Over the past two years, the Steamboat Mountain School Board of Trustees and the Emerald Mountain School Board of Trustees have been looking for opportunities to strengthen the connection between our two schools in order to offer the best learning experiences for our students. After a thorough review process conducted by the Emerald Mountain School and Steamboat Mountain School Boards, we are excited to announce that the two schools have jointly agreed to merge into a single entity, offering an unparalleled K-12 independent education in Steamboat Springs. United in purpose and mission, both schools will continue their commitment to academic excellence, socioeconomic diversity, and community.


How will each school benefit from joining forces?
  • Continued commitment to small class sizes which build close relationships between students and our dedicated and passionate faculty.
  • With combined resources, we’ll have more to put towards our students’ education and overall experience. We are excited to maximize both campuses to the benefit of all students and school operations.
  • Provide competitive compensation and enhanced professional development opportunities for our teachers.
  • Continued commitment to serving students from diverse backgrounds and financial circumstances.
  • Consistency in K-12 education enables a seamless transition from middle school to high school.
Whose idea was this?

Starting in 2018 the leadership of both boards convened a task force to look for ways that the schools could support one another in delivering K through 12 independent school education in Steamboat Springs. During the course of those conversations, the task force discussed the possibility of a merger and determined that the schools are stronger together in delivering excellent K-12 education to our students and in supporting our faculty and staff.

Why now?

Both schools have strong leadership, enrollment, finances, and reputation. This strength is exactly what makes the merger a positive for both schools as we use our current alignment to enhance our programming for all students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

When will this take effect?

In Phase 1 (20-21 academic year), the two schools will merge the business administrations and create one Board of Trustees to develop a united and long-term strategic vision. Each school will maintain its unique identity, programming and teaching faculty. And then Phase 2 (21/22 academic year), will drive the implementation of the school’s unification under one mission and one name, Steamboat Mountain School.

Who will be the Head of School?

In 2020, Samantha and Meg will independently lead their own schools as well as work together on future planning. In July 2021, Samantha will become Head of Steamboat Mountain School {K-12}, and in order to support the strategic work necessary to envision the future of the unified Steamboat Mountain School, Meg will lead special strategic projects throughout the transition.

Will this affect staffing/teachers?

During Phase 1 (20-21 academic year), all staffing and teachers will remain the same on each campus. In Phase 2, we will identify ways to leverage the collective strengths of the faculty and staff to support the overall excellence of our K-12 educational program.

Will there be one campus or will there always be two?

At this point, both schools will remain on their current campuses. During Phase 1 (20-21 academic year), the merger implementation task force will work with constituents from both schools to determine how the school’s facilities can best support the K-12 educational program.

If students from EMS use the SMS campus, how will our children be transported?

Steamboat Mountain School owns a fleet of vehicles that may be able to help with transportation needs. We are conscious of always wanting to minimize traffic on County Road 36 to respect our fellow neighbors. We will endeavor to find ways to mitigate our impact on the traffic patterns.

How will this impact where programs are delivered?

We will continue to look at our facilities and determine the best place and method to deliver our excellent programming.

Automatic acceptance EMS to SMS? Does my child have to re-apply between 8th and 9th grade or do they automatically move on?

Once enrolled in Steamboat Mountain School K through 12, students will be promoted from one grade to another assuming their continued academic and programmatic fit with the school.

Will this change tuition, fees, and/or financial aid?

As with every year the Board of Trustees will evaluate and set the tuition and fees for the upcoming school year. Any changes to tuition and fees will be announced when we send out re-enrollment contracts. We remain committed to ensuring that an independent school education remains accessible to families regardless of their financial circumstances; therefore, our approach to financial aid will remain the same. We will continue to fundraise actively to ensure our outstanding educational opportunities are available to those students who would be best served by our school.

How will this impact my annual fund donation and support?

Your donation will support the K-12 education of the students. Although unrestricted gifts allow us to affect the widest range of programming, donors will be able to restrict their gift if they choose.

Will the students from primary, middle, and high school interact with one another?

We are always looking for ways to encourage positive interactions among all the constituents in our school community. The vast majority of our programming will remain age-specific, while we take advantage of opportunities to develop empathy and community through intentional multi-age programming. We also pay careful attention to the developmental stages that different age students are in, and we will use that understanding to develop programs that encourage the formation of healthy relationships.

Will SMS continue to have boarding students?

Yes. Steamboat Mountain School’s high school boarding program will continue to make the exceptional educational opportunities at the school available to 9th – 12th grade students from around the country and the world.

How will the parent and student communities be brought together during this transition?

We will be seeking opportunities for both communities to learn more about each other’s programs throughout the year. Stay tuned.

How can I support this effort or get involved?

Both communities rely on all constituents to support our efforts. During the transition, we encourage our students, families, alumni, and supporters to share their enthusiasm and input. As always our communities have been generous with their time, talent, and resources.

Whom do I contact with additional questions?

Alice Tesar tesara@steamboatmountainschool.org is happy to answer additional questions and/or put you in touch with the appropriate person.