Telstar Freshman Academy Philosophy

The Telstar Freshman Academy seeks to partner in learning with students to address the question, "What will my impact be?" Built on a foundation of respect for self, respect for others, and respect for one's environment, learners develop 21st century and higher order thinking skills to pose questions and solve real-world problems. Through integrated, project-based units, learners create connections, enhance their sense of curiosity, and practice collaboration to engage in their learning. 

Our Mission
To expose learners to 21st Century Learning Skills and academic standards through project-based exploration that integrates experiential education practices and traditional coursework to engage young minds and encourage lifelong learning.



Our Facilities
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond hosts the TFA in both indoor and outdoor classroom spaces.  Stay tuned for a virtual tour of the Lakeside Lodge, the Warden Norman Lewis Amiptheatre, Alice's Acres, and the new Harvest for Health Barn.


Our Community
The Telstar Freshman Academy is fortunate to call the greater Bethel area home and be connected to the University of Maine system through Cooperative Extension 4-H.  With the amazing amount of natural and human resources in our own backyard combined with access to the state's public university system, our students have the opportunity to make a positive impact on a local and statewide level through their engagement in Service Learning and Placed-Based learning experiences.



Our Team

Douglas Bennett has been working at Telstar High School since 1999. He has been teaching English Language Arts to students in grades 9-12 throughout that time.  He has taught American Literature, British Literature, World Literature, creative writing, Senior GE Seminar,  and AP Literature and Composition. This is Doug's fifth year as an educator at the Telstar Freshmen Academy. 

Kelly Dole has been with SAD44 since 1998 teaching environmental and Earth sciences to freshmen.  This is her fifth year with the TFA, where she integrates genuine science practices, the use of digital media, and cooperative project-based learning into the science program at TFA.

Tara Pocock is a 4-H Professional with over 20 years of experience working with youth in a variety of educational and outdoor settings.  She is deeply committed to supporting the development of personal growth as well as educational advancement.

Norm Greenberg is a 4-H Professional who has been working in the field of education in experiential, outdoor, and traditional contexts for 27 years.  He brings a wide range of skills and experiences to the program. Having seen many individuals make enormous strides as a result of engaging programming, Norm is extremely motivated to help nurture this group of young people in the TFA.


John Eliot joins the TFA team as the Telstar High School Dean of Students. He has been employed by SAD44 for the past 15 years and has previously worked with TFA as a Special Education Teacher. Outside of the classroom he is the Senior class co-advisor, the varsity baseball coach, and the varsity soccer coach. He is an avid alpine skier and former ski coach. John is dedicated to helping all students achieve their academic goals.