Head of School, Founder of Revel Academy
Originally from Oregon, Erin moved to California to study biology and biotechnology at Santa Clara University. She and her husband moved to Ottawa after completing their undergraduate degrees, where Erin started a biotechnology business development company. After a few years, she felt the pull towards education, attending the University of Ottawa and teaching at a private school.
Her children are the prime motivation behind Revel Academy. Erin chose to homeschool in order to create a learner-driven environment, but the scaffolding that occurs when peers collaborate was missing. The family decided to give traditional schooling a try, only to be frustrated by the lack of individualization and 21st century skill development. After researching best practices and visiting several innovative schools around Canada and the United States, Erin knew she had found something extraordinary in the Acton Academy model.
Erin admires rebels who are willing to question the norm and have the courage to fight for the rights of others. She looks to Malala Yousafzai, Hermione Grainger, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Princess Leia for inspiration. Erin loves traveling, reading, and spending family time at their cottage exploring the woods and enjoying the water.
Spark Studio Guide
Aindrea grew up in Ottawa and is a trained AMI Montessori teacher with a Bachelor's in Sociology and Psychology. She has worked with children aged 18-months to 15 years old for over 15 years and believes in storytelling and collaborative work to expand the mind. Aindrea has a strong musical background and incorporates the arts into her teaching.
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.