Laura & Jeff Sandefer

Founders of "The Acton Academy," A Socratic School Turning Students Into Confident Leaders & Aspiring Entrepreneurs

This week on the Team Never Quit Podcast, Marcus and Melanie delve into the dynamic world of education and entrepreneurship with special guests, Jeff and Laura Sandefer of Acton Academy.

Jeff, a seasoned entrepreneur and esteemed Socratic Guide, has a remarkable dual life, having founded multiple successful businesses and earned accolades as an outstanding teacher at the University of Texas. Laura, co-founder of Acton Academy and an author, takes us on her Hero’s Journey in education, chronicled in her book “Courage to Grow.”

Acton Academy’s learner-driven model has spread across the globe with over 130 locations, emphasizing real-world projects, apprenticeships, and Socratic discussions. The school’s foundation lies in the Hero’s Journey, a narrative pattern guiding children through adventures, victories, and transformations. Laura passionately discusses Acton Academy’s commitment to inspiring children to find their callings, employing adaptive game-based programs and online tools like Khan Academy to teach core skills.

Laura and Jeff share their passion for giving children hands-on entrepreneurial experience through Acton Academy’s Children’s Business Fairs. These fairs provide children with opportunities to be entrepreneurs, fostering confidence, imparting valuable lessons, and preparing them for success in a rapidly changing world.

Join us on this insightful journey with Jeff and Laura Sandefer as they discuss Acton Academy’s innovative approach to education, combining entrepreneurship, the Hero’s Journey, and hands-on experiences to inspire and equip the next generation of independent thinkers and lifelong learners.

Website –


In this episode you will hear:
• The best teacher in the best school in Austin TX just told us not to send our children to traditional school because they’d be chained to a desk and lectured to all day. (7:17)
• I’m not homeschooling. That wasn’t in my blood at all. (7:33)
• One of the narratives of the experience is The Heroes Journey. (9:25)
• An ordinary person hears a call, sets out on an adventure, wrestles monsters, has mentors and guides, seeking a treasure all the way. And they may or may not get the treasure, but they return home a changed person, ready to share their new ideas and character with the world around them. Then, they set out on a new adventure again. (9:38)
• Every time they get knocked down – they may not win, but they’ll get back up. (10:13)
• What a hero’s journey does is distinguish hero vs victim. Any child at an Acton Academy starts claiming the identity of the hero. That’s not someone who wins all the time; its someone who gets back up after they fall down. (10:23)
• The hero takes responsibility and starts problem-solving, whereas a victim outs the blame on somebody else. (10:59)
• They learn ways to work through problems with gritty decision-making (11:28)
• The 3 big monsters starting at age 6: We start wresting with Victim-hood, Resistance, and Distraction. (12:18)
• Sometimes your big brother needs to pick you up and say “get back in the fight.” (16:11)
• IQ is so overrated – because its perseverance, grit, and getting along with people. That’s what really matters. (19:30)
• People who are there because they want to be there, they choose to be there, and they’re on a mission for their life (21:08)
• No adult on campus is ever allowed to answer a question. (25:43)
• Things get chaotic – Part of the model is letting things fall into chaos, and let order arise as the young people figure out how to solve the problem. (26:41)
• What’s the best thing about Acton Academy? They’ll say freedom. (27:11)
• We believe every single child is a genius, who deserves to find a calling and change the world. (42:15)
• The cave you fear to enter is where your treasure lies. (44:37)

Recent Episodes

James Lawrence (THE IRON COWBOY)

100 Ironmans in 100 Days, Multiple World Record Holder, 50/50/50 Challenge, Redefining Endurance Limits
Listen to Episode →

Kristofer Healey

DHS, ICE - Taking Down The Biggest Tele-Fraud Case In U.S. History
Listen to Episode →

Bill Wagasy

Retired Navy SEAL, Stories of War, Patriot Tour, Keeping A Strong Mindset
Listen to Episode →