonderimg where I was going to send my own children to school when they reached school age. I knew I was going to be one of those crazy moms…sure, we will do what you ask as long as you can present the brain research to back up the practice. Someone presented me with the idea of starting my own school, and at first, I just laughed it off…right, just what I have time to do as a doc student and toddler mom. But the idea resonated with me, and so I did it.” Andi, along with her committee to form, began drafting the charter application in June of 2011 and the school opened in August of 2012. The Academy is still the fastest school have opened in the state, and the accomplishments don’t end there. The Academy serves 220 students in grades K-8 and received a 5 star rating for the 2017-2018 school year, ranking 6th on the top 10 schools in the state list.
Away from the Academy, Andi’s interests are varied. She teaches an undergraduate class in literacy instruction at the University of Nevada. She also volunteers as the Assistant Manager for the Black Rock City Census, a group which works with academics and the Burning Man Organization to collect data a produce a report about the people who attend Burning Man. The report has been cited in academic research, literature, media, and is used with county and state officials for project planning and permitting for the annual event. Additionally, Andi donates several hundreds of hours yearly with the Reno Rodeo. She serves on the Finance committee, Queen Committee, and Legacy Committee.
At home, Andi is a wife and mother to four amazing children ages 10, 8, 5 and 2. She stays involved in her children’s extracurricular activities, and manages to find some time to ride and work with her two horses.
Andi is always excited to share that she founded and now runs the school for her own children, and is happy that 220 other children can benefit from to the work too.