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Summit Charter School is a tuition-free K-12 public school located in the beautiful mountains of Cashiers, North Carolina.

Our Mission 

The Summit community engages students in learning experiences that stimulate discovery, inspire excellence, and nurture a positive influence in an ever-changing world.

Talented educators and engaged parents partner together to create an exceptional educational environment in which the Kindergarten through grade 12 students are able to develop a level of confidence that invokes success, self-worth, and the opportunity to thrive in all endeavors. A unique place-based curriculum allows students to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom through meaningful hands-on learning experiences in the outdoors and across the community. The Summit educational experience develops students to graduate academically prepared, engaged in the community, and strong in character.

A picturesque mountain campus and state-of-the art facilities provide an ideal setting for teachers and students to embrace high expectations, build meaningful relationships, and practice the seven virtues that comprise the Summit Pledge. This safe community supports students to embrace challenges, to leverage setbacks as learning opportunities, and to celebrate accomplishments with a balance of pride and humility. Partnership with parents is integral to Summit's educational philosophy, contributing to a student's education both at home, on campus, and in our community.



Every morning, each student recites the Summit Pledge,

which they commit to memory in kindergarten:

"Each day in my words and my deeds, I will do my best to live these seven virtues: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Perseverance, and Giving."


This pledge is the foundation for our decision-making model. It intertwines with our classroom management, discipline, professional development and performance evaluations—it is used for the overall metric of school wellness.

At a Glance


We Serve K-12

Enrollment (2023-24): 

300 students

Average Class Size: 

15 students 

Student-Teacher Ratio


Kindergarten: 10:1

Family Engagement: 

Families volunteer over 7,000 hours in service to the school each year.



Summit offers a unique and high-quality K-12 educational experience that connects students to the community and the many natural spaces that surround the school's campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Summit Experience equips our students with a level of confidence that invokes success, self-worth, and the opportunity to thrive in all endeavors.




A strong academic foundation is the basis for the success of our graduates in their secondary, collegiate, and life-long pursuits.

Our students:

  • Embrace high expectations and academic rigor

  • Think critically and work diligently to solve problems

  • Utilize place-based and experiential opportunities to gain global understanding

  • Incorporate technology as a tool to enrich and expand intellectual curiosity


Summit Charter School seeks opportunities and activities that enrich the "whole-child" experience. Collaborative partnerships between the school, our families and the greater community contribute to the development of civility and citizenship in each and every child.

Our students:

  • Appreciate the value of teamwork, parental involvement and community resources

  • Learn to communicate effectively

  • Practice community stewardship and service learning opportunities


The seven virtues articulated in the school’s pledge resonate with all the students and set the tone for individual and school-wide growth.

Our students:

  • Demonstrate a heightened level of accountability and shared sense of purpose

  • Show respect for their peers, teachers, parent volunteers, and members of the community

  • Celebrate diversity as a strength to community


Community & Belonging

In their letter to the State of North Carolina introducing Summit’s application to be approved as a charter school in 1996, our founding board of directors wrote:


“We are a diverse community drawn to challenges and willing to take responsibility for the education of our children. We are a community of carpenters and doctors, oil magnates and mechanics, teachers and CEOs, innkeepers and accountants. We are motivated by the desire to create an excellent school for our children, which can and should rank among the very best. Our goal is to create a school that will serve as the cornerstone of this community; an institution that serves rich and poor, those of various ethinc backgrounds and those who have lived here for generations with those who have just arrived."


These words reflect the values of our school that we continue to embrace at Summit to this day. We educate students of different races, backgrounds, and socioeconomic status from across our community. We embrace and celebrate this and the many forms of diversity among our students, families, and staff.


Our Seven Virtues—Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-discipline, Perseverance, and Giving—have served as the foundation of our school since our founding and continue to guide our core values as a school.


We value our partnership with families as vital to the education of our students; parents are always our students' first teachers. 


We are committed to supporting our students and staff to know and love themselves and to value and appreciate differences in others. We strive to foster an environment that supports all students; honors and respects individual differences; and promotes a sense of belonging for all students, families, and staff.


Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Cashiers (pronounced "Cash-ers") has attracted residents and vacationers to its lush and cool mountain terrain since the early 1800s.


Boasting thousands of acres of beautiful forests, cascading waterfalls, shadowy mountain peaks, and quiet lakes, this resort town and its surrounding areas house roughly 6,000 permanent residents, and draws an additional 15,000 to 20,000 seasonal visitors each year.

Cashiers is located on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau at an elevation of 3,487 ft. It is surrounded by several mountain retreat communities, including Highlands, Sapphire, Lake Glenville, Lake Toxaway, and Cullowhee, and features many incredible natural elements, including the headwaters of the Chattooga River, Panthertown Valley (the Yosemite of the East), and Nantahala National Forest. Both permanent and seasonal residents recognize Cashiers as a peaceful and caring community offering escape, serenity, and charm.

The village of Cashiers offers an array of fine restaurants, shopping, and other activities for people of all ages from hiking and to biking and boating and horseback riding. There are also numerous first-class golf courses throughout the area and an abundance of cultural opportunities at local playhouses, art and music venues, including The Village Green, Highlands Playhouse, The Bascom: A Center for Visual Arts, Brevard Music Center, and Western Carolina University. Cashiers’ strong sense of community is well supported with many churches and service organizations as well as gathering centers such as an excellent public library, a recreation center, and the beautiful Village Green Park.

Cashiers is well positioned in the mountains where city life is just a short drive away. Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC equally offer many eclectic dining opportunities, large cultural venues, excellent healthcare specialists, and convenient airports. Atlanta, GA is 2½ hours by car, and has become the urban hub of the south.



Volunteers Make a Difference


Summit achieves excellence when members of the community work together for the benefit of our school and students. We ask parents to commit to 36 annual hours per family of volunteerism. The support of our school families is vital to our success and is one of the reasons why Summit is so special. 


In addition to our strong parental support, we enthusiastically welcome individuals, families and businesses outside our parent community to volunteer. From civic leaders to musicians to tutors, we have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities to match your skills and schedule. If you are interested in learning how you can support Summit as a volunteer, please contact or call 828-743-5755.

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