Journey Academy's mission is to inspire each child and parent who enters our doors to find a calling from the Lord that will change the world.

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Our Promises to your Child

He or she will:

  • Begin a Hero's Journey

  • Learn to be a curious, independent, lifelong learner.

  • Begin developing a strong Christian worldview.

  • Develop a 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.

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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 by knowing, learning by doing and learning by being.


We believe in economic, religious, and political freedom.

Our Founders


Dana Roefer


Dana comes from a long family history in Education and is a lifelong learner and student herself. She founded Journey Academy after reflections of her own educational journey, and corporate experiences of what will be necessary for the future of the 21st century and beyond.

Dana has led and had great impact in both non-profit entrepreneurial organizations and for-profit private companies throughout her career. She received her degree from Michigan State University. Dana is married to Matt and they are proud parents of Simon and Lucas, the true inspirations behind the founding of Journey Academy.

Learn more and connect with Dana on LinkedIn.


Matt Roefer


Matt has a passion for children and connecting with them on multiple levels. He developed the first Youth Ministry degree at Hope College, with a secondary emphasis in Special-Education. He is an expert in Child Development working both clinically and as a consultant as a Child Life Specialist. Matt has been invited numerous times to present on working with children in a hospital setting at The University of Texas, Austin Community College, various urgent care facilities and at the National Child Life Council Conference.

He is also the founder of a successful residential painting company. When Matt and Dana expanded their family Matt had the opportunity to stay at home with the boys for a couple of years. Each day he watches as they grow in curiosity and discovery. He is excited about the opportunity for his boys to be educated at Journey Academy.

Learn more and connect with Matt on LinkedIn.


Laura Sandefer


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


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 Entrepeneurship 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.

Original Journey Academy - Acton Academy

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Acton Academy was founded in 2009 in Austin, TX by Laura and Jeff Sandefer.

Journey Academy in Ada/Cascade, Greater Grand Rapids, MI, is an affiliate of Acton Academy utilizing their method and curriculum.

As of 2018 there will be 60 Acton Academy affiliates worldwide.

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