Tuesday, September 18 , 2018, 11:49 am | Fair 70º

 
 
 
 

Providence and El Montecito Christian Schools in Santa Barbara Announce Merger

Two Santa Barbara-area Christian schools that have served the community for decades announced Wednesday night that they are merging.

The boards of directors of Providence, a Santa Barbara Christian School, and El Montecito San Roque approved the merger on Monday, according to Elaine Rottman, communications director for Providence.

The combined school, which will serve students from preschool through high school, will be called Providence School, she said.

"The mission of our combined schools remains to develop and nurture character grounded in God’s word, academic excellence, principled leadership, and a commitment to service in each and every one of our students,” according to a joint statement issued by Randal Clark, Providence board president, and Drew Dusebout, El Montecito board president

Current administration from both schools will lead the combined school.

Tim Loomer (currently at El Montecito and formerly at Providence) will be interim head of school; Scott Rockney will continue as associate head of school and principal of Upper School; Matt Knoles will lead the Lower School as principal, continuing in his Providence, SBCS role; Cathy Rempe will direct the preschool, continuing in her El Montecito role; and Scott Lisea, head of school at Providence, SBCS for the past three years, will help lead a transition committee made up of board members from both schools.

“We are fortunate to have continuity of strong leaders and a community that already knows one another,” Clark and Dusebout said. “Santa Barbara is a small town, and many of the people working at, serving, or attending either Providence or ELMO are already connected through churches, youth activities, and friendships. Now we have the opportunity to share in the education of our children together as one extended family.”

Providence, SBCS has operated since 1959, first as an elementary school (Santa Barbara Christian School) and then as a preschool-grade 12 school after a merger with Providence Hall in 2014.

El Montecito School, known fondly as ELMO, was founded in 1958, and serves preschool-grade 6 students.

Both schools are independent, board-directed, tuition-funded, and donor-supported co-ed day schools.

Coming together enhances stewardship by sharing resources—campus facilities, the best teachers, strong administrative leaders, and full classrooms, Rottman said.

According to the statement, “in order for us to do our part in stewarding our school and to achieve sustainable greatness (excellence today, tomorrow, next year, and years from now), we must embrace change. We want to ensure that our schools thrive in perpetuity. This merger assures our best days are ahead.”

Students currently enrolled or accepted for admission for the 2018-19 school year will come together in classes ranging from 14-24 students per grade level. New applications will continue to be accepted, with the distinct possibility of waiting lists being created for some classes.

Preschool and elementary students will meet on the San Roque campus (3225 Calle Pinon), currently home to ELMO.

Middle school and high school students (grades 7-12) will move from the Canon Perdido campus (at the Boys and Girls Club) to the current Providence, SBCS elementary campus (3723 Modoc Road).

Extensive improvements will be made at both campuses to accommodate and enhance the experience for each student population, Rottman said.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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