Established in 2007, the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation raised $3,000,000 for the construction of the Elings Center for Engineering Education at Dos Pueblos High School.

The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy was founded in 2002 at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California, by physics teacher Amir Abo-Shaeer. The shortage of classroom space on the Dos Pueblos campus allowed the DPEA to enroll only 32 students per year. Mr. Abo-Shaeer added FIRST Robotics to the curriculum in 2006 and the rookie robot was constructed in a custodian’s closet. The DPEA became very popular and within three years the number of students applying to the program had tripled. By the end of 2006, Amir Abo-Shaeer had a vision of building a facility on campus that would house 400 students and offer equipment, machinery, and space for state-of-the-art technical education.

California Proposition 1D, which passed in November 2006, allocated bond money for the construction of Career Technical Education facilities at public schools. Over the summer of 2007, Amir Abo-Shaeer and his wife Emily Shaeer, an English teacher, wrote and submitted an application for the maximum matching grant of $3,000,000.

Amir Abo-Shaeer, the DPEA Director, was notified in the fall of 2007 that the grant application was successful. The Santa Barbara School District would receive the $3,000,000 matching grant from the State of California, assuming that the matching $3,000,000 could be raised locally. Mr. Abo-Shaeer appealed for help to DPEA parents, who rallied to form a nonprofit entity to facilitate fundraising.

The DPEA Foundation was incorporated in December of 2007 and launched its Capital Campaign in May of 2008. With the generous support of corporations, philanthropists, parents, and the community, the $3,000,000 match was reached in the fall of 2011. Construction of the new facility began in the summer of 2010 and the building was opened to students in December of 2011.

With its Capital Campaign accomplished, the DPEA Foundation has refocused its role. The ongoing mission of the Foundation is to raise the annual operating budget of the Engineering Academy, to organize the volunteers, mentors, and students who run the Academy as a business, and to provide strategic planning for the future.



Important dates in the history of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation:


  • Summer, 2007: DPEA Director Amir Abo-Shaeer writes and submits an application to the State of California for a $3,000,000 grant for the construction of a new facility on the Dos Pueblos campus.
  • October, 2007: Amir Abo-Shaeer learns that the Santa Barbara School District has been awarded a $3,000,000 matching grant by the State of California for the construction of a new facility. He calls a meeting of DPEA parents to discuss how to raise the matching funds.
  • December 27, 2007: The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation is incorporated as an IRC 501(c)3 charitable organization, with Sandra Seale as president.
  • May 4, 2008: The DPEA Foundation launches its Capital Campaign at QAD Corporation in Carpinteria.
  • November, 2009: Dr. Virgil Elings donates $1,000,000 to the Capital Campaign. The new facility is named the “Elings Center for Engineering Education" in his honor.
  • July 10, 2010: The Santa Barbara School District breaks ground on construction of the new facility.
  • September 27, 2010: Amir Abo-Shaeer is awarded a MacArthur Fellowship
  • March, 2011: “The New Cool”, a book by best-selling author Neal Bascomb, is released. The book follows the DPEA FIRST robotics team through its 2009 competition season.
  • August, 2011: The DPEA inaugurates its first expanded freshman class of 108 students, beginning the process of tripling the size of the Academy.
  • September 27, 2011: A freshman DPEA family steps up and gives a $5,000 donation to bring the Capital Campaign over $3,000,000.
  • October 1, 2011: Dr. Virgil Elings, at the controls of the robot, breaks the ribbon on the new facility.
  • December, 2011: The DPEA students move into the Elings Center. There are a total of 96 students in the senior, junior, and sophomore classes and 108 freshmen.