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Do you want your child to love learning?

 Sanctuary Academy of Dewitt is a Catholic hybrid education program.  Our mission is to inspire each child and parent who enters our doors to find their calling and change the world.

We are excited to announce our beautiful location for 2022/2023: 

The St. Francis Retreat Center

St. Francis Retreat Center | DeWitt, Michigan (stfrancis.ws)

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WE BELIEVE THAT SAINTS STILL EXIST, AND YOUR CHILD IS ONE OF THEM



Beyond Learning to Know

At Sanctuary Academy, young heroes learn to be, learn to do, and learn to learn.  Through our whole-person approach, each individual comes alive in his or her unique identity. In our learner-driven environment, adults are there to guide and ask great questions, rather than spoon feed information.  By experiencing personal freedoms in  an environment structured with effective systems, learners are able to thrive and become who God created them to be.  We support parents as the primary educators of their children through collaboration and community. 

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OUR PROMISES

YOUR CHILD WILL:

  • Begin a Hero’s Journey

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

  • Develop a deep respect for economic, political and religious freedoms. 

  • Develop a loving relationship with themselves, Christ, and their fellow travelers on Earth and in Heaven

  • Cherish the arts, wonders of the physical world and the mysteries of life on Earth.

OUR BELIEFS

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WE BELIEVE EACH CHILD HAS A GIFT THAT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD IN A PROFOUND WAY.

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WE BELIEVE IN A CLOSELY CONNECTED FAMILY OF LIFELONG LEARNERS.

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WE BELIEVE IN LEARNING BY BEING, LEARNING BY DOING AND LEARNING BY LEARNING.

WE BELIEVE IN RELIGIOUS, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL FREEDOM.

WE BELIEVE THAT THE GOAL OF EDUCATION IS TO RAISE UP HEROES WHO CHANGE THE WORLD.

WE BELIEVE IN PROVIDING A CHRIST-CENTERED LEARNING SPACE LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT 

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Our Story

Sanctuary Academy is an affiliate of Acton Academy, which originated in Austin, Texas.  Acton Academy is named after Lord Acton.  Lord Acton (1834-1902) was a Victorian scholar of Freedom who saw liberty not as a license to do what one wishes, but as the freedom to do what is right. He was suspicious of power for the sake of power, which led to his most famous quote: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Acton Academy embraces an educational model that "turns learning upside down".  Freedoms, rights and responsibilities are entrusted to learners.  They are immersed in hands-on, real-world experiences during the school day. This approach is effective and powerful.

Monica has been homeschooling since 2016 and has thought many times about sending their children to a traditional Catholic school.  However, the freedom, flexibility and additional family time that homeschooling provide are just some of the reasons she has continued on with home education.  Monica has deeply desired to give their children more consistent opportunities to collaborate with other learners and grow in real-life skills and virtues beyond what she has been able to provide at home.   When Monica first learned about Acton Academy, she was excited at the possibility of taking her children's education to the next level.  Monica is passionate about healing, wholeness and health.  She is especially interested in guiding young aspiring saints to be mindful, and develop a personal relationship with Jesus.   She is excited to collaborate with the guide and be engaged in the studio on a weekly basis.

Matthew and Monica Poff

Owners

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Matt is passionate about alternative education, and wants young people to know their gifts and talents and find a calling that puts them to use.  On his journey, he spent excessive time and money trying to find his calling. He now has his own real estate and appraisal business. He is a devoted father to 5 aspiring heroes. Matt likes to be outdoors, loves sports, and is often embarking on the next house-renovation project.  He is excited to move towards opening Middle School & High School studios where the emphasis on entrepreneurship and apprenticeships increases. He is mostly behind the scenes in ownership, focusing on financials and big picture goals.

Monica has been homeschooling since 2016. There were many times along the way that she considered sending their children to a traditional Catholic school.  However, the freedom, flexibility and additional family time that homeschooling provide are just some of the reasons she has continued on with home education.  Monica deeply desired to give their children more consistent opportunities to collaborate with other learners and grow in real-life skills and virtues, which led to launch of Sanctuary.  Monica is a Catholic counselor and is passionate about healing, wholeness and health.  She is especially interested in guiding heroes to embrace human formation and develop a personal relationship with Jesus. 

Acton Academy Austin: Where it All Started

In 2009 in Austin, Texas, Laura and Jeff Sandefer were not afraid to take a risk in education. Eleven years later, Acton Academy Austin is a thriving campus. The Acton Academy has been named the number one disruptive educational model in the country by the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Education.  In 2021, there are over 280 Acton affiliates worldwide. Please take the time to explore the AA Austin website:

Acton Academy | One-room schoolhouses for the 21st century.

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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.

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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".