An Innovative Elementary School Opening in the East Bay Area

What sets us apart

  • Small class size
  • Mixed-age classroom
  • Independent thinking
  • Strong community utilization
  • Students learn at their own pace
  • No homework
  • Hands-on & e-learning
  • Socratic Guiding
  • Travel is encouraged

Our classroom

Acton Academy East Bay students learn together in a mixed age classroom, bringing the classic one-room school house into the modern age. Students learn to mentor and be mentored by one another. Our Guides (our term for teachers) are not lecturers, but act as facilitators of student growth.

The Acton Methods of Learning

Learn to know
Socratic Guiding

Socratic Discussions and self paced challenges equip children to be independent lifelong learners.

Learn to know
eLearning

We use the latest in educational technology in a purposeful, meaningful way, allowing students to learn at their own ability level and at their own pace.

Learn to do
Hands-on & Quest-based learning

Hands-on Quests for Science, Entrepreneurship and the Arts prepare children for Apprenticeships and real world challenges.

Learn to be
Student-driven learning

The Hero’s Journey, relational covenants and real world consequences transform difficult decisions into virtuous habits.

Our promises to your child

They will:

  • Begin a Hero's Journey
  • Learn to be a curious, independent, lifelong learner.
  • Develop a deep respect for economic, political and religious freedoms.
  • Cherish the arts, wonders of the physical world and the mysteries of life on Earth.
  • Discover his or her most precious gifts and learn to use them to solve difficult problems.
Promises

Our team

Kate Dao

Parent & Founder

Kate is a lifelong learner. She believes children should have the freedom to explore their natural curiosity and creativity. When this happens, children are happy. They are self motivated because learning becomes a joy. Kate founded Acton Academy East Bay to create a space for students to experience education that encourages critical thinking, imagination, creativity, and exploration. Her mission is to give all students an opportunity to test their ideas to discover how and why things work, and to find answers to their questions in a caring and nurturing environment.

For the past decade, Kate has worked as an educator developing individualized programs for K-12 students that emphasize critical thinking and problem solving. Her work has helped countless students succeed academically and realize their full potential. Prior to her career in education, Kate worked at startups in the tech industry leading teams in marketing, HR, and business development. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Davis and a master's degree from the California State University of Sacramento.

Our Advisors

Laura Sandefer

Laura Sandefer

Advisor

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

Jeff Sandefer

Advisor

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 Entrepeneurship 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.

Begin your family's journey

Learn more about our philosophy, beliefs, location, tuition, financial assistance and how to apply with this free info kit.

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