TEA Board Chair Leads Capital Campaign Contributions with a $500,000 Donation

Ken Martin, Tea Board Chair, and His Wife Scarlett Are Two Tea Alumni Parents Leading the $14m Capital Campaign

Tahoe Expedition Academy has launched a $14m capital campaign to complete the second phase of the TEA Basecamp campus in Martis Valley. Recently the campaign was kicked off with a lead gift from the Martin family. Ken Martin is our board chair, and he and his wife Scarlett are alumni parents. Their son Mitchell is currently attending Northeastern University in Boston and is studying Environmental Engineering. The following is a letter Ken composed for our “CommuniTEA” at TEA. We wanted to share it with the world too.


Dear CommuniTEA,

We have embarked on a $14 Million Campaign to build out our world-class campus and place TEA on a sustainable financial path for the future. We are in this incredible place due to the generosity of Erik & Julie Swan, who have contributed so much. Their leadership has inspired Scarlett and me to make a lead gift of $500,000 towards TEA’s capital campaign.

Our family came to TEA in 2012, when our son Mitchell entered as an 8th grader. He graduated last spring and is now excelling in college and enjoying the experience. There are so many ways I believe TEA was transformational for him. Perhaps most importantly, TEA’s emphasis on character development was a strong influence on developing and internalizing his own value system that’s been a compass for him on his journey to adulthood. TEA helped him learn about himself and equipped him to handle complex, real-world challenges.

TEA is an inspiring place to me because it’s an environment where ideas, beliefs, and values are courageously brought into the world and lived. Our teachers don’t just lecture about academic subjects, they share their passion and create immersive experiences resulting in deep learning that students can apply in new contexts. Our students don’t just talk about values like advocacy and stewardship, they go out into the community and do real service work to make a positive impact on others. We don’t just give lip service to the concept of Constructive Adversity, we expect our students to do hard things, to get out of their comfort zone and grow.

Our community is a resilient one. We’ve faced a lot of uncertainty, but we’ve persevered and grown stronger in the process because we know the value of our work, what it means to our students, and what it can mean as a model. A TEA education is unique and powerful. I’ve seen so many TEA students discover their own voice and surprise themselves with their capabilities. I know that when they graduate from TEA they will be the authors of their own story.

I believe TEA is needed for our students, our community, and our world. $500,000 is definitely a stretch gift for us and to us, it is symbolic of the depth of our passion for TEA.

Please join Scarlett and me in contributing to this campaign. Over the next few weeks, Clark and I will be reaching out to schedule time to meet with you and ask for your participation in building a campus that embodies TEA’s mission, vision, and values.


Ken Martin
Board Chair, Alumni Parent

Mitchell Martin is one of 6 graduates from our class of 2017, our school’s first graduating class. They were also the first junior class, the first sophomore class, and the first freshman class. To say they are pioneers would be an understatement. In addition to being the first graduating class, they also set the bar high for our future seniors and their group service projects. Each year, our seniors are challenged to dream, plan and execute service learning projects on their own. Mitchell’s class set their sights on the Syrian Refugee Crisis as the “real-world problem” that they wanted to solve. They traveled to Greece to work with an organization called PRAKSIS, which provides social and medical services to refugees worldwide. After their experience, the students produced this video to spread awareness of the plight of refugees in Greece and to support the PRAKSIS aid organization and all of the volunteers they met along the way.

Our 2018 class has risen to the challenge and have set their sights on lackluster youth voter turnout. Here is a blurb from the seniors about their motivation for this expedition:


For our Spring Expedition, we will be studying youth voter turnout in recent critical elections, such as the Brexit Decision and 2016 Presidential election. To explore this topic, we will travel to the UK to look into how the UK has steadily increased their voter turnout over the last 4 years, and talk to students in both Britain, Scotland, and Wales about why voting is important to them. We hope to make an impact by comparing and contrasting American and U.K. methods of voter encouragement to improve youth turnout in the US. We will look at how people perceive the government, what influences that perception, and how that causes them to act.


Our school is eternally grateful for the support we have received from our donors, parent volunteers, industry experts, and world-class teaching staff. We believe in the infinite power of our youth and are extremely proud of the work our students have already done.

If you would like to learn more about our capital campaign please reach out to Ken Martin at kmartin@tahoeexpeditionacademy.org.

And please join us in thanking the Martin Family for their lead gift!