Our History


Head of School

Anna Emerick-Biad, is a native Las Cruces resident, mother of five amazing children, and wife to Chris Biad.
She is passionate about helping people and using her time and talents to create a dynamic learning environment for children.  Her professional background includes many years as a successful real estate entrepreneur, marketing and branding expert, and philanthropist.  She is passionate about health and wellness and continually strives to better herself through continued education.  Becoming a part of the Acton community has been life changing!  Anna has met this challenge with passion, creativity, and determination.  Launching a school has been incredibly difficult but rewarding beyond measure.

Laura Sandefer Co-founder and Head of School Acton Academy Austin

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 and Middle School Guide

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.

Acton Academies are opening up across the world:



OPENING 2016-2017

With many launching throughout 2017 …