Image of Mr. Snell

Doc Snell

Assistant Principal

Bachelor's Degree, Social Science, Secondary Education, Biola University; Master's Degree, Educational Administration, National University 

Doc Snell joined Great Lakes Learning Academy in 2023 after working at Nevada Connections Academy for eight years. His favorite part of being an assistant principal at the school is “without question, graduation day. … I especially like pausing to acknowledge the collective effort that brought the students this far and appreciate the amazing adventure that awaits them as they step out into their future.”

Why He Became an Educator

According to Mr. Snell, “I was born into a family of educators and therefore it was in my DNA (or the stars), but that would only be half true. The full truth is that I tried very hard to do anything but become an educator for years. … For me, the learning process always felt harder than it needed to be, and like many, I wanted to spend more of my time focusing on things that came easy. 

“Everything changed the first time I was asked to teach someone else how to do something I was good at, namely soccer. I was given the opportunity to be a counselor for a summer soccer skill camp at age 17, where I was assigned the youngest campers, ages 5–7. … It became my mission to teach them the basic skills and rules of the game, and to convince them why anything I was saying was worth their time and attention. … Despite my mixed success, I was hooked on the teaching and learning process from that day forward!”

The Online Experience at Great Lakes Learning Academy

“This school offers an alternative learning approach and environment to the more rigid daily schedule of a traditional platform,” says Mr. Snell. “Here students and their families have more control over the look and feel of their daily experience of ‘doing school.’ As the world evolves, sometimes making life more complicated for the average working family, online platforms like ours offer a wonderful mix of structure and autonomy. … I love that we have a dynamic staff well-suited to the large variety of needs and reasons why families might choose our school!”

According to Mr. Snell, the school creates a welcoming community for students, parents, and teachers by getting frequent input from all of them. “No group can call itself a community unless all members are welcomed into the process of building and defining its culture. This means that culture is always changing, and with it, the community. Our goal in creating a welcoming community is to ensure the conversation is ongoing, so we can evolve together as the needs of our community grow and change.”

How This School Helps Prepare Students for a Bright Future

According to Mr. Snell, “Great Lakes Learning Academy reinforces the mindset of a life-long learning journey, along with the necessary traits and skills one will need along the way. This includes the accumulation of knowledge, the wisdom of how and when to apply it, as well as what to do when students identify holes in their own knowledge base.

“The online learning platform requires students to either possess or develop certain traits and skills that ensure their success. … Traits like self-motivation, organization, goal-oriented, and accountability are all highly valued for independent learners in this situation. Skills such as note-taking, reading, writing, and overall communication are also perceived strengths for online learners.

“In short, the daily routines and the unique set of traits a student needs to execute a successful daily schedule is what differentiates [an online school from a traditional school]—and different does not necessarily mean better. … Knowing the unique strengths, challenges, and needs of your student is essential when considering the differences of both options.”

“I am passionate about student success and partnering with families as students pursue their own unique, life-long learning adventure!”  

— Mr. Snell