It is with fullness of heart and sadness that the Board of Directors announced today that it had made the decision to close Summit Preparatory School, the therapeutic boarding school located in Kalispell Montana, as of the next graduation on May 1, 2020.

Summit’s Executive Director Todd Fiske said “We will be continuing the hard efforts with students and families who will be working towards celebrating their graduation in May – actually the majority of our students currently on campus. With all other students and families, our clinical team will be working closely to help facilitate the selection of and transition to alternative options as of May 1. We will ensure that all required staffing remains in place and our academic, therapeutic and residential work continues through the end of the block. Our primary goal over the next months, as always, is the safety of our students and the school.”

Co-Founder Rick Johnson provided some background: “Nearly 20 years ago, most therapeutic services for teens and their families facing difficulty followed the behavioral-modification “tough love” model. Virtually none were set up as non-profit institutions and most states provided little regulatory oversight. Summit Preparatory School was created as a new best-practices model of treatment based on nurturing, relationship-based therapy situated in a normalized college-preparatory environment. Our Summit model was designed to help build structure, navigate relationships, overcome social difficulties, rebound from academic failure, resolve conflict with parents, eliminate dangerous behaviors, develop emotional stability and assist in regaining a direction and purpose in life. All in our beautiful 600-acre lodge facility.” Summit Prep’s groundbreaking model is outlined in Rick Johnson’s book An Upward Spiral.

Board Chair and Co-Founder Alex Habib commented on Summit’s decision to close: “Today, so much progress has been made. Since our founding in 2002, Summit has helped nearly 1000 students and their families in times of crisis. Programs based on our underlying Summit relational model have proliferated across the nation, with many close to urban centers. Most states have now enacted regulations codifying best practices that serve to protect the safety and well-being of students. With refinement of programs from wilderness to residential treatment centers, even the average stay has been significantly reduced.”

Habib continued, “Over the past months and years despite great efforts, we have been faced with the challenge of keeping enrollment at a sustainable level. In many ways, our original goals as founders have been accomplished, and there are so many great alternative programs much closer to homes.”

Fiske reflected on Summit’s successes, saying “We share a strong sense of pride in what we have accomplished, having worked with so many talented individuals, building relationships with numerous families and students as well as the professionals who have given their best to change lives and make a difference. And of course, none of this would be possible without our Summit team so dedicated to this important work.”

The Summit Prep Team and Board of Directors would like to thank each of you for all of the support throughout the years. It truly has been a pleasure.


Dusty Cash, M.S.
Director of Business Development
Summit Prep School