Our Mission & Philosophy

Sunset Mesa School (SMS) is family-owned, non-sectarian, and independent. Each of these adjectives reflects a significant truth about this school. First, SMS has been a tax-paying, family-owned school since 1948 and has operated under its current ownership for over 40 years. What we do at SMS is not just a job; our work impacts family stewardship, personal reputation and a lengthy heritage. Family-owned also means “hands on.” You will find the decision-makers right here.

Second, the school is non-sectarian. Religious instruction has never been part of the curriculum. No faith requirement has ever been applied to students or faculty. However, SMS has over the years been owned and directed by Christian people. That necessarily informs our actions and values. People are uniquely created by God, are highly valued by Him and are responsible to him. All people in the SMS community should therefore treat one another as valuable, respected individuals with great potential to develop and use their unique characteristics and traits. Those values which Americans customarily call Judeo-Christian should be modeled by adults and taught to the students. These values include honesty, integrity, loyalty, patriotism, diligence, respect, personal responsibility, perseverance, courage, and friendship. Students should be challenged with high expectations and held to high standards for learning, behavior, and values. The same is true for the adults at SMS.

Third, SMS is an “independent school.” This term historically has meant that ownership, governance, and finances are independent of governmental or diocesan control. Of course, independence has its consequences. SMS must persuade families year by year that this education is worth the tuition; no other source of revenue exists for a tax-paying independent school. An independent school has substantial choice in defining its own approach to education. We highly value that prerogative here.

In this context, SMS purposefully provides a strong academic climate which fosters the intellectual and emotional growth of each student. Students can learn responsibility; they can earn self-esteem. We challenge students to become productive, responsible, and caring people by learning sound values, compassion and ethical behavior. We encourage them to learn, develop good study habits, act independently, solve problems, and think critically.

These characteristics do not mean, however, that SMS is isolated in its own insular world. It is accredited by the National Independent Private School Association (an organization of tax-paying schools) and the New Mexico Public Education Department. Accreditation provides you an assurance of quality. It provides SMS with peer review and support, professional development, and a wide spectrum of information.

Thank you for placing your child with SMS for this exciting experience in learning. You, the parent, are a vital part of the process. Thank you for cooperating with the administration and faculty in all of the vital areas of mutual concern for the education of your child.