Our Story

School founders Ryan and Kathryn Veldhuizen

As parents of four young children, we never set out with a goal to start a school, but like you, we wanted to provide the best possible learning environment for our children that would spark their natural curiosity, inspire them to be lifelong learners, challenge them to grow in character and equip them to be leaders that will change the world.

As we evaluated education options, we weren’t finding anything that fit our vision of what education could be (see: What Makes Acton Academy Different?) and decided that in order to find the perfect school, we would have to build it ourselves.  While we initially started as a homeschool co-op, parents soon began asking us to expand the co-op to a full school in a way that would provide the same motivation and curiosity for learning across all subjects.

We have been blessed by the incredible community of families and learners who have joined us on this journey to reimagine education and would encourage you to give us a call or schedule a tour. We look forward to meeting your family!

Our Beliefs

We believe each child has a gift that can change the world in a profound way

We believe in a closely connected family of lifelong learners

We believe in learning to learn, learning to do, and learning to be

We believe in economic, religious, and political freedom

Our Team

Kathryn Veldhuizen

Co-Founder and Head of School
image of our director, Kathryn.

Kathryn grew up in southern Indiana and is a graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Math and Education. Following her calling into education, she has worked as a teacher and coach in public schools and later started the high school math program at one of the largest homeschool co-ops in the state. In addition to her role as Head of School, Kathryn is a consultant to public and private schools across the country and around the world and also enjoys volunteering with the children’s ministry at College Park Church.

It’s her role as a mother of four that led her and her husband to start Acton Academy Northwest Indianapolis. Having visited schools across our nation and around the world, she knew that she had to bring the best practices for learning home to Indiana for the benefit of her own children. This dedication to her own children left her no other option but to start Acton Academy to make sure they had every opportunity to experience the best learning environment she could provide in the context of a community of families with a shared vision.

Kathryn, like many of our families, simply wanted a joyful, curious childhood to be fostered in her children where learning is not viewed as a chore but a lifelong journey filled with excitement and wonder.

Ryan Veldhuizen

Co-Founder
Ryan, co-founder of school headshot

Ryan Veldhuizen has always had a passion for education and a growing concern for the education of his own children, which ultimately led him and Kathryn to pursue a calling to start Acton Academy Northwest Indianapolis. Ryan is also the founder of a financial planning firm headquartered in Carmel and began his formal journey as an entrepreneur in the Governor Bob Orr Entrepreneurial Fellowship.

Ryan is a Certified Financial Planner™ and graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Economics and Mathematics. He holds a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning and has also studied International Economics at Oxford University in England.
Ryan enjoys coaching sports, serving in the children’s ministry at College Park Church, playing basketball, hiking and biking with his family, and hopes to one day convince Kathryn to do an RV vacation out West.

Laura Sandefer

Advisor and Acton Academy Co-Founder
Laura Sandefer, Co-Founder of 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 and Acton Academy Co-Founder
Jeff Sandefer, Co-Founder of 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.

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