1962-63 – Vail Mountain School is born
A county school bond, which would have provided funds to establish a public school within the Vail area, was defeated twice. The local parents then started the Country Day School. Jack Tweedy, Betty Seibert, and Barbara Parker as officers, drew up its first charter and hired Allen Brown as its first headmaster. This occurred during the winter season of 1962-1963. There were seven students who met for classes in Brown’s apartment over the Vail Delicatessen.
Mid-year, the school made the first of many moves to a new site – the Bear Trap Lounge in The Lodge at Vail. The next year, with 14 students, classes were held in Pete Seibert’s basement, which was modified by the volunteer labors of parents for school purposes. Money was raised through an auction and a rummage sale held at The Lodge. Pete Burnett of Minturn was the auctioneer.
The strong women of Vail stepped in and were not to be denied. Over the next several years, the school moved to several locations, including the firehouse, the Vail Clinic, and Meadow Mountain – each time to a larger location. The women raised money, hired teachers, and made certain that their children had the benefit of a good education.
In 1965, the staff increased from two to three teachers. Ginny Crowley was the head teacher and taught fourth through eighth grades. Joella Bromley taught first through third grades, and Judy Temke Gagne taught kindergarten. The enrollment was 26. Allen Brown, who was the first headmaster, resigned to start a linen company to handle the hotel business.
If it wasn’t for the efforts of parents like Ginny Crowley, Helga Pulis, Vi Brown, Betty Seibert, Nancy Kindel, and others, what ultimately turned into a first-class prep school – The Vail Mountain School – might never have happened. It was yet another example of community spirit and cooperation.
The name was changed to the Vail Mountain School during the 1975-1976 school year. That year – 1977 – Valli Pulis, Peggy Augustine, Erik Brofos, and Lad Froy became the first graduates of the Vail Mountain School.
In 1979, the school moved into its new and permanent home at Booth Creek on seven acres donated by Vail Associates. The Baldauf house, built in 1906, was located on the property and was restored to become part of the campus. Mrs. Edna Baldauf Norgaard, daughter of Charles Baldauf, who built the house, corresponded with students and shared memories from her years at the log house, which is one of the five original buildings still remaining in the valley.
The school has come a long way, and Peter Abuisi has been the headmaster for nearly 20 years. Its senior-class students are accepted to colleges and universities nationwide.
As Abuisi says, “With the strong balance between academics and athletics, we are proud of the school’s accomplishments, pleased with the efforts of its students, and grateful to the community.”
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 48th installment, an excerpt from chapter 6, “It’s Now a Ski Resort.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.