The Branson School

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The Branson School
39 Fernhill Avenue
Ross, California, California, 94957
Type Independent
Motto Beauty is Truth - Truth Beauty "Small, but Mighty"
Established 1920
Principal Damon Kerby (Interim)
Faculty 50.0 (on FTE basis)
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 320
Student to teacher ratio 8.0 to 1
Color(s) Blue and Green
Mascot Bulls
Information 415-454-3612

The Branson School in Ross, California, United States, is a private, academically focused, co-educational, college-preparatory day school with 320 students enrolled in grades 9 through 12.


In 1916, a group of 15 families in Marin County, California pooled resources to start a local private school. The Little Grey School was finished in 1917 on the Cochrane Estate in San Rafael, California next to what is now the San Rafael Public Library.

In April 1920, a teacher at Miss Beard's School in Orange, New Jersey, Miss Katharine Fleming Branson, was appointed headmistress, and the trustees renamed the school The Katherine Branson School. The school officially opened on September 6, 1920, with 51 students enrolled in grades 1 to 11. The next year the school added a kindergarten and a 12th grade, and in 1922 moved to its present campus in Ross, California. At its inception, the school included boys in the lower grades, but in the ensuing years the lower grades were discontinued, and the school became a young women's boarding school. In 1959, The Katharine Branson School became a secondary school for both day and boarding students.

In 1972, the school's board of trustees established Mount Tamalpais School, a day school for boys on the Katharine Branson School campus. MTS, with the same academic standards and basic philosophy as KBS, also shared a common board of trustees, faculty, and administrative staff. The boys' school used the upper part of the Katherine Branson School campus for their first years in operation, while the girls' classes took place on the lower part of the campus.

In January 1978, after extensive deliberation, the trustees decided to accept no further applications from boarding students, making 1981 the final year with boarding students.

The division of the two schools by gender started to become obsolete by the 1980's, as the two schools shared faculty, trustees, and curriculum. In July of 1985, the two schools were finally merged into one coeducational private day school, under the name The Branson School.

The Branson School has a reputation of being an exclusive and academically acclaimed school, due to its expensive tuition and low acceptance numbers of around 80 accepted students to over 400 applicants. All attempts to raise the class size from 80 students by the board have been met with resistance from the residents of the town of Ross. Plans to move the school began in 2010, with several locations around Marin County being considered.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Notable alumni include Julia Child, Tony Hsieh, Jonny Moseley, Michael Cera, Elisabeth Leamy, Wilberne Francis Dailey, Michael Froman, and Jennifer Siebel. Edie Sedgwick, the 1960s underground superstar, briefly attended the school.[citation needed]


Former headmaster Thomas "Woody" Price resigned after being arrested on felony drug charges in October 2014, and recently pled guilty to misdemeanor charges that resulted in 3 years probation.[1] Currently, former Mark Day School headmaster Damon Kerby serves as an Interim Head of School while a permanent replacement is found.

Coordinates: 37°57′56″N 122°33′57″W / 37.96556°N 122.56583°W / 37.96556; -122.56583