Built upon a foundation of academic excellence and a mindset to drive change, Exploration High School graduates are empowered with 21st century skills to solve the problems facing their communities.


Creating a school of learners who work and ideate together to build a culture and community of empathetic, equitable, and forward-thinking problem solvers.


Our Staff

Dave Heighington 

School Director

"We are reimagining education together. I've been fortunate to be at the forefront of education across the country and have seen what authentic learning looks, sounds, and feels like. Everyone has a place at the table. Whether you're a student, parent, staff, or community member, you belong here. That's what we're building together.”


Sam Neisen

Outreach Coordinator


“I was lucky in my career to work
with excellent colleagues and students at a prestigious, large, suburban high school for about three years.  There we had the chance to engage students in deep thinking about who they were, what was the world, and how to operate in it.  Sadly, that opportunity was lost. For three years I saw a system and a bureaucracy rule -- a system that was solely focused on efficiency and standardization.  The reign of a system of efficiency harmed students.  It created inauthentic and arbitrary stress for students working on tasks that had little to no standing in the rest of the world let alone their future life.


Board Members

Nathan Strenge

Board Chair

Fielding International


Hibo Ali

University of Minnesota


Jon Bacal

Twin Cities Changemakers


Stephen Kemp-Finance Chair

St. Thomas University | ISD 196

Math Educator

Shawn Smith

Wildamere Capital

Vice President

Eileen Sene

Pricewaterhourse Coopers

Risk Assurance Director

Mari Avaloz

Upward Bound at St. Olaf

Program Director

Steve Owens

Lockridge Grindal Nauen


Community Ambassadors

Community Ambassadors advocate for Exploration High School and its learners

Jemar Lee

Morningside College


Jasmine McBride

Education Reimagined


Randy Fielding

Fielding International

Founder and Principal

Aditi Lal

Soka University

Education & Societal Change

Wayne Jennings

Jennings Community School

MN Education Legend

Ben Owens

Open Way Learning

Education Innovator


Contributors & Sponsors

Exploration High Schools supports State of Education and its leaders from contributing Minnesota thought partners.



Attend Our Next Virtual Board Meeting!

Monday, November 30

Starting at 6:30pm

Click here to join!

If you would like to make a public comment, please email dave.heighington@explorationhighschool.org at least 48 business hours before a meeting.

Minutes from Previous Meetings

Board Policies

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commitment


Contact Us

Dave Heighington

(978) 866-9615



Sam Neisen

(651) 335-8583



Exploration High School

229 13th Ave NE

Minneapolis, MN 55413

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