love to learn

Upcoming Workshops in Elko, Nevada

We are excited to offer 3 workshops during February and March 2020.  Click below for more information about each workshop.

Workshop #1:  Learning Time UP and Frustration DOWN

Workshop #2: Ah-ha!  Science Encounters Ahead: Time for Grade-level Science

Workshop #3: Creation Laboratory: Integrated Units

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Open-Gate Foundation provides personalized support that improves the delivery of instruction in schools.

Open-Gate Foundation helps teachers reclaim valuable teaching time by strengthening relationships.  Open-Gate Foundation comes alongside teachers and administrators to support their efforts to provide safe, secure, and effective learning environments.     

Watch our short video that summarizes Open-Gate Foundation's Role in student achievement.

Teachers and students benefit from classrooms that are under-control and hands-on learning.  We can help you with classroom management strategies and guided lesson planning that results in phenomena-based units that teach to Nevada Academic Content Standards in a fun, engaging and integrated fashion.

Would you like to have more science in your school?

About Us

open gate_Angel Lake

A gate can be quite different than a door.  Most gates you can see through, and what is on the other side entices you to open the gate…

Our Founders live on 5 acres in Lyon County, and each day they have to open a gate as they leave their property.  One day they asked themselves, “What would happen if we didn’t open the gate?”.

Their conclusion, they would be stuck!   

Just like a property gate, there are gates in education for administrators, teachers, and students, such as obtaining licenses, completing training, developing skills and abilities, acquiring knowledge.  When a person arrives at a gate a choice is presented:

  • stand there and look at the gate and remain where you are,
  • open the gate yet remain where you are, or
  • open the gate and move through…

Open-Gate has the ability to help schools open the gate and move through...  We take your hand and move alongside you as you step through the gate.  

Who will meet you at the gate?


Dr. Brandolyn Thran holds advance degrees in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Environmental Science and Health.  She LOVES science!! She has a knack for breaking down complex concepts into understandable chunks of information.  

Brandolyn worked for the U.S. Army for 15-years leading their Microbial Risk Assessment Initiative -- which means she used data, lots of data, to understand the risk of bacteria in air, food and water, and then helped develop solutions so that our Soldiers would have cleaner air, water, and food.  She thrives in data-rich environments, and enjoys sharing and helping people implement data-driven decision making concepts. She has taught high school and university science courses.

When she meets you at the gate, in her backpack are classroom management strategies, data-analytic skills, and boundless energy and compassion.  When she isn’t working she enjoys anything outside, playing piano, and hanging out with her husband and son.



Dr. Carolyn Ross has been in education for over 40 years, starting as a parent-classroom aide and retiring as Superintendent.  She LOVES education!!

Carolyn has served in schools in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Nevada, which means she has seen a lot of variety in education.  She has sat behind a teacher's desk, a vice-principal's desk, a principal's desk, and a Superintendents desk, so wherever you are in your journey, she can relate and understand the challenges you are facing.  

She is passionate about collaboration, but also recognizes the importance of strong school leadership.  When she meets you at the gate, she brings mentoring and coaching skills, a deep understanding of educational systems, astute observational skills, and a willingness to serve.  When she isn’t working she enjoys spinning classes and swimming. She enjoys travelling the world via cruises with her husband, and visiting her four grandkids.


Together Dr. Thran and Dr. Ross, with other members of their team, look forward to meeting you at your gate, right where you are, wherever you are in Nevada. We’ll work with you to bring out the best science education possible at your school.  

Work With Us

Open-Gate Foundation makes science accessible and fun to both teachers and students.  We train teachers and provide individual support to help elementary and middle school teachers develop a passion for teaching science.

Why Work with Open-Gate?

Open-Gate Foundation is Nevada-based.  Some people believe that expertise must come from far away and big cities, but this is not true when it comes to educational support in Nevada.  There are experts standing by to help your school improve student achievement, right here in Nevada. Because we live in rural Nevada, we love coming to your community and meeting in your schools so we can get to know you better.

We genuinely care about your school.  Because we are Nevadan’s we really want you to succeed!  We understand the unique strengths and challenges of Nevada communities; limited broadband/internet, geographic isolation, non-traditional work schedules.  If you are not successful, we are not successful. We have kids and grandkids in the systems we are serving, so we want the best for Nevada students.

How do we make this happen?

STEP 1:  Schedule an introductory conversation where we can learn about your needs and dreams.

STEP 2:  If we are a match, we will come to your school to observe your current practices and operations.

STEP 3:  After the initial site visit, we will draft a proposal that includes professional development, follow-up visits, and observational time to provide the support to meet your needs.

STEP 4:  Once the proposal is agreed upon, we roll-up our sleeves and get to work alongside you.

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Our Services

Time To Teach

Classroom Management Strategies

Did you know most teachers lose 5 - 9 hours of teaching time per week to low-level disruptive behaviors?

Too often teachers attempt to do hands-on science in their classroom before their students are behaviorally or procedurally ready.   Then, when students misbehave or do not show respect for themselves, others, or materials, the activity is scrapped and the classroom returns to easily controllable textbook learning. 

We can help.  Reclaim lost teaching and the destruction of materials by training teachers in Time To Teach classroom management strategies.  These strategies are the “icing on the cake” to any already established behavior program.  Time To Teach strategies focus on how teachers interact with students, and provides tools for minimizing disruptive behavior by the establishment of clear expectations.  

Topics include:

  • Teacher Self-Control
  • Unconditional Positive Regard towards Students
  • Clarifying and Teaching Expectations (Behavioral and Procedural)
  • Physical Classroom Arrangement 

Science Content

Science Content and Lesson Plan Guidance

Do the Next Generation Science Standards leave you scratching your head and asking, “How am I supposed to teach that?”

Science is awesome!  But, it is also complex and intimidating to many teachers.  Add in the challenge of trying to teach it to kids who are also learning basic skills such a reading, writing, and arithmetic, and you have a real challenge on your hands.

We can help. We provide both content knowledge support as well as guidance in how to create phenomena-based units.  We don’t come in and teach for you, instead, we empower you to become a teacher-of-science. You will learn skills that you can use for years to come, no matter what grade level you are teaching.

Data-Action Connection

Classroom Observations and Intentional Training

What gets measured gets changed.

“Assessment” and “Program Evaluation” are hot topics right now.  As a whole, the education system is beginning to understand the power of using data to make decisions.  

We can help.  We can assist you in your data-based needs in a variety of ways.  For example, one way might be to complete data-driven assessments for your school, for example a “Needs Assessment” or “External Program Evaluation” to meet Title 1 and other federally-funded program requirements.   Another way might be to help with your Data Teams and Professional Learning Communities -- for example, how do we use student assessments to influence and change our daily teaching practices? Or, you may need help interpreting data and communicating results to parents -- for example, what does this test score mean and how can you (a parent) help your child?    

Kind Words from Your Fellow Nevadans

As the Principal at Cottonwood Elementary School, I have been fortunate to work with Open Gate Foundation for the last 4 years. Brandolyn and Carolyn have provided our school with exceptional staff development around structuring teacher’s classroom and school wide management to allow for project based learning, and met our specific needs as a school. They have gathered a group of experienced educators to collect data and observe multiple times a year. The feedback received from the professional development and observations has been positive from all staff members.  I would highly recommend Open Gate Foundation to support your school or District in professional growth and continued improvement.

Mr. James Huckaby | Principal, Cottonwood Elementary School, Fernley, Nevada

I recently had the pleasure of partnering with Open-Gate Foundation on a needs assessment for Southside Elementary School in Elko, Nevada. Their data collection, analysis, findings and recommendations are made stronger and more meaningful due to Open-Gate's wealth of knowledge pertaining to public school operation and performance standards. I found Open-Gate to be extremely professional and truly motivated to help their clients improve educational outcomes for children.

Margo Teague | Owner, Impact Evaluation & Assessment Services, Elko, Nevada

Open-Gate provided our school with an object Needs Assessment which we were able to use to help define our vision and purpose. We appreciated the comprehensive format and honest feedback.

Mikel Lopategui | Principal, Southside Elementary School, Elko, Nevada

Curious to Learn More?

We welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your school!

While we have offices in Fernley and Elko, our real offices are on wheels, because we see the value of being in your school, with your staff and students.

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open-gate logo kids and science

Teachers and students benefit from classrooms that are under-control and hands-on learning.  We can help you with classroom management strategies and guided lesson planning that results in phenomena-based units that teach to Nevada Academic Content Standards in a fun, engaging and integrated fashion.