Who We Are

At Expedition Academy Santa Cruz we believe in creating learning experiences that engage and challenge our students to bring out their full human potential. For years, we have been involved in institutional change, making small steps forward toward 21st Century Learning within the constraints of a traditional school structure. Our daily observations of students in our classrooms, and how our own children engage and learn outside of school, have led us to design a holistic educational experience that meets the needs of modern learners and prepares them for the ever-changing world of tomorrow.  Our school model is informed by new research in neuroscience and the work of other innovative schools that are beginning to redefine the education landscape.

Mission Statement

We challenge our students to develop their multiple human capacities. We impel students into experiences that will drive their intellectual curiosity, develop compassion for their community, and give them the resilience to take on life's questions.



Scott Kley Contini
Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer

Scott has been an educator since 2002. He holds a M.Ed in Instructional Technology and a B.A. in Evolutionary Biology. His teaching includes both public and independent school experience from San Francisco to San Jose. Scott is an accomplished education speaker, presenting at numerous conferences nationally on topics ranging from Design Thinking in secondary education to Educational Technology tools and management. He has designed e-learning curricula and courses for both students and adults as well as created a makerspace for interdisciplinary projects. He is an alumni of the Exploratorium Teachers Institute, Google Certified Innovator, 4.0 Schools Essentials Fellow, Vegesna Grant Fellow and Advisory Board member for the SXSWedu conference specializing in innovative educational approaches and new educational technologies.

Daniel Sommer
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Daniel is a lifelong educator who has held leadership positions with every organization he has worked with.  Daniel holds an M.S. in Land Resources and a B.A. in Environmental Studies.  He spent 10 years with Outward Bound guiding experiential learning programs focused on social/emotional development.  Daniel has organized and safely guided students in wilderness environments for 1000 days.  Daniel has been a classroom science and math teacher for the past 20 years at The Harker School and Harvard-Westlake School where he taught students in grades 4-9.  In his leadership roles at these schools he guided traditional science departments towards more experiential, student centered, project based learning through curriculum development and role modeling best practices.  He is a 4.0 Schools Essentials Fellow.

Advisory Board

Mark Kushner--Education Entrepreneur
Mark is a national leader and pioneer in education, creating the first charter high school in California in 1995, one of the first charter high school management organizations in 2001, and California’s first fully technology-blended middle and high schools in 2008. He was the founding chair of the state charter commission, has taught a course on charter schools and starting new schools at Stanford University for eight years.

Kim Gibson--Founder and Head of School, NOLA Micro Schools

Kim serves as our mentor as part of our participation in the Essentials Fellowship program with Schools 4.0, an education incubator whose goal is “driving innovation in American education.”

Jack West--Founder, Question Tank Consulting
Jack, a lifelong educator, works with education focussed, mission driven organizations to help them recognize their own superpowers and communicate them to the communities they serve.  

Marisa Abzug-Callendar--Child Psychotherapist
Marisa has been working with children for over 20 years in many different environments including: group home, non-profit counseling center, outpatient drug and alcohol treatment center, schools and private practice.

Mark Lord--Founder, Synergy Learning Systems
Mark is a consultant in leadership and team development with over 19 years experience working with Fortune 500 companies, non profits, start ups and public organizations across North America, Europe and Asia.

Supported by:

The Silicon Schools Fund provides seed funding for new blended learning schools that use innovative education models and technology to personalize learning.

4.0 Schools connects, coaches and invests in people to test new learning spaces and tools with students and families in their local communities.