Tahoe Expedition Academy

2023-2028 Strategic Plan

“We are truly grateful for the insights, collaboration, and participation from the entire CommuniTEA that went into this 2023-2028 Strategic Plan. We benefited from both the incredible reflections from those who were there at our founding twelve years ago, as well as the new energy and ideas from all who have come to the School more recently. The resulting plan is a roadmap for Tahoe Expedition Academy that we can be proud of and will serve as a dynamic guide for us all in the years ahead.” - Tori Long, TEA Board Chair and David Maher, TEA Head of School

Executive Summary

The purpose of the Strategic Plan is to provide everyone in the TEA community with clear goals and strategies that meet community needs on almost all aspects of the school’s realization of its long term vision. As we dive into the execution phase of this plan we look forward to providing you with updates. And, more importantly, we invite you to participate!

Timeframe and Team Members

TEA’s Strategic Plan is updated every five years. The last Strategic Plan was conducted in the summer of 2017, and we kicked off this year’s Strategic Plan in October 2022. 

  • October 2022: The Strategic Plan TEAm was compiled and includes students, alumni, Board of Trustee Members, school leadership and parents
  • November – December 2022: SP TEAm met to coordinate the plan ahead.
  • January – February 2023: Data Collection from Stakeholder Groups
  • March 2023: Compile Data and Create SP to vet and share with Board of Trustees and CommuniTEA for feedback and approval
  • June 2023: Board of Trustees approval of the 2023-2028 Strategic Plan

Led by Bill Bryan and Nora Behrens of The Bryan Group, the Strategic Plan TEAm includes:

  • Kaya Marshall, TEA Student
  • Phillip Rogers, TEA Student
  • Etienne Carnot, TEA Alumni
  • Mike Madigan, TEA Parent and Board of Trustees Secretary
  • Stephanie Pereira, TEA Parent and Board of Trustees, Voting Member
  • David Maher, TEA Head of School
  • Amy Renn, TEA Parent
  • Traci Mason, TAP President, TEA Parent
  • Brenda Gants, TEAcher
  • Hunter Cosselman, TEAcher
  • James Sohn, TEA Parent
  • Taylor Simmers, TEA Co-Founder, Advancement Officer
  • Ally Chase, Assistant Admissions Director, TEA Parent

What did we learn?


MISSION: Empower a new generation of creative problem solvers with a social conscience

VISION: We believe in the infinite power of young people

VALUES: Guiding us forward, together

  • Transforming adversity into growth by tackling today’s complex challenges and seizing opportunities to engage and inspire.
  • Advocating for an equitable world where everyone feels a sense of belonging and has an equal chance to thrive.
  • Collaborating with partners in local & global communities to foster positive change.

PILLARS: Academics, Character and Adventure


Augment Community Partnerships and Service Work in Our Local Community: There is a sincere desire from both the TEA Community and the broader Truckee/Tahoe community to work more closely together, share resources and reach a larger, more diverse audience through collaborative efforts

Develop a TEA Campus: It is clear that a significant investment in our campus and facilities is required.

Beloved Faculty & Staff: Our current teachers and staff are the backbone of the school. We need to continue to develop, train and retain them.

More Focus on Authentic Expeditions: Though some classes and students spend a lot of time in the field, there was a lot of sentiment that our expeditions could be both more impactful, consistent, well-documented and better integrated to the curriculum.

Opportunity to Better Document and Deliver the Curriculum: There was a lot of feedback that TEA has wandered from its foundational roots of developing academics and character through adventure in a thoughtful, cohesive and structured way from grade to grade.

Belonging Focus: TEA’s external brand reputation has evolved from more than just an outdoor school to a place that is welcoming to all people. That said, our efforts to be more inclusive and serve a diverse population must continue into the future.

Why Academics OR Expedition? There is a prevailing sense that a school has to choose between developing strong academics or developing character. TEA has an opportunity to demonstrate these are simultaneously possible and students can benefit from this integration of academics, character and adventure.

Strategic Goals

Goal #1: Strengthen, Align and Articulate TEA’s Academics, Character and Adventure Programs through All Grade Levels


  1. Convene staff and faculty across divisions to comprehensively evaluate, clarify and document TEA’s current curriculum.
  2. Document a comprehensive year by year continuum of learning objectives and the implementation approach across grade levels and divisions.
  3. Clarify TEA’s program for both internal and external audiences to provide mission alignment and transparency.
  4. Provide teacher training, professional development, financial support, and time allotment to ensure success in an inclusive and comprehensive process.

Goal #2: Consistently Deliver a Holistic, Challenging and Supportive Experiential Learning Environment for All Students


  1. Form and empower a committee of students, faculty, and staff to develop and articulate opportunities for new student programming across divisions.
  2. Reinvigorate character building curriculum in academic and adventure settings with established goals, metrics, and accountability to provide tangible measurements of our missions and values.
  3. Clarify and articulate student and faculty accountability for appropriate and accepted behaviors at all levels to provide a safe and optimal learning environment.
  4. Develop campus facilities and resources to enhance the overall learning experience.

Goal #3: Attract, Support, and Retain the Finest Faculty and Staff Possible


  1. Improve and enhance faculty development by increasing professional development funding to ensure mastery of best practices in all areas.
  2. Compensate faculty and staff at levels that meet or exceed peer schools and statewide norms.
  3. Align skills, interests, and subject matter experience of faculty with course and duty assignments.
  4. Provide campus facilities and resources to support the best teaching environments possible.



  • Finalize Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART) goals for each of the three key objectives (Fall ‘23)
  • Align efforts with key TEA leadership constituents, including School Leadership (inclusive of Facilities), the Capital Campaign & Development Committee (CCDC), the DEIB Leadership Team, and the Risk Management Committee (Summer/Fall ‘23)
  • Define Year One implementation goals (Summer/Fall ’23)
  • Further align and integrate with the DEIB Strategic Plan implementation goals (Fall ‘23)
  • Complete WASC and CAIS Accreditation Processes (Winter ‘23)