BUILDING A FOUNDATION
2nd Nature Academy (formerly The Nature of Things) was founded in 1997 by Debbie Gleeson (M.Ed., Antioch New England University). Disheartened by the state of education, she enrolled in graduate school. With the encouragement of her husband and soon to be business partner, Denis Gleeson (MBA, Boston University), as well that of the Antioch staff, Debbie began work on a novel concept for her Master’s thesis project: Establishing a school. Nearly twenty-five years later, that inaugural prekindergarten class has grown into a full-fledged "farm, field, and forest" campus.
Today, 2nd Nature Academy is situated on an idyllic, sprawling campus in south Nashua, NH, which is also home to:
Nature's Pathways (early childhood education)
Camp Lovewell (outdoor summer day camp)
The Enrichment Center (STEAM education)
Athlete's Competitive Edge (ACE) (youth athletics)
These businesses all exist to support a collective mission to serve as an educational community committed to lifelong learning and whole living. With the help of many dedicated education professionals, administrators, and support staff, the programs continue to expand.
From the start, it was Debbie's mission to instill a love for learning in her students from an early age, drawing from 21st Century Learning and Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory and building a highly integrated curriculum focused on the power of nature-based outdoor education, environmental sciences, developmentally appropriate practices, humane education, and a literature-based approach to learning.
The Nature of Things, LLC founded as a small prekindergarten program (now known as Nature's Pathways at 2nd Nature Academy)
2nd Nature Academy Elementary School founded
2nd Nature Academy Middle School founded
The Nature of Things, LLC awarded "Women Owned Business of the Year" for New Hampshire and New England Categories by U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Nature of Things, LLC nominated for Enterprise Bank "Business of the Year"
2nd Nature Academy High School founded
2nd Nature Academy's 25th anniversary
A Message From the Founder
Deborah Gleeson, M.Ed.
Welcome to 2nd Nature Academy. We are a community that values individuality and diversity, and a collaborative learning environment that fosters student engagement and meaningful collaboration.
A lifelong New Englander, I grew up with parents and teachers who nurtured my curiosity and creativity. While I thoroughly enjoyed and excelled in school, the traditional classroom is not where I flourished. Rather, I thrived by exploring the outdoors and engaging in creative activities. When we began raising our own young family, my husband and I provided similar experiences for our three daughters. We quickly recognized that our girls learned best through hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities as well as outdoor adventures. While they too did well in school, they were most engaged and at their happiest when they were given opportunities to explore, inquire, create, and make meaningful, real world connections in an environment that made them feel safe and nurtured. I know that my family is not unique in this and that is probably why you find yourself here.
Nestled in our quiet, little corner of Nashua, NH, 2nd Nature Academy has found a unique way to nurture curious minds and foster critical thinking and problem solving. Diverse experiences for developing intelligence, potential, and ability are at the heart of 2nd Nature Academy, where passion and resilience drive achievement. Creativity, imagination, curiosity, and social-emotional well-being are valued as much as math and literacy for educational success.
What started out as a small prekindergarten program has grown into a well-established educational community for children of all ages. I am immensely proud of 2nd Nature Academy and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for the future.