Tania Krumpak, Assessment and Accreditation Coordinator

Tania was raised in Vancouver, BC, where she completed her BA and her BEd, and began her Master’s degree in Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia. She began teaching English and Humanities in 2007 at a small independent school on Bowen Island, and continued her practice at Stratford Hall, a larger K-12 private school, in Vancouver. She has been a teacher, administrator, and coordinator in both schools over the past 9 years. She loves good food, good books, and is working on her first novel. She and her husband and two children relocated to Bellingham recently, and they live close to downtown with their puppy.



Frank Kuhl, Math Faculty

Frank was born in Baltimore, MD. However, circumstances took him to Pennsylvania and he never lived in Maryland again. Music was such an integral part of early life that he never imagined being without it. Early on, Frank took piano lessons. He was able to start playing trumpet and do lots of singing in high school. From then on it’s been pretty much an endless stream of lessons, courses, ensembles, bands, orchestras, liturgies, combos, shows, etc. Frank has a BA in Philosophy and Structural Linguistics from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. He also received a Masters in Education From Queens University in Ontario, Canada as well as a Masters in Music and Wind Ensemble Literature. He has taught math and music internationally, and currently teaches Integrated Math curriculum at Explorations Academy. Currently Frank plays trumpet in two ensembles at Western, and plays regularly with the talented people of Paul Sorensen’s Northern Lights Jazz Orchestra. He also directs the Bellingham High School Alumni Band. Mornings are spent teaching math and sometimes music at Explorations Academy. He enjoys reading, and teaching math affords him psychological grounding and mental balance.


J.R. Lara Middle School Faculty

J.R. Lara holds an interdisciplinary BA in Art & Environmental Journalism and is completing her MFA thesis in Creative Writing at Western Washington University, where she taught courses in English and the humanities. Before settling in the Pacific Northwest she studied migration and natural history across the United States, Mexico, and North India.  She serves as Poetry Editor for the literary journal Psaltery & Lyre and is at work on her first book.



Daniel Rommel, High School Faculty

Daniel persued Mathematics & Philosophy at Western Washington University. Outside of EA, he loves spending time outdoors and enjoys making music as a hobby. His math classes are a blend of interactive seminars and real world projects that are reflections of the abstract numbers. Daniel’s foremost passion for teaching is to generate excitement for learning mathematics.




Marley Simmons-Abril, English and Social Studies Faculty

Marley earned her BA in Sociology from Mills College in 2002, and her MFA in multi-genre Creative Writing in 2017. Marley has done a lot in between, including loads of travel, running her own landscaping business, and performing with a local dance troupe. Prior to EA, she taught writing, research, and critical inquiry at Western Washington University. In addition to teaching English and social studies here, she is the Fiction Editor at Psaltery & Lyre.




Jay Reimer, High School Faculty

Jay had the privilege of growing up in cultures that did not speak English (at that time) like Vietnam and Thailand. He dragged out his college experience by taking frequent “study breaks” to work in Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea, where that work gave context to his studies in human nutrition. He lived outside of North America for so many years that when he had children (born in Canada and Ethiopia), the US State Department decided he was ineligible to pass his American citizenship to them. This fascination with cultures and with mechanisms of the material world makes him a curious student. To share this curiosity with students, Jay earned n M.Ed from Western and taught (so far) in Washington, Korea, Malaysia and Canada. In the classroom his goal is to provide experiences and show connections to stimulate curiosity and engagement. When he is not teaching he is probably either reading or tramping around the sheep pastures at Tariku Farm in Everson.



Bacchus Taylor,         Head of School

Bacchus was born in a small hidden village in Northern California, protected by a rogue border patrol that removed any sign that suggested such a place existed. He spent his early years there frolicking on the beach with the children of hippie rock stars until his family decided it was time to move to the Seattle area and give the public school system a go. Bacchus tried about as many schools as he could, including four different institutions during his high school years. He eventually earned a BA from the Evergreen State College and a Master’s in Teaching from Western Washington University. He found his way to Explorations Academy and learned more as a teacher than he ever did as a student. During his eight-year stint, he discovered a passion for backpacking, cooking, foraging, and finding the hidden connections that make any subject fascinating. He also started his thru-hiking obsession, hiking the Camino de Santiago four times, crossing most of Iceland, and completing the Pacific Crest Trail. He is excited to return to Explorations Academy in a new capacity.

Dr. Edward Solem, Middle School Faculty

Ed Solem is an educator.  That is, he likes learning and facilitating others in this process. He looks for ways to inspire enthusiasm because he believes it is the key to self-learning.  He has lived and taught in several countries and it gives him a perspective on his culture, the traditions of education that he has been a part of and those that are the basis of educational systems in other countries. He believes the lessons he has learned on these international adventures has broadened his ability to assist young people in understanding the challenges of the world they will inherit. He especially enjoys the middle school level because he has found that his energy level, enthusiasm for learning and love of projects really works at this level. Part of his excitement about being a part of this school is the quality of the individuals with whom he will be working.  They are top notch. Dr. Solem has a Bachelor’s, a Master’s, and a Doctorate in Education. So here he is with all these degrees and experiences under his belt, working shoulder to shoulder with talented, dedicated people, in a school that is pursuing a holistic approach to education. He couldn’t be happier.


Ian Carroll, Intern and Former EA Student

Ian is a former Explorations student. Raised by two educators, he took his first teaching job at age 14 leading an improv theatre group. He has worked in classrooms inside and outside of the United States and taught in both English and Spanish. Among his many skills, he is a licensed vision therapist and currently works as an instructor at the YMCA rockwall. This summer Ian returned from eight months traveling the US, Mexico, and Guatemala. When he heard that Explorations was entering a new phase of growth under the leadership of his former advisor, Bacchus Taylor, he was overjoyed. He is honored to be a part of such a courageous and capable team, and he is humbled to be able to give back to a community that contributed so much to his own growth.