The Academic and Career Engagement Center (ACE) at San Juan College has earned the top-performing Adult Education program in the nation.

Gail Janezich, ACE Instructor and Academic Coach; Jennifer Martinez-Maestas, ACE Center Director; Nadine Smith, ACE Instructor and Academic Coach; Pandora Thompson, ACE Administrative Assistant II; Vanessa Bedonie, ACE Data Management Analyst; and Darla Santillanes, ACE Lead Instructor and Onboarding Coordinator.

The Academic and Career Engagement Center (ACE) at San Juan College has earned the top-performing Adult Education program in the nation according to the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). The announcement was recently made by the Adult Education New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED), which reports to OCTAE.

Ace employee helps studentACE commitment

San Juan College ACE is more than just an academic and career hub. It’s a commitment to student success, community growth and continuous evolution. Through rigorous data analysis, unwavering student focus and deep community ties, ACE continues to raise the bar for what is possible in adult education. “This serves as a testament to the profound impact of holistic, high-impact, innovative and inclusive educational practices taking place at ACE,” says Jennifer Martinez-Maestas, director of the San Juan College ACE Center. “Our approach, which prioritizes the individual needs and experiences of adult learners, has proven effective in ensuring high retention and success rates. ACE stands as a beacon of success in the adult educational domain. Boasting outstanding retention rates and commendable success metrics, ACE exemplifies what is possible when student needs and community engagement converge.

Ace employee helps studentOngoing commitments

Despite these achievements, the center remains committed to continuous improvement, underscoring its commitment to being data- driven and student-centered.” In addition to the ACE Center being named the number one Center in the Nation, ACE has seen a 43 percent increase in enrollment over the last year. They have seen an 118 percent increase in graduation rates from the last fiscal year and added five new programs including a Literacy Program; a Family Literacy Program; an English Language Development Program; a National External Diploma Program (NEDP); and a Spanish High School Equivalency Program. The center was awarded $180,000 to create Integrated Education and Technology (IET) Pathways and to further extend their AE reach in the community. The ACE Center is one of five programs awarded $10,000 in an High School Equivalency (HSE) incentive grant for the highest number of HSE attainments for program year 2022-23.

Looking to the future

As the Center looks to the future, one thing remains clear, resting on success is not an option, excellence is a journey, not a destination. For more information about the San Juan College Academic and Career Engagement Center, contact