Collage monte del sol Mentorship students
N Blea on guitar Monte del Sol school mentorship program

Mentorship Program

Giselle Hensel-Piburn
Director, Mentorship Program
Email Giselle    
505-982-5225 x115

Judy Herzl
Assistant Director, Mentorship  Program
Email Judy
505-982-5225 x115

Overview + History

A cornerstone of Monte del Sol since 2000, the Mentorship Program provides opportunities for students to learn from a community member in a field they are passionate about. This innovative curriculum, which now serves as a model for other schools in the district, plays a leading role in connecting our students to the community. Mentorships offer a unique learning environment precisely because they begin with an interest or passion initiated by the student.

Each year, up to 100 Mentors with many areas of expertise donate their time every week with their Monte del Sol protégés. To date, over 3400 Mentorships have been completed. Mentorships have included music, filmmaking, dance, photography and art, medical fields, building bicycles, polymer chemistry, archery, beekeeping, training service dogs, law, aviation and more.


Hours on average donated yearly by Monte's Mentors

Skills + Capacity Building through Mentorship

In Mentorship, students learn how to be curious about something they may not know much or anything about. They learn how to learn from their Mentor’s example, and often learn much more than the particular area that they are studying. Protégés learn how to fail and how to persevere, and that their Mentor also failed and mastered the same skills and capacities that they are now growing into. They usually find that what they are excited about is harder than it looks. For many students, Mentorship is a place to develop agency, and learn to ask for what they need, and to decide what interests and excites them.

“You´ve also taught me more than just dancing Ballet Folklorico. When I messed up on the Cucaracha dance at the performance, you motivated me to keep dancing because no one had an idea that I had messed up. You have set such a great example for me, by showing me that no matter how busy life gets, we should never push the things we love away. And most importantly to believe in the things we are all capable of doing.”

— Monte del Sol Protégé, Aaliyah Cuellar

About Mentorships

Every Mentorship is customized to meet the needs and interests of the specific student, who with their Mentor work and learn through a project or goal of mutual design. Protégés and Mentors meet a minimum of two hours a week between September and April. Some students stay with the same Mentor over several school years, while others try new fields yearly. The program culminates with a three-day, all-school festival where all protégés present to the entire school.

Monte requires a minimum of two years of mentorship during high school, though many students do more. (Middle School students may choose to do a mentorship as an extracurricular activity but do not receive high school credit.) We often hear from graduates who continue to follow the passion nurtured during their mentorship at Monte del Sol and who stay in touch with their Mentor.

When students experience how the things they love connect to real people and activities; learning becomes alive and relevant. It is the relationship between our students and their Mentors that drives the program’s success, while it also helps to develop human capital for our city and models community service and social responsibility.

Mentorship in a Snapshot

To learn more about the Mentorship program as a parent or to find out how
you can become a Mentor, please call or email Giselle Piburn, 982-5225 x115.

Recent Mentorships

  • Fashion Design
  • Barbering
  • Drone Photography
  • Hip Hop Dance
  • Violin
  • Orthodontics
  • Soccer
  • Welding
  • Investment + Entrepreneurship
  • Real Estate
  • Financial Literacy + Home Buying
  • Japanese Culinary Arts + Anime Cuisine
  • Blacksmithing
  • FX Makeup + Prosthetics
  • Bioinformatics + Super-Computing
  • Photography
  • Piano
  • Aviation

Top photo credits: horse rider: Karen Nord | violinists: Gabriella Marks Photography.