Who We Are

Ronnie and Meghan Esposito


"Traditional schools are killing the genius in our kids". David Osborne said on a podcast as I was driving to work one morning. "Imagine if Picasso's teachers told him to drop the paint brush because he was already good enough at art and needed to focus on calculus", he continued.

These words hit me so hard. What should my wife and I do with our kids education after this year? We have three children, the oldest in a startup Montessori program which wasn't going to be moving forward after the year ended. We were so confused.

We love the Montessori style education but we didn't have a program close enough to enroll. I kept listening to this podcast to see if David would reference the school where his kids were enrolled. It was called Acton Academy and it sounded like the most perfect school for our children.

Dawn O'Keefe

Spark Guide

I am excited to start a new journey at Acton Academy, along with my son Caysen and the rest of the Acton team. He has told me so much about the school and I believe I have the ability to help make Acton the best that it can be.

I have been working with children my entire life. I began working at Wee Care Children’s center when I was 14 years old. I continued working there as I attended Clarion University and obtained my teaching degree in Elementary Education/ Early Childhood. After graduating from Clarion, I took on a full time teaching position at Wee Care. I eventually became the preschool director and was in charge of the preschool and school age programs at the center. I have continued to work at Wee Care until now. I have always loved working with children and helping them to learn and grow. I have seen through my many years how children learn through playing and having fun. Children can learn in many different ways. I love watching children every day doing new things and accomplishing new things while having fun!

Working with children is my passion, and I hope that I can continue helping your children become the best version of themselves.

Sarah Beckwith

Middle School Guide

Hello! My name is Sarah Beckwith, and I am extremely excited to join the Acton team. I have always known that I wanted to become an educator.

As the oldest in my family, I loved from an early age teaching my siblings and cousins new things and helping them learn new skills. After high school, I decided to pursue my two passions: education and history. I enrolled at Slippery Rock University. During this time, I was introduced to the Socratic Method. I had several classes that were discussion based and I found that I learned the most from this style. Not only did I take away the most from this type of learning, but they were also my favorite classes. I interned as a docent at the Fort Pitt Museum and built education boxes and programs for children to learn about our rich, local history. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. I began working at a childcare and preschool center. I loved watching the children explore their world with curiosity and eagerness. I learned ways to give them tools and hands-on experiences to enhance their learning.

After 3 years, I decided to continue my journey at United Airlines. I was given the opportunity to travel to different countries, immersing myself in their cultures. I was able to meet new people, explore new places and of course learn about their history. I have worked at United Airlines for the past two and a half years. While I enjoyed my time there, I missed working with young people.

I was introduced to Acton Academy and appreciate the learning philosophy. I have discovered over the years that people learn in different ways and I look forward to supporting learners to unleash their limitless potential.

Amber Griffith

Assistant Guide

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Ms. Amber knew from young age that she wanted to be a teacher. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Duquesne University, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Nova Southeastern University, a Master’s in K-12 School Leadership from Duquesne University and a Master’s equivalence in Montessori Education.

Ms. Amber spent two decades teaching in public school systems despite feeling like she never quite fit in. Upon discovering Acton, she knew she found something incredibly special and was eager to be a part of an educational environment that honors a child’s wholistic development.

Ms. Amber is passionate about empowering the lives of children with researched-based, multi-sensory Structured Literacy instruction and is specially trained in Orton Gillingham and the Barton Reading Program. She lives Wexford, PA with her husband and their three children. In her spare time she enjoys reading, learning, and being outdoors.

Karley Gazella

Elementary Guide

Hello! My name is Karley O’Keefe and I am the Elementary Studio Guide here at Acton Academy Pittsburgh. Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to work with the young people of the world. I have worked many jobs doing just that, but was never fully satisfied. When I was introduced to Acton and its philosophy, I fell in love, and knew I needed to be a part of it. As a guide, I am able to watch our learners grow each day. It is a relief to allow the learners to be themselves, enjoy their learning experiences, and truly find their own unique passions. I am honored to be a part of these heroes’ journeys here at Acton Academy Pittsburgh, as I continue my own journey along the way.

Caysen O'Keefe

Chief Growth Officer

I worked at a preschool for around 2.5 years. I loved working with the kids. During the pandemic, I got to lead some of the school age kids in Socratic discussions. I never saw the kids so engaged in something! Leading those discussions were easily some of the best times I had at the daycare center.

After the Preschool, I moved to St. Louis to work for a mentor of mine, Andy Frisella, at a company called 1st Phorm. I learned a tremendous amount about building a culture, implementing and holding a standard, and the importance of self development.

Recently, I moved home to help a close friend of mine build his businesses. I am currently doing operations and marketing work for his athletic training facility and managing his lawn care business.

I have been bought into Acton's philosophy for a very long time. I believe being a part of Acton Academy is part of my own hero's journey. I couldn't be more excited to be working with kids again especially in the Acton community!

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.

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 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.

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