Laura Sandefer

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” -Albert Schweitzer

We entered the yurt this week to sip apple cider and talk about the meaning of gratitude and how cultures throughout history have given thanks for their harvests, health, safety and family.

We asked ourselves: Is gratitude an emotion or an action? Are you born with it or can you create it? If your parents make you say, “thank you,” is that gratitude? Why are thank you notes valued so highly? Is gratitude contagious? Why is it considered the key to a happy life? We could have stayed all day.

I left our yurt wanting more time with our Acton Academy students. They rekindle my spark.

I am deeply grateful to each parent for sharing your treasure – your child – with us each day. My fire of gratitude burns bright. Happy Thanksgiving.

Co-founder and Chief Encourager for Acton Academy


Laura Sandefer is an author and the co-founder of Acton Academy, a school whose learner-driven model is spreading across the globe with over 130 locations in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, Malaysia and more, and in 2019 is celebrating 10 years of letting children take learning into their owns hands.

Acton Academy bases their model of learning on the Hero’s Journey: a story pattern common in ancient myths and modern day adventures in which a hero goes on an adventure, wins a victory and comes home transformed. Children at Acton Academy know why they are being challenged to learn — they are on their own Hero’s Journey to find their passion in life.

Acton Academy and Sandefer have been featured in the Austin American Statesman, Inc., Forbes, National Review, Huffington Post and more. Sandefer has a bachelor of arts and masters of education degrees from Vanderbilt University. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children and three dogs.