Awards – Arizona Private School

Summit School of Ahwatukee is an exceptional private school in Phoenix, Arizona. We provide an engaging and rigorous curriculum, taught by experienced and dedicated teachers, who inspire preschool, elementary and middle school students daily.

A multitude of national, state and local awards, two national accreditations, and successful graduates only paint a small picture of Summit School of Ahwatukee.

Students are confident, articulate and respectful; they love learning, and admire their teachers. You can physically feel the joy of students, teachers and parents on campus

We are proud to share our awards and accomplishments. We also invite you to read the “Summit in the News” section on our website which details learning projects, special events for students, community service projects, and more, providing insight into the world of learning that awaits your child.

We all envision an environment for our children to learn and grow to their fullest potential. Summit nurtures each student’s knowledge, critical thinking skills, creativity, love of learning and confidence to achieve whatever they dream. Summit students are tomorrow’s leaders.

National Accreditation

Summit School of Ahwatukee Elementary and Middle School programs have earned nationally recognized accreditation from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), an accreditation division of AdvancED® in 2010, and earned re-accreditation in 2014.

Summit School of Ahwatukee Preschool earned national re-accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals. Summit was re-accredited for the third time in 2014.

National Awards

Each year, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) identifies and develops the academic talents of the most advanced Kindergarten through12th grade learners worldwide. In 2012, Summit School of Ahwatukee was awarded a certificate of recognition for the support of students with high academic potential in the International Mathematics and Verbal Talent Search.


The Vitruvius Program was developed by Kathleen & Eugene Kupper. It is the heart of the Summit School of Ahwatukee art curriculum, and taught by Mrs. Kupper and daughter Selene Kupper.

In 2011, this exceptional program was named The Best Art and Architecture School Curriculum in the United States, by the Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO).  As the winner of the National School award, the Vitruvius Program represented the United States in the UIA Golden Cubes International Competition in Tokyo. (2011)

The American School of Collegiate Schools, ACSA, awarded the Vitruvius Program at Summit School, the prestigious 2012-2013 Creative Achievement Award.  The ACSA lauded the accomplishments of teachers Kathleen and Selene Kupper, and co-founder of Vitruvius, Eugene Kupper. This award recognized the Vitruvius Program research and curriculum integration at the Summit School of Ahwatukee.

National Merit Scholars

Six Summit graduates have joined the elite group of National Merit Scholars!

  • 2014: One Summit graduate from the class of 2011
  • 2013: Four alumni from the class of 2010
  • 2011: A 2008 Summit graduate

National Merit Semi finalist

2015: A graduate from the class of 2012. Finalist will be named in February.

Physical Education

2015   Summit School Ahwatukee earned National recognition in 2015 for Let’s Move! Active Schools, a sub-initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign

Summit was one of 15 schools in Arizona and five hundred and twenty-five U.S schools representing 37 states, recognized for their outstanding efforts in creating an Active School environment and increasing physical activity and physical education opportunities for students.

The Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award is the top physical activity and physical education distinction for K-12 schools.  To earn the award a school must have met significant benchmarks in five areas: physical education; physical activity before and after school; physical activity during school; staff involvement; and family & community engagement.  Summit School of Ahwatukee’s programs exceed in all these areas!

2013   Summit’s physical education teacher, Kathy Dean became one of the first Physical Activity Leader Trainers for the Let’s Move Active Schools Programs.

2011   the Arizona Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AzAHPERD), listed Summit as one of the top 35 schools in the United States for the physical education curriculum and related programs.


Middle school science teacher Andrea Yocum was one of 288 teachers nationwide to be selected for the prestigious Honeywell Educators at Space Academy program at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama along with teachers from 16 countries and 47 states.

State Awards


Each year, the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics (AATM) sponsors a state-wide Algebra math competition. Summit students distinguish themselves by scoring 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th  in the state, or by scoring in the top 10% in the state.

  • 2016: A Summit student earns the highest math score in the state! Two classmates tied for a 2nd place win, with two other Summit students scoring in the top 10% of all participants.
  • 2015: A Summit student earns the highest math score in the state! A classmate earns the 4th place win, with two other students scoring in the top 10%.
  • 2013: A Summit student tied for the 3rd highest score in the state, and another tied for the 4th highest state score. Six additional students scored in the top 10% in the state.
  • 2012: Twelve Summit School of Ahwatukee students scored in the top 10% in the state.
  • 2011: Four students scored in the top ten percent statewide, with two students earning an additional distinction by being among the top 10 highest scores in state.

“This algebra course is equivalent to a high school level class and they give it their all,” explains middle school math teacher. “My students have such a great attitude about learning, making my job as their teacher extremely fun and rewarding.”


Summit School of Ahwatukee sixth-graders wins Arizona State “Letters About Literature Contest” for three consecutive years

The Library of Congress sponsors a nationwide writing contest in which close to 50,000 students participate annually. Students are invited to reflect upon books that have meaning to them and to write a letter to the author, explaining how the book changed their view of the world or themselves. Summit sixth-graders crafted letters as a project in Language Arts class. Their efforts earned state-wide honors.

  • In 2011, a Summit student earned the second place award for her composition.
  • In 2012 Summit students swept the first and second place honors.
  • In 2013 Summit students were again recognized by the state, earning both the first and second place awards!

Opportunities like this help students to develop critical reading and writing skills. Summit’s middle school provides one class devoted to literature studies and another class that focuses exclusively on writing. Additionally the smaller class size allow teachers to spend a significant amount of time with each student, helping them to develop to their fullest potential. Kids who read write better – and students who write, read more.   This helps our students become successful not only in Language Arts but in other classes and eventually, in life.

Ranked a top private school

Summit School of Ahwatukee received recognition from The Phoenix Business Journal, earning a spot on The Journal’s “Top Private Schools List” in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Local Awards


1st Place Best Of 2016

Ahwatukee Foothills News readers have chosen Summit School of Ahwatukee as one of the Best Phoenix Preschools in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and again in 2016!

Four of Summit School of Ahwatukee preschool staff spoke at the national conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the largest gathering of Early Childhood Educators in the United States. (2011)


The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art invited the Vitruvius Program at Summit School to create an exhibition at SMoCA’s young@art Gallery.  “Bridges:  Connecting Earth to Sky,” October 2010 through January 2011, included architecture and design work from each Summit student in kindergarten through sixth grades.

The Vitruvius Program at Summit School of Ahwatukee was invited by the SMoCA Education Department and the Scottsdale Public Art Program to participate in the Soleri Bridge and Plaza Dedication on December 11, 2010.   Fifth grade students created a temporal ice installation for the opening ceremony.

In 2013, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Education Department again invited the Vitruvius Program at Summit School to co-curate Cycles: From Fields to Cities, an international architecture competition.  Summit students joined schools from Finland, Russia, Sweden, and France to design sustainable futures for their cities.

Community Service Award

2015 and 2016   Homeward Bound and the Diaper Bank of Central Arizona honor Summit School of Ahwatukee with the “Super Hero Award”

Summit School of Ahwatukee students collected 35,000 diapers during their annual diaper drive in December of 2014. Ginger Clayton of the Diaper Bank of Central Arizona exclaimed, “This drive was a rock star of all drives. The results of Summit’s diaper drive was the largest that any school, any company, any entity, period, has ever brought in, over the past 17 years of the annual baby diaper drive!”

The drive is led each year by Summit’s active student council. “Kids helping Kids is Summit’s mantra.”

2014    Mighty Hearts – A Mighty Impact: Summit’s Student Council leads the annual drive to assist Homeward Bound, Arizona’s largest provider of transitional housing.

Homeward Bound announced that Summit School of Ahwatukee earned the 2014 “Mighty Heart Award” for collecting the most diapers per student of all participating schools in Arizona! Beyond the obvious benefit of the donations, is the impact on the future leaders of our community, our children. Each year Summit’s student council (which runs this annual drive) tours Homeward Bound to see firsthand how their projects impact kids and families. Eileen Rogers, Founder of Homeward Bound’s Annual Baby Diaper Drive, shares, “This type of involvement allows students to develop their creative and leadership skills, ultimately creating empathetic and amazing future adults who will be good citizens in our communities.”

2010 Summit’s commitment to community service benefited the non-profit organization Homeward Bound in their annual Diaper Drive. Summit collected 20,493 diapers – the largest amount of diapers donated by any one organization. 

Teacher Recognition

Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce honors Summit School of Ahwatukee teacher, Melissa France, naming her the Educational Mentor of the Year! Mrs. France created and leads Summit’s active student council and teaches math, social studies and life skills. (2014)

Many Summit School of Ahwatukee middle school teachers have received a “Golden Gator Award for Excellence in Teaching” from Xavier College Preparatory High School.  Xavier High School recognizes junior high teachers who have been inspirational to their freshmen students. Several teachers have earned this honor multiple times from (2008-2014) including:

  • Melissa France (math, social studies and student council advisor)
  • Christy Menard (7th & 8th grade pre-algebra, algebra and geometry)
  • Andrea Yocum (6th – 8th grade science)
  • Amy Lecky (7th and 8th grade literature and language arts)

Arizona’s Private Education Excellence Awards through AZCAPE: Arizona Counsel for American Private Education.
“AZCAPE looks for private school teachers and staff members who model integrity, excellence, fairness, compassion, and resiliency; have a passion for education and the community served; value innovation and creativity; instill leadership by example; and promote giving back to the community,” explains Sydney Hay, AZCAPE Executive Director. “We believe that our finalists are educators who, in the eyes of the community, model outstanding service to the students, and are passionate and committed to developing the potential in each student. They help their students see their dreams come true.”

  • Summit School of Ahwatukee middle school math teacher Christy Menard, and second grade teacher Molly Danforth were honored as finalists for Arizona’s Private Education Excellence Awards (2013)
  • Sixth grade math teacher Melissa France and sixth grade Language Arts and Literature teacher Lori Christianson honored as teacher finalists. (2014)
  • Summit’s art, architecture & design program for preschool through 8th grade named a finalist for program of the year. (2014)
  • Administrative Assistant, Michelle Stone honored as a finalist for staff member of the year. (2014)


A Summit School of Ahwatukee seventh-grader, won the Barnes & Noble annual “My Favorite Teacher Contest” by submitting her essay about her fifth- and sixth-grade teacher. (2014)

Physical Education

Kathy Dean, M.A., Summit’s physical education teacher received recognition for her achievement in helping improve school wellness by serving as a Fuel Up and Play 60 program adviser.  This program is sponsored by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture. (2011)