Our story


On November 28th, 2015, about a month after our entire Shah family (two brothers, their wives, parents, and children) moved to Dallas, we discovered Acton Academy. For two brothers who were passionate about education and a family full of educators, we knew we had found something truly unique, that really turned learning "upside down."


Acton was exactly what we were looking for in a school: a Socratic approach, an integration of Montessori methodology and philosophy, Socratic discussions throughout the day, learning that is self-paced, hands-on, project-based, life-oriented, and free of traditional barriers to real learning: grades, teachers, tests, etc. It's a place where children are free to question, explore, challenge, experiment, make real-life decisions, face consequences, endure struggles, and prepare for life.

Thus, we began our own "Hero's Journey" and started The Humanist Academy in the Fall of 2016 with 16 brave heroes, 12 amazing families, and a small red brick house in Valley Ranch. We have now grown from that small schoolhouse into a newly renovated space, four separate studios for ages 3 through high school, four times as many learners, and a thriving community on a mission to change the world.

If your journey has led you to us and you, too, are looking for a better option for your family, we encourage you to reach out and find out more. We would love to meet you and your family and hear about your journey.

- Vijay

Hiking in Nature


  • Vijay Shah

    Co-Founder, Director, Lead Guide

    Vijay is the Director and Co-Founder of The Humanist Academy, and also is a Lead Guide. He comes from a background in education serving as a teacher, principal, and university professor prior to starting THA. 

  • Jay Shah

    Co-Founder, Board Chairman

    Dr. Jay Shah is an orthopedic surgeon and Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern with a deep passion for education. He serves as chairman of THA's Board of Directors. 

  • Laura Sandefer

    Mentor, Co-Founder of Acton

    Laura Sandefer is the Co-Founder, Head of Schools, and Elementary Guide at Acton Academy. She is also the author of  Courage to Grow. Her guidance, inspiration, and mentorship every step of the way have been an integral part of our success at THA. 

  • Jeff Sandefer

    Mentor, Co-Founder of Acton

    Jeff Sandefer is the Co-Founder of Acton Academy, Middle School Guide, Founder of The Acton MBA School. His support, inspiration, and guidance have been a tremendous part of our success at THA. 

Contact Us

4441 West Airport Fwy

Suite 100

Irving, TX 75062



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