At The Summit School, HOW we teach is as important as WHAT we teach. It is a school where DIFFERENCE can mean EXCEPTIONAL, where learning outcomes are identified and measured.

Widely recognized for academic excellence and research-based methodologies, teachers maximize students’ strengths and support areas of weakness.

Summit empowers students and prepares them for success in high school and beyond. With a strong foundation, the possibilities are endless.


Dear Summit Community,

As we celebrate Summit’s 30th anniversary, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on where we started, where we are now, and look to a future where we build on our many successes. I am reminded of a quote from Theodore Roosevelt said “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” Summit has remained firmly rooted in fulfilling its mission – educating children with unique learning profiles to their full potential – and we continue to reach for the stars.

A Look Back – How it All Got Started

1988 – Dr. Jane Snider envisions opening a school for dyslexic students. She establishes a team, including Dr. Michael Castleberry and the late Allen Robinson, to open a school.

1989-1990 – After an extended search, a site in Upper Marlboro, MD is found. Extensive renovations are required. The Summit School opens its doors.

1990-1991 – Summit nearly doubles its enrollment. School quickly outgrows location.

1993 – Summit begins search for a new home. Summit locates 15 acre property in Edgewater, MD. Construction and renovation begins.

1995 – Summit welcomes students to its new campus.

2000 – Summit starts construction on Student Activity Center providing space for an auditorium/stage, gymnasium, art studio and music room.

2018 – Work begins on the new driveway, STEM lab / Makerspace and Athletic Field and plans are underway for a new Academic Center to house 6th, 7th and 8th grades, a state of the art Instructional Media Center and upgraded facilities for the Summit Resource Center.

Where Are We Now – The Strength of Our Program

The core of Summit’s success comes from using research-based techniques, providing specific and intensive teacher training and creating a learning environment that incorporates: hand’s-on experiences; skills practice in engaging and fun ways; and visual aids that help students learn and retain information that eluded them in traditional classroom settings. Summit’s faculty does more than help students learn how to read at grade level and understand increasingly complicated concepts and ideas – they recognize the importance of helping each child overcome their lack of confidence in themselves.

Continued Success of Our Graduates

As we celebrate 30 years, we are incredibly proud of the more than 500 students who have graduated from our school.  With 98% of our alumni successfully completing high school – above the national average for all students at 83.2% and well above students who have been classified with a specific learning disability in the public system at 70.8% – The Summit School experience is nothing short of life changing.

We welcome dozens of alumni each year as they visit campus to catch up with a favorite teacher, participate in an event, ask for advice, talk with our 7th and 8th graders about high school or a myriad of other reasons. Strong and engaged alumni are vital to the well-being of the greater Summit community. One alumnus recently remarked, “It’s not that I came back to Summit, it’s that I never really left.”

Community Visibility

In the 1980’s The Summit School was virtually unknown in the broader community.  Now, thirty years later Summit is the go-to resource for those wanting more information about students with unique learning profiles. Summit established its Resource Center becoming a trusted source for diagnostic testing services, individual tutoring, summer programs and consultations. The Summit Resource Center now hosts two annual symposia attracting nationally recognized speakers and hosts local Community Talks throughout the year which are free of charge and open to the public.

Building on Our Success – What Does the Future Hold?

This is probably the most challenging question of all. The Summit School has honed and sculpted a school to reflect the science and art of teaching to meet the needs of the 21st century student. While it would have been impossible to predict the changes in education over the last thirty years – for example, who could have predicted the impact of technology – Summit built a strong foundation, remained true to its mission, and put into place a Strategic Plan focused on continued enhancements to teaching and learning, enrollment growth, facilities expansion, outreach service growth and fundraising to help sustain state-of-the-art programs, teacher training, equipment, and facilities improvements not covered by tuition.  We’ve kept our feet on the ground and carefully planned our transformation as we reach for the stars.

It is hard to prepare for the unknown and we certainly can’t predict what changes the next thirty year will bring.  However, we know with certainty that, The Summit School will remain deeply committed to:

  • Providing the best possible learning environment for our students: We will continue to build, repurpose and reinvent to stay one step ahead of the needs of our students. We have to be able to stimulate, educate, and motivate our students to be their best and brightest.
  • Delivering an individualized, researched based curriculum: We want our students to build important academic skills and self-awareness, to understand that we all learn differently.
  • Supporting our experienced and highly motivated educators: Educators are the most important factor in student learning. We will continue to invest in our teachers and help them grow professionally to develop their expertise.
  • Creating an engaged community: We want to continue developing partnerships with parents and the community building on the common goal of success for all our students.
  • And, we will continue to be awed by the achievements of our graduates and mindful of the need to grow Summit’s role as a resource to the community.

There will always be students who benefit from the resources The Summit School has to offer. Our graduates are already leaders and our current students will, without doubt, solve the problems of tomorrow. The Summit School looks forward to many more years of student achievement and success and providing services to the community at large. Summit’s story is inspirational, based on the vision of our founder and born out of a need that continues to grow. Summit’s work will never be completed. We will continue to strive for excellence, changing and growing responsively with the science of education and the needs of children and families.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership as we enter into this next exciting phase of growth for The Summit School!

So, here’s to keeping our eyes on the stars and our feet on the ground!

With gratitude,

Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy, CCC-SLP
Executive Director


The Summit School educates children with unique learning profiles to their full potential.


The Summit School envisions a future in which students with learning differences mature into self-sufficient, self-advocating, and successful adults.


Summit was founded in 1989 by Dr. Jane R. Snider, former Executive Director, in response to a need in the greater Annapolis/Baltimore metropolitan community. Parents were traveling to Baltimore and Washington D.C. for their children to receive the specialized education that they needed to succeed.

For its first 5 years, The Summit School found its home in an old mansion in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  By December 1995, Summit had outgrown the mansion and relocated to its current location, a former horse farm, situated on 15 picturesque acres in Edgewater, Maryland.

Summit was founded as a mission driven school devoted to helping every child reach their full potential.  Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy, current Executive Director, continues the mission and leads Summit as a model program for bright students with dyslexia and other learning differences. Summit remains the only school in Anne Arundel County to serve this population of students exclusively.

Campus Tour


Facts Worth Knowing

  1. Each year, Summit enrolls approximately 110 students in grades one through eight. Class size varies depending on subject and grade.
  2. Our classes for reading and math are small, intimate groupings giving each student the opportunity to gain skills by actively engaging in instruction and robust dialogue with teachers and peers. Our other content classes are a bit larger with two assigned teachers allowing for differentiated instruction and cooperative projects.
  3. All our faculty members are carefully selected because of their educational background, diagnostic skills and earnest desire to participate in a dynamic teaching environment built on collaborative efforts, shared ideas and on-going professional development.  Our faculty receives training and on-going mentoring throughout the school year from professionals who are well-respected in their fields.  Speech-language pathologists, a school psychologist, occupational therapist, technology coordinator and librarian add additional support.
  4. Over the past 30 years, our graduates have successfully joined their peers in well-known high schools and attended rigorous colleges and universities across the country. Our alumni have successfully pursued careers in education, science, speech-language pathology, technology, human services, finance, Naval aviation, doctoral studies, acting, film production, fashion and graphic design and business.  We are enormously proud of them. Their stories are testimony to the work that we do and the importance we had in their success.
  5. Transportation is available.  More specific information is available upon request.
  6. To schedule an in-person tour, please contact our admissions director at kathy.heefner@thesummitschool.org.

meet our faculty

Awards and Honors


Summit Teacher, Kelly Rampmeyer, named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County.


Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy, Summit’s Executive Director, appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to be the Chair of the Task Force to Study the Implementation of a Dyslexia Education Program.

Dr. Jane R. Snider, Summit’s Founder, was inducted into the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Fame.


Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy, Summit’s Executive Director, elected ASHA Fellow.

Summit teacher was named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County.


Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy selected by Leadership Maryland for its 20th Anniversary Class.

Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy named Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Awardee.


Summit Teacher is named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County.


The Summit School is selected as a 2008-2009 National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) School of Excellence.

The Summit School is awarded Non-profit of the Year by the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce.


Summit teacher was named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County.


Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy is awarded the prestigious Roland J. Van Hattum Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation, the non-profit arm of ASHA, for her outstanding contribution to the field.


Blue Ribbon Schools Foundation named Summit one of six finalists out of over 1300 schools in their 21st Century Schools of Distinction.


Summit teacher is named Educator of the Year by the Maryland State Department of Education.


Christopher Lamon,
Board Member, Vice Chairperson

Ellen Webber Libby,
Chair Emeritus

Joseph H. Budge,
Chair Emeritus

Jane Snider,

Daniel Grove,
Board Member

Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy, CCC-SLP,
School Leadership, Executive Director

Jennifer Coady,
Board Member, Vice Chairperson

Aaron Ruleman,
Board Member

Dr. Aimee Fellows Merkle,
Board Member

Darrin Dorsett,
Board Member

Amy McPherson,
Board Member, Treasurer

Peter Davis,
Board Member, Chairperson

Nick Clark,
Board Member

Suzette Langley,
Board Member

Nate Pope,
Board Member

Kevin Cavanaugh,
Board Member, Secretary