VAIL, Colorado - The leader of a Las Vegas private school will be Vail Mountain School's new head of school.
Michael Imperi comes to Vail Mountain School from the Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain in Las Vegas, where he has served as head of school since 2007. Imperi will follow Peter Abuisi, who announced his retirement after serving Vail Mountain School as head of school for 35 years.
Imperi will take over July 1 after a nationwide search. Imperi said Vail Mountain School will be a great fit.
"I love the fact that upper-, lower- and middle-school classrooms are placed next to each other to encourage cross-age interaction," Imperi said. "The accessibility of the head of school's office at the center of the building is terrific."
An open-door policy is something Imperi has had for years, he said.
"I keep a jar of candy in my office, and any student may come in at any time, tell me a joke and choose a piece of candy as a reward," Imperi said. "One day, a kindergarten student named Chris visited during a meeting where we were discussing some difficult issues."
Chris' joke broke the tension and helped them reach a resolution.
"The children provide grounding for me, and I place a high value on being present in their lives either as a teacher or in informal situations like carpool and lunch," Imperi said.
Imperi will be Vail Mountain School's sixth leader. The school held its first classes in October 1962 for resort employees' children.
Imperi brings nearly three decades of classroom and leadership experience, including 16 years teaching history, Asian religions and culture and psychology at the Singapore American School. Following his work in Asia, he spent eight years at the Alexander Dawson School in Boulder. From 2003 to 2007, he served as the principal of the Dawson Middle School.
He has coordinated student expeditions on five continents and spearheaded fundraising efforts for a medical clinic in India, a school in Nepal, an orphanage in Indonesia and schools in East Africa. In addition, Imperi has summited Mount Kilimanjaro twice and guided student and adult expeditions in Bhutan, Nepal, Ladakh, Irian Jaya, India and Myanmar.
"The leader of a school has a lot in common with the performers we see in Las Vegas who balance multiple spinning plates at once " Imperi said. "It requires you keep each individual element in motion, while at the same time keeping the whole process in balance."