Find Out What Makes USPA Different
Student Support System
Every student is encased in support. Our school is designed so that no student-athlete can fall through the cracks, USPA has built a support system of teachers, tutors, learning coaches, counselors, parents, coaches, and student-athletes.
Planning For The Future
From day 1, student-athletes are able to direct their education towards a focused, future goal. Learning coaches understand where students are headed and can manipulate course loads and schedules in that direction.
Technologically Advanced Curriculum
Blending challenging, comprehensive, and technologically advanced curriculum with personal relationships and assistance from Learning Coaches, USPA is able to keep student-athletes on top of their courses wherever they are in the world.
US Performance Academy Leadership
Peter Smith has over 25 years experience as educator in both the sailing and independent school arenas. He grew up on a small island in Maine and began his sailing career on the Sheepscot River as instructor, coach, and eventually director of the Southport YC junior sailing program.
He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Rhode Island, where he was a member of their national championship sailing team, as well as a Team USA medalist in the collegiate keelboat world championship.
After college Peter continued coaching and qualified and competed in the final stage of the US Olympic Trials for the 2000 Games. Later, he was also part of several successful Melges 24, Farr 40, and TP 52 programs before stepping away from professional sailing to pursue his passion in teaching.
He began his career as a teacher, coach and advisor at St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, MD, continuing his teaching career at Pennfield School outside Newport, RI where he also assumed the role of Director of Athletics and Head of the Upper School.
He then earned his Masters in Independent School Leadership from the Klingenstein Institute at Columbia University before taking a leadership position at St. Andrew’s School in Savannah, GA where he spearheaded iDiscover21c, one of the first 1:1 iPad implementation programs for K-12 in the nation. As a result, St. Andrew’s moved to the forefront of institutions blending technology into the classroom to better support learning. Following the launch of iDiscover21c Peter has been a keynote speaker at several national conferences and consulted with several schools to create new blended learning environments.
He is a member on the board of Lighthouse Coalition of Schools, a collection of schools dedicated to 1:1 learning environments that collaborates with Apple to better guide and support blended learning environments. Peter has a deep appreciation and understanding of the balance of blending emerging technology with traditional educational pedagogy, and his experience on winning teams in both sailing and education provide him with the unique background and knowledge base to lead USPA.
Peter Smith is happily married to Kate Smith and they have three children, Graydon, Taylor, and Paige. When away from school Pete enjoys the outdoors, running around with the family, and anything that involves being on the water.
Chief of Academics
Kim Dow brings experience in the corporate, scientific, and academic fields to her role as Chief of Academics at USPA.
Kim began her career at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, MA as the Education Officer for the High Energy Astrophysics Division. She directed several education and outreach programs for the general public that pertained to NASA missions, as well as a number of teacher-based professional development efforts. At CfA, she also founded a summer program for undergraduates that provided hands-on research opportunities. Many of these programs included the development of technology based learning experiences. As a member of the NASA ROSAT mission team, she also conducted x-ray analysis of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies, specifically on the nature of dark matter.
Following CfA, Kim led the content development team at LRN, a company that created online learning programs for Fortune 500 companies. Kim directed a group that took nearly 100 corporate Codes of Conduct from global companies and made them relevant to employees through the use of video scenarios and, where required, localized them to the relevant country.
More recently, Kim served as the Head of School of a small boarding school for athletes. During her tenure, she increased fundraising, improved the school’s enrollment management efforts, strengthened the academic program, and led the school’s accreditation.
Kim has written numerous scientific and educational research papers, spoken at domestic and international conferences, and contributed to two books: an astronomy textbook for undergraduates and a science education text for middle school teachers. She has also taught college-level education courses as an adjunct faculty member.
Her educational background includes a B.S. in Physics from Marlboro College, an M.S. in Astrophysics from the University of Arizona, and a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her educational research at Harvard focussed on the underlying conceptual frameworks and the effectiveness of online education.
In her “spare” time, she tries to keep up with her four children and their various musical and athletic pursuits. She enjoys the close knit nature of the Lake Placid community and is currently hiking the New York State “46-ers” with her athletic family and equally spirited dogs, Rosie and Poppy. Kim’s son is a member of the USA Luge Junior National team.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Leann brings experience from both the marketing and education fields. She started her career in marketing for Dell Inc. with work on their college campus program. Leading the west coast college campus digital marketers, she was able to educate the team on the latest marketing and analysis strategies.
Eventually she moved towards her true passion: education and working with kids. She began her work with online curriculum provider, Advanced Academics, as a marketing coordinator. She worked with a multitude of online and blended schools across the country. She developed and launched the marketing plans for over 15 schools nationwide, traveling to assist in training staff and establishing local brand awareness.
Working with re-branding traditional schools turned digital, Leann has been submerged in the transformation of brick and mortar schools into blended and fully digital schools. Along the way, her favorite aspect of working with these schools has been getting to know the students and re-telling their stories to the public.
When Leann came across the opportunity to work with USPA, the appeal was in the unique lifestyle of the USPA student-athlete. She was excited to get to know the busy and driven schedule of a young, competitive athlete.
Over the years of working with USPA, Leann has helped develop their brand, marketing tactics, and overall community of parents, students, and coaches.
Living in San Diego with her husband, Brendan, and son, Logan, she loves spending her down time with them at the beach, going on hikes, and cooking as much as possible.
US Performance Academy Advisory Board
US Performance Academy Partnerships
If you are interested in learning more about how your team or organization can become a USPA partner, please contact Rob.York@GoUSPA.org or 877.350.8772 x 702
USPA and the Seacoast Spartans, an elite AAA ice hockey program, have partnered to provide elite players with the opportunity to develop their hockey skill sets all while focusing on a strong academic curriculum.
Located in Exeter, New Hampshire, the Seacoast Spartans and The Rinks at Exeter will develop a state-of-the-art blended learning environment allowing for athletes to excel in both athletics and academics through the USPA education platform. USPA will create an integrated and individualized academic experience for each of their student-athletes.
“Finding a rigorous yet flexible academic option was an important aspect for our growth.” says Travis Bezio, co-owner of The Rinks at Exeter. “Our strategic focus includes developing our athletes not only on the ice, but in the classroom as well. Blending athletics and academics together was important for our athletes so they can be excellent students as well as excellent athletes. The USPA program enables our athletes to get more on ice training time in an affordable way. This philosophy, although new in US team sports, is prevalent in Europe and even with high performance individual sports in the US such as tennis or skiing. High end academics and athletics need not be mutually exclusive.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with an organization like the Seacoast Spartans and The Rinks at Exeter.” said Peter Smith, USPA President. “What is most exciting about this program is that the team has continued to focus on excellence at every level of their program’s development. From the innovative learning environment that the student-athletes will be working, to their unique daily schedule, the smallest detail is carefully examined resulting in an incredibly exciting program.”
For more information or to apply for the Spartans/USPA Academic program please contact Travis Bezio at TBezio@LEGACYglobalsports.
US Performance Academy and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announce a partnership to provide high school age U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing national team student athletes with a flexible, rigorous, individualized and supportive online high school education program that meets their unique academic needs and schedules.
USSA athletes who are still in high school account for nearly 25% of the national team members, and these young athletes are required to actively pursue a high school diploma while training, competing and traveling globally throughout the year. Excelling in school requires the athlete’s dedication, drive and discipline as well as consistent support and guidance from parents, teachers, and coaches. The partnership between USSA and USPA is built on mutual understanding of and respect for this dynamic. USPA also offers personal learning coaches, online and in-person teachers, life skills training, college counseling, and a network of elite athletes from various competitive sports.
“Education opportunities and academic success are very important to many of our younger athletes and their families,” said USSA Head of Athlete Career & Education (ACE) Julie Glusker. “Keeping up with schoolwork demands self-sufficiency and time management, and USPA effectively inspires and instills these skills in our athletes. We were excited to connect with the USPA program team and teachers this past year because they focus on elite athletes. USPA educators have a relevant understanding of our athlete’s needs and give them access to a challenging, accredited curriculum supported by experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated teachers.”
“We are very excited and proud to be a partner with such an outstanding organization as USSA,” says Peter Smith, USPA President. “We provide an amazing experience designed specifically for our student athletes. Having Julie and her team utilize our school with USSA student athletes means a great deal to our entire community. We have really enjoyed working with USSA athletes and look forward to their continued successes long into the future.”
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. The USSA provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders, encouraging and supporting them in achieving excellence. By empowering national teams, clubs, coaches, parents, officials, volunteers and fans, the USSA is committed to the progression of its sports and athlete success. Established in 1905, the USSA receives no direct government support, operating solely through private donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to fund athletic programs to assist athletes in reaching their dreams.
The USSA encourages and supports the national team athletes in their academic pursuits throughout high school, college and life beyond the slopes. For more information, please contact Julie Glusker, Head of Athlete Career & Education at USSA, at jglusker(at)ussa.org.
US Performance Academy (USPA) has partnered with Surfing America in order to provide traveling athletes with a flexible yet rigorous education. Athletes who are a part of the Surfing America USA Junior Surf Team and Surfing America Prime Series surfers now have the opportunity to attend their middle and high school classes online, at a time that fits into their schedule. Surfing competitions for the USA Junior Surf Team and elite Prime surfers occur all over the world. Travel is a part of each competitive surf athlete’s life. Training is often during times in which traditional school hours occur.
Executive Director of Surfing America, Greg Cruse, says “Many of our young athletes are traveling, training, and succeeding in their sport. In October, our team became the 2015 World Junior Surfing Champions at the International Surfing Association competition. These kids are dedicated athletes who need to manage their time efficiently to get through all their training, travel and schoolwork. It is my experience that traditional online home-school programs don’t necessarily have the flexibility or accountability required for success. I wanted to provide our surfers with an education option that would fit their unique competitive schedule. USPA offers our athletes the opportunity to thrive in their studies while they compete. Built for athletes, this school really gets it.”
USPA offers a custom schedule and school calendar for each student athlete. They also receive access to a personal learning coach, online teachers, life skills training, a network of other athletes around the world, and college counseling. USPA entered into a partnership with Surfing America in early January 2016.
“The travel and competition in surfing is truly demanding.” says Peter Smith, USPA President. “The challenges that these students face around traveling, competing, and academics is one of the main reasons USPA was founded. Greg, the athletes, their parents, and coaches work incredibly hard to create a strong team and we want to take the burden of education off their shoulders. At USPA, we understand the rigor behind competitive athletics and create a learning environment that fits each individual student. Our curriculum travels with the athlete, pauses as needed, and challenges even the most advanced student. In addition to a traditional academic platform, USPA athletes participate in our Foundations Program which helps traveling athletes learn how to balance school and sport and incorporates various life skills which includes communication, collaboration, and goal setting. I look forward to working with the surfing families and following all of their successes both on and off the water.”
To learn more about Surfing America, visit http://www.SurfingAmerica.org.
More about Surfing America:
As the official International Surfing Association recognized National Governing Body for the sport of surfing in the United States, Surfing America is responsible for holding the USA Surfing Championships and Team Trials event each year and for selecting, training and fielding the official USA Surf Teams to compete internationally. Please contact Greg Cruse at info(at)SurfingAmerica(dot)org for more information.
7k International Skating Academy has partnered with US Performance Academy to provide excellence in training and academics for figure skating student athletes.
The 7k International Skating Academy is built on the platform of teamwork, dedication, passion, and honesty. Resting 7,000 feet above sea level, it is the highest rink in the US used for dynamic altitude training. The 7k program is unique and on the cutting edge of the industry by providing a wide variety of classes from technical progression to program component improvement. They offer programming that establishes competitive skaters from a young age through an Olympic experience.
With seven core values, one of which being ‘opportunity’, 7k searches for expansion of their young athletes’ opportunities in unique ways. With the intensive training, travel, and focus on figure skating, athletes need an alternative form of education that is flexible and personalized, while still being rigorous and goal-oriented. The partnership with US Performance Academy has accomplished this for 7k.
Heather Aseltine, Administrative Director at 7k says, “The 7k International Skating Academy is proud to be partnering with the US Performance Academy to promote the importance of education, both nationally and internationally. USPA offers our dedicated, elite athletes an online educational opportunity with personal attention provided throughout their competitive journeys. We are thrilled to promote our commitment to academics as well as athletics with the assistance of USPA.” With the personalized coaching at 7k and now the personalized approach to academics, these young, figure skating athletes have every opportunity to be the best athlete and student possible. Led by Kori Ade, national and international Olympic coach, Rohene Ward, Olympic choreographer and coach, and Heather Aseltine, US Figure Skating double gold medalist and national collegiate champion, 7k offers a positive environment full of experience, encouragement, passion, and skill. Continuing their trend in excellence, 7k has chosen to partner with USPA in order to blend 21st century educational innovation with world-class competitive athletics.
“It is obvious from our initial conversations that the 7k team is made up of an exceptional group of student athletes.” says US Performance Academy President, Peter Smith. “Their demanding schedules, motivated attitudes, and focus to excel matches our current student body. We readily acknowledge that we are not your typical school. We expect a great deal from our students, academically. The 7k student athletes will be joining a student body made up of athletes from all over the world who share a common understanding of what it takes to succeed at such a high level. Our dedicated and highly qualified team understands the motivation and mindset of each of our students. Our staff help celebrate each athletic accomplishment and our students help support each other through our network of athletes around the world. I’m confident that this will be a great opportunity for their student athletes to benefit from a highly flexible schedule combined with personalized support that is designed to provide an advantage, both academically and on the ice.”
For more information about 7k, visit www.Skate7K.com.
US Performance Academy has been chosen by U.S. Synchronized Swimming as an exclusive education option for its young student athletes. The two entities have formed an official partnership in order to provide a unique opportunity for middle and high school student athletes.
Myriam Glez, USA Synchro CEO/High Performance Director, says, “USA Synchro is very excited to start a partnership with US Performance Academy. For the last year, one of our top athletes, Anita Alvarez, has studied through USPA and has had a very positive experience. We are now happy to be able to offer this opportunity to other athletes. This program provides the flexibility that synchronized swimmers need for their training. We look forward to having more athletes use USPA.”
US Performance Academy student Anita Alvarez has been selected as part of the U.S. Olympic Qualification Duet for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. As a competitive athlete, Anita has been training almost 40 hours a week for the past year. Alvarez finished sixth at the French Open in March. She also competed at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in July, finishing 11th in duet free and 12th in duet tech. Alvarez and her team won gold at the 2015 U.S. Open, gold at the 2015 U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Championships, and bronze at the 2015 Pan Am Games.
With all of the competition, training, and travel with U.S. Synchronized Swimming, Anita has not been able to attend a traditional high school. She and her family found US Performance Academy to be a great fit. USPA is a digital, independent middle and high school designed for competitive athletes. Anita’s academic schedule is customized to fit her training schedule. Her teachers, learning coach, and college counselor all work together to ensure she is receiving a rigorous education that fits into her unique schedule.
“We are lucky to have a future Olympian as part of our student body,” says Peter Smith, USPA President. “And we are happy to be partnering with a unique and challenging athletic entity in U.S. Synchronized Swimming. Whether it’s a more flexible academic schedule to support their goals in the pool, or an individualized learning plan created around their travel, we are really excited for this partnership launch.”
More about USA Synchro:
USA Synchro was established as a nonprofit organization in 1977, and is the United States national governing body for the sport, recognized by the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee and FINA (Federal Internationale de Natation Amateur) – the international governing federation. USA Synchro organizes, participates in, and promotes a variety of competitive events each year. These events begin at the local level and continue in the following categories: Age Group (12-19), Junior (15-18), Senior and Masters (20+). For more information, visit http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Synchronized-Swimming, facebook.com/usasynchro and @usasynchro.
Interested in becoming a USPA partner?
Your team is growing and your athletes are too. But are they all on the same page? Are they on the same schedule? Your team could benefit from the unique opportunity that USPA presents. Build a training schedule that takes your athletes to the next level. Set aside a few hours a day for school and we will take care of the rest. With USPA online teachers, learning coaches, college & career counselors, coaches can focus on coaching. Your team can grow together and excel in both athletics and academics.