Dr. Jane Snider Honored by YWCA With TWIN Award
For 27 years, the YWCA‘s TWIN awards, sponsored by YWCA Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, have celebrated women in business and community—specifically, women who encourage other women to succeed.
Sometimes these women are trailblazers, women who carve out a path in male-dominated professions. That describes Dr. Jane Snider, Executive Director of the Summit School in Edgewater. Snider was nominated as a 2012 TWIN honoree and will be attending the gala celebration June 6 at the Westin in Annapolis.
YWCA Executive Director Molly Knipe said that she this year there is a total of 37 honorees.
TWIN stands for Tribute to Women and Industry. Award winners have come from all areas of business, government and community service. They have all made significant contributions to industry in “management or executive positions.” In addition, they recognize corporations “whose polices and practices enable high achievement by women.”
Severn Saving Bank, which is headquartered in Annapolis, nominated her.
Snider has been the executive director of the school since its founding roughly 25 years ago. She said that in the education world, at the time she was opening the school, it wasn’t unexpected to encounter females in high positions.
But in the business world, Snider said she found a different reception.
“For the first 15 years, people would call and ask for James Snider,” she said. “There was the assumption in the business world that it was all the ‘Good Old Boys’ network. It was a real indicator that the world was not ready to take women in.”
She said that back then some of the local business clubs like Rotary and Kiwanis didn’t have female members.
But over the course of her career, attitudes have changed.
“But that doesn’t mean we are equal partners,” Snider said, adding that there are different approaches in the way men and women operate in the business world.
“Women run businesses differently. We do come from the heart. We are strong about the culture and we want to be involved in businesses that embrace the ethics that we believe in. We are not all about the bottom line,” she said.
She said that such differences don’t mean that men and women want different outcomes—of course everyone wants to run a strong business.
Still, Snider said that she has had to work hard to earn respect among business leaders over the years.
She said that is what makes the honor of being a TWIN nominee so special.
Snider enjoys seeing the next generation of young women coming up in the profession, even though education is a tough place to be right now.
“Going into education as a career choice can be all-consuming,” she said. “You’re expected to take care of someone’s children. There are a lot of pressures to perform,” she said.
But, Snider said that she enjoys mentoring young professionals and helping them be the best they can be.
“You get to shape skills and help to develop who they are going to be as professionals.”
Summit has a unique mission in that the school caters to students who have specific educational needs, including dyslexia and other learning differences. Often students come to Summit because they can’t master reading.
“They come here and we turn that around,” she said.
The school has graduated about 500 students over the course of two-and-a-half decades. Many of the early graduates are now into careers. Snider recalled one female student who came to the school and couldn’t read. It took seven years, but finally she got it. That student is now a reading teacher in Howard County public schools. She earned a Masters in reading and has been approached to pursue national board certification.
Snider said that you are not just teaching reading. As an educator, you get to mentor students, to help shape their values and goals—and celebrate their success.
Severn Savings Bank put forth the nomination for Dr. Snider.
“Jane Snider is the epitome of a candidate for TWIN. She is the ideal combination of entrepreneur and savvy business person with a philanthropic focus,” explained Kevin Carter, Vice President, Community Reinvestment Act Officer, Severn Savings Bank. “Jane is a respected pillar in our community, and for us she was an obvious choice.”
Severn Savings Bank has partnered with The Summit School for a Literacy Counts program, one which Snider initiated four years ago to provide tutors and summer camp scholarships for students from the Boys and Girls Club and the Stanton Community Center, both in Annapolis.
Snider founded and developed The Summit School in 1989, a school for bright students with dyslexia and other learning differences. She built the program from the ground up with an emphasis on a highly individualized education and methodologies that are based on the best evidence from the fields of reading and neuroscience. In its tenth year, the school was chosen a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education; it was the only special education school in the country to be named that year.
Snider serves on many Boards for nonprofit organizations, and has personally earned more than twelve other awards and honors for her accomplishments as an impassioned advocate for children and parents in the broader community.
To learn more about the Summit School, visit them online.