We believe that children are far more capable than we think. We started Acton Academy Midwest because we wanted our children to be in an environment that harnesses the power of curiosity and celebrates self-discovery. 

We are parents just like you, trying to raise our child to be curious, independent and confident. As we started exploring options for education, we did not see how traditional education could work for our family, so we started investigating alternative models and found Acton Academy. We dove into the research and believed it was the right fit for our family. Just one problem – there wasn’t a location in the Upper Midwest (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa) yet.

After understanding that some of the most well rounded successful entrepreneurs sent their children to Acton Academy, we applied to be part of the over 250 Acton Affiliates in 2018, and launched Acton Academy Midwest in 2020, in Onalaska, WI. We are honored to  bring this revolutionary learning approach to our community and are looking for like-minded families to join alongside us on this journey.

Currently accepting applications for Fall 2023 enrollment (ages 4k-Middle School). Schedule a call to learn more and request an application.


Acton Academy Midwest is led by a team of creative, passionate people. We call our leaders ‘guides’ instead of teachers to reflect our focus on the Socratic method. These excellent individuals focus on empowering learners to discover how to DO. BE. LEARN.

Ms. Danica

Head of School

Mrs. Katie

Lead Guide, Wonder (Ages 4-6) 

Hi, I’m Katie!

I’m thrilled to be a Guide for Acton Academy Midwests youngest group: The Wonderers.

I am a wife and a mother to one spunky boy. We enjoy getting outside and hiking, fishing,

traveling, painting, playing music and just being silly with our two Australian Shepherds (Mac and Nellie).

I graduated from Western Technical College in 2010 with an associate degree in Early Childhood education. 

I have worked at a few daycares in the area. The most recent I was the Co-Director for YWCA – Child Care Center 2017-2019. 

I had my son in April of 2018 and decided I wanted to be home with him. In the Spring of 2019, I opened my in-home daycare and successfully ran it June 2019-June 2023.

I also run a few other businesses. I have always been passionate about natural health and wellness and a distributor for Youngliving Essential Oils. I have a Real Estate Investing business.

I also just recently (this past December) published my first children’s book (1 Bubble 2 Bubble 3 Bubble 4!). 

I am currently working on getting my Health and Life Coaching Certification with hopes to go beyond that and coach others on their Human Design (Their energetic blueprint) allowing space for children and families to see who they truly are and to live their best, most authentic lives.

As you can see, I have a passion for children’s education and a zest for life. I am honored and proud to be a part of the children’s Hero’s Journey.

Mrs. Miriam

Director of Creativity

Specialty Guide

My name is Miriam Cavanaugh, owner of Joyful Light. I attended Viterbo University for Art Education. The mission statement of my art is “Love. Delight. Enjoy the gift of life. Repeat.” 

If I can brighten someone’s day a little more, encourage them in a small way, or even inspire someone, my mission is accomplished.

I currently live in West Salem with my husband, Justin, and two cats named Rodney and Potato (Tator Tot). I love spending time with my family and friends, growing in my faith walk, being a youth leader, anything and everything art related, playing games, reading non-fiction books, being outside in creation, and experimenting with cooking/baking. My burning desire is to someday be a mom, and my key to success is to always have an attitude of gratitude and servitude, and to never stop learning.

Coach Talia

Director of Human Development

Specialty Guide

Talia received her Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise Sport Science, at The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she was a student-athlete and achieved All-American status for her sprinting. She went on to attain her Masters degree in Reading and Literacy from Benedictine University. She taught Adapted Physical Education in Naperville, IL for 13 years, while coaching collegiate track and field for 4, as well as an additional 6 years as an assistant basketball and track coach at two large high schools. Most recently, Talia was a Reading Specialist at Viroqua middle and high school while assisting the girls varsity basketball program. 

Talia’s love for coaching students and athletes further increased while working at the elite facility Acceleration Naperville as a Sports Performance Coach for 6 years. Here she trained and coached athletes from middle school through college to further enhance their athletic abilities. 

Talia’s knowledge and expertise will include combining the physical education curriculum with her background in sports performance coaching. She will bring fun and high energy to teaching all kinds of fundamental and developmental athletic skills. 

Talia is blessed to have a wonderful supportive husband, Ethan, and two cute little minions, Stoney 4.5 and Cannyn 2.5.

Talia is honored to be a part of Acton Midwest and assist student’s development in the Hero’s journey! 

Mrs. Anna

Director of Resilience 

Specialty Guide

Anna Slaback, M. S., C.B.I.S, Director of Resilience. Anna holds a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. She has served her community in a variety of human service roles over the last 20 years. She has worked in group homes, day programs, managed group homes, helped others apply for and receive disability benefits, and other services/resources, and has served as a crisis responder and psychotherapist. Her greatest desire is to help others learn to tap into their inner wisdom and resources so they can love themselves and others more and live a life beyond their wildest dreams. 

Ms. Carolyn


Carolyn Colleen is a fierce mother of three children,  Founder of Fierce Foundation, a 501c3 foundation for generational change in creating generational self-sufficiency. 

Carolyn is the author of F.I.E.R.C.E.: Transform Your Life in the Face of Adversity, 5 Minutes at a Time!

Carolyn is the Executive Director of 1Life Fully Lived, a nonprofit organization that provides people of all backgrounds the tools to achieve success.

Carolyn is the Founder of Acton Midwest, a private STEM school, where the philosophy is clear thinking which leads to good decisions, Good decisions lead to the right habits, The right habits lead to character and Character becomes destiny. 

Carolyn is  a consultant and thought leader for Case Western Reserve University as a leader within the Xchange approach, an initiative built upon a scientifically based, multi-disciplinary approach for leading and managing teams. 

In addition, Carolyn is an adjunct at Western Technical College Business Industry Services Department and she is currently contributing to a soon to be published work focused on academic entrepreneurism.

Coach Brandon Specialty Guide

Call me Brandon, call me coach, call me friend, but no need to go the Mr. LaRue route.So, a little about me eh? I’m a man of passion, integrity, and virtue. I desire to be great, first at being a great husband to my wife, second to be a great father to my children, third to be a great friend, and fourth to be a greatness extractor of you.


For over 13 years I have been coaching others to get better……better at what? Better at life to be honest. While my educational background and numerous certifications may try to pigeon-hole me into a “strength coach” or a “personal trainer” I don’t let a title identify what I’m really about. 

You see, I’m about personal development and leadership. I’m about empowering, NOT ENABLING, you to get better, and the truth of the matter is, you can’t get better until you begin to program yourself better, so you can think better, and so you can act better.

When I can help YOU do that, the results will happen.

Ms. Allison

Director of Community Engagement

Allison is extremely passionate and is an open book. Allison rarely turns down an opportunity for a challenge or an adventure. She will quickly become your best friend, community connector, cheerleader, shoulder to cry on, detective, collaborator, and most importantly a person that truly cares about your family and our community.  

Allison enjoys singing, dancing, spending time with her 9-year-old son, biking, drinking wine, pickleball, playing cards, board games, snow skiing, traveling, laughter, hiking, soaking up the sun, dreaming big, and reading.   

Allison is our Director of Community Engagement. She works with local business owners and educators to bring resources into our school. She has a "think big" mindset and will not only bring partners to the Acton community, she will also bring families. Allison also works as a Sales and Operations Manager for a family-owned construction company.   

Allison is very involved in her local community, including president and past president of the Women’s Alliance of La Crosse and the Marketing Committee Chair. She is an Ambassador of the La Crosse County Chamber. She is also on the Marketing Committee for the Coulee Region Business Center. Involvement in the local community has always been a passion for her so she is very fortunate that her career supports that. 

Advisory Committee

Alongside the support of Acton Academy, we also rely on an advisory Committee with expertise in education and entrepreneurship.