A.B. Combs: A Wake Stem School


Muriel Summers


2001 Lorimer Road

Raleigh, North Carolina 27606 USA







A.B. Combs, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, is led by Principal Muriel Summers. Its leadership model program has received national recognition for its emphasis on developing leadership skills in young children. It is grounded in the belief that, in order to build a successful community of learners, schools must build cooperative relationships and nurture responsibility, kindess, and good judgement. It is the first elementary school of its kind to foster a climate of principle-centered and personal leadership based on Dr Stephen R. Covey's best-selling books 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First.


With a vision to help children to realize their worth and potential by inspiring greatness, Combs Elementary aims to develop the WHOLE child - socially, emotionally, academically, and ethically. Students identify and set personal academic goals and are able to track their progress and growth throughout the school year using Baldrige criteria. They also learn social etiquette and develop communication and presentation skills through student-led programming including a daily news broadcast, school-wide assemblies, community service projects, and an innovative Leader of the Week program featuring local, state, and national leaders.


Combs Elementary recognizes that good leadership requires more than natural ability, so their program also emphasizes 21st century leadership and character development, teaching their students effective communication, collaboration, ethical decision-making, and motivation skills.

Muriel Summers, Principal

Muriel Summers has been the principal of A.B. Combs Elementary since 1998. She holds a Bachelors of Art degree from University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill, a Masters in Elementary Education degree from UNC-Charlotte, a Masters in School Administration degree from the University of Maryland and an honorary doctorate from California University. One of the greatest professional joys of her life is being the principal of A.B. Combs.

Ms. Summers guided the school in creating the first leadership elementary school in the United States. A.B. Combs has received many national awards under Ms. Summers’ leadership including, The National Blue Ribbon, The National School of Character, The National Magnet School of America, and the Lighthouse Recognition Award from FranklinCovey. Ms. Summers was personally recognized as Wake County’s Principal of the Year, one of North Carolina’s Women to Watch, and received the coveted Friday Medal of Honor in 2014 for her contributions to education.


She is the very proud mother of Banks Summers, a UNC-Wilmington graduate in elementary education, and Colin Summers, a recent graduate of Wake Forest University.  

Meet the author

Ingrid Law

11th September 2015


On 11 September 2015, Combs Elementary welcomed Ingrid Law, the author of Savvy, Scumble, Switch books, to A.B. Combs to speak with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. She also signed and personalized books for the students.

A.B. Combs Magnet Elementary School

US Magnet School of Distinction

Goings On