Laura Sandefer

Over the past four years, we have offered books as gifts and as suggestions to our parents. Part of the application process includes reading one of our suggested books and critiquing it. At the new campus we will have a Parents Bookshelf where you can borrow a book and share a book. The list below is our most popular reading list. Please let me know if you’d like to borrow a copy of one in particular. Enjoy, enjoy!

UnSchooling Rules – Clark Aldrich

One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined – Salman Kahn

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century – Oliver DeMille

Message to Garcia – Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence

The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Longterm Fulfillment – George Leonard

Nurture Shock – Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Fires in the Mind: What Kids Can Tell Us About Motivation and Mastery – Kathleen Cushman

The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family – Patrick Lencioni

Reality is Broken – Jane McGonigal

Education for Judgment: The Artistry of Discussion Leadership – C. Roland Christensen, David A. Garvin and Ann Sweet

Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning; Peter Johnston

The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius – Angeline Stoll Lillard

Dumbing Us Down – John Taylor Gatto and Thomas Moore

Opening Minds: Peter Johnston

Acton School of Business: Case Method Teaching Guide – Steven Tomlinson

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.