Our Story

We are Michael and Hannah Haning!

In 2019 we first saw a TedX Talk with Acton Founder, Jeff Sandefer, and knew that Acton was something that we had to be a part of.

We opened Acton Academy in 2020 with a few brave families, and are thrilled to see how it has continued to grow.

We have two sons, Jack and James, and they are our "WHY" behind doing this.

We truly believe that every child has a unique calling, and we hope that through Acton Academy Amarillo children and families in our community are forever changed.

We love the outdoors, cooking, doing CrossFit and climbing mountains!

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We’re wondering if our families might have a few things in common. 

If you’re like us, you:

● Tried traditional schools or homeschooling, but still felt like there was more to education.

● Believe your children deserve a relevant education free of the outdated confines of the traditional school, including hours of homework and dozens of fill-in-the-blank tests.

● Hope your child can learn real-world skills through hands-on projects.

● Would love for your children to be in a small school where they are known by name and given individualized encouragement.

● Desire your children to be in a school where being kind, developing meaningful friendships and learning to be a person of integrity is deeply valued.

● Want your children to find their life’s calling and be inspired to be world changers.

Our promises to your child:

  • Begin a Hero’s Journey.
  • Learn to be a curious, independent, lifelong learner.
  • Develop deep respect for economic, political, and religious freedoms.
  • Cherish the arts, wonders of the physical world, and the mysteries of life on Earth.
  • Discover his or her most precious gifts and learn to use them to solve difficult problems.

Our Team

Ashley Reeves

Elementary School Guide

Ashley was born and raised in Canyon, Texas. After receiving a degree in Elementary Education, she spent five years teaching 1st grade.

Reading Courage to Grow and scouring the web for Acton videos sparked a new desire for learning and leading young minds. Her favorite part of the day is watching young heroes do things the world finds impossible; holding peers accountable, asking tough questions, making SMART goals, creating systems, and finding joy in their school day!  

Outside of Acton, Ashley enjoys spending her time working out and coaching at her family's gym, cooking new foods, exploring the outdoors, and soaking up family time.

Alison Braaten

Middle School Guide

My passion for life-long learning is why I was so excited to join Acton Academy.

In the last three years, I returned to college to pursue a professional certificate and acquired a yoga teaching certification for adults, children, and youth. I read regularly about philosophy, art and architecture, the natural world, travel, and practice woodworking.

Our family is currently hosting a high school exchange student to learn more about their culture. All of this has prepared me to lead curious minds on any journey they wish to explore! Acton Academy is teaching me that the humble stay curious and the curious stay humble. It's an honor to be entrusted to Guide our Middle School Tribe.

Karsen Boyett

Creative Arts & PE Guide

Karsen was born and raised in Amarillo, graduating from Amarillo High School in 2021. In addition to serving as the creative arts and PE guide, she works as a Commissioned Artist, specializing in pet portraits, and as a private art teacher. In her spare time, Karsen likes spending time with friends, buying house plants, CrossFit, and listening to Taylor Swift.

Our Advisors

Jeff Sandefer

Advisor and Acton Academy Co-Founder

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.

Laura Sandefer

Advisor and Acton Academy Co-Founder

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."

Do you believe your child has the potential to change the world?

Do you believe learning to do and learning to be are more important than textbooks alone?

Do you believe in a closely connected family of lifelong learners?

Find out if Acton Acton Academy Amarillo is the right fit for your family:


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Our Story

We're a family just like yours. Find out why we're here.

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