Steamboat Montessori school director accepts new position |

Steamboat Montessori school director accepts new position

— The head of a local charter school has accepted a new job, but Mountain Village Montessori Charter School leaders are optimistic about the future.

Michael Hayes was recruited to become the new executive director for the prestigious Compass Community Charter Schools in the Roaring Fork Valley. The organization has two schools with 135 students each.

"Michael was not looking for a job when this opportunity presented itself," school co-founder and board chair Kristen Rockford said. "It's such a big opportunity and promotion in his career, and it would be foolish for him not to consider it."

Hayes said he could not pass up the opportunity.

“I’m pretty sad to be leaving Montessori,” Hayes said. “We’re just a year old, and we have a really strong school going on there.”

He was hired to lead the school in its first year, which Rockford said was very successful.

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"We are very pleased," Rockford said.

The school has a return rate of 95 percent with 150 preschool through fifth-grade students.

Next year, officials anticipate enrollment will increase to 180 students.

"Basically, our families are happy, the demand is there and we're growing," Rockford said.

The charter school uses the building formerly occupied by Heritage Christian School in West Steamboat, and the charter school is expanding with two more classrooms.

Charter school board members sent parents a letter informing them Hayes was leaving.

"Our successful first year is due to our hard-working staff and the strength of our Montessori community," the board members wrote. "The staff have expressed their dedication and commitment to the future of our school. We believe change can be good, and the prospects are bright."

A growing enrollment is not only a good sign for the charter school.

The Community Committee for Education group, tasked with making recommendations for future facilities in the Steamboat Springs School District, reported recently to the school board that the charter school is helping alleviate the need for a third elementary school.

The charter school board has formed a hiring committee to find Hayes' replacement. Rockford said they have already identified some candidates.

"In addition, we are working on ensuring the long-term stability of the school by extending our lease at our current facility and continue to explore additional options," the letter from board members read.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland