Sam Harkness

  • Clinical Therapist

    MSW Master of Social Work University of Montana
    BA Fine Art, Philosophy Hampshire College

    “The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.” –bell hooks

  • Phone:

    (406) 758-8118
  • Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early years of the tech boom, and did my undergraduate degree in Western Massachusetts before finding my way to Montana.

  • Tell us about your family.

    Both of my parents were mental health professionals, and despite my best attempts I found myself in the field by the time I was in my early twenties. My wife and I live with our border collie in Whitefish and enjoy all that the Flathead Valley has to offer in terms of outdoor activities.

  • Share something about yourself that might surprise people.

    When I took a break from working with adolescents I worked in homelessness, both for a shelter and the City of Missoula coordinating services. It’s a totally different population than your average Summit family, and one that I found just as challenging and inspiring.

  • Briefly describe your work experience.

    After early jobs managing summer camp programs and guiding whitewater trips, I took a position doing direct care work (what we call ‘residential counselors’ at Summit) at another boarding school in the Flathead in 2008, and stayed there for eight years.

  • If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?

    I have always wanted to ski Japan. Between the landscape, snow quality, cuisine and culture that’s probably the top of the list.

  • What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

    The usual outdoor activities—fly fishing, skiing, and hiking.

  • Name a movie or book that had a profound effect on your life.

    I really like adolescents, because for the most part it’s a population with a ton of hope. Things can be pretty rough for a kid at 15 or 16 years old, and still turn out really wonderfully, whereas the same behavioral patterns later in life are much less plastic. I also really like working with family systems, since those relationships have so much transformative power.

  • What draws you most to this type of work?

    I really like adolescents, because for the most part it’s a population with a ton of hope. Things can be pretty rough for a kid at 15 or 16 years old, and still turn out really wonderfully, whereas the same behavioral patterns later in life are much less plastic. I also really like working with family systems, since those relationships have so much transformative power.

Summit Prep School
1605 Danielson Rd Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 758-8100 | Admissions: (406) 758-8113
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