Teachers and Staff

MAGIC IS IN THESE HANDS

Elementary School Teaching Staff

Our faculty and staff empower students to question, think, explore and lead. Relationships between our students and teachers are paramount to creating a community of care, service, and commitment. To learn more about our faculty and staff please click below.

Our elementary school starts with Kindergarten and goes through 5th-Grade. In addition to “crew-specific” teachers, we have humanities and math/science teaching teams at the elementary level, in addition to dedicated music, art and guild teachers.

Stephanie Brodi
Stephanie Brodi
Yovanna Martinez
Rosie Striffler
Brenda Gants
Marisa Capellan-Steffke
Colleen Carr
Maude Meeker
Kate Robinson
Anne Sullivan
Katie Bloom
Veronica Lichter
Theresa Smith

Stephanie Brodi

Yovanna Martinez

Rosie Striffler

Brenda Gants

Marisa Capellan-Steffke

Colleen Carr

Maude Meeker

Kate Robinson

Anne Sullivan

Katie Bloom

Veronica Lichter

Theresa Smith

Stephanie Brodi | Pre-Kindergarten Director

Originally from Upstate New York, Stephanie moved to Truckee in 2012. Before joining Tahoe Expedition, she taught grades K-2 at Custom Learning Academy and most recently Year One in Auckland, New Zealand. Stephanie has a B.A. in Childhood Education and has both New York and California teaching credentials. Her mission is to create a learning environment that encourages students to take healthy risks so they are able to realize just how much they are capable of. Stephanie focuses on teaching the whole child in light of their individual and developmental needs so that they become life-long learners. Outside of the classroom Stephanie can be found outdoors taking in all that the Tahoe area has to offer. Snowboarding, mountain biking, and hiking are a few of her favorite activities. During the summer months, she coaches downhill mountain biking.

What inspired you to join TEA? Everything about TEA inspires me! From the knowledgeable staff right down to the kiddos. I am especially inspired by the love our students share for the outdoors.

Where did you go to school? SUNY Plattsburgh

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I am going to be an interpretive dancer in my next life.

Yovanna Martinez | Pre-Kindergarten Aid

Bio to come!

Rosie Striffler | Kindergarten Crew Leader

Rosie believes that every child has unique strengths, abilities, and passions that can be accessed through dynamic interaction and experience. She spent her childhood outdoors exploring her family’s apple farm and brings that spirit of “barefoot” nature exploration to her students. Over the course of the past 11 years, Rosie’s teaching has been focused on early childhood education, nature, science, physics, and social/emotional exploration, language acquisition, the science of reading and writing, and math skills for Kindergarten. She was first exposed to education by her mother who is a 40-year preschool teacher veteran. As an adult, Rosie began her teaching career at Tahoe Safe Alliance as a Violence Prevention Educator, where she taught Kindergarten through High School and a series of classes at UNR. She graduated from Sierra Nevada College with a B.A. in Humanities and a concentration in Psychology and has also received her M.A. in Teaching, and focused her thesis on the theory of multiple intelligences. She is 8 + years WRF certified, has a Nevada Teaching Credential, she won Student Teacher of the Year 2009 at Sierra Nevada College, received her certified Waldorf Approach for Public Schools from Rudolf Steiner College in 2014, received a grant from Fund for Teachers in 2016 where she went to Peru to study frogs in the Amazon, won co-teacher of the year (with Miss Brenda) for Nessy a dyslexia advocacy and dyslexia software company in 2021, and is a guided meditation teacher. When she is not teaching she is soaking up life in the Sierra’s or traveling to distant lands.

What inspired you to join TEA? Being able to use innovation to create curriculum with the guidance of students interests and the incredible amount of support and connection within the TEA community.

Where did you go to school? I have B.A. in Humanities with a concentration in Psychology and an M.A. in Teaching from Sierra Nevada College.

Do you have any special certifications? 6 + years WRF certified, Nevada Teaching Credential, Student Teacher of the Year 2009-Sierra Nevada College, Fund for Teachers Recipient 2016- Peru “Save the Frogs” Eco-Adventure, certified Waldorf Approach for Public Schools teacher Rudolf Steiner College -2014, shamanic meditation teacher/intuitive.

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I am an artist! I use acrylic/recycled dry acrylic/recycled paper/canvas as my medium. Through my art, I explore the range of human emotions that happen during experiences and relationships through shapes, colors, and images.

Brenda Gants | 1st-Grade Crew Leader & Pre-K-2nd Lead Teacher

Brenda Gants has been working with young children for over 20 years. Her experiences range from being the Assistant Director of a local Pre-Kindergarten to teaching 1st – 3rd Grades in the Lake Tahoe Area as well as in Santa Cruz, CA. Although she has loved the various schools at which she taught, Brenda regards her time at TEA as the most rewarding she has experienced across her entire career. Brenda is very committed to strengthening herself as an educator. She has recently completed a year-long Teacher Induction Program at San Diego State University in topics such as Technology in the Classroom, Special Education, and Teaching Diverse Learners. In 2012, Brenda completed her Master of Arts in Teaching degree, with a focus on 2nd and 3rd-grade informational writing. In her year of completion of the MAT program, Sierra Nevada College awarded her the top honor for Outstanding Project. Brenda loves that her experience at TEA has allowed her to creatively cultivate her instructional and management skills and given her the opportunity to participate in planning curriculum that is well aligned across disciplines. As a teacher, Brenda loves weaving science and social studies concepts into Readers’ and Writers’ Workshops. Outside of the classroom, Brenda’s favorite thing to do is to hop in the car and take a road-trip adventure with her husband and 6-year-old son, Owen. They often don’t know exactly where they’ll end up, what they may end up doing or who they may meet! Both on-and-off the road, she enjoys skiing, dancing, hiking, kayaking, cooking and going on animal-observation journeys with her family.

What inspired you to join TEA? Getting to help students reflectively take ownership in their own learning and while inspiring them to be adventurous innovators.

Where did you go to school? Rutgers University, Psychology and Sierra Nevada College, M.A. Teaching.

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I have slept 2 consecutive nights in 48 out of 50 states (Alaska & North Dakota are the ones missing!).

Marisa Capellan-Steffke | 2nd-Grade Crew Leader

Marisa’s interest in pursuing experiences “outside the box” began in her childhood. She grew up in a ballet studio donning pointe shoes instead of her now preferred hiking boots. As a former professional ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet and Miami City Ballet, with several film and stage acting credits, Marisa still holds a deep love for the performing arts and integrates her experiences and committed work ethic into her classroom teaching.Soon after retiring from the ballet world, Marisa began her career as a classroom teacher in 2007. She holds a Masters degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education as well as a Bachelors in Applied Psychology from New York University. She has taught in private and charter schools on both the East and West coasts as well as abroad in South Asia. Her areas of expertise include fostering growth mindset, identifying individual learning styles, encouraging cooperative learning, integrating kinesthetic learning and teaching mindfulness to children.In 2012, Marisa moved to the Tahoe area from San Francisco after living in cities for the majority of her life. Living amongst the mountain landscape energizes and inspires her daily. When Marisa is not at school, you can find her exploring our beautiful, natural world with her son, husband and pup!

What inspired you to join TEA? I’m a lover of adventure, nature, and learning. The combination of the three makes for powerful, meaningful experiences and is the reason why I’m thrilled to be part of the communiTEA. I’m passionate about bringing students outside and allowing them to learn, explore, and form an authentic connection to the natural world.

Where did you go to school? Masters of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) from Manhattanville College, BS in Applied Psychology from New York University

Do you have any special certifications? M.A.T. in Early Childhood and Childhood Education, Clear California Teaching Credential, Member of California Kindergarten Association, certified to teach Yoga through the Yoga Alliance

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I was in the 1993 movie ‘The Nutcracker’ starring Macaulay Culkin.

Colleen Carr | 3rd-Grade Crew Leader & 3-5 Lead Teacher

Colleen has been teaching for more twenty years. She grew up in the Bay Area but spent a great deal of time in Tahoe during her childhood. Her parents ski-patrolled at Mt. Rose and instilled in her a love of skiing and the Lake Tahoe area. Colleen completed her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received her teaching credential from Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village. Throughout her years of teaching in her own classroom, Colleen has proven to be a reflective practitioner who pursues continued learning and applies innovative teaching strategies to design and implement unique and differentiated instruction to meet students’ needs in both academic and social areas. Colleen’s pursuit of knowledge and expertise is on-going and includes work with the Teacher’s College of New York, the Center for Childhood Creativity, Making Math Real, the Gifted Foundations Institute of Texas, and the California Reading and Literacy Project. Her curricular expertise and knowledge of meeting the needs of all learners will translate into effective support for both the teachers and students of TEA. Outside of school, Colleen is excited to enjoy all the area has to offer with her husband Rob, their son Macklin and their dogs Fletcher and Stella. She will most likely be found skiing with her friends and family, paddling on a lake, camping, or hiking out the endless trails.

What inspired you to join TEA? Having spent the majority of my career in public education, joining the communiTEA has been a breath of fresh air. The way that students learn here is incredibly inspiring and I am honored to be part of the impact, not just locally, but hopefully to a broader audience. As a parent, I have been blown away the impact that TEA has had on our son the last two years. He is inspired, passionate about his learning, and love, love, loves school.

Where did you go to school? University of California, Santa Barbara, and received my teaching credential from Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village.

Do you have any special certifications? California Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Teacher’s College of New York Reading and Writing Project, the Center for Childhood Creativity Institute, Making Math Real Training, the Gifted Foundations Institute of Texas, the California Reading and Literacy Project, CLAD Certified, WFA Certified

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I can handstand walk up and down stairs.

Maude Meeker | 4th-Grade Crew Leader

Bio and photo to come!

Kate Robinson | 5th-Grade Crew Leader

Kate has been educating students for 8 years in a variety of settings and states. After teaching science in a school garden while earning her Environmental Studies degree at UC Santa Cruz, Kate went on to be a naturalist in the Sierra Nevada and then the East Bay Area. Wanting to have more time with students than the weeklong camps and experience a different part of the US, Kate moved to Asheville, North Carolina. There she was an Instructional Aide in special education classes and explored the mountains, rivers, forests, and crags that Appalachia had to offer.

Kate returned to California to earn her MA in Education and Education Specialist credential from Cal Poly. She was lucky to become the Resource Specialist at the same school where she did her student teaching, and ran the Resource Program for 2 years. Loving her time at Baywood Elementary, Kate was still itching to get back into an area where she could easily get into the wilderness and integrate her background in natural history and environmental education in the classroom.

When she is not teaching, you can find Kate running on trails, exploring new wildernesses, racking her brain for the latin name of the plant in front of her, flipping over logs to see what is underneath, or curled up with a good book. In this next year she is excited to get better at skiing, grow roots in North Lake Tahoe, and be part of the communiTEA!

What inspired you to join TEA? I love the opportunity to use experiential learning to grow a sense of belonging to locality while at the same time empowering students to understand and take hold of their potentials. Using placed-based learning and a hands-on approach, TEA takes rigorous state standards and makes them applicable, so students are able to develop real-world problem-solving skills.

Where did you go to school? M.A. in Education, with a Special Education Specialization from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. B.A. in Environmental Studies with a Focus in Environmental Education and Minor in Anthropology from U.C. Santa Cruz

Do you have any special certifications? California Clear Education Specialist Credential, California Assistive Technology Assessment Certification

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I know a lot about birds, and I’ve handled a number of raptors through different jobs including Red-Tailed Hawks, a Harris’s Hawk, a Great Horned Owl, a Western Screech Owl, and a Golden Eagle.

Anne Sullivan | 4th & 5th-Grade Support Teacher

Bio and photo to come!

Katie Bloom | Student Success Coach

Katie was the 2nd grade Crew Leader at TEA 2014 through 2018. Now she is excited to teach students in her new role as our Literacy Specialist and Student Support Services Teacher. Her many years of teaching experiences, ranging from kindergarten through middle school English, have helped her become an expert in how students learn to read as well as identifying skills needed in struggling readers. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Katie is still a big Bills fan. Katie went to college at the State University of New York Plattsburgh, nestled in the Adirondack mountains. Her adventures in the Adirondacks made it easy for Katie to see that she always wants to live in a mountain town and are what sent her across country right after graduation. Katie lived in Mammoth Lakes for seven years, where her experiences as a recreation guide and ski instructor led her into the classroom. She has been happy to call Truckee home since 2009. Outside the classroom, Katie enjoys skiing, hiking, cooking, dancing, reading and spending time with friends and family. Having traveled to Canada, Peru, Costa Rica, and Mexico, Katie’s list of places to visit is still long.

What inspired you to join TEA? Where to begin… I have never been to a school where students are so engaged in their learning. TEA’s focus on having even our youngest students solve real-world problems is inspiring and makes me proud to be a part of the “TEA Magic”.

Where did you go to school? SUNY Plattsburgh, BA English Literature, Cal State East Bay Teacher Credentialing Program, UCSD Reading and Literacy Program

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I get more joy out of reading children’s literature than adult literature.

Veronica Lichter | Art Teacher

Bio and photo to come!

Theresa Smith | Music Teacher

Theresa was born and raised in Lake Tahoe, California. Growing up in the Sierras set the stage for her passion for playing in and exploring the outdoors. Theresa’s love for music came from her Her love for music experience as a student at North Tahoe High School. Her work as a teacher has challenged her to work will all populations of students and all ages. Theresa believes that music is for all and works to provide rich, engaging programs that are not only relative to her students, but motivating and exciting.

Theresa is lucky enough to work as a professional outdoor guide in the summer. She has worked as a kayak guide, hiking guide and river guide. Her favorite place to be when she is not in her classroom is rowing a raft down a river.

What inspired you to join TEA? TEA encourages humans to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in a school setting.

Where did you go to school? University of Houston, Masters in Music Performance emphasis: Bassoon; University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Bachelors in Music Education

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I have a side kick named Lucy who keeps my weekends super fun! She is a black lab.

Middle and High School Teaching Staff

Beth Valarino
Beth Valarino
Matt Morrison
Carolyn Highland
Loren Trux
Heather H. Roenspie
Carrie Haines
Steven Ellsworth
Andy Giordano
Hunter Cosselman
Merinda Zywicz
Ana Sofia Remis
Katy Watts
Eric Martin
Greg Wright
Ken Martin
Laura Quarin
Mara Morrison

Beth Valarino

Matt Morrison

Carolyn Highland

Loren Trux

Heather H. Roenspie

Carrie Haines

Steven Ellsworth

Andy Giordano

Hunter Cosselman

Merinda Zywicz

Ana Sofia Remis

Katy Watts

Eric Martin

Greg Wright

Ken Martin

Laura Quarin

Mara Morrison

Beth Valarino | Middle and High School Humanities Teacher + 6/7th Crew Leader

This is Beth’s 5th year living in the Reno/Tahoe area, and her 16th year in education. Throughout her career and life, she’s been fortunate to have lived, worked and travelled all over the world.

Beth was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she graduated from Punahou School. Throughout her entire educational upbringing, she was fortunate enough to be able to be immersed in experiential education. Her high school experience was focused on inquiry-based, integrated, and personalized learning. In college, Beth participated in four separate study abroad programs where she was able to use the world as her classroom. Both were perfect training grounds for TEA!

After graduating from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, Beth spent over ten years living and teaching in Central America and in the Middle East while working on and completing two separate Master’s Degrees in education and teaching. While teaching abroad, Beth facilitated outdoor learning programs, as well as student social-emotional development, in addition to her role as a classroom teacher.

In 2015, Beth returned to the United States, teaching at an independent school in the Pacific Northwest. In 2017, she bid the rain and clouds a heartfelt farewell, and gave a warm welcome to Tahoe’s endless blue skies and Jeffrey Pines!

In her free time, Beth loves to do all things Reno/Tahoe related. She’s been to over 50 countries, ran three half marathons, and has summited Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and Mount Meru.

What inspired you to join TEA? Working at TEA has inspired a daily practice of gratitude and self-reflection. It’s helped me to look at mistakes or missteps as areas for growth, rather than areas of being small. It’s helped me to ask myself “What can I learn from this? How can I grow? What more can know or learn in order to be successful next time?”

Where did you go to school? Chaminade University. Masters in Education and Masters in Teaching.

Do you have any special certifications? WFA Certified

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I’m an insanely fast reader. Like, unbelievably speedy. In the summers I generally plow a book a day. I credit this to my second grade self, where I would be found reading with a flashlight under my sheet at all hours of the night.

Matt Morrison | Middle and High School Dean of Students + Middle and High School Humanities Teacher

Matt’s passion for teaching came from his time as a snow board instructor at Northstar. Though he enjoyed instructing adults, it was the kid groups that truly made him smile. Life had other plans though, and Matt put his ideas of teaching on hold while working in the private yacht industry, plying the waters of the South Pacific during the winters and cruising around New Zealand during the summers. He ended up going back to school to get his teaching degree in New Zealand and worked in a local elementary school as a 4th/5th grade teacher for 2 years before moving back to the USA. Once back home in 2012, Matt joined TEA where he taught 5th grade for 6 years before making the transition to the Middle School and High School in 2018. Matt was thrilled to join the Middle and High School team and have the opportunity to focus in on his love of history, while also helping to solidify the Middle School as an integral part of TEA.

What inspired you to join TEA? Seeing my kiddos come home from school each day with smiles on their faces and stories to tell.

Where did you go to school? University of Waikato / Graduate Diploma in Teaching; Sierra Nevada College / BS in Business Administration

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I have logged over 26,000 nautical miles at sea.

Carolyn Highland | Middle and High School Humanities Teacher + 6/7th Crew Leader

Carolyn grew up on the Maine coast, and has been slowly moving west ever since. She got her BA in Creative Writing & Spanish at Northwestern University in 2012, then moved to the Colorado to pursue a MA in Education at the University of Denver in 2015. Carolyn spent 3 years teaching in a bilingual 4th grade classroom in Denver Public Schools, then 3 years teaching 4th grade & coaching the biathlon team at TEA.

Carolyn is a 4-time NOLS grad, having completed a semester course in New Zealand in 2012, an Outdoor Educator course in Wyoming in 2019 and several WFR recertification courses over the years. She spent many summers leading international & domestic trips for teenagers with Adventures Cross Country. Any spare second she can get, Carolyn can be found backcountry skiing, trail running, mountain biking, backpacking or multi-sporting–she is a particular fan of long-distance sufferfests.

She is also an author and a freelance writer with work published in Backcountry Magazine, The Ski Journal, the WildSnow & NOLS blogs, and the Teton Gravity Research website. Her first book, Out Here: Wisdom from the Wilderness was released by Rocky Mountain Books in 2020 and is available at Word After Word in Truckee!

What inspired you to join TEA? I love the opportunities for creativity at TEA (both for teachers & students!), as well as the holistic approach to education. Getting to help students push themselves beyond their perceived limits, explore what they’re passionate about, and engage with real-world issues is such a gift!

Where did you go to school? BA in Creative Writing, Northwestern University 2012, MA in Education, University of Denver 2015

Do you have any special certifications? WFR since 2015, AIARE Rec Level 2, Endorsement in teaching culturally & linguistically diverse populations

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I used to work for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s hut system in New Hampshire, and got to live in a hut up on Mt. Washington for a fall season!

Loren Trux | Middle and High School Math & Science Teacher + 6/7th Crew Leader

Loren earned his California Multiple subject Teaching Credential from Chico State University and is currently working toward a Waldorf teaching certificate. During his most recent teaching experiences in Waldorf education he discovered many alternative methods for reading instruction and teaching techniques. Loren discovered his passion for working with children at a day camp in Tahoe City more than fifteen years ago and is very excited to be doing what he loves in Tahoe once again. He is eager to learn more about the expeditionary model and looks forward to sharing his ideas with the communiTEA.

He also enjoys many outdoor activities including mountain biking, kayaking, fishing and exploring nature with his family. Loren likes to play music and work making things with his hands. He lives in Kings Beach with his wife Ashley and daughter Iyla. Loren believes that a teacher’s task is to help each student reach their greatest potential. To do this he must be a guide, and companion in the pursuit of knowledge and the pursuit should be authentic for the student and teacher.

What inspired you to join TEA? The opportunity to help kids reach their greatest potential.

Where did you go to school? California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Chico State University

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I am an avid blacksmith and teach a blacksmithing class at TEA’s summer camp.

Heather H. Roenspie | MS & HS Humanities

Heather was born and raised in Rocklin, CA. After she graduated from high school, she moved to Soda Springs to work, live, and learn to snowboard at Sugar Bowl. After two full-seasons living on the summit and several bone breaks, Heather switched trajectories and enrolled herself at San Francisco State University, where she knew she wanted to study philosophy and deepen her self-awareness by getting outside of her comfort zones and learning from the “great book of the world.” Heather’s time at San Francisco State University was well spent, she earned her B.A. in Philosophy and World Religions and her M.A. in Philosophy and perhaps more importantly, Heather did grow tremendously as a human-being. After college, Heather wanted to share her love of learning and self-cultivation with others. So naturally, she sought out a profession as a philosophy teacher. To date, Heather has taught philosophy and world religions courses at San Francisco State University, Diablo Valley College, Canada College, and Sierra College. Additionally, Heather holds a Social Science teaching credential and has spent several years working for Placer County Office of Education here in Truckee at the Tahoe-Truckee Community School. Regardless, if Heather is teaching philosophy at the college level or teaching middle school and highschool, her professional goal remains the same: to guide and encourage all learners towards becoming open-minded, deep-thinking, resilient, empathetic, compassionate, creative, team-players, problem-solvers, and awesome citizens of our complex, ever-changing, and diverse world. Heather is thrilled to be joining the TEA team and embarking on her 11th year of teaching. Personally, Heather has a joyous and curious relationship with life, so away from teaching and developing her craft, you might find Heather reading , traveling, relaxing solo or with friends at Donner Lake, visiting family in Auburn, eating delicious vegetarian foods, snowboarding at Sugar Bowl, finding peace and renewal outdoors, loving her children and husband, or playing with her dog Charlie.

What inspired you to join TEA? The promise that not only will I be teaching my beloved subject areas, but that I will be challenged and encouraged to try new things, struggle, be in awe, have fun, be curious, let creative juices flow, reflect, learn deeply, build relationships, and cultivate wisdom right alongside my students and colleagues! I am excited to do this work and to see who we become!

Where did you go to school? San Francisco State University: BA Philosophy & World Religions / MA Philosophy Brandman University: Social Science Credential

Do you have any special certifications? WFA

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? Kombucha is life!!!

Carrie Haines | Real-World Intensive Coach

Carrie Haines is from Mill Valley, California. She studied with the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California and earned her BFA in Acting. Carrie did her post graduate work in English and Dramatic Arts at Sonoma State University. She has been a member of both SAG AFTRA, and Actor’s Equity Association. Carrie has been directing stage productions at both the community and professional level since 1990. Carrie is the Artistic Director for Truckee Community Theater and teaches workshops, camps, and directs main stage productions. Carrie is a member of the California Educational Theatre Association (CETA). She is excited to be joining the communiTEA along with her husband John and daughter, Lily who is now at the middle school.

What inspired you to join TEA? Just about everything at TEA inspires me, but what stands out is the idea of challenging students to reach beyond their comfort zone to explore the world around them.

Where did you go to school? The University of Southern California, School of Dramatic Arts, BFA

Do you have any special certifications?California Educational Theatre Association (CETA, Member Actor’s Equity Association, Retired member Screen Actor’s Guild/SAG/AFTRA.

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should?I am an introvert.

Steven Ellsworth | Middle and High School Math Teacher + 9/10th Crew Leader

Photo and bio coming soon!

Andy Giordano | Middle and High School Science Teacher + 9/10th Crew Leader

Andy is excited to be teaching upper school science and leading 9th-10th grade crew at TEA. Andy cultivated his experience in education over the course of 14 years in independent schools where he served variously as a science and photography teacher, department chair, residential life staff, Director of Experiential Ed and Dean of Students. He is focused on connecting students with their own curiosity and fostering self-awareness under the guiding principle that safety and challenge must coexist in the learning environment. He excels at pushing students to contextualize their experience in pursuit of their goals. Andy’s focus in the classroom is to continually push core understandings in science by drawing together big ideas. He asks students to develop the ability to make observations, ask scientific questions, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, and create scientific arguments. In this way students develop scientific habits of mind while building confidence and independence.

What inspired you to join TEA? I’m inspired to be a part of a learning community that shares my goals and values. I’m excited for the opportunity to innovate in the classroom, to explore unifying through lines across the student experience, and the constant pursuit of growth and collaboration.

Where did you go to school? I earned a BS in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an MS in Zoology from Washington State University.

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I love tying flies. There is nothing quite as satisfying to me as the combination of art, science and sport. It’s also quite funny to watch big old me tying tiny little flies.

Hunter Cosselman | Middle and High School Math & Science Teacher + 9/10th Crew Leader

Merinda Zywicz | Middle and High School Spanish & Humanities Coach + Crew Leader

Merinda is from California and grew up spending time exploring and playing in the Sierras. She studied International Development with a focus on Latin America and Political Ecology. Her studies focused on trying to find solutions that balance the social, environmental and economic needs of the world, which makes her very excited to be at TEA where students grapple with those problems regularly. She has spent time working with non-profits that tackle these challenges in Ecuador, Chile and Costa Rica.

Prior to working at TEA, Merinda worked as a ski instructor and naturalist in Tahoe. These jobs helped her realize her passion for teaching kids in settings where they are empowered to learn through their own experiences and pursue their curiosities. Merinda also spent a year in Madrid, Spain where she studied Spanish and worked as an au pair to foster language acquisition for the three young girls in the family.

Teaching Spanish at TEA is a culmination of many of Merinda’s personal interest and she is excited to share her passion for the value of language with the students. Outside of TEA Merinda loves to ski, run, climb, bike and generally take advantage of the outdoor opportunities in Tahoe.

What inspired you to join TEA? TEA’s approach towards framing learning as a way of tackling real world problems as well as their acknowledgment of the value of learning through experiences.

Where did you go to school?  University of California Berkeley, Bachelors in International Development with a focus on Political Ecology in Latin America

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I have skied in more countries than states.

Ana Sofia Remis | Real-World Intensive Coach

Katy was born and raised in the Bay Area and has been happily working with teenagers since 2002, after she earned her MA in School Counseling and PPS from Chapman University. After 3 years in public schools in the Bay Area, she moved to the Middle East (Bahrain) in 2005 to focus on college planning and guidance, where she worked with international students seeking admissions to universities not only in the US, but in Australia, Europe, Canada and anywhere else they could imagine. She has also worked with students from low income and first generation backgrounds. Most recently she has been an external freshman reader for a top UC. Well versed in public, private and Ivy League colleges and universities, Katy also has experience with recruited athletes.

Katy has been with TEA since 2015 and has been honored to create the HS College and Counseling program from the beginning and usher each senior class to post HS life. Her focus has always been on guiding students in finding the right social, academic and financial fit for college. Katy continues to stay current on admission trends by attending local, regional and national conferences and visiting colleges and universities around the US.

What inspired you to join TEA? TEA provides an opportunity for students of all ages to develop holistically while balancing academics, character and adventure. Our kids truly are ready for the real world by the time they graduate.

Where did you go to school? CSU East Bay BA Sociology, MA Counseling, PPS Chapman University

Do you have any special certifications? NACAC, ACCIS

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? As a family, our goal is to visit all 50 states by the time our kids, age 6 and 11, graduate from HS!

Katy Watts | College and Career Counselor + Registrar

Katy was born and raised in the Bay Area and has been happily working with teenagers since 2002, after she earned her MA in School Counseling and PPS from Chapman University. After 3 years in public schools in the Bay Area, she moved to the Middle East (Bahrain) in 2005 to focus on college planning and guidance, where she worked with international students seeking admissions to universities not only in the US, but in Australia, Europe, Canada and anywhere else they could imagine. She has also worked with students from low income and first generation backgrounds. Most recently she has been an external freshman reader for a top UC. Well versed in public, private and Ivy League colleges and universities, Katy also has experience with recruited athletes.

Katy has been with TEA since 2015 and has been honored to create the HS College and Counseling program from the beginning and usher each senior class to post HS life. Her focus has always been on guiding students in finding the right social, academic and financial fit for college. Katy continues to stay current on admission trends by attending local, regional and national conferences and visiting colleges and universities around the US.

What inspired you to join TEA? TEA provides an opportunity for students of all ages to develop holistically while balancing academics, character and adventure. Our kids truly are ready for the real world by the time they graduate.

Where did you go to school? CSU East Bay BA Sociology, MA Counseling, PPS Chapman University

Do you have any special certifications? NACAC, ACCIS

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? As a family, our goal is to visit all 50 states by the time our kids, age 6 and 11, graduate from HS!

Eric Martin | Athletics and Activities Director + Real-world Intensive Coach

Eric graduated from Salisbury University in 2004 with a BS in Business Marketing. At Salisbury, Eric had a standout lacrosse career — winning two National Championships in 2003 & 2004 and was named the 2003 & 2004 National Defenseman of the Year and the 2004 National Player of the Year. The summer following college, Eric was drafted by professional lacrosse teams in New York and California. After spending time on both coasts Eric made San Francisco home for the next 8 years, that is, while he wasn’t flying to/from or playing lacrosse games across North America. Eric enjoyed a nearly 10 year professional lacrosse career in the National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse. Eric was a member of the US Men’s National Team that won the 2010 World Championship in Manchester, England. He’s a member of the Salisbury University Athletics Hall of Fame. Eric started working at TEA at the beginning of the 2011/12 school year. Prior to moving to Tahoe, Eric worked in sales and marketing within the sport and manufacturing industries. He directed and coached One City Lacrosse, a non profit that introduced lacrosse to underserved youth in San Francisco. He also co-founded and ran a lacrosse camps business. Eric believes that athletic participation and competition define character and perseverance. Eric will draw from his extensive professional background to help students discover and pursue their athletic passion.

What inspired you to join TEA? The opportunities and challenges that Lake Tahoe and its surrounding lands provide to everyone willing to step out of their comfort zone.

Where did you go to school? Salisbury University, BS in Business Marketing

Do you have any special certifications? High Sierra Lacrosse Board Member, Wilderness First Responder

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I’m a better cook than you.

Greg Wright | Marketing and Communications Director + Real-world Intensive Coach

Greg’s path to joining TEA was through the world of action sports. Prior to TEA, Greg was at the helm of an influential action sports publishing network whose titles included Freeskier Magazine and Snow Board Magazine. His particular area of expertise is branded content production and distribution, and he’s found an impactful application for that skillset at TEA. From our TEAFilms.org program to our yearbook, website blog, social media, and monthly feel-good email newsletters, Greg may have earned the title “Chief Storyteller” at TEA.

What inspired you to join TEA? The opportunity to use storytelling and content distribution to influence kids to solve real-world problems and advocate for causes they believe it.

Where did you go to school? Sierra Nevada College, BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Ski Area Design, Layout and Management.

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I love to cook and have even won competitive cooking awards for my pork green chili (that’s made with 100% jalapeños).

Ken Martin | Finance & Operations Director + Title IX Coordinator + High School Math Teacher

Ken is a lifelong student & practitioner of leadership and management, having led teams in several military, corporate, & non-profit environments. Ken derives immense satisfaction from helping people use their talents to accomplish goals. Ken is deeply grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a school where the students are enthusiastic learners, where the teachers and staff are creative and passionate, and where the entire community pulls together time after time to support this unique and powerful program.

What inspired you to join TEA? Seeing students learn what they’re capable of when they’re tested by adversity. Seeing confidence, self-knowledge, passion, and purpose develop in students.

Where did you go to school? Vanderbilt University BE Chemical Engineering and University of Houston – Clear Lake MBA

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I love to sing, mostly in quartets & choruses, having performed for thousands of people in many different settings, from elementary school classrooms to nursing homes, theatres and sports venues including the NHL Predators at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. As a teenager, I performed at the Palace Theater at Six Flags in St. Louis, MO. Most recently, I’ve performed with Nashville’s Music City Chorus in the 2018 BHS International Chorus Contest in Orlando, FL, placing 5th.

Laura Quarin | Instructional Guide + Student Success Provider + Middle School Ski Program Teacher + Crew Leader

Though originally from Canada, Laura’s love of exploration and travel have taken her all over the world. Laura has been fortunate to live and work in Canada, Australia, Panama, Egypt and the United States. She has taught a variety of academic subjects, served as an athletic director in two different countries, worked as the humanities specialist and principal at a small school outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, and going into her fifth year at TEA, can’t imagine ever not being at TEA!

Laura has a profound belief in the power of young people and is inspired by the level of creativity, innovation and empathy that students bring to problem solving. As our world confronts increasingly complex problems, Laura is heartened by how she witnesses students responding to the innovative and immersive learning opportunities that TEA strives to provide.

Laura is a lifelong learner who loves to continue reimagining how learning and education fits in the world we live in. She also follows her curiosity into historical non-fiction, through travel to new places and into the mountains as often as possible. When not diving into discourse with colleagues or students you can find Laura riding her bike or hanging out with her wife and two dogs.

What inspired you to join TEA? I am inspired by TEA’s refusal to accept a status quo that isn’t working. It is inspiring to be part of a community who believes in innovation, taking chances and making improvements. Ultimately, I am inspired by the ingenuity and impact that TEA has demonstrated young people are capable of, when supported, challenged and believed in.

Where did you go to school? Brock University (Canada) — Bachelor of Kinesiology; Minor in History, University of Wollongong (Australia) — Diploma of Education, Western Kentucky University — Masters of Science in Sports Administration

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I put myself through college with the strangest collection of jobs imaginable. I have moved thousand degree steel bars across a cooling bed at a steel mill, dug graves at a cemetery, held the stop/slow sign for the construction crew on city streets, and of course, put on the visor and purple shirt at McDonalds.

Mara Morrison | Program Director + Middle School Ski Program Teacher + 12th-Grade Crew Leader

Mara was born and raised in Oregon. Whether it was skiing Mt. Hood, traveling the world with her family, hiking the Pacific Northwest or camping up and down the West coast, Mara spent her childhood taking advantage of the beautiful world around her. Mara attended the University of Oregon to earn a Bachelor of Arts in History. After graduating, she moved to Tahoe and enrolled at Sierra Nevada College where she earned her teaching credential in secondary social studies as well as a Master of Art in Teaching. Her master’s thesis focused on using primary and secondary sources to teach about social injustices throughout history. Mara is passionate about connecting history to current events and sharing the passion for learning that she enjoys with her students. Mara has worked in a variety of settings with students and teachers ranging in levels from Kindergarten through University teaching subjects like math, writing, social studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. In 2016, Mara joined the faculty at Tahoe Expedition Academy and has worn many hats since then, such as humanities teacher, crew leader, Dean of Students, and Program Director. She is passionate about bringing real-world experiences to the students of TEA and ensuring they have the skills and abilities to leave TEA to become courageous citizens of the world. She was drawn to her leadership position in order to advocate and support students, parents, and teachers while contributing to the “magic sauce” of TEA.

What inspired you to join TEA? TEA allows teachers to bring curriculum alive in order to make learning fun, challenging, and applicable to the real world. Traveling for fieldwork with students allows them to dive deeper into content, work with experts, develop a multicultural understanding of the world, and allows the student and teacher relationship to develop. When I see TEA students alongside students from other schools I am always blown away by their social and emotional maturity. TEA allows us to bridge the gap between rigorous academics, social-emotional learning and character development, and real-world adventure. At most schools, it is hard to implement change, but at TEA we thrive on it because we live in a dynamic world.

Where did you go to school? University of Oregon, B.A. History + Sierra Nevada College, M.A.T.

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I love cooking and baking. I used to make wedding cakes and novelty cakes for special events.

All School Staff

David Maher
David Maher
Mara Morrison
Kristen Giordano
Greg Wright
Ken Martin
Eric Martin
Alex Peugnet
Courtenay Wallpe
Ally Chase
Beth Gamboa
Brian Collier

David Maher

Mara Morrison

Kristen Giordano

Greg Wright

Ken Martin

Eric Martin

Alex Peugnet

Courtenay Wallpe

Ally Chase

Beth Gamboa

Brian Collier

David Maher | Head of School

David graduated from James Madison University in Virginia with a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Middle Education and eventually completed a Masters Degree focusing on curriculum and instruction. He comes highly qualified and brings a wealth of experience to TEA, including his recent HOS leadership role at Rolling Hills Prep and Renaissance Schools. During his time there, he successfully oversaw the addition of an elementary school for younger students with specialized learning needs. He also steered a strategic plan for facilities and fund-raising, began a variety of community partnerships, and led the Schools through the transition to distance learning and back again. Prior to joining Rolling Hills, David’s career included leadership roles in the U.S. and international institutions such as Chadwick International in Songdo, Korea and Fountain Valley School of Colorado.Initially an English and history teacher, David’s career evolved to include roles as Outdoor Education Director, Academic Dean, Upper School Head and ultimately Head of School.

David’s many personal interests and experiences enhance his unique passion as an educator and leader. From teaching in Monaco to co-directing a Catholic Relief Project in New York to becoming an avid sailor in Los Angeles, David is deeply engaged and contributes to his community on many fronts. In addition, David has served as a founding board member for Teach United, dedicated to reducing the digital divide in developing nations. He has also led faculty professional development work abroad in countries such as Haiti, Kenya, and Belize.

 

Mara Morrison | Program Director

Mara was born and raised in Oregon. Whether it was skiing Mt. Hood, traveling the world with her family, hiking the Pacific Northwest or camping up and down the West coast, Mara spent her childhood taking advantage of the beautiful world around her. Mara attended the University of Oregon to earn a Bachelor of Arts in History. After graduating, she moved to Tahoe and enrolled at Sierra Nevada College where she earned her teaching credential in secondary social studies as well as a Master of Art in Teaching. Her master’s thesis focused on using primary and secondary sources to teach about social injustices throughout history. Mara is passionate about connecting history to current events and sharing the passion for learning that she enjoys with her students. Mara has worked in a variety of settings with students ranging in levels from Kindergarten through University. In 2016, Mara joined the faculty at Tahoe Expedition Academy and has been the high school history teacher, 11/12th grade crew leader, Dean of Students, and Middle School and High School Director. Mara is passionate about bringing real-world experiences to the students of TEA and ensuring they have the skills and abilities to leave TEA to become courageous citizens of the world. She was drawn to her leadership position in order to advocate and support students, parents, and teachers while contributing to the “magic sauce” of TEA.

What inspired you to join TEA? TEA allows teachers to bring curriculum alive in order to make learning fun, challenging, and applicable to the real world. Traveling for fieldwork with students allows them to dive deeper into content, work with experts, develop a multicultural understanding of the world, and allows the student and teacher relationship to develop. When I see TEA students alongside students from other schools I am always blown away by their social and emotional maturity. TEA allows us to bridge the gap between rigorous academics, social-emotional learning and character development, and real-world adventure. At most schools, it is hard to implement change, but at TEA we thrive on it because we live in a dynamic world.

Where did you go to school? University of Oregon, B.A. History + Sierra Nevada College, M.A.T.

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I love cooking and baking. I used to make wedding cakes and novelty cakes for special events.

Kristen Giordano | School Counselor

Kristen is thrilled to be joining the TEA community as the Pk-12 school counselor. Starting her 16th year in education, Kristen has developed her skills as an educator at independent schools, holding different positions including math, science, and wellness teacher, Dean of Residential Life, and Dean of Student Life. Her focus is on the emotional wellness, safety, and growth of every individual in the TEA community. Her passions include guiding community growth and helping instill a sense of belonging and inclusivity.

Kristen hails from the west coast and was born and raised in California and Washington. She has been in the Truckee area since 2006. Despite pursuing a career in disease research after studying Microbiology at Washington State University, Kristen found her place and passion within independent schools. She is currently completing her M.Ed. in School Counseling at the University of Southern California. Outside of school, Kristen is mom to a TEA 2nd grader, a chihuahua, and a border collie. She is a proud member of the #BooCrew and loves to be out Nordic skiing in the winter.

What inspired you to join TEA? The focus on student wellness at TEA inspires me. Putting our social-emotional needs at the forefront of educational practice will help our students be healthier and happier humans as they navigate life.

Where did you go to school? Microbiology at Washington State University and am now in my last year of study to receive my M.Ed. in School Counseling at the University of Southern California

Do you have any special certifications? Specialist certifications from the American School Counseling Association including Mental Health, Anxiety & Stress Management, and Trauma & Crisis Specialist

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I love cooking, doing puzzles, and am obsessed with houseplants!

Greg Wright | Marketing, Communications, and Admissions Director

Greg’s path to joining TEA was through the world of action sports. Prior to TEA, Greg was at the helm of an influential action sports publishing network whose titles included Freeskier Magazine and Snow Board Magazine. His particular area of expertise is branded content production and distribution, and he’s found an impactful application for that skillset at TEA. From our TEAFilms.org program to our yearbook, website blog, social media, and monthly feel-good email newsletters, Greg may have earned the title “Chief Storyteller” at TEA.

What inspired you to join TEA? The opportunity to use storytelling and content distribution to influence kids to solve real-world problems and advocate for causes they believe it.

Where did you go to school? Sierra Nevada College, BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Ski Area Design, Layout and Management.

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I love to cook and have even won competitive cooking awards for my pork green chili (that’s made with 100% jalapeños).

Ken Martin | Finance & Operations Director + Title IX Coordinator

Ken is a lifelong student & practitioner of leadership and management, having led teams in several military, corporate, & non-profit environments. Ken derives immense satisfaction from helping people use their talents to accomplish goals. Ken is deeply grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a school where the students are enthusiastic learners, where the teachers and staff are creative and passionate, and where the entire community pulls together time after time to support this unique and powerful program.

What inspired you to join TEA? Seeing students learn what they’re capable of when they’re tested by adversity. Seeing confidence, self-knowledge, passion, and purpose develop in students.

Where did you go to school? Vanderbilt University BE Chemical Engineering and University of Houston – Clear Lake MBA

I love to sing, mostly in quartets & choruses, having performed for thousands of people in many different settings, from elementary school classrooms to nursing homes, theatres and sports venues including the NHL Predators at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. As a teenager, I performed at the Palace Theater at Six Flags in St. Louis, MO. Most recently, I’ve performed with Nashville’s Music City Chorus in the 2018 BHS International Chorus Contest in Orlando, FL, placing 5th.

Eric Martin | Athletics and Activities Director

Eric graduated from Salisbury University in 2004 with a BS in Business Marketing. At Salisbury, Eric had a standout lacrosse career — winning two National Championships in 2003 & 2004 and was named the 2003 & 2004 National Defenseman of the Year and the 2004 National Player of the Year. The summer following college, Eric was drafted by professional lacrosse teams in New York and California. After spending time on both coasts Eric made San Francisco home for the next 8 years, that is, while he wasn’t flying to/from or playing lacrosse games across North America. Eric enjoyed a nearly 10 year professional lacrosse career in the National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse. Eric was a member of the US Men’s National Team that won the 2010 World Championship in Manchester, England. He’s a member of the Salisbury University Athletics Hall of Fame. Eric started working at TEA at the beginning of the 2011/12 school year. Prior to moving to Tahoe, Eric worked in sales and marketing within the sport and manufacturing industries. He directed and coached One City Lacrosse, a non profit that introduced lacrosse to underserved youth in San Francisco. He also co-founded and ran a lacrosse camps business. Eric believes that athletic participation and competition define character and perseverance. Eric will draw from his extensive professional background to help students discover and pursue their athletic passion.

What inspired you to join TEA? The opportunities and challenges that Lake Tahoe and its surrounding lands provide to everyone willing to step out of their comfort zone.

Where did you go to school? Salisbury University, BS in Business Marketing

Do you have any special certifications? High Sierra Lacrosse Board Member, Wilderness First Responder

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I’m a better cook than you.

Alex Peugnet | Athletics and Activities Manager

Alex’s position at TEA as Athletics and Activities Manager combines her passion of working with kids, providing healthy activities, and exploring the outdoors. Alex graduated from Arizona State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion. Alex’s career has included designing and executing after school programs for at-risk teens, farming, and working with teens as a guide in Wilderness Therapy. Alex started her work at TEA as an Adventure Guide in 2018 and is thrilled to now be a full-time member of the TEAm.

In her free time, Alex loves hiking, cooking, traveling, and trying new restaurants. Alex is excited to live in Tahoe and explore all the outdoor activities available here!

What inspired you to join TEA? I am inspired by how TEA encourages students to be curious, think outside the box, and hones in on the strengths of each student.

Where did you go to school? Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion

Do you have any special certifications? Wilderness First Responder

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I am passionate about sustainable practices and decreasing food waste.

Courtenay Wallpe | Development Director

After earning bachelor degrees in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Courtenay entered the world of non-profit program development and fundraising, and basically never left. For almost 30 years she has dedicated herself to helping organizations clarify their strategic plans, execute and deliver on their missions, and raise the resources necessary to provide vital services. She has fundraised for the YWCA, the Girl Scouts of America, Tahoe Safe Alliance (now the Sierra Community House) and Tahoe Expedition Academy. She believes deeply in the power of donors to make a significant positive impact on the world through their contributions to worthy organizations, and she greatly enjoys facilitating these connections.

What inspired you to join TEA? I’m inspired by so many aspects of TEA! I love the REALNESS of it all — the fact that my kids study complex, multi-faceted real world problems, using the actual world as their classroom and experts as their guides. I love that we don’t pretend to have everything tidied and buttoned up, but instead accept, embrace and adeptly adapt to the challenges and chaos of real living. Most of all, I love the authentic, passionate and deeply committed people who make up our communiTEA. It is an honor and privilege to be a part of such an amazing group of parents and educators.

Where did you go to school? University of California, Santa Cruz BS Psychology and BS Women’s Studies, then Portland State University – Ph.D. Systems Science: Community Psychology

Do you have any special certifications? Certified Parent Coach

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? I’m an open book, so this one is tricky– maybe that I’m a Zumba dancer?

 

Ally Chase | Project Manager + Admissions Team

Ally Chase has been living in Lake Tahoe for almost 10 years. Ally moved to Lake Tahoe in 2009 from Houston, Texas where she was born and raised. She is a proud Texas Aggie. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. She began her career with Ferrari of Houston where she made her way into the racing world managing logistics as a Team Manager. After her move to Lake Tahoe she joined the Vail Resorts Team at Northstar where she used her Human Resources knowledge as an HR Coordinator then after a year transitioned to the Marketing Manager role. In 2013, she went back to join the car racing world which took her back to Houston but that didn’t last long because she missed Tahoe and quickly found her way back “home”.

As a mother with two little ones, she found that there wasn’t a place that compiled all of the kid-friendly activities in the area and launched Tahoe Kidz – an online community that shares all the happenings going on in the North Lake Tahoe area to help fill her time during her professional break. Ally also has a passion for creativity and crafting.

Ally is excited to continue her adventure here at TEA and is looking forward to bringing her knowledge to help the growth of the school.

What inspired you to join TEA? I love the creative and critical thinking that goes into each lesson the kids learn, the environment and the growth potential that is provided for everyone on campus.

Where did you go to school? Texas A&M University, B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies: Human Resource Development & Business

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? The very first time I went camping was when I did the Napali Coast in Kauai, hiked 11 miles to the campsite and 11 miles out.

Beth Gamboa | Office Manager

Beth Gamboa has lived in Lake Tahoe for close to 4 years with her husband and energetic pup, Max. Beth has lived many places in her life including Texas, Long Island, Maryland and Florida. Out of them all, she feels she has learned the most about herself since moving to Lake Tahoe in 2018. Beth graduated from Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland with a BS in Human Communication and Marketing. She began her career as a front desk agent at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel where she set plans to be in the hospitality industry the rest of her life. She moved to Florida and began her path of growth till she reached Meetings and Special Events Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale. This path led her to accepting the position of Senior Meetings and Special Events Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe in 2018. So began the new chapter in her life with her husband and faithful pup by her side. At the end of 2019, Beth realized there was something missing from her path. With her family’s support, she decided to leave the hospitality industry and begin a new path of which she had no idea. This new path led her to childcare where she had the incredible opportunity to work with two amazing companies; The Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe and Truckee Donner Recreation and Parks District. Over the last year she has had hands-on experience working with children, conquering the beast of distance learning, and running Camp Rad summer camp. Working with kids during such a chaotic time and seeing how resilient children can truly be, brought a light in her life she never realized she was missing. It was truly kismet when the position of Office Manager opened here at TEA, it felt to her as though she was meant to be a part of the TEA family.

What inspired you to join TEA? Seeing the hands on experience the students are exposed to. I never had hands on life skills experience as a child and it is truly inspiring watching the next generation learning things that will truly help them in the future and spark interest at such a young age.

Where did you go to school? Salisbury University, Human Communications and Marketing

Do you have any special certifications? Zumba Instructor, basic American Sign Language

What is something that not everyone knows about you, but probably should? 2021 was the first year I went camping since 2008! It was also the year I went to a hot spring, battled Truckee river in a rafting excursion and flew in the air in a skydiving simulator!

Brian Collier | Facilities Director

Brian has worked at Tahoe Expedition Academy for 5 years as the school’s Facilities Manager. Prior to his time at TEA Brian worked locally and abroad in an array of different industries. He enjoys motorsports, camping and watching, playing and coaching a variety of sports. He has a wife and two children.