Our Story

We are a family of inquisitive, lifelong learners. You could also say we have an entrepreneurial spirit and are not afraid to write our own script. In fact, that is what we prefer to do. Yet, we found ourselves stuck in the same daily rhythm most of us experience. Wake up, take the kids to school, go to the office, pick up the kids from school, repeat. We decided to stop and reflect on what we were doing.

We set out on a journey to uncover other education options available to our family. Was the “Learning to Know” education our kids were receiving good enough? Sure. But we believe the more important learning is Learning to Learn, Learning to Do, and Learning to Be. This is the learning design we discovered with Acton Academy. And this is why we brought Acton Academy to Sioux Falls.

We believe every student who walks through our doors is a genius who is destined to change the world. We call it the Hero’s Journey. We believe students should be in charge of their own learning. We believe children are fully capable of self-governance and accountability. We believe that asking great questions is far more important than regurgitating correct answers.

If you and your family are curious, lifelong learners, believe students learn best through failure and solving their own problems, and approach life with a growth mindset; then we would love to have you join us at Acton Academy Sioux Falls on your own Hero’s Journey.


Aaron Johnson
Acton Academy Sioux Falls, Co-Founder & Head of School

Our Sioux Falls Campus

Acton Sioux Falls is located at 4426 Technology Drive, Sioux Falls, SD 57106.

Call us at: 📞 (605) 215-1221

Our Team

Aaron Johnson

Co-Founder and Head of School

Aaron is a visionary and entrepreneur. Intrigued by human psychology and obsessed with human potential. Learning to Be is what attracted Aaron to Acton Academy. People just need a little inspiration, a positive and supportive voice in their head, because when people get out of their own way, they can change the world.

Aaron believes we have an incredible opportunity to empower young people to be the leaders, micro-entrepreneurs, artists, and creators of tomorrow's economy. It's our responsibility as parents and leaders in our communities to make this happen.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Minor in Computer Information Systems from Dakota State University.

Miranda Scholes

Socratic Guide

Miranda has a passion for children! She finds great joy in observing children explore, experiment, and discover what motivates and interests them. She has found that when children are internally motivated and empowered they will thrive!

Miranda owned and operated an in-home childcare for over 10 years and then went back to school and earned an Associate Degree from Southeast Technical College as an Early Childhood Specialist.

Abby Burnside

Socratic Guide

Abby has a passion for seeing children grow into lifelong learners. She believes that this happens by giving children the space to learn how to learn and to discover and develop their unique gifts and passions. This requires the gift of time and an environment where failure is expected and embraced. In her role as Guide, Abby aims to provide a safe, nurturing learning community where learners can truly discover their gifts in order to change the world.

Abby has been teaching for the past 10 years in both traditional and alternative settings. Her background includes teaching learners at all levels from elementary through high school. She graduated from the University of Sioux Falls with a degree in elementary education, a middle school and English Language Learner (ELL) endorsement, and a Spanish minor.

Samantha Johnson

Socratic Guide

Samantha is passionate about building a better tomorrow for our youth and equipping them with lifelong skills to navigate inevitable challenges. She recognizes the importance of building a supportive community and emphasizes the value of living a well-rounded, purposeful life. She believes that each person has a special gift to share with the world, and once unlocked, beautiful things happen!

In her role as a Socratic Guide, Samantha draws parallels between her professional experience and the art of guiding. Armed with a Bachelor's degree in Complementary and Alternative Health and over two decades of real-world experience in Sales, Marketing, Recruitment, and Wellness, Samantha is a real-life testimony to the continuous pursuit of personal and professional growth. Overcoming early struggles in her life, Samantha's resilience, determination, and commitment to lifelong learning make her a true hero on her life's journey.

Our Advisors

Jeff Sandefer

Co-Founder - 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.

Laura Sandefer

Co-Founder - 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."

Our Promises

We promise through Socratic guiding and experiential learning to encourage each member of our community to:

  • 1

    Begin a Hero’s Journey,

  • 2

    Discover precious gifts and a commitment to mastery.

  • 3

    Become a curious, independent, life-long learner.

  • 4

    Embrace the forging of a strong character.

  • 5

    Cherish the arts, the physical world, and the mysteries of life.

  • 6

    Treasure economic, political, and religious freedom.

Acton School Guide

Our Beliefs

We believe clear thinking leads to good decisions, good decisions lead to the right habits, the right habits forge character, and character determines destiny.

  • 1

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

  • 2

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

  • 3

    We believe in a closely connected family of life-long learners.

  • 4

    We believe in economic, political, and religious freedom.

Acton School Guide

Our Economic Model

We believe self-directed, peer-to-peer learner-driven communities built by our young Heroes will deliver transformational learning at a cost all parents can afford.