Parent, Grandparent, Montessori Educator, Parent Coach and Child Advocate – Mrs. McNabb has spent her 40-year career supporting and guiding children, teachers and parents.
As a child, Nancy would line up her dolls in rows and teach them to read from her blackboard and desk. Nancy grew up in Miami, Florida and throughout her elementary and high school years was involved in leadership and service-oriented roles helping others. She always wanted to be a teacher and help children learn and become successful people.
Nancy earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her Masters in Rehabilitation Counselling at Florida State University. She discovered Montessori while she and her husband were expecting their first child and she knew she had hit the jack pot! Dr. Maria Montessori had discovered the “Secret of Childhood” and understood the profound quality of the young child’s mind over 100 years ago.
Nancy found Montessori’s philosophy to be inspiring and true to her heart and immediately pursued the Montessori Early Childhood training. Deeply driven, Nancy has started three Montessori schools over her 37 year career. During that time she also earned her Infant/Toddler Montessori Certification and completed a course as a Montessori Administrator.
Now, Nancy is dedicated to creating an authentic and quality Montessori experience for children from infants through kindergarten at Explore Montessori.
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 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.