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ABOUT

children building a project together

ABOUT US

  • Self-paced progression

  • Interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum

  • Portfolios + exhibitions not grades

  • Multi-disciplinary projects

  • Mix aged studios, PK-8th

  • Guides not teachers

  • Low learner to guide ratio – 1:13

  • No homework

MEET OUR TEAM

FOUNDER

MARIA FERRARI

Maria is a Senior Product Manager and Strategist in Biotechnology focused on Oncology Research and Development. She has worked in both large-scale organizations such as Google and Genentech, as well as cutting-edge start-ups where she has helped define and lead the strategic direction, process optimization, and organizational development. As the Founder of Acton Academy SV, Maria is focused on reimagining education for her own daughters and future generations to ensure children approach the real world with confidence, empathy, character, and a growth mindset. With her strong organizational development background, Maria takes the role of Founder at Acton Academy SV very seriously to ensure that things are running smoothly and productively. Maria, her husband, and their 4 daughters live in the Bay Area where they enjoy spending time as a family outdoors.

MARIA FERRARI

HEAD OF SCHOOL & GUIDE

MUHAMMAD IQBAL

Mo is a former Wall St banker, business operator, entrepreneur and now a passionate educator. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Georgia. For over a decade, Mo has had a love for teaching and mentoring young learners to help them be the best they can be in and out of the classroom.

 

By personally teaching his 1st-grade niece throughout the pandemic, he noticed the waning joy for learning, the unfostered curiosity, and the lack of preparation for thriving in the 21st century - especially social-emotionally. After that, he was compelled to tackle these problems for the learners in his community and pursued the opportunity as an Acton Guide. And of course, he is a big kid at heart who loves to have fun and inspire learning adventures every single day!

MUHAMMAD IQBAL

SPARK STUDIO GUIDE

LIBBY GALT

Libby brings over 20 years of experience in the field of education, with her most recent role being an educator at the innovative Google Children's Center. Libby brings the perspective and experience of a world traveler into the classroom. Her early experiences traveling the globe taught her patience, perspective, and a deeply ingrained sense of appreciation, all key qualities that she brings into the learning environments that she engages with. Because she has had a personal meditation and yoga practice for years, she brings mindful awareness to her work with young people and their families. She earned her undergraduate and Master’s degree in Human Development, with a focus on Families and Leadership in Education. She believes that young people will change the world by being in an environment with supportive adults who are not afraid to challenge them. She doesn’t accept the status quo and knows that when learners are put in charge of their own learning, they will develop a deep self-knowing, one that will transform themselves, each other, and the world. 

LIBBY GALT

DISCOVERY STUDIO GUIDE

PEDRO MIOLA

Pedro has always been a naturally curious learner, driven by a wide range of interests. He is obsessed with bringing people to their “lightbulb moment,” regardless of age, background or interests. Pedro has spent the past 15 years working in diverse roles that have shaped him to be the most empathetic, infectiously energetic educator possible. His passion for teaching began early on while volunteering at Children’s Hospital summer camps and coaching soccer camps for the Seattle Sounders. Pedro graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a double major in Chemistry and Hispanic Linguistics and Biology minor. He spent a few years working as a pharmacology researcher and as a surgical assistant for an orthopedic, ear, nose and throat surgery center before being accepted into medical school. Pedro opted to defer medical school and moved to Brazil to explore other opportunities. For two years, Pedro worked as the urban beekeeping team manager in Seattle and Portland, installing rooftop beehives downtown and educating the communities on the importance of pollinators and most recently as Chief of Staff in an early stage startup. 

PEDRO MIOLA

HEAD OF ADMISSIONS

ERIKA K. CLARK

Erika is a proud San Francisco native who spent over a decade living and working throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia and the East coast. Throughout her career in education she has been instrumental in developing top performing global teams in sales, operations and marketing at senior director levels. 

Erika has consulted for various companies, including founding her own business & nonprofit foundation to support single parents in need. She has been invited to speak on panels, conferences and events around the world and loves motivating people to follow their passion, work hard and grow their businesses. She believes that the world is a better place when women are also at the table making decisions and in leadership roles.

Erika has a love for traveling, having visited nearly 65 countries and speaks several languages. She is a proud of alum of Les Roches International School of Hospitality Management in Switzerland and received her MBA from Glion Institute of Higher Education.

ERIKA K. CLARK

DIRECTOR OF NITTY GRITTY PRESCHOOL

MARLENE COE

Marlene has passion and heart for creating a quality educational environment for young learners. With 37 years in the field of child development, her experience spans roles as a classroom teacher, director, and business owner.
Marlene founded Nitty Gritty Preschool in 2009 and is excited to join AASV with her vision of guiding children to build a foundation for creative, resilient thinkers with solid communication and social-emotional skills.
Marlene has a unique understanding of learning styles. Growing up with a learning difference has given her empathy, compassion, and patience with young learners, which she brings to students daily. This perspective has driven Marlene’s dedication to meeting children where they are and support their strengths and areas for growth.
Marlene’s goal is for everyone entering her classroom to feel the warmth and love she offers children and their families.
Marlene is a Redwood City native, where she also raised her family with her husband of 36 years. Family is everything to Marlene; she welcomed her first granddaughter into the world last year and is thrilled with this new role.
In her spare time, Marlene enjoys hiking with her dog, spending time with family, road trips, and camping.

NITTY GRITTY STUDIO GUIDE

PAULA TZOUMBAS

Over the past 30 years, Paula has taught music and movement in various public and private schools. She became so intrigued by how even the infants responded to music that it inspired her to return to school to study Child Development and Early Childhood Education. For the past 12 years, she has been teaching full-time preschool classes with a strong emphasis on music curriculum, blending her two passions. She truly enjoys helping and watching the children develop & learn. Her favorite moments are what she refers to as the “Light Bulb” moments when a child suddenly realizes that they have learned something new or accomplished a self-help task. Paula is proud of the strong bonds she’s developed with many of her former learners and continues that here in the Nitty Gritty Preschool Studio at AASV!

MATH GUIDE

CLARE REGER

Originally from England, Clare has over 10 years’ experience working in education as a teacher, tutor, university lecturer and researcher in various STEM subjects including math, physics, robotics, environmental science, citizenship, engineering, urban environments, and renewable energy. Clare's academic research has included work on learning processes and motivations as well as common barriers and challenges for learners. Through her research into how children learn, Clare found herself drawn to alternative models of education that offer more research-backed approaches, such as Acton Academy. She has a Masters degree in Engineering from Cambridge University, a PhD in Renewable Energy (Social Science / Engineering combined) and a UK teaching qualification, specializing in math. Outside of academics, Clare has brought her passion for teaching to other pursuits including teaching improvised comedy, music and coaching women's soccer.

Clare believes that math should be relevant, hands-on and fun, focusing on problem-solving and collaboration. At AASV, Clare facilitates immersive math workshops that give learners the opportunity to translate story-based, real-world challenges into Mathematical problems.

ART GUIDE

CHRISTIANE HAASE

Christiane grew up in Germany and studied Architecture and Visual Art at Bauhaus-University in Germany. She has lived and worked in Canada, Japan, China, The Netherlands and Switzerland before moving to the US in 2014.

Christiane exhibited her drawings and sculptures in Germany and abroad and has taught drawing and creative ideation classes in universities in Germany as well as teaching adults and art educators before she started to work with younger students. She is currently a Secondary school art teacher and Head of Art department at another private school in the Bay Area. 

 

As an educator Christiane has always enjoyed teaching within a project based and  cross curricular setting because it allows visual art to be connected to life, science, math, language arts and beyond. Instead of focusing solely on the mastery of artistic techniques and the production of “presentable” end products, her  focus lies on the  experiential learning process, fostering creativity, self expression and reflection - while still picking up a few helpful techniques on the way. Learning techniques, mastering hand-eye coordination and developing fine motor skills are never the sole goal but abilities that enable students to communicate their ideas and express themselves. She also incorporates architecture and design into her teaching projects and uses Design Thinking within this framework. At Acton she will design creative learning experiences connected to the quests and history lessons, also incorporating art history and contemporary art whenever applicable. 

 

You will find more information about Christiane’s work as well as a few teaching examples on her website: http://christianehaase.com

WHAT WE VALUE

The transformative learning process at Acton Academy Silicon Valley is designed to help our learners grow both in and out of the classroom. Each day is filled with opportunities to experience new educational and social situations to further development. Our guides create a safe and open setting, where they can encourage learners to explore the world around them.

01

Safety & Security

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02

Transparency

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03

Growth & Innovation 

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04

Team Work

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05

Community Outreach

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06

Craftsmanship

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Children Group learning

FROM OUR FOUNDER

Welcome to Acton Academy Silicon Valley! My team and I have embarked on a journey together to offer an education experience that replaces the one-size fits all approach, and brings forward the unique gifts and talents each child has to offer. After years in the private school system, it became increasingly evident that our children were becoming disengaged, frustrated and bored. The spark, curiosity, and eagerness to know “why,” that you come to expect from a young child, was extinguishing. School became a place of competition rather than competency, where time for deep exploration isn’t part of the curriculum, and where failure is a weakness rather than part of the process. We knew children needed something different and we've made the radical change to find a better way.

We launched Acton Academy Silicon Valley to provide an environment for our own children and those in the community who want to take the magical journey to re-imagine their children’s education and to watch them grow into natural learners. A place where children will have the freedom to explore deeply, take chances, fall down and make mistakes as they become the best version of themselves.

Thank you for allowing us to share this journey with you. We can’t wait to see our new community grow.

- Maria Ferrari


Acton Academy Silicon Valley, Founder

OUR CAMPUS

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