“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.”
-Henry David Thoreau
Jayme Bynum Co-Founder and Head of School
Jayme has a background in History and Political Science from East Carolina University. After working in the legal field Jayme began to pursue a higher passion in competitive dog training, and attended the world renowned Starmark Dog Training Academy in Hutto, Texas. Through the Academy she became a Certified Canine Behavior and Training Specialist. Jayme was hired for the sole trainer position out of her class, and also had the privilege to be the on set dog trainer for films that came through the Academy. Always the entrepreneur, Jayme was the Co-Founder of Dog School Austin LLC in Austin, TX.
Having lived in seven different cities during her school years, Jayme experienced a wide array of academic models, including homeschooling. She now has four children of her own, who have inspired her mission to find the best schooling method out there, that will prepare each of them for their futures. The Acton Academy model has made this pursuit a reality and she wants nothing more than to share this vision and help bring education to the 21st century. Jayme co-founded, Acton Academy West Austin, along with her husband Joey, where she is the Head of School. At Acton Academy West Austin Jayme plans to inspire children and parents to find their callings and change the world.
Joey Bynum Co-Founder
Joey was born and raised in Austin, TX. While working towards his Mechanical Engineering degree, Joey balanced academics and his love for competitive rowing for Texas Crew. He went on to become a head coach for Texas Crew. Joey then worked for several years in the oil and gas business, in Houston, TX. He was then offered an opportunity to take an engineering job in Bucharest, Romania. After almost four years overseas with his wife and children, he was ready to make a change and expand his education. He was accepted at the Acton School of Business and made the move back to Austin with his family to complete his degree.
While receiving his MBA at Acton he had first hand experience with the students at the Acton Academy, and was more than impressed with what he saw. Joey knew then that the Acton model was the place for his own four children. With his love for coaching and the Socratic method he was inspired along with his wife Jayme, to open their own Acton Academy and create an environment where children are free to find their own callings and change the world. Joey is the head of curriculum as well as the middle and high school Guide at Acton Academy West Austin. Feel free to read more about Joey on Linkedin.
The Bynum Family
As a couple Joey and Jayme have always been known to take the road less traveled. In 2009 they moved overseas to Bucharest, Romania with their six month old son. As a family they were able to travel to almost every country in Europe, over their four years living abroad. They have competed together in the 100 mile Colorado river race, they have traveled by road-trip to every continental US State, and as a family of four they ran the Bucharest half marathon. Joey and Jayme have always been a team that seeks purpose, fulfillment and adventure, while being dedicated to living a life of meaning. As a family they founded Acton Academy West Austin in 2015, not only for their own four children but for as many families as they can serve.
Meet Our Guides
Born and raised in Southeastern Wisconsin, Sara earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. She moved to Texas in 2008 to earn her Specialist in School Psychology (SSP, M.A.) graduate degree from Texas State University.
Sara has held her licensure as a Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) for the past 5 years, where she has assessed, consulted, and collaborated within the Marble Falls and Round Rock school districts. Her passion for individualized instruction, innovative learning, holistic well being, and progressive education has attracted her to Acton Academy West.
This year will celebrate her 7th year as an Austinite and she currently lives in the Domain with her husband of two years. In her free time, she enjoys live music, touring art museums, traveling, and volunteering.
Raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ashley comes to Acton with a background in Early Childhood Education & French from the University of Oklahoma. During her years teaching in an internationally-recognized Reggio Emilia-inspired school, she attended professional development conferences in Tulsa, Boulder and Reggio Emilia, Italy. As both an attendee and presenter, Ashley has researched and excelled in project-based and child-driven learning. Adapting curriculum for 21st-century learners has been her specialty for many years. Acton West has been a perfect fit from her first day through the door, and she grows more every day through the Acton West Eagles!
Kelsey was born and raised in small town Vermont where she grew up spending lots of time in the outdoors. Looking for a change of pace, she attended George Washington University in Washington, DC where she earned a degree in International Affairs with a focus on Conflict Resolution. The daughter of a teacher, Kelsey has always been passionate about education and learning. A love for travel and outdoor adventure mixed with her passion for education has lead Kelsey to study in India, do research on the education system in Cameroon, teach in Martinique, spend summers leading trips in the San Juan Islands of WA, work in wilderness therapy in Vermont, and finally to Acton Academy West in Austin. As a recent transplant to Austin, she is excited get to know the area and learn from the Acton West community!
A Note from Us
Founding Acton Academy West Austin is our calling. We are so fortunate to be on this hero’s journey with other extraordinary hero's and their families, in this wonderful community we have built together. We invite you to explore Acton and we look forward to getting to know you and your family along the way.
We are modeling Acton Academy West Austin after the original Acton Academy, here in Austin, Texas. They have inspired us in every way and continue to guide and inform us as we grow together on this journey. We are thankful for their expertise and ongoing mentorship. We invite you to learn more about them below.
Laura Sandefer Co-Founder and Head of School
Raised by a science teacher and minister, Laura lived on both coasts and in between as a child, then landed at Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate studies in the College of Arts and Science.
After working in London and New York City in the aviation insurance business, Laura yearned to follow her heart into the world of teaching. She went back to Vanderbilt's renowned Peabody College and received her Master of Education. This led her to work in arts education at the Oklahoma Arts Institute. Laura later married Jeff Sandefer and has two sons and a step-daughter. It is the inspiration of these children that led Laura and Jeff to co-found Acton Academy.
Her greatest hero is her beloved late mother who was a Master Teacher as none other. Her wisest mentor is her father who sent her off to college with two words of advice: "Be curious."
Jeff Sandefer Co-Founder and Middle School Lead Guide
Jeff Sandefer is an entrepreneur and a Socratic teacher.
As an entrepreneur, he began by starting his first company at age 16 and most recently sold Sandefer Capital: an energy investment firm with several billion dollars in assets.
As a teacher, he co-founded the Acton School of Business, a school dedicated to America’s next generation of principled entrepreneurs and famous for its 100-hour work weeks. The Princeton Review has consistently ranked Acton’s teachers, students and program among the best in the country. While at the University of Texas, Jeff’s students voted him the school’s Most Outstanding Teacher for a total of five times, and he was named by BusinessWeek as one of the top Entrepreneurship professors in America.
Jeff has been a longtime board member of National Review magazine, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Philanthropy Roundtable and the Harvard Business School and is one of the youngest members ever elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame.