HEAD OF THE SCHOOL
My name is Anett Pasztor, co-founder of Acton Academy Turks And Caicos Islands. I am married and have 2 fantastic children.
We live in Turks and Caicos since 2012 and our kids were starting to go to private school here, but I knew I wanted something more and different. Unfortunately there are no other options in Providenciales next to the traditional education. So during a period of wondering what to do, I met a friend whose children attended Acton Academy in Canada. She said to me, “you know you can launch your own Acton Academy, right?” Little did I know this sentence would start our family on a life changing adventure.
I always knew the traditional school methods would be ok for all children, including our own. However, I didn’t want to settle for “just ok”. The homework, frequent tests, sitting in a classroom all day, and conforming to a school agenda felt to me like I was limiting my children’s potential and I could see the sparkle leaving their eyes as they became immersed in the traditional schooling culture. As a parent, I am certain you will agree, we only want the best for our children. To some degree, I feel the traditional methods of teaching, which have not changed much in the last century, have not kept up with and addressed the ever-changing environment and real-life challenges facing our children as they graduate high school.
Due to my European background, I have had some exposure to alternative schools including Montessori, Waldorf, Steiner and Northern European (Finnish) education systems. These philosophies have set the ground work for even more innovative and successful teaching environments like Acton Academy.
I started to dive deeper and deeper of this wonderful school and I remember, I was thinking, if this school only half as good as they are saying, it is still perfect for us. And guess what! After I was visiting few times the main campus in Austin, Texas, I realized it is even better in the real life. The kids are amazing, open-minded, creative, confident and capable to doing stuff you would never imagine, if you let them flourish. I talked to lots of owners and they all seemed so committed and actually told me, if you are part of this group, get ready, because you never want to leave it. Ever! So here I am, coming from Hungary, leaving my financial work background in Budapest, backpacking in South-America, meeting my Colombian husband, moving to this beautiful island, working in water sports business and now establishing a non-traditional school, to make a possibility to create a beautiful future for our children.
Acton Academy is a rethinking of school. Acton asks the fundamental question that was missing in our own educational experiences. What is education really for? Acton believes that education is not just about college, getting a job, or even starting a career. It’s about discovering a calling. It’s about answering the most fundamental questions: “Who am I? Where am I going? How do my passions and talents connect with the world around me? How can I serve a great need and even change the world?” Acton challenges students to become the agents and primary drivers of their learning, the entrepreneurs of their own education and life calling. That’s why we decided to join the hundreds of entrepreneurs around the world who are working to open an Acton Academy in their own community.
If you are ready to start a new adventure with your children and your family, be part of this successful, reinvented education system, I encourage you to give me a call, send me an email or schedule a school tour. I look forward to meeting you and your family.
HISTORY OF ACTON ACADEMY:
Acton Academy is a nonprofit foundation, co-founders Jeff and Laura Sandefer opened the first Acton in Austin Texas in 2008 to create a more robust education for their two sons (both of them with education background).
Laura and Jeff have taken their best practices and learning philosophies and are helping other like-minded families open schools all over the world. At this time there are 120 affiliated schools world-wide (and thousands of applications under review!).
“Acton Academy is the outcome of our dreaming and scheming. It is a new vision of what a learning community can be. It is gritty and dreamy. It is not for the faint of heart, because it inspires growth and transformation – neither of which are achieved without some suffering, which is the Latin root of the word passion.
With a decade under our belts, we can claim the Acton’s method of learning works. We have proof.”
Laura Sandefer – Courage to Growth
Jeff Sandefer - co founder of Acton Academy
Jeff is an entrepreneur and a Socratic teacher. As an entrepreneur, he began by starting his first company at age 16 and most recently sold Sandefer Capital, an energy investment firm with several billion dollars in assets. As a teacher, he cofounded the Acton School of Business, a school dedicated to America’s next generation of principled entrepreneurs and famous for its 100-hour work weeks. The Princeton Review has consistently ranked Acton’s teachers, students, and program among the best in the country. While at the University of Texas, Jeff’s students voted him the school’s Most Outstanding Teacher five times, and he was named by Businessweek as one of the top entrepreneurship professors in America. He also cofounded Acton Academy (Austin), where he is a middle school lead guide. Jeff has been a longtime board member of National Review, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, The Philanthropy Roundtable, and the Harvard Business School and is one of the youngest members ever elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
Laura Sandefer - co founder of Acton Academy
Laura is cofounder and head of school of Acton Academy (Austin). Raised by a science teacher and minister, Laura lived on both coasts and in between as a child and then landed at Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate studies in the College of Arts and Science. After working in London and New York City in the aviation insurance business, Laura yearned to follow her heart into the world of teaching. She went back to Vanderbilt's renowned Peabody College and received her Master of Education. This led her to work in arts education at the Oklahoma Arts Institute. Laura later married Jeff Sandefer and has two sons and a stepdaughter. It is the inspiration of these children that led Laura and Jeff to cofound Acton Academy. Her greatest hero is her beloved late mother, who was a master teacher as none other. Her wisest mentor is her father, who sent her off to college with two words of advice: "Be curious."
Embracing rigor is part of saying ‘yes’ to a Hero’s Journey. Deep learning brings a special sense of joy, but the mastery required for a Hero’s Journey goes even further, requiring commitment, discipline and hard work towards a worthy goal.
JOY + RIGOR = MASTERY