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The Alexander Dawson School

Dawson offers challenging academics, robust arts and athletics programs, and renowned outdoor and experiential education. Dawson graduates are young men and women who achieve their individual potential, savor life, and meet the challenges of the world.

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General Information

Official Name
Alexander Dawson Foundation​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
The Alexander Dawson School
Former Name(s)
(1970-80)Colorado Junior Republic
Date Established
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
Tax ID
Headquarters Address
Colorado Location
Mailing Address
Other Address
10455 Dawson Dr
Lafayette, CO 80026
Main Phone Number
Fax Number
Other Phone Number
Social Media Links

Mission Statement

Dawson School is dedicated to excellence of mind, body, and character. We prepared students, through challenging and relevant learning, to become creative, resilient problem-solvers who bring their best to the world.

Organization History

The Alexander Dawson School has matured from its roots serving underprivileged youth to a highly selective, independent, coeducational college preparatory day school serving over 500 students K-12 from North Denver to Fort Collins. Dawson challenges its students to achieve excellence of mind, body, and character through a rigorous college preparatory program. Dawson is located on a 107-acre campus surrounded by 700 acres of open space in Boulder County. The average class size is 15 students.

The Dawson School was founded in 1970 in Lafayette, Colorado by G.B. "Jerry" Henderson, a successful entrepreneur, as a philanthropic organization dedicated to changing the lives of young people through education. The school was first known as the Colorado Junior Republic (CJR) where it was more than just a high school but also a mini-society in which students, or "citizens" as they were called, would learn to become productive, contributing members of society. The Republic stressed self-discipline, self-reliance, and hard work. Its twin mottos were "Love of the Land" and "Nothing Without Labor."

In 1980, the school repositioned itself as the Alexander Dawson School, named after Henderson's father. Alexander Dawson School became a coeducational, private college preparatory boarding and day school. It added seventh and eighth grades in 1987, a sixth grade in 1990, and a fifth grade in 1997. In 1998, Dawson ended its boarding program and became exclusively a day school. The same year it opened its Lower School for kindergarten through fourth grade. Dawson's growth has been steady, expanding from 54 students in 1986-87 to over 500 students in 2015-16. Campus facilities also saw impressive physical growth during this time.

Throughout this growth the school has stayed true to Jerry Henderson's founding vision to help kids. "Nothing Without Labor" has morphed from working the land for CJR currency to academic rigor, serving the community, and developing artistic and athletic excellence. "Love of the Land" has taken on a more global meaning through experiential education and on-campus sustainability and greening efforts.


We have been at Dawson for several years and just love it. The faculty and staff are wonderful, and really connect with the kids. The kids are kind to one another and are connected to their school community. Dawson engages the kids in interesting projects, often weaving in elements of different school subjects in one project. They set clear expectations for the kids and help them along as much or as little as each child needs. All told, we just love it at Dawson! - Erin Diamond, Dawson Parent

Dawson gets better every year! My 3 kids have each had unique amazing experiences. The highly capable and supportive faculty maintain strong relationships with the students. The challenging curriculum helped make my kids' transition to college easy. Traveling the world to China, Turkey and Spain and being submerged into foreign cultures was life changing. Dawson is an amazing place! Nadine Teegardin, Dawson Parent

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