Why did we start Stride Christian Academy?

As the founder of Stride Christian Academy, I understand the importance of providing an education that meets the unique needs of each student. My journey as a homeschool mother led me to realize that even some homeschooling methods, such as boxed curriculums and workbooks, were not meeting the needs of my children. This led me to deeply examine what I wanted my children to gain from their education. I resolved that what was most important to me was to help guide my children to become independent, critical-thinking, problem-solving, and kind individuals capable of civil discourse.

Through my search for alternative educational options, I discovered Acton Academy, a learning community that embraces the individuality of each student, encourages creativity, personal responsibility, and the belief that every child has the potential to change the world. This discovery inspired me to create Stride Christian Academy, with the goal of providing a similar learning experience for other families.

As you embark on your own journey to find the right learning environment for your child, we invite you to consider your family's story and consider whether Stride Christian Academy may be just what you've been looking for!

Whitney Sapp

Our Stanwood Campus

Stride Christian Academy is centrally located at 17007 E Lake Goodwin RD Stanwood, WA 98292.

Our Team

Whitney Sapp

Owner and Middle/High school Mentor

Susan Hart

Elementary School Mentor

Hello, my name is Susan Hart. I'm the ES Mentor here at Stride. I'm a lover of God, wife to my wonderful husband of more than 30 years, mother to three young men and one very special young woman living with Autism, and grandmother to five beautiful kiddos. In 2009, I answered the call to homeschool my three school-aged children.

That year we had a child at every level: a two-year old preschooler, a fifth-grader, a middle schooler with special learning needs, and a Freshman. That year we finally received my daughter's Autism diagnosis, another facet to our journey of discovery and exploring how to best share opportunities for learning. It was the busiest time of our lives, to be sure, but also one filled with some of the most amazing and fulfilling memories and moments in my role as a mother.

Launching into homeschooling was a decision we made with more heart than knowledge. I had many mentors share their long-acquired knowledge and wisdom with me.

Three important things stood out to me:
1- I had already been teaching my children from the time they were born; 2 - God's plan is that we raise up our children in the way that they should go, and that includes choosing where they receive their basic education;

3 - Even though I felt completely unprepared to "teach" my kids, there are many examples of God equipping the called rather than calling the equipped - I was in good company.

Fourteen years later, with three grown children and an upperclassman in high schooler who'd never been to traditional school, it seemed like homeschooling was no longer going to be the option for our family. Our son needed to be challenged and held accountable in new ways that still allowed him to be in charge of his learning, and I began the process of seeking other options. Enter Stride Christian Academy.

I immediately clicked with Whitney and her heart for believing and holding space for children to find their own calling, take charge of their own education, and really own their lives… their Heroes' Journeys. My family answered the call for our son and leapt headlong into Stride life. I was excited, but also sad that we had not had this opportunity when my older children were… well… children. They would have all thrived here at Stride!

It wasn't long before I learned that the Elementary Studio would need a new mentor. I knew I would miss homeschooling and was beginning to seek out my next adventure. My heart was already all in, and I asked Whitney to consider me for the role. To my surprise and amazement she did, and I have joined my son and been thriving with Stride ever since. Don't get me wrong, we all face challenges every day, but that's the point. We're doing hard things together, holding up mirrors of accountability and supporting each other along the way… and I get to do that every day with and for these Heroes that I love.

Our Advisors

Jeff Sandefer

Co-Founder - Acton Academy

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 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.

Laura Sandefer

Co-Founder - 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."

Our Promises

We promise through Socratic guiding and experiential learning to encourage each member of our community to:

  • 1

    Begin a Hero’s Journey,

  • 2

    Discover precious gifts and a commitment to mastery.

  • 3

    Become a curious, independent, life-long learner.

  • 4

    Embrace the forging of a strong character.

  • 5

    Cherish the arts, the physical world, and the mysteries of life.

  • 6

    Treasure economic, political, and religious freedom.

Acton School Guide

Our Beliefs

We believe clear thinking leads to good decisions, good decisions lead to the right habits, the right habits forge character, and character determines destiny.

  • 1

    We believe each person has a gift that can change the world in a profound way;

  • 2

    We believe in learning to learn, learning to do, and learning to be.

  • 3

    We believe in a closely connected family of life-long learners.

  • 4

    We believe in economic, political, and religious freedom.

Acton School Guide

But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand

- Isaiah 64:8