Do you value family time over hours of homework?
We believe that home time is family time!
Both in and outside of school, children need time to play free,
time to be creative and curious,
time to pursue hobbies,
time to inspire others,
time for reflection...
time to be a kid.
WHY WE ARE STARTING AN ACTON ACADEMY
Kori and Michael Stack, founders of Acton Academy Kennebunkport, with their four children at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah; Summer 2019
For two and a half years we homeschooled our children, which was a wonderful journey. We began homeschooling because we wanted to instill our values, give our children time to run and be free, to be outside, to experience and learn from the real world around them, and simply to spend time as a family.
What amazed us almost immediately was how creative our kids are and how much they can do on their own. It proved to us, what is already known, that kids want to learn and do it very naturally if we take the risk and step back. We do more service to our kids acting as their mentors, guides, and coaches as opposed to spoon-feeding them information that has no relevance. It feels risky to give up control, but we have seen that loosening the reins and allowing kids freedom is the only way to let them learn who they are and what they are capable of.
Our kids are growing up in an entrepreneurial household, so statistically have a higher chance of being entrepreneurs themselves. But, regardless if they are or not, we want them to be able to think on their own, come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems, and have the confidence to go against the grain when it's appropriate to set a higher standard.
When we read about Acton Academy in the book 'Courage To Grow' by Laura Sandefer it encompassed so much of what we were trying to accomplish for our kids in our homeschool. Our reaction to Acton Academy was, "Could this be even better? Could this challenge our kids in an amazing way? And could this help not only our kids, but other like-minded families in our community?"
At that moment, we were so happy with our own homeschooling and by no means looking to start a school, but we could not ignore that the answer to these questions was an absolute 'YES'!
So we did what we typically do...jumped in with excitement, faith, and two feet!
If you share these thoughts,
then perhaps Acton Academy is right for your family.
OUR PROMISES TO YOUR CHILD
Our Learner Driven Communities are run mostly by our students, where closely connected families of lifelong learners are bound by clear covenants. Where "Learning to Do" and "Learning to Be" are even more important than "Learning to Know".
LEARNING AT ACTON
LEARN TO LEARN
Socratic Discussions and self paced challenges equip children to be independent lifelong learners.
LEARN TO DO
Hands-on Quests for Science, Entrepreneurship and the Arts prepare children for Apprenticeships and real world challenges.
LEARN TO BE
The Hero's Journey, relational covenants and real world consequences transform difficult decisions into virtuous habits.
Acton Kennebunkport Co-founder Head of School & MSLP Guide
Acton Kennebunkport Co-founder
Kori grew up in Storrs, CT before attending Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA for her undergraduate studies.
After college Kori worked in technology consulting for six years at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte Consulting traveling to client sites around the country. While she was very successful and enjoyed what she did, Kori felt a pull towards education and helping children. She went back to school where she earned her Master of Math Education from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.
In Chicago, Kori taught High School math at Lane Tech College Prep for four years before starting a family and prioritizing her role as a mother. Starting an Acton Academy combines Kori's desire to do the best for her children, while also making a difference in other children's lives...truly bringing out her own inner genius.
Kori is happily married to Michael and together they have four energetic, happy children. The live in Kennebunkport, ME ten months of the year, but rent their house each summer in order to give their children the experience of living in different locations around the country. For the past four years they have spent summers in Oregon, Colorado, South Carolina, California, Vermont, and Utah, with international being next on the list.
Kori and Michael have always been very intentional about the way they live their life and raise their children. They have worked very hard to live a simple, but rich life and are extremely grateful.
Michael grew up in Valparaiso, IN before attending Indiana University in Bloomington, IN for his undergraduate studies.
Michael's entrepreneurial spirit began at an early age when he started a lawn-mowing business, Mighty Mowers, at the age of 13. This company ran successfully for 6 years and was sold for profit during Michael's time in college where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Computer Information Systems.
After beginning his career in the corporate world at PricewaterhouseCoopers the pull of entrepreneurship lead him to a successful career in Real Estate.
Michael went on to follow an opportunity and purchase an existing business in the workers' compensation industry and is now an industry thought leader. He has won Best Blog for the past 7 years, is a national speaker, and founder of the Amaxx Workers' Comp Training Center.
He has brought innovation to the industry with a cutting-edge learning platform teaching workers' comp cost containment systems. Through an extensive curriculum, professionals can earn their Certified Master of Workers' Compensation designation.
Michael believes in the philosophy made famous by Zig Ziglar that "you can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want."
Acton Kennebunkport Director & MIDDLE STUDIO & LAUNCHPAD Guide
ADVENTURE Studio Guide
Mackenzie grew up in Willington, CT before attending the University of New Hampshire for both undergraduate and graduate studies. She holds a B.A. in both English and Spanish and Master's in Secondary English Education.
Mackenzie spent 14 years as a public school teacher, providing English Education at the high school level, while trying to find innovative and creative ways to make the public classroom more student-focused and inquiry driven. She is also passionate about travel and service learning and the opportunities that these experiences present for our young learners. As a result, she led multiple international student trips during her time as a public school teacher. She believes passionately that seeing the world from various perspectives and getting to know people from different walks of life, enriches our journey and shapes us into more compassionate and globally-minded citizens.
In transitioning to Acton Academy, she has found a community that supports what she has always believed about education: that every learner is capable of greatness when provided the tools and opportunities to develop their passions. She is thrilled to help guide our young Eagles on their journeys and to help grow Acton Academy Kennebunkport’s programming to include more opportunities for service learning and travel.
Mackenzie is happily married to David, and together they have 2 high-energy, independent children. As a family, they enjoy hiking and exploring nature, relaxing at the beach, and spending time with friends and family. They live in Kennebunk, ME.
Angela grew up in Manchester, NH and York, Maine before attending the University of Southern Maine for her undergraduate studies.
She went on to study Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Holistic Health as well as playing all four years of college level Softball for the USM team. Angela loves to travel and decided to spend a semester abroad studying photography, holistic health, outdoor education, and Aboriginal Studies at Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW, Australia. She considers this one of her most memorable experiences and encourages others to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad.
During her college internship in Rochester, NY where she worked with youth to offer recreation programs for life enrichment, she met her husband Nick and they now live happily in Berwick, ME with their two beautiful daughters. As a family they enjoy being outdoors and love to spend time visiting different campgrounds throughout New England.
After college, Angela’s career took her to working with seniors in a variety of settings as a Recreation Therapist creating innovative programming with a special passion for intergenerational programs and community involvement. For the past eight years, Angela has specialized in memory care for those living with Dementia and has received training and certifications in Positive Approach to Care as well as becoming a Dementia Practitioner. In recognition of her creative achievements, Angela received the 2020 Excellence in Long Term Care Award given by the Maine Healthcare Association as well as being nationally recognized as a recipient of the 2020 Argentum Hero Award given out to only four recipients across the nation each year.
Her success has always been driven by her passion and she puts her heart and soul into everything she sets out to do. It is this exact passion that has called her to want to work with children and explore life from a different perspective and through the lens of a child.
Working with dementia has taught her many life lessons including the practice of patience, creativity, learning to listen more and the ability to speak without words, as well as the art of living in the moment. She believes that if you spend more time living in the moment, you will always be exactly where you are meant to be. Her goal is to live life with love and kindness and to always find something to be grateful for in every day.
SPARK Studio Guide
Outdoor Program Guide
Liz has always loved learning new things and being out in nature, surrounded by the beauty of this world. She grew up on the side of Mount Cardigan in Orange, New Hampshire, and spent summers living on a small island with her family. She attended the University of New Hampshire, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and her Master’s Degree in Education. She was also a member of the Women’s Crew team.
Liz enjoys running, cooking, exploring new places, gardening, landscaping, hiking, volunteering, and spending time with her three children and her dog. Her most important and cherished teaching has come from her experiences guiding her own children through life and watching them become curious, independent, and amazing humans.
Liz feels strongly about helping others and enjoys volunteering in her community. She runs a food drive every November, has been a Scout leader and Eagle Scout mentor, and was a facilitator at the Center for Grieving Children for several years. She hopes to share her love for community service with her students because helping others creates connections and fosters compassion and empathy.
Liz is excited to bring her love of learning and her belief that all children are born with unlimited potential to the Spark program. She considers it an honor to be able to guide children and encourage them to grow, learn, investigate and be curious about the world around them.
For the past 10 years Julie has been mentoring children of all ages in nature connection on the seacoast of Maine.
A Maine native, Julie has a deep connection with nature that goes back to her younger years when her parents immersed her in all things nature. Over time Julie grew into an intuitive, curious, creative, adventurous naturalist.
A mother of 5 Julie has shared her love of nature with her children who often follow her up the mountains of the NH Whites, into the deep woods of Maine, or into the gardens on their land. Julie's innate sense of being among nature she would call is "spiritual." Julie looks forward to connecting and inspiring the students of Acton Academy in their own journey with the natural world.
Outdoor Program Guide
Ryan grew up in southern New Hampshire and enjoyed exploring the White Mountains on skis and in hiking boots as a teenager. He studied Economics and Finance at Bryant University where he was captain of the Cross Country/Track & Field team. After a brief career in corporate finance he felt called to do work that would be more meaningful to him and helpful to others. Ever-curious about the systems that make the world work Ryan began exploring holistic health, fitness, organic farming and “rewilding”. He soon discovered a passion for foraging, tracking and survival skills which lead him to Maine Primitive Skills School. There he apprenticed for a year and stayed for two more to help teach adults and children of all ages. Along the way his interests expanded to include traditional homesteading skills, permaculture and earth-based spirituality.
Hoping to be closer to family and friends Ryan returned to southern New Hampshire and soon began working for White Pine Programs, another school that was inspired by the teachings of Tom Brown Jr. and the 8 Shields model. He has 5 years of experience working with children ages 4-18 in the outdoors and has run numerous adult workshops including the popular meetup group Seacoast Nature Connection. Ryan is a certified Permaculture Designer and Wilderness First Responder.
Ryan loves to help folks of all ages to find their unique gifts and express them in the world. He enjoys demonstrating how humans can re-engage with their natural environment to become regenerative stewards. He also believes that the world is our invisible classroom and enjoys guiding children and adults in discovering the lessons all around us.
Ryan’s passions include gardening, foraging, paddling, permaculture design, hunting, fishing meditation and fitness. He is interested in building community around co-operative farming and will be leasing land in South Berwick to begin farming in 2022.
Acton Academy Advisor & Co-founder
Acton Academy Advisor & Co-founder
Laura lived on both US coasts and in between as a child, then settled into Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate studies in the College of Arts and Science.
After being awarded the highly competitive Walter Wattles Fellowship at Lloyd’s of London, Laura worked in the aviation insurance industry in New York City. Deciding to follow her calling into the world of education, Laura returned to Nashville and earned her Master of Education at Peabody College. This led her to her work at the Oklahoma Arts Institute, creating fine arts education programs for teachers and talented high school students.
Laura married Jeff Sandefer and is the happy mother of Sam and Charlie and step-mother to Taite. It is the inspiration of these children that led Laura and Jeff to co-found Acton Academy.
Her greatest hero is her mother who was a Master Teacher. Her wisest mentor is her father who sent her off to college with two words of advice: "Be curious".
Jeff Sandefer lives a dual life as an entrepreneur and a Socratic Guide.
As an entrepreneur, he founded his first company at age 16 and went on to found or co-found seven successful businesses.
As a Socratic teacher at the University of Texas, Jeff’s students five times voted him the school’s Outstanding Teacher and Businessweek named him one of the top Entrepreneurship professors in America. Jeff went on to co-found the Acton School of Business, an MBA program perennially ranked by the Princeton Review among the best in the nation. In 2012 The Economist honored him as one of the top fifteen Business School professors in the world.
Jeff is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, where he served for over twenty years on the school’s governing committees. He was a longtime director of the Philanthropy Roundtable and National Review magazine and one of the youngest members ever elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
A SCHOOL FOR THE 21st CENTURY
A DAY IN THE LIFE
An inside look at the Acton Academy studio in Austin, TX (the first Acton Academy).
Watch the video here
A VIRTUAL TOUR OF ACTON ACADEMY
An explanation of Acton's core beliefs and how the school operates.
Watch the coverage here
An award winning independent documentary about Acton Academy.
Watch the video here