February 7, 2024

Summit Academy expands

On February 1, The Summit Center expanded its school age program to include two former Autism Services, Inc. schools located at 30 Hazelwood Dr., Amherst and 124 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo. With this expansion, Summit Academy now supports nearly 450 students with autism and other developmental disabilities. The move increases the total number of employees to approximately 600 across The Summit Center’s four divisions.

In 2023, Autism Services, Inc. (ASI) approached People Inc. for administrative support due to ongoing financial and operational challenges. A strategic assessment revealed these challenges could not be overcome. People Inc. reached out to The Summit Center to begin discussions on operating ASI’s school program. The transition process is nearly complete, with ASI’s two former schools under The Summit Center brand.

“Given our familiarity with the student population, their needs, and the alignment with our mission, this expansion is an incredible opportunity for The Summit Center. It allows us to serve more individuals across Western New York, fulfilling one of the key objectives in our strategic plan,” said Summit CEO Lisa A. Foti, CPA. “It also reinforces our position as a leader in autism assessment and treatment in our community.”

Mary Bennett is serving as the head of educational services, overseeing all Summit Academy schools. She shared, “I’m excited about the future of Summit Academy. In expanding our school program to include Summit Academy-Hazelwood and Summit Academy-Elmwood, it allows us to do what we do best for more students and families: provide highly personalized support.”

Chrissy Ray has taken on the role of assistant principal at Summit Academy-Hazelwood. She began her career with The Summit Center in 2014 and is inspired by the expansion.

“My goal is to instill a passion of learning and growth into students, staff, parents, and caregivers,” Chrissy said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to be a part of a school with such resilient students, dedicated staff, and supportive families. I’m looking forward to collaborating with the employees at Summit Academy-Hazelwood so we can provide the highest quality educational services.”

Summit Academy now has five locations under its umbrella: Summit Academy-Stahl, Summit Academy-Creekside, Summit Academy-Hazelwood, Summit Academy-Elmwood, and Summit Academy Enhanced. As a special education school, Summit Academy provides individualized support for students whose instructional needs cannot be met by their local school district. Students reside in 47 school districts across Western New York.