Head of School Search: Letter to Parents

Summit Letterhead

August 29

Dear Summit Families:

It is with mixed emotions I write to inform you that our Founder Margaret Thornton will be retiring from her position as Head of School at the end of this school year. For twenty-one years, Margaret has been the guiding light and driving force behind the Summit Academy way of educating children with learning differences. There is, however, good news to report! We will not only be hiring a new Head of School, but Margaret will be assuming the new position of Director of Academics.

In September 2012, Margaret informed the Board of Trustees that she desired to retire from her position as Head of School at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. She felt that the time had come for Summit to have new leadership in order to advance and grow. In “retirement” she could focus on her true love of being an educator. After considerable reflection and discussion, both Margaret and the Board reached the conclusion that Summit Academy would be best served by hiring a Head of School who would have leadership ability, business acumen and passion for education to empower and guide the school into the future. For Margaret, her new position of Director of Academics will allow her to return to her greatest love – educating children through excellent curriculum selection, careful program planning and personalized placement for each and every student.

During this academic year, Margaret will continue to devote her time and energy to advance the school. She will finish the re-accreditation process that began last year so that the next Head will have an accurate report of the successes and challenges facing Summit. Margaret is deeply committed to making the leadership transition as smooth as possible and has offered to help the new Head in whatever way possible.

The Board of Trustees, which is comprised of parents, alumni parents, and community supporters, understands the importance of this moment and is dedicated to finding the best person to lead the school and to continue to build upon Margaret’s vision and legacy. The Board cherishes the unique combination of high standards and a deep caring for each student that typifies the Summit Academy educational model. The Board is committed to finding a leader who embraces the school’s mission of providing a nurturing educational environment for children with learning differences.

In preparation for the transition, a Search Committee has been put in place which consists of Board of Trustees members Amy Kessler, Leslie Gagnon, Margaret Thornton, David Strite, Rich Whipple, Larry Pernosky, and faculty representative Janna Mathews. The Board of Trustees has retained Jeff Ashley and John Guthrie from the search firm of Ashley Rountree & Associates to assist in the search for a new Head.

Ashley Rountree & Associates specializes in consulting services for educational and non-profit organizations and has provided consultation and campaign feasibility services to Summit in years past. Mr. Ashley has served in various fundraising and leadership capacities at Spalding University, the University of Louisville, and the Trinity High School Foundation prior to starting his consulting firm in 2002. Mr. Guthrie has over a decade of experience planning and executing capital campaigns, strengthening boards, and developing annual funds. He has worked with over 50 non-profit organizations in the Louisville area, including CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) and Chance School.

The Search Committee will both welcome input from and provide updates to all of our constituencies throughout the process and will look forward to welcoming the new Head of School in July 2014.

With change comes great opportunity and the Board of Trustees is enthusiastic about the future of the school and confident that it will be able to find an outstanding leader and Head of School, who will learn the Summit Academy way from our Founder, and ensure that Summit Academy has a bright future serving our children.

Thank you for your time and attention.


Amy Broecker Kessler
President, Board of Trustees
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