Welcome to E.S.T.E.A.M: an Acton Academy
At the Core of our Program are the Acton Academy Principals of Learning. Our Full Program includes teaming with Industry leaders such as 4Reelz School of Film, Learning Fun 101, and many others who will be an integral part of our community and assist in guiding our students along the way thru our Enrichment Programs. A Young Film Makers Club & Robotics Club will be staples in our program.
This is not your ordinary School and Our Students are not your Ordinary Students!! Parents and Students have a say in what we bring in and how we move forward. Parents will also have the opportunity to be involved in the communities projects.
The perfect candidate for Acton E.S.T.E.A.M are Self-Sufficient, Outside the Box Thinkers! Creative, Risk Takers, who Dream Big and are Not Afraid of Failure!
We are located in Round Rock, Texas, and accept students from all the surrounding areas, including: North Austin, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Leander, Liberty Hill, Hutto, Tayler, Pflugerville.
At E.S.T.E.A.M Academy, our Mission is simple – to help our Students discover the Hero within and to guide them along the way to becoming Leaders in the Tech and Arts industries, prepared to challenge, inspire and change the world we live in.
JoAnn Nolte: Co-Founder & Mentor
JoAnn Nolte: As a life-long learner, JoAnn has pursued a wide range of knowledge and experience across several fields. JoAnn studied Organizational Management and Youth Psychology while attending Colorado Christian University, she began her journey in the realm of learning as she and her four children journeyed together through 12 years of homeschooling.
Along the way, JoAnn has learned real-life lessons on how young minds truly think and learn, how to celebrate and capitalize on those varied learning styles, and strengthen individual talents and interests. She celebrates opportunities to see those around her heroically traverse challenges to discover how they can change their corner of the world. She truly believes that everyday life is a huge, open classroom with endless possibilities.
While on this learning journey JoAnn started Learning Fun 101: LEGO Robotics, an educational company in the Central Texas Area that reaches over 2000 children every year with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Learning Fun 101 success was the beginning of her life as an entrepreneur and a key component in the creation of E.S.T.E.A.M Academy.
Nicholle Walton-Durban: Co-Founder & Mentor
Nicholle Walton-Durban: Passion, Purpose, Curiosity, and Grit. These are the things that have driven Nicholle thru her life. Born and raised in the South, at the age of 20, she would set out on her Hero’s journey and chase her dreams to Los Angeles, CA. There she attended Santa Monica College,Cal State Fullerton, studied Theater Arts, traveled to China as part of a Musical Theater Troupe/Cross Cultural Exchange Program, received her license in Cosmetology, and worked her way up in a startup from an entry level position to VP of Operations in just under 5 years. After relocating to Austin, TX in 2008, Nicholle opened Edgen Films in 2010, and then 4Reelz School of Film in 2014, offering classes and camps where kids, teens, and adults of all ages could come to explore, create, and express, while learning and developing skills in a variety of Art / Tech Industry’s.
Of all her adventures, becoming Mom to 3 wonderful boys is truly where passion and purpose aligned, and Nicholle wanted to ensure they would have an environment where they could discover their own unique gifts, talents, passion’s, and purpose. In 2016, Nicholle would team up with Joann Nolte and open E.S.T.E.A.M Academy (an Acton Academy affiliate) combining their love of Art, Technology, and Entrepreneurship with Core Academic Studies, Socratic based Discussions, Projected-Based Learning and Enrichment, in a Student-Led environment.
Laura Sandefer: Advisor & Co-Founder of the 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 & Co-Founder of the Acton Academy
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.