An Innovative Pre-k Thru High School Private Education Learning Academy

A unique non-traditional private school serving the Killeen, Harker Heights, Fort Hood, Copperas Cove and surrounding area.

Our promises to your child

He or she will:

  • Begin a Hero’s Journey.
  • Learn to be a curious, independent, lifelong learner.
  • Develop a deep respect for economic, political and religious freedoms.
  • Cherish the arts, wonders of the physical world and the mysteries of life on Earth.
  • Discover his or her most precious gifts and learn to use them to solve difficult problems.
Our beliefs
  • We believe each child has a gift that can change the world in a profound way.
  • We believe in a closely connected family of lifelong learners.
  • We believe in learning by knowing, learning by doing and learning by being.
  • We believe in economic, religious, and political freedom.

JOY + RIGOR = MASTERY

Embracing rigor is part of saying ‘yes’ to a Hero’s Journey. Deep learning brings a special sense of joy, but the mastery required for a Hero’s Journey goes even further, requiring commitment, discipline and hard work towards a worthy goal.

Why we're starting an Acton

A letter from Elissa Andreas, Parent and Founder of Olive Branch.

I chose to start an Acton Academy and bring it to the Harker Heights/Killeen/Ft. Hood area for many reasons. I honestly believe the world needs to grow outside of the traditional and industrialized education. It needs to provide our young learners (Heros) with methods to help inspire their future. That can only be done by having the right tools available to create individual learners, independent thinkers and leaders, as well as, entrepreneurs to expand this great country. Acton Academy is growing a community of transformative schools in more than 100 locations and I believe it will provide the right setting for our children, as well as yours, in order to expand on their own unique talents and to truly see what this world has to offer. Within our enriched program, our young Heroes will be on their own individual journey. This journey will unfold and provide the knowledge needed to answer some of life's toughest questions. At Olive Branch: An Acton Academy, your child will gain the skills, along with the insight to thrive in our world today.

Our team

Elissa Andreas

Co-Founder

Elissa is a Texas A&M University Alumni, class of 1998, where she received her Bachelors of Science Degree. After college, Elissa began a career in research, where she worked in the Radiology and Oncology research fields at Scott & White Memorial Hospital. In 2011 she decided to continue her education in Denver, Colorado and received her Masters in Oriental Medicine. She currently owns her own acupuncture and Chinese Medicine clinic, Touch of Zen, LLC, in Killeen, TX. She married her husband, Dan Andreas, in 2004 and began her journey along his side as an Army wife and entrepreneur.
She is the mother of two wonderful boys, ages 4 and 6.

Dan Andreas

Co-Founder

Dan is a retired Master Sergeant, Army Veteran of 22 yrs. He served in many roles to include Career Counselor, Aviation Operations Manager and Construction Equipment Operations. He served in various assignments around the world to include three Combat tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. Today he continues his passion in helping soldiers and veterans by working as a contractor in the support of the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program; helping Soldiers transition from military life to civilian life. Dan is also an entrepreneur and owner of Beryl Stone Investments, LLC.

As a family, they enjoy watching movies, reading books, picnics outside and Pokémon hunting. They also enjoy visiting other family as it’s an important to them that family be an example of both love and support.

Ivan Cruz

Elementary Guide

Ivan Cruz is a former active duty member who is currently serving in the United States Army Reserves. As a member of the U.S. military, he has spent the last nine years traveling the world while working in the logistics and customer service industry. He possesses a strong desire for mentoring and guiding others. He is currently pursuing his doctorate's degree in education.

Now, the reason he chose to become a part of an Acton Academy is primarily due to his inner passion for teaching youth members. His primary reason in choosing Olive Branch: an Acton Academy, is due to his inner passion for assisting in youth goals. He has also spent a significant amount of years volunteering for recreational/sporting events which ultimately led him to realize how much he truly enjoys working with children both in and out of the classroom.

His long-term goal is to become a full-time educator so that he may dedicate all his time into developing a positive learning environment that fosters growth. As one of Olive Branch's newest educational guides, he understands that it is "my role to ensure that your children receive ongoing support and positive reinforcement consistently and I promise to do my absolute best to equip each student with the learning tools needed to become independent, lifelong learners. I look forward to joining these young heroes on their journey toward success!"

Angela Hernandez

Spark Guide

Angela Hernandez has worked with children of all ages, including infants all the way up to teenagers and has eight years of childcare experience. She previously studied Advertising Design and Print Technology at Texas State Technical College as well as Physical Therapy at McLennan Community College. Prior to moving to Killeen to be a Guide, she was an instructor of martial arts and is a first degree black belt for five years in Waco,TX. Angela not only taught children about self discipline and self defense, but she also taught Spanish, Science, and Arts and Crafts for their summer camp program.

In addition, Angela also participated in a tutoring program where she helped mentor young students and taught teenagers valuable life skills that could be implemented in the workforce. One of her favorite activities was helping her students set up fundraisers throughout the year and then donating newly purchased toys and clothing to Toy For Tots. Art and creativity are both a passion for Angela and she loves to help children find their own unique calling and teach them to celebrate being themselves. She is very excited to be a Spark Guide and share her knowledge and passion with current and future Sparrows.

Our Advisors

Laura Sandefer

Advisor

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

Advisor

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 Entrepeneurship 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.

Location

Olive Branch: an Acton Academy, LLC is open for enrollment. We are located at 4008 E. Stan Schlueter Loop, Ste 105 (building is behind "The Shops"

Killeen