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  • Laurel Contributor

Summit Charter’s New Director

by Luke Osteen

As it pursues an ambitious multi-year expansion, Summit Charter School names a new director.

Summit Charter School, a tuition-free K-9 public charter school in Cashiers, has chosen Kurt Pusch to serve as its new director, effective July 1. Pusch will succeed Billy Leonard, who has served Summit as interim director since July 2018.

“Kurt has spent the past 15 years with KIPP, the nation’s largest and highest regarded network of public charter schools,” says Board of Trustees Chair Edward Cole. “Kurt’s demonstrated ability to lead a school to high ranking academic achievement, increase faculty retention, and decrease student attrition is quite impressive. He is well-versed on the advantages of a charter school, has a passion for outdoor education and aligns well with Summit’s place-based and whole-child approach to learning.”

Most recently, Pusch serves as Chief Schools Officer at KIPP Colorado Schools, overseeing six charter schools serving nearly 2,000 students from early childhood through 12th grade with the mission of educating students to develop the knowledge, skills, and character for success in college and life. He is married to M.C. Pusch and has four children, Briggs (8), Kate (6), McKinley (4), and Henry (2).

“My wife M.C. and I feel deeply privileged by this opportunity for our family to join the Cashiers-Highlands community and to serve Summit Charter School,” says Pusch. “In our time getting to know the staff, students, families, and supporters of Summit, we have felt the values and sense of community that clearly make the school such a special place. I look forward to joining the team at Summit, and doing my very best to serve the school as director over the years ahead.”

Pusch arrives at a time of dramatic expansion for the charter school. During the 2018-19 school year, Summit welcomed its first ninth-grade class and will add a high school grade every year until the inaugural high school class graduates in 2022. Following this spring’s opening of the Summit Center, which houses athletic facilities, a performance area, and music and art classrooms, the school will open its new high school building.

Foundation Board Chair Josh Crawford says, “We are all so excited about Kurt, but don’t want to forget what a tremendous job Billy Leonard has done this year as interim director. We are very thankful for his leadership and steadfast devotion to the school during a year of major transitions and milestones. Billy will certainly leave a lasting legacy at the school.”

To discover more about Summit’s transformative place-based education and whole-child approach to learning, visit summitschool.org.