Head of Steamboat’s Emerald Mountain School retiring

Teresa Ristow
Emerald Mountain School leader Sharon Mensing, center, is retiring at the end of the school year.
Courtesy Photo

— Emerald Mountain School Head of School Sharon Mensing will retire at the end of the school year, and board members are on the hunt for her replacement.

Mensing moved from New York to Steamboat Springs in 2011 to serve as the school’s second head of school, following the 18-year tenure of school founder Nancy Spillane.

Mensing said the position was everything she had hoped it would be, adding that she quickly observed genuine connections between families, students and faculty.

“Every kid is just so well-known by every one of the adults that they work with,” Mensing said.

In addition to helping to institutionalize the culture of the small, K-8 private school in downtown Steamboat Springs, Mensing also taught some classes during four of her six years at the school.

“Being with the kids is always the brightest spot of the day,” said Mensing, who takes the school’s eighth-graders out to lunch one day per week.

Board member Pam Morgan credited Mensing with introducing the useful ERB testing to Emerald Mountain School, a testing platform that tracks student growth year to year.

“She would sit down with every family in late spring or early summer when the results came in, to talk the parents through what the numbers meant,” Morgan said.

Teachers are able to use the results to refashion curriculum, said Morgan, a former teacher at the school.

Mensing said the school is more than a year into building a new strategic plan, which will serve as a guiding tool for the next head of school.

“I’m very excited for the school and turning it over to someone new, with new ideas,” Mensing said.

Morgan said the next head of school would work to finalize the strategic plan, which includes a goal of making more connections between the school and various community groups.

She said early feedback from the school community shows people are interested in the new head of school being someone who really understands Steamboat and is willing to get outdoors and experience the area.

Though the school’s search committee will look nationwide for Mensing’s replacement, Morgan encouraged qualified local candidates to reach out to the school if interested in the opening.

Following her retirement, Mensing and her husband are planning a move to Wyoming.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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