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Erin Turri

Director

Born and raised in Michigan, Erin has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. She owned businesses since she was a child and through her college years, while she earned a Bachelor of Science as an Anatomic Pathologists' Assistant. After eight years in the medical field, she followed her calling to design and build an independent coffee shop from the ground up while  remaining in her profession. Four years later, a one year old and a newborn became her top priority and she sold the business. Now eight and seven, her daughters have become the inspiration that fuels new-found passions. Responding to a call to action, Erin found herself searching for a school that would empower her daughters and embrace their unique selves while preparing them to be caring, contributing community members. Finding the perfect fit in Acton Academy, she pursued ownership to ensure them the stability of this learner-driven education. Armed with the experience and knowledge that Acton philosophy can be life-changing for many children, she is determined to help families and children realize their hero within. 

Tracey Marchyok

Lead Guide

Tracey is a dynamic guide with 25 years of teaching experience in a variety of capacities: independent schools, unschooling parent, childbirth doula, homeschooling liaison, outdoor environmental schools, and public school. She is leading the way in cultivating lessons in a multi-age environment that fosters growth inside and outside the studio in social and environmental justice. Her instruction has always been based on student interests and abilities, driving her to create learning opportunities for students in a place-based, project-based education. A leader in stewardship education and deep ecological learning, Tracey has experience shaping course plans to meet academic, intellectual, emotional, and social needs of students. She has worked on research vessels on the Great Lakes, driven 15 passenger vans on cross country learning trips, implemented innovative nature immersion programs, and has been named "Outstanding Place Based Educator and Leader" with Southeastern Michigan Stewardship Coalition. Tracey was a childbirth doula for 16 years. She embodies all that is required of a guide to empower young learners on heroes' journeys.  

Laura Sandefer

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

Co-founder

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.

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