We’ve always been intrigued by the history of the beautiful St. Anne’s Episcopalian School tucked in the heart of Denver. We had the opportunity to sit down with Director of Communications, Michelle Provan to learn more.

St. Anne’s is an independent school in Denver, serving students in preschool through eighth grade since 1950. Can you tell us a bit about the history of this school and its mission today?

In 1929, three Episcopalian nuns arrived in Denver to help the underprivileged and ill. They later managed a convalescent home at 2701 S. York, caring for children recovering from various illnesses, most notably polio. By 1950, the need for full-time care declined due to the polio vaccine. The Mother Superior at the time directed one of the nuns, Sister Irene, to create a school focusing on individual attention and small classes. The nuns oversaw meals, gardens, and teaching. Their compassion, faith, and commitment to service continue to inspire the school’s mission and values. In the last 73 years, St. Anne’s Episcopal School has grown to about 425 students and has established itself as a leading independent school in Denver. 

Our mission is that we are grounded in our founding values, we cultivate a community of curious and compassionate learners who are inspired to serve and enrich our world.

The 7-acre campus is stunning, but you also offer access to a 16.5-acre mountain campus. Is this part of your outdoor program?

Our mountain campus, known as St. Anne’s in the Hills (SAITH), holds a significant place in our heritage and plays a crucial role in our outdoor education program. Our students begin day trips to SAITH in kindergarten, progressing to an overnight stay in 5th grade, and by middle school, our students engage in several annual overnight experiences. This setting offers team-building exercises, leadership education, and curriculum-related activities, and it frequently serves as a launching point for other excursions that instill a deep commitment and responsibility towards the environment. 

How does an independent school operate differently?

Independent schools possess the autonomy to craft curricula aligned with their unique missions and pedagogies, informed by current research and best practices, and free from state mandates. We are accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools.We are recognized by the State of Colorado and Colorado Shines and are a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. As a nonprofit 503(c) organization, St. Anne’s receives no funds from federal or state governments but is funded primarily by tuition and fund-raising. Independent schools operate autonomously, relying on a Board of Trustees for financial oversight and mission guidance. This commitment to customization, paired with faculty selected in line with our mission, nurtures individual growth. Independent schools prioritize academic achievement, critical thinking and close teacher-student connections, creating inclusive communities valuing diversity and strong school-parent partnerships. Maintaining quality through tuition and community support, independent schools stand as self-supported bastions of education.

High school is a big leap, especially for kids who’ve been together since kindergarten. How do you prepare your eighth graders?

When students become part of St. Anne’s community, they are empowered as lifelong learners and advocates for themselves and others. We facilitate a two-year process to help students choose the right high school fit. In 7th grade, each student and their caregivers attend an introductory event to familiarize themselves with the high school application and decision process. In the initial months of the 8th-grade year, students and caregivers have individual meetings with the Head of Middle School and Assistant Head of School to prepare for applications to various schools. The students also engage in mock interview sessions. During the application process, our teachers diligently complete necessary recommendation forms to support their students.

Notification of high school admission decisions is typically received in late February, then our Head of Middle School and Assistant Head of School talk with families about their school choices to ensure informed decisions. 

You are an Episcopal school who welcomes families of all faiths. How does this work within your curriculum?

Our educational philosophy nurtures not only intellectual growth but also spiritual well-being, physical vitality, artistic creativity and a strong commitment to service. We embrace all faith traditions and beliefs while aspiring to embody and convey a learning approach that fosters empathy, a profound respect for pedagogy and an unwavering devotion to serving the community. Our curriculum is designed to empower students with the knowledge and inspiration to lead meaningful and transformative lives. 

Some might have some misconceptions about a faith-based school, what myths can you bust for those unfamiliar with your mission?

We often describe ourselves as spiritual rather than faith-based. Our intention is not to convert or dictate beliefs nor to shape “little Episcopalians.” 


Instead, we recognize our shared spirituality as human beings, aiming to ignite a sense of self-awareness, compassion for others and a responsibility towards the world. Embracing families of all faiths, beliefs, and religions, we provide space for curiosity and educate our students about world religions.

We’ve been lucky to know a few of your teachers over the years, and we’re impressed with their style, compassion and kindness. Do you have any stories of educators you’d like to share? 

Our founder, Mother Irene, taught until she was 93 years old. She is credited with having taught hundreds of children to read. She loved children, the Yankees and gardening. Her roses were legendary, and more than 26 years after her death, we still grow roses on our campus. The Mother Irene Library, named in honor of our founder, is the only building on our campus that bears an individual’s name. When asked about the school’s values, Mother responded, “Forget the curriculum. Are you producing good children?”

A very smart woman indeed. To learn more, visit