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Member Spotlight: Curtis Cook

Posted By IRC, Monday, January 28, 2019
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2019

Curtis Cook has been a devoted educator in the Lee’s Summit school district for the past 20 years, being a social studies teacher for most of that time. A little over 12 years ago, Curtis designed what he described as “a new approach for international studies," and, with funding from the Kauffman Foundation, the Summit International Studies Academy (SISA) program began. SISA is a part of the Summit Technology Academy (STA), a national model for innovation that provides both classroom and hands-on learning experience to prepare students for the professional workforce. Hands-on experience includes a variety of on-site, internship-like, work with local businesses, hospitals, city offices, engineering firms, data centers, and biomedical labs. STA provides students with projects aimed to give students enhanced workplace training.

More recently, a program called Global Prep Squad was implemented. Global Prep Squad is a student-run cultural consultation firm, designed to “[achieve] our educational objections through providing professionally implemented cultural tools.” The idea is to work with business clients to make classes run more like a business than a traditional classroom. This approach, Curtis says, is “completely different from any other approach to education; it is very much doing as opposed to just learning."

Cook, an IRC member, plays an important role at the International Relations Council. Since 2016, he has served on the education committee. SISA students continue to show ongoing support, involvement, and participation with the IRC. Recently, they have partnered with a school in Sweden to participate in Model UN held at Johnson County Community College. SISA also has an international internship in Madrid, Spain, where students teach English. SISA’s local partnership includes KC for Refugees. One project SISA has worked on was refurbishing old company computers, then donating to the organization so refugees can have access to computers. 

To learn more about the work of Summit Technology Academy, please visit their website at, Summit International Studies Academy and Summit Technology Academy is looking for new business partners and professionals that work internationally. To get involved email Curtis Cook at


The IRC spotlights our members and their diverse work and interests in the international space. To learn more or to indicate interest in being spotlighted in an upcoming post, please visit: ».

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