The seed for Summit Preparatory School was planted twenty-five years ago at Trinity College in Illinois in conversations between college roommates Rick Johnson and Alexander Habib. “We always talked about wanting to do something to help kids,” said Summit Board Chairman Alexander Habib. “We started talking about it in college, and over the years just kept the dream alive.” That dream came to fruition in March, 2003 when Summit Prep opened its doors to its first students.
It's a unique and exciting project on at least two levels,” explains Rick Johnson, “on an educational and therapeutic level, the school strives for excellence with advanced college preparatory academics, along with caring and effective professional therapy.”
Equally unique is Summit Prep’s position as one of the few non-profit therapeutic, coeducational boarding schools in the country. Summit Prep’s 501(c)3 non-profit status will enable the school to extend critical service to families from across all income levels. “Establishing Summit Prep as a non-profit school was critical to our vision for the school,” explained Habib, “so that any available funds can be put directly back into the school, its programs and student financial aid.”
The initial support for Summit Prep represented an innovative partnership among corporate, governmental and non-profit foundation sectors. Because of the increased economic activity from the school’s student population and visiting parents, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development provided a federal guarantee of the initial bank loan. The Mark D. Hostetter and Alexander N. Habib Foundation provided the remainder of the construction funds in the form of a long term loan.
Construction began on the main campus on September 1, 2001. The opening dedication ceremony was held on August 13, 2003, attended by officials from USDA Rural Development, representatives from Montana’s congressional delegation, the mayor of Kalispell and other local municipal leaders, and members of the community.
In addition to the Director of Program Development and co-founder Rick Johnson and Chairman of the Board Alexander Habib, Summit Prep founders include Board member Mark Hostetter and Clinical Director & Co-founder Jan Johnson (all in the above photo). The school would not have been possible without their hard work, creativity and shared vision.