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50 Years of Love and Learning

New Horizon Academy, a Minnesota family-owned and operated company, has been serving young children for over 50 years. Our founder, Sue Dunkley, began her career as an elementary school teacher. Sue knew she needed to provide a nurturing place for children to go before they ventured out into the big world and entered school, a place that would help them believe in themselves. That is why New Horizon was born.

Today, Chad Dunkley, Sue’s son and one of New Horizon Academy’s first students, is our Chief Executive Officer. Chad ensures that the commitment to excellence Sue strived for in New Horizon’s early years and the foundation that our company was built upon continue to be the cornerstone for each New Horizon Academy.

Caring Beyond the Classroom: 50th Anniversary Edition

This year, as an extension of our Caring Beyond the Classroom program, children and staff at New Horizon Academy will engage in activities each week that give back to the local community.

St. Anne's Place of Haven Housing Donation Drive

St. Anne's Place of Haven Housing Donation Drive

Our Plymouth school is now accepting personal care, clothing, and snack donations St Anne's Place of Haven Housing in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sock Donation Drive

Sock Donation Drive

Our Apple Valley school collected new socks for families in need this month.

Our 50 Year History


Founded by Susan and William Dunkley as a school devoted to the development of a healthy sense of self in every child enrolled in our programs and a commitment to excellence, New Horizon Nursery School opens.

New Horizon Academy is among the first to offer care for infants in the child care setting.

A New Horizon

“I began my career as an elementary school teacher. It became clear to me how important it is for children to feel good about themselves. I knew I needed to provide a nurturing place for children to learn before they ventured out into the big world, a place that would help them believe in themselves. That is why New Horizon was born. I chose the name “New Horizon” because I believe that each and every child deserves a new horizon – a place where he or she can say, ‘I like me!’.” - Susan Dunkley 1971, Founder of New Horizon Academy


With a focus on innovation, we are the first school to use sign language in infant classrooms to enhance communication and language development. We are proud to operate seven schools in the Twin Cities.

New Horizon Academy implements learning stations to enhance learning opportunities for children.


Our commitment to excellence continues with our acquisition of several schools in Idaho and the operation of 47 schools in Minnesota.

New Horizon Academy is proud to provide care for over 5,000 children in Minnesota and Idaho.


Our dedication to quality continues.

Our schools earn accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Our schools receive the highest ratings from Parent Aware.

We rebrand our schools from New Horizon Child Care to New Horizon Academy.


We made a commitment to Partnership for a Healthier America, and we are the pioneer in creating a farm-to-table program for early childhood programs.

We integrate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) into to our curriculum.

Most Admired CEO

“We provide the best possible learning environment for children during their most formative years.” - Chad Dunkley, Chief Executive Officer


Now, 100 percent of our eligible schools have earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and have been recognized as an Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) provider.


We continue to thrive as one of the nation’s most successful and respected child care providers with over 80 schools in Minnesota, Idaho, Iowa, and Colorado.

Sue Dunkley

Sue Dunkley

Founder and President

Our Founder and President, Sue Dunkley, is recognized as a true visionary in the field of early care and education. Over fifty years ago, Sue realized that young children needed a place before school—a place where they would gain self-confidence and feel respected and valued while learning together in loving, nurturing care. Sue’s vision became a reality when, with just eight children, the first New Horizon Child Care center opened its doors. Throughout her career, Sue has actively lent her expertise to emerging initiatives and ideas, as when she helped develop state standards for safe and healthy infant care. Today, with 90 schools in four states, thousands of young children benefit from those same beliefs that inspired Sue in 1971. New Horizon Academy employees continue to be influenced by Sue’s philosophy, purpose, and pride in the work they do. On the fiftieth anniversary of our founding, we salute Sue Dunkley for her leadership, vision, and dedication to this most wonderful work we do. … Read More

William Dunkley

William Dunkley

Co-founder and Chairman of the Board

Since the beginning of New Horizon Academy, Bill Dunkley has been a voice of wisdom and encouragement. A lawyer by profession, an entrepreneur by experience, and Chairman of the Board and co-founder of our company, Bill continues to be a guiding force in the growth and development of New Horizon. But perhaps most of all, Bill is a believer. He believes that by working together, people can accomplish more than they imagined. He believes that when people and their ideas are valued, their dreams can become a reality. And Bill understands that while the road to success won’t always be smooth, goals can and will be realized through support, respect, and a spirit of determination. Bill Dunkley is the backbone of our company’s past, the conscience of our present, and a beacon for our future. We hold him in the highest regard and appreciate his contributions beyond measure. … Read More

Chad Dunkley

Chad Dunkley

Chief Executive Officer

Chad Dunkley, our Chief Executive Officer, has been with New Horizon Academy since the inception of the company. As one of the first children enrolled in our classrooms and continuing today, Chad provides passionate leadership, and he drives the culture of “continuous improvement” at all New Horizon Academy locations. Recognized as one of the most admired CEOs in his home state of Minnesota, the current President of the Minnesota Child Care Association, co-chair of the national Early Care and Education Consortium, and a board member of the Minnesota Business Partnership, Chad has the unique and admirable ability to unite people with a shared purpose. Each day, he inspires our company and industry toward a grander goal—that of ensuring access to high-quality early learning experiences for all children, regardless of race, ethnicity, or income. As our Chief Encouragement Officer, Chad is beloved for his belief in a company where children are cherished and people love to work. And with his dedicated leadership and vision for the future, New Horizon Academy will continue to flourish as one of the most respected providers of early care and education on the planet. … Read More

“As we celebrate this milestone, we're proud of the achievements we’ve accomplished in the child care industry and look forward to the next 50 years. We’ve seen and experienced so much over the years, but one thing remains the same—our commitment to excellence and the development of a healthy sense of self in every child enrolled in our early education and child care programs.”

— CEO, Chad Dunkley

Thank You

We are honored and grateful for the trust families have place in New Horizon Academy for the past 50 years. Thank you! We look forward to the next 50 years!

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