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News from the Education Foundation

Posted: March 15, 2011

RayLee Homes Builds House to Benefit APS Foundation

Proceeds from 3-Bedroom ‘Apple House’ Will Go To Horizon Campaign for Athletics Programs

As with so many things, it started at home.

The Grady family always put education first. And with a love for athletics, the family took advantage of the many life skills taught through balancing education and sports in Albuquerque.

“Albuquerque Public Schools built a solid foundation for me to use, even today,” says Jeff Grady, a former Cibola High football and baseball standout who now is part of the family homebuilding business – RayLee Homes: A New Generation.

“Time management, dedication and work ethic,” he continues, “are all skills I now use.”

Day after day, year after year, that’s what the family talked about – even as RayLee Homes: A New Generation took off and became an Albuquerque institution.

School. Participation. Community. That’s what really mattered.

“We always understood the importance of education and public education,” said Tammy Grady Thornton, now a member of the APS Education Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Once again, that commitment comes full circle. RayLee Homes: A New Generation’s first-ever “Apple House” has been completed. And when it sells, the proceeds will benefit the Foundation’s Horizon Campaign and APS athletic programs.

“It’s exciting,” adds Tim Grady, another of the Grady siblings who works for the company. “We want to make sure kids today have the same experience we did in school and athletics, and the Apple house project helps us do that.”

The Apple House, located at 10924 Estribo NW, near Unser and McMahon NW, is a three-bedroom, two-bath home on a 1,858-square-foot floor plan. Thanks in part to RayLee’s business partners who donated time, materials and effort to the building of the house, it has all the bells and whistles – granite countertops,  stone veneer accents, a Whirlpool appliance package, a covered back patio, maple cabinets … the works.

David Roybal of Coldwell Banker Legacy also has graciously donated his time and resources to help market the home, which lists at $200,000.

“Thanks to the generous donations of our subcontractors, this home has amenities, like granite countertops and maple cabinets, not typically seen in new home inventory,” says Thornton, who was a schoolteacher and vice principal before she jumped into the business.

RayLee Homes is no stranger to helping public education and APS. Its founders, Scott and Laura Grady, established the company in 1976, and for years were instrumental in the APS Sports Fund’s Golf Extravaganza, which benefitted APS athletics.  The family also has directly contributed to many schools, including Corrales Elementary, as a way to thank teachers, support staff and administrators for what they did to help them on their way. Tammy and her brothers, Tim and Jeff (who has an education degree), are now helping guide the company’s future.

“I’ve said this many times, but the truth is, everyone knows it: the Gradys do so much for our community,” says APS Education Foundation Director Phill Casaus. “It’s not just their willingness to partner with the district to help kids. It’s their willingness to advocate on a daily basis for the good things that happen in public education. Everyone needs a champion. People like the Gradys are our champions.”

Thornton says RayLee has its own champions – namely, its many vendors who helped play a part in creating the Apple House. Those companies include:   Larry Reetz Construction, Max Grading, Albuquerque Curb Cutting, Plumb Mechanical, PMI Heating and Air, Modern Security, Aguamatic, Mastercraft Cabinets, Champion Truss, Feeny, Inc., SME, Fox Builders Inc., Holistic Energy Turn On Lighting, Arvisos Framing, Wayne Dalton, Albuquerque Door, Community Sciences, Whirlpool, FormCove, Powell Construction, Mountain West Sales, A-Management, Amestoy Dri-Wall, United Stoneworks, Stock Lumber, CTI, Ray’s Flooring, Duke Insulation, Otero Roofing, Home Team Pest Defense, Aspen Concrete, Virgil Gil, Arizona Tile and Signs by Tomorrow.

Thornton says it’s partnerships like these that can help make a difference at APS through the Horizon Campaign, which supports direct classroom grants for fine arts, literacy, middle/high school activities and science/math/engineering projects. And as one Apple House is completed, there are already dreams for the future.

“My family is committed to making the Apple House a lasting tradition to benefit the students of APS,” she says. “As soon as the first Apple house sells, we will begin making plans for the next one.”

For more information on the Apple House go to, or call 270-3850 For information on the Foundation, go to or 878-6165.