The Summa Staff

Summa InstituteAmber Kara
Executive Director of Summa Institute
Head of School at Summa Academy

Amber is both an observer and practitioner of interconnectedness. She sees how small things are connected to bigger things, how no action or interaction happens without reaction. As a marine biologist in a small Zodiac floating among a pod of Pilot whales, she realized you cannot study something and not influence it in some way. As a quilter, she can focus intensely on a single piece of fabric for hours—all the while knowing how it affects the larger design.

Talk with Amber and she looks you in the eye in a way that makes you feel like she hears and feels every word. When you’re done, she’ll connect what you just said to something that magnifies the power of your own words and feelings in an enlightening way. She guides by connecting people, things, events, action and reaction.

During her 19 years working with the organization, Amber has taught Natural Learning Relationships to hundreds of parents, led dozens of school groups in ropes course experiences, brought children from the inner city to the outdoors, and planned and executed programs for families, teachers, and children. Amber now serves children, families and professionals as both President of Summa Institute and Director of Summa Academy.

Ba LuvmourBa Luvmour, MA
Board Member of Summa Institute
Headmaster of Summa Academy

Ask Ba how he became the fortunate man he is today, surrounded by an amazing family, partnered with a loving and inspiring woman, in active pursuit of his dream, and he’ll tell the truth: Self-reflection, spiritual inquiry, voracious reading, and a fair bit of luck.

When you hear the whole story. it is clear that he is on a journey. Today Ba is 3,000 miles from his New York up-bringing, but like every active and engaged life-traveler, he remains connected to each place, experience, and friend made along the way. Ba stays on his journey because he is an observer and reflective man, but to the benefit to everyone around him, he’s become a skilled guide for others on their journeys.

Ba has both huge vision, and the tenacity to build towards that vision one step at a time. Co-founder of Summa Institute and co-creator of Natural Learning Relationships, Ba has published five books, taught hundreds of parents and children, and led countless programs for families since 1985. Ba is also adjunct faculty at The Self Design Graduate Institute.

Josette LuvmourJosette Luvmour, PhD
Director of Research
Director of Family Development at Summa Academy
Director of Professional Development at Summa Institute

Josette will walk in your shoes. She’ll do this without question or reservation, because she is a person who believes that your perspective is not only unique but uniquely valuable. There is a story in the book Optimal Parenting where Josette describes climbing a tree to talk with a child. She did this for many reasons but here’s the big one: The world looks different from up in a tree. It looks different to the child in that tree. She climbed that tree because she believes in seeing through the eyes and feeling through the hearts of others. Now, imagine how comfortable that makes people feel—how much more open it might make them feel— and then consider the positive effect that Josette is able to have on people’s lives.

Co-founder of Summa Institute and co-creator of Natural Learning Relationships, Josette has published five books, and developed hundreds of experiential learning programs for families and children since 1985. Josette teaches undergraduate and continuing education courses as an adjunct faculty member at The Self Design Graduate Institute.

Albee KaraAlbee Kara
NLR Program Facilitator
Finance & IT Manager

Albee is a seeker. As a younger man he’d been filled with the notion that there were specific answers, and specific outcomes, to specific questions and problems: Things could be neat, sums could be figured, the order of things stacked together, answers revealed. He dove into physics in college and worked through the material: quantum mechanics, relativity, duality.

At the end of his sophomore year, he realized that in physics, depending on how you thought about it, everything is either a particle or a wave. An epiphany, perhaps—but not the real one for Albee. Like all true seekers, Albee examined the original questions he’s been asking himself – and discovered that he cared more about the meaning of existence, then he did about figuring out its mechanics.

And so, with a new question, renewed focus, but fewer expectations about outcomes, Albee began to study, self-reflect, and to seek again. And then he discovered NLR, and a brand-new journey began. Ironically, Albee’s studies and self-reflection have made him a trove of potential answers. But he knows how important the questions are. Work with him, and he will help you to start there.

Albee has worked with the organization for 17 years as a program co-designer and facilitator, leading groups of families, children, and professionals through experiential learning programming.


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