David Manahan - Director

Sierra Expeditionary Learning School (SELS) is excited to introduce you to our new Founding Director, David Manahan.

Mr. Manahan arrives with nearly 20 years of educational experience in various roles and institutions. His background in outdoor and experiential education includes facilitation at environmental learning centers, curriculum development and start up, group and corporate team building, and educator training.

As a classroom educator, Mr. Manahan taught 5th grade, trained teachers in math, science, and social studies methods, and taught many years of geography and environmental studies in higher education. Additionally, he has designed and implemented professional development workshops, coordinated service learning projects for community gardens and rainforest restoration, and designed and mentored student environmental and socio-cultural research. Most recently, Mr. Manahan comes to us after two plus years at the Center for Rainforest Studies in Queensland Australia where he first taught, then served as Director and Site Manager. This administrative experience included managing the operations, programming, and staff of a remote residential teaching, learning, and research facility.

Mr. Manahan’s long standing dedication to the philosophies of Expeditionary Learning is further evidenced by his educational history: a 1995 Master’s of Science in Experiential Education and a 2006 PhD in Geography, focusing on the teaching and learning of geography education.  Mr. Manahan’s diverse array of educational, professional development, outdoor/environmental, and administrative experiences will provide a solid foundation in SELS’ start up journey.

During their personal time, Mr. Manahan, his wife, and two kids are avid outdoorspeople: they love to take long cross-country camping trips, ski, hike, paddle, surf, and rock climb, and are excited to be returning to the area where much of this is in abundance.  They also love to play a variety of sports (tennis, soccer, futsal, basketball) and family games on cold winter nights.

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Sierra Expeditionary Learning School
PO Box 2179
Truckee, CA 96160

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SELS is a 501c(3) non-profit corporation, Truckee Charter School Foundation, dba Sierra Expeditionary Learning School. Federal Tax ID: 27-1627347.

For Parents



11603 Donner Pass Road
Truckee, CA 96161
Portable buildings M3-M7

Email: truckeecharter@gmail.com
Phone: (530) 448-8115
Fax: (530) 448-8223
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On top of all the teaching and learning, I'm struck by the joy in the faces of all the children as they go about their quest for knowledge. Thanks to all the courageous and energetic people who had the vision to make this school a reality. With all the challenges the world faces today and predictions of disaster, these committed teachers/staff, these engaged families, and these beautiful children are a beacon of hope.

SELS embodies everything that I feel is important in my child's education and I am so grateful that she has the opportunity to learn in such an enriching environment. Teaching our children how to think and how to treat others is critical to their future success. I am thankful every single day for all the wonderful staff at SELS.

What an amazing place. It has been everything for my son that I had hoped he could experience in school. Great teacher, stimulating learning environment, and a deeply caring and nurturing place.

I am grateful that my child is encouraged to interpret concepts and think about how they apply to his life, not just memorize and repeat material. I love that SELS asks kids to think about who they are and how they contribute to the community, locally and globally.

I greatly appreciate that SELS is a heart-centered school that teaches ethics and values along with academics. That approach makes SELS a unique and special place.

I appreciate all the teachers and staff and their responsiveness. I also appreciate all the work the staff are doing to help the kids figure out how to fill each other's buckets!

Our son is bubbling over with excitement for learning. This environment is gifting him with life long skills to succeed. We are so thankful for this school.

All the Adults and students challenge each other the THINK!

SELS is amazing in the way they teach topics hands on and allow the children to learn in practical settings. We couldn't be happier seeing our son flourish so much! Thank you.

I am very grateful to the SELS staff for offering my 5th grader their hearts, as well as their knowledge. Better yet, they make learning fun and adventurous! My youngster is THRIVING at your wonderful school!!

We are thankful for many wonderful ideals and principles at SELS, but what really brings those into reality is the caring, hard-working teachers and staff. We wouldn't have thought that someone else would care as much about the whole education of our daughter as much as we do, but there is a whole team of such people at SELS.

I am so thankful that my 5th grade daughter is a member and student of this beautiful community and school. She is receiving a fantastic education with hands on learning, caring, understanding, creative, out of the box thinking and intuitive teachers. She feels included, important, confident and is growing tons in her knowledge and place in this wonderful community. Thank you SELS for being an amazing part of my daughter's education and Life!

I truly appreciate all the staff, students, parents and families at SELS. It is these people that make SELS so wonderful.
This has become a new 'family" for us!

I am so grateful for the amazing staff; they are the most amazing guides. It is an inspiration to watch them help our children learn and grow into thoughtful, independent, productive human beings!
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