Education Strategist

• Style: An equal blend of philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy, as well as an enthusiasm for emerging technology.

• Identify problems and goals, and work with boundaries (e.g. legal) and expectations (e.g. mission and philosophy) to create an actionable plan.

• Projects have been at the individual, program, and organization-wide levels. See “Projects” section below for examples.


Open Path Studio 

What is a message, skill, or other gift you would like to share with the world? Open Path helps outside-the-box thinkers present their ideas to the world through seminars, workshops, and online classes.  Tamra applies a strategic philosophy to oversee the design process.



Previous Education Field Projects



PEG_Display_logo_transparent background smaller square.fw

Logo created by Lynne Dolph and Tamra Excell

Personalized Education Philosophy, 2006

Created a 10-point philosophy, and then designed several learning models to this philosophy. Using one of these models, Christa McAuliffe School of Arts & Sciences was then created, applying the philosophy with noted success. See the Survey of Research that was presented as part of the accreditation process. The philosophy was published in SEEN Magazine and has since been assigned reading in university classrooms.


Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences, Co-Founder, 2009-2017

Coming full-circle, this is an online version of the face-to-face program Tamra piloted in 1997-1999. Ranked # 5 in Best Online High Schools and has since landed on several other “top schools” lists. World-wide accredited private school personalized to each student’s learning needs, interests, and goals. With control over their yearly calendar and school schedule, students tend to take one or two classes at a time, starting a new class immediately upon completing a previous one. Mastery-based, students complete courses at 80% or higher, with extra help and the ability to revisit and redo lessons as needed to master at a higher level (and grade). Students can tailor their learning, from proposing an alternate assignment to a lesson to the student-design of an entire course — just so long the learning goals are met.


Insight Schools, 2006-2008

Served on small team to create the first online public school for Washington, and then also served on the California team. This is one of those projects that went a very different direction after the original team members were no longer there, but it was fantastic experience that was put to future use. It also made Tamra realize that if you want something done right… maybe starting a school wasn’t such a bad idea. The seed took hold.


Charter Annex, 2000-2006

Online courses for homeschoolers and public school students – including Cinema as Literature, Responding to Literature, Essay Basics, Integrated Social Studies & Language Arts, and other humanities courses – were created and implemented. Also provided curriculum and instruction consulting for purposes of personalizing learning for individual students.


Girls in Video Game Design, 2006

Ever accidentally fall into a project? Not only did Tamra find herself facilitating the creation of a girls in video game design program and being part of an accompanying documentary, she was nominated for the 2006 Athena Award for her efforts. She didn’t win, but she got to attend a fancy dinner with too many forks on the table and dine with an astronaut and (the award winner) a woman who started her own school, with the conversation including asking Tamra when she was going to start her own school. Oh no, she had no plans to do that, she insisted. However, a seed was planted.


JCS Curriculum Library Update & Staff Training, 2005-2006

Working with JCS in different capacities over the years resulted in invitation to evaluate and update resource center’s curriculum collection. Also created new catalogue with additional guidance for personalizing learning to individual students, and trained/mentored staff in personalizing learning for individual student needs, interests, and goals.


Dartmouth PSI for Middle School Language Arts, 2000-2003

Hemet, CA: Applied PSI concepts combined with other techniques to create a mastery-based language arts program using authentic assessment and integration of social studies concepts. Test score increases averaged 10-30 percentile points.


Honorable Honors – Making GATE Meaningful, 2000

This is an ongoing project that started by serving as a GATE/Honors middle school instructor in California and culminated in the creation of the CMASAS Honorable Honors program – being implemented to this day. It applies the tenets of the Personalized Education Philosophy, having students engage in activities that 1) are of higher level cognitive and/or affective learning, 2) meaningful to the individual student, and 3) that result in personal and/or community benefits. Result: meaningful learning that also builds a student resume and college application potential.


Simi Valley Home Hospital Program, 1999-2000

Simi Valley, CA: The district wanted to help students who were home-bound but did not have system in place. Created and implemented a home-hospital education program, serving students with varying emotional and physical needs. Learning was individualized for each student based on learning, environmental, health, and other needs/preferences.


Valley View Personalized Systems of Instruction (PSI) Middle School Math, 1999–2000

Simi Valley, CA: Students with a wide range of prerequisite knowledge were able to move through a prescriptive, self-paced, mastery-based program so that each student was continuously learning and moving forward.


Personalized Independent Study Program for “At Risk”​ Students, 1997-1999

Piloted student-centric program tailored classes for each individual student, with student input, to meet student learning needs and preferences, life situations, and education/career goals. It was self-paced and mastery-based. Students attended daily to use resources and receive guidance, but otherwise it was considered to be independent study.


Richland Diversified Occupations & Work Study Program, 1997-1999

Richland, WA: Created a system that brought the district into compliance with state law and made it available to students from all socio-economic levels, helping students build a resume of experience along with specialized training and certifications. It became a model for other districts to follow.


Leave a Reply