Principal's Page

Scott Principal Scott Bain

Scott Bain is a self described “education geek”, adventurer, and currently serves as the Principal of the Jefferson County Open School. Born and raised in Colorado, Scott has had a plethora of life experiences in the outdoors, from peeling logs to guiding river trips - all experiences that have informed his pedagogy. Deeply committed to a progressive vision of education, Scott consistently places students at the center of their educational journey. As they discover their own path, he seeks to nurture the unique potential within each individual. 


With relationships at the core, Scott believes in the power of experiential learning as a means to inspire students to achieve beyond self-imposed limitations. Providing authentic opportunities for challenge and fostering a reverence for the natural world, wilderness expeditions are a hallmark of Scott’s career as an educator. Scott has led students in countless extended, multi-day, educational travel experiences - both domestically and abroad. International travel provides a perfect canvas for explorations of international studies, a passion of Scott’s and the focus of his masters degree from the University of Denver. 


As a leader, Scott has an unwavering commitment to democratic ideals and actively works to amplify the voices of all members of the community. It is one of Scott’s core beliefs that people work tirelessly to support that which they have an authentic role in creating. As a result, success is determined by the ability of a community to realize the powerful potential of what we can accomplish together. Recognized for his strengths in distributive leadership, Scott has been featured on the Phenomenal Teaching podcast, co-facilitates Leadership Learning Labs for educators across the country with the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), and has been a consultant for numerous progressive schools. 


Scott’s son, Zach is an alumni of the Open School and is currently pursuing a degree in Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines. His daughter, Kate, currently a senior, will be culminating her K-12 career at the Open School this spring. Scott and his wife, Lisa (a fellow progressive educator) live in a cabin in the foothills west of Denver where they enjoy the wonder and beauty of Colorado. This summer they will fulfill the life-long dream of rowing the length of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. He will doubtless come back with a new appreciation for the learning potential of time spent in wild place

Favorite JCOS trip I have led Down River with Lewis and Clark (canoeing on the Missouri River in Montana)
Favorite class I have taught The Vietnam War
Favorite trip I have co-led Politics and the Peace Process (Northern Ireland)
Favorite pastimes Time with family, telemark skiing, river trips, fly fishing, and home renovation projects
Favorite book                                     The Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness by Doug Peacock

Favorite part of being principal I cannot imagine a more rewarding career than this. Jefferson County Open School is a beautiful learning community that must remain a viable alternative in today's educational climate

Favorite Books on Education

  • The Other Side of the Curriculum: Lessons from Learners  by Lois Brown-Easton

  • The Self Directed Learning Handbook: Challenging Adolescents to Excel by Maurice Gibbons

  • Making High Schools Work: Lessons from the Open School by Tom Gregory

  • The Souls of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion and Character at school by Rachael Kessler

  • The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a small school in Harlem by Deborah Meier

  • Ecological Literacy: Education and the transition to a Post Modern World by David Orr

  • Lives of Passion, School of Hope: How one public school ignites a Lifelong Love of Learning  by Rick Posner

  • Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World by Margaret Wheatley
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