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 the past year and a half we have been homeschooling our children, which has been, and continues to be, 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 has proven 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 to 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 were 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; and "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 & Middle School 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 School Guide
Acton Kennebunkport Lead Guide (Adventure Studio)
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.
Acton Kennebunkport Spark Guide
Danielle grew up in Bella Vista, AR and was one of 7 children. She studied classical ballet for 16 years, as well as piano and voice lessons in her elementary years. Danielle was homeschooled for the entirety of her preschool-12th grade education, after which she studied early childhood education at Northwest Arkansas Community College.
Danielle always had an entrepreneurial spirit; at the age of 11 she began her business offering babysitting, nannying, and house cleaning services to friends and family. At the age of 16, Danielle started teaching at a local preschool and continued teaching in multiple early childhood centers in Arkansas until she relocated to Montana in 2017 for a full-time nannying position.
Once Danielle arrived in Montana, she immediately realized that preschool was a huge need in the small community. With that entrepreneurial spirit she began managing a preschool in a local church as well as started a ballet studio to share her passion for ballet and offer opportunities for local families to discover the joy of dance in a nurturing and inspiring atmosphere.
In addition to her preschool operations, ballet instruction, and nannying Danielle began working as her county’s Foster and Adoptive Resource Coordinator. This role included: offering monthly training for foster/adoptive parents, preparing meals for the families, and providing quality child care with trained caregivers during each session. Danielle had the opportunity to work closely with the local social workers, churches, and business owners to meet the physical, emotional, and financial needs of local foster and adoptive families.
In the Fall of 2019 a local family opened an Acton Academy in the community and they reached out to Danielle for insight into instructional pedagogy for young learners, family demographics, economic infrastructure, and community involvement. This working relationship turned into mentorship between Danielle and the owners of the school, and this provided Danielle with her first exposure to Acton Academy. Danielle joined their team full-time in January of 2021 as their Lead Spark Guide and Administrator, to take over as Director in the Fall of 2021. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Academy closed in June of 2021.
Although unexpected and unplanned, Danielle felt a need to support the local families already enrolled with Acton for the Fall. She took it upon herself to launch a school to support those families, but his was not an easy task logistically. She quickly set up a meeting with the Mayor to showcase her vision and business proposal followed by a presentation before the City Council. After an intense few months she gained approval and began Little Learner’s Montessori-inspired preschool, as well as an after-school tutoring program for elementary students which she owned and operated for the 2021-2022 school year to support the community during their transition.
Acton Academy impressed Danielle in its innovative and intuitive style of redefining education. Danielle is always seeking opportunities to transform the mindset surrounding learning and individual growth. She feels most inspired when given the freedom to work creatively with others, and together, profoundly change the world!
Acton Outdoor Program Lead Guide
Acton Outdoor Program Guide
For the past 8 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.
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.