Start Your Hero's Journey ⟿

Welcome to Heroes: an Acton Academy

At Heroes, we believe our students will find a calling and change the world. Parents and students gravitate to our philosophies of learning because they believe learning is primarily about building character and developing skills, with facts and information as a byproduct. They see that in the age of Google and the internet, retention of facts is less important than developing the character to make good and wholesome decisions that lead to a fulfilling and satisfying life.

Heroes Academy is founded and led by Jake Thompson. His love for his children, his passion for learning, and his gifts in entrepreneurship and business make this his calling on his own Hero's Journey.

Heroes Academy is modeled after the Acton Academy originally started in Austin, Texas by Laura and Jeff Sandefer. As a former student of Jeff's at the Acton School of Business, Jake was inspired by the work Jeff and Laura were doing and saw the value in bringing it to Idaho. Heroes Academy and Acton Academy work in a deep collaborative relationship to share processes, systems, and strategies to help make each learner-driven environment the best it possibly can be.

Jake Thompson: Founder & Head Guide

Jake grew up in Eagle, Idaho. After returning home from a service mission in Italy for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he decided to attend Brigham Young University. While there, Jake started his financial education and services company, which was the start of his life as an entrepreneur.

Over the last eight years his financial education and services company has grown nationwide and attracts thousands of customers each year. He is best known for his #1 best-selling book on money and wealth that sells over 15,000 copies each year.

As a parent of two, Jake is concerned about the education and future of his children, and believes that his experiences have led him to his calling at the crossroads of education and entrepreneurship.

Jake graduated from the Acton School of Business and Entrepreneurship, where he dedicated over 100 hours a week learning to make difficult decisions about life and business.

Jake married his wife, Alissa, in 2010, and they have two children, Adrianna and Traegan.

Kara Dean: Elementary Guide

Kara is from Melbourne, Australia where she has been working as a teacher for the past 5 years.

Whilst travelling and visiting friends in Boise in 2015, Kara and her husband Daniel, fell in love with the city and lifestyle that Idaho offers. The most recent step of their heroes’ journey has been to move to Idaho to live and work.

After achieving her Bachelor’s degree majoring in Art History and Visual Art, Kara went on to complete her postgraduate studies in Education and discovered her passion for teaching. Kara has worked in both traditional and alternative educational environments. For the last two years she has been working as an educator in a non-traditional learning centre that follows the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

Kara believes that educational approaches such as that of Acton Academy are truly effective and valuable for children’s learning.

Laura Sandefer: Advisor & Co-Founder of the Acton Academy

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: Advisor & Co-Founder of the Acton Academy

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.

Start Your Hero's Journey ⟿