09 Feb

Working Together at Summit

Dear Summit families and community,

Last week we hit a milestone at Summit Washington as we broke ground at our newest state-approved charter public school, Summit Atlas on 35th and Roxbury in Seattle. As we write this new chapter in Summit’s story in Washington state, I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce myself to you.

Before I do that, I want to take this time to thank Jen Davis Wickens for her courageous work and leadership for four years helping build a solid foundation for Summit and charter public schools in this state. Thanks to her dedication and commitment to public education, our families and students have this amazing public school choice in our state.

My name is Jill Riemer and I am Summit WA’s new Director of Partnerships. In this role, I will be leading on policy, external relations and have the honor of working closely with Summit’s WA Board of Directors. My entire career has focused on education and strengthening public schools to ensure we are doing right by our kids. My experience has focused on policy at the national and state level, starting a statewide nonprofit lifting up after-school and summer learning programs, and advising various organizations with national educational campaigns and networks around STEM, Grade-Level Reading, and reducing chronic absenteeism. My first exposure though to education was my mother, who was a middle school Spanish teacher. Now, even as my mom is retired, she still gets up and is at her local public school every morning by 6:30 am to provide staff support to the before school program. Devoting time to helping students is a part of my DNA like so many of you and our growing Summit WA family.

From the first moment I walked into one of our schools, I could tell there is something special happening at Summit. I saw high engagement at all levels, from families, students, faculty and our board of directors. Everyone has a real sense of ownership of and pride in their school. I saw teachers committed to their craft and doing whatever it takes to ensure every student is successful and active in their learning journeys. I was drawn to join Summit because of the power and potential this approach and model has for public schools and all the ability to serve all of WA’s students effectively. I’m also excited to work alongside Abigail Cedano our Senior Director of Schools who started six months ago. Abby’s leadership in supporting our school leaders and direct experience in the classroom and in schools will be an invaluable asset to us as we forge new, stronger partnerships with community partners and other public schools.

We find ourselves in a unique moment in our country where education is a key driver to help kids take advantage of new opportunities. Yet, often we get distracted by our differences, instead of focusing on the commonalities we share. At Summit, we’ll have a laser focus on the long game and doing everything possible to help all kids in Washington state succeed. We will also continue to be a powerful voice in the education discussions in our state and always keep you and your child central.

As we move forward, I’m excited to meet and work with you and do my part to nurture and cultivate partnerships and build communities that will serve and benefit all students in Washington’s state. Working together we will help all of our students be successful in middle and high school and beyond in higher education as they make their way to being thoughtful, contributing members of society.

With great respect and in partnership,

Jill Riemer

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