Find a story worth living.

There is something deep within our human essence that calls us to seek a life of significance and purpose.   This yearning can easily be crushed by the day to day tasks of raising a family, paying the bills, or the voices in our head that tell us we aren’t good enough.  The voices in our head shout loudly an anthem that rings “you will fail.”  Launching an epic adventure to find our calling is scary but when we are gone I doubt any of us wish to be remembered for simply “being nice” or “playing it safe.” Rather we all long to be remembered for changing the world for the better.

Earlier this year, I had a life changing experience!  Almost two months ago, I became incredibly sick.  My physician didn’t want to come out and say, “Anna, you almost died” but I knew I almost died.  I had a combination of the flu B and a bacterial pneumonia infection.  I remember lying in bed unable to move and crying because each breath hurt.   I remember sitting in the doctor’s office slumped in a chair and feeling the need to tell Chris, my husband, good bye.

Thankfully my story didn’t end with this illness.  This experience did, however, remind me that life is so very precious!  I tend to be a perfectionist and focus on accomplishing tasks.  This bout with severe illness forced me to face the fact that I often live a distracted life.  I am learning to engage with my children, friends, and husband on a deeper level and relish in what is truly important.   We have the choice each day to live an epic adventure or take the safe road and pursue a life of comfort and ease.  During my illness on day three of being in bed, I received a message from Acton Academy that I had been accepted into their program.  I was so broken physically that I really couldn’t celebrate.   I did realize, however, that launching an Acton Academy was the beginning of a journey that would encourage me to grow as a mom and business woman.

Over the past few weeks, I have battled my own personal voices that say. “What if nobody comes to the school?” “What if you are wasting all these resources on a dream that won’t work?”  These fears can be excruciating and immobilizing.   That is when I try and recall that life is a story and that living a life of significance takes risk.  Looking over history, the individuals who made significant contributions to the world didn’t play it safe.  I want to be an example to my children of pursuing dreams and working hard to create a lasting mark on the world.

I recently heard a podcast that discussed how to determine your life’s calling.  The speaker suggested that if you feel passionately about a cause and you have the resources and skill to effect positive change, you should consider yourself summoned to that cause. I feel that changing the educational landscape in Las Cruces is my personal calling.  I feel that children should learn in a self-paced environment, be celebrated for their gifts, and be in an environment that prepares them for the real world.  Acton Academy does all of these things in a beautiful format that recognizes that each child is on a heroes journey to find a calling that will change the world!

Launching Acton Academy is taking me completely out of my comfort zone.  Would it have been easier to put my kids in an existing school – yes!  Would it have been more financially secure to not kick out all our paying tenants from our building to start a school with initially only my three students – yes!  Would it have been less work to ignore the voice inside that pushed me to start a school- yes!   With all that said, I want to live a life of significance and purpose.   Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”  I challenge you to find your calling and begin a hero’s journey to change the world.  You have a story worth telling!

Anna Emerick-Biad
Acton Academy Las Cruces, Inc.

Find a calling, change the world.
Raising Positive Kids In A Negative World Zig Ziglar
Strengths Finder 2.0  (Learn what your gifts are by taking a strengths test.  I took this test and it was incredibly helpful)

Acton Academy Las Cruces Update:
Open House June 25, 3 – 5 pm @ 1730 Tierra de Mesilla
Early Enrollment Discount of $500 until July 1.  Apply today.

Children’s Writing Contest

Acton Academy Las Cruces is excited to announce its first annual Children’s Writing Contest.  Grand prize is $150, second prize is $100, and third prize is $50.

Contest Rules:

  • Stories must be submitted by July 1, 2016
  • Entries must be typed and in English.
  • Maximum story length is 1000 words.
  • Contest is open to all children ages 7-12.
  • Entries must be the original unpublished work of the child entering the contest.
  • Stories will not be returned.
  • Include this form with the story.  Story Entry Form

Mail Entries To Acton Academy:

Acton Academy Las Cruces
P.O. Box 238
Mesilla, NM  88046


Parental Influence


As parents we have a great influence on our children.   But perhaps not in the way or to the extent we commonly believe.

In No Two Alike and The Nurture Assumption, author Judith Rich Harris use dozens of peer reviewed scientific human development studies on identical twins and siblings to make two points:

  1.  Approximately 50% of your child’s personality is determined by genetics; and
  2.  Of the remaining 50%, no more than 10% is a direct result of parenting.

Focus on the last line…. no more than 10% is a direct result of parenting.

Surprising?  Yes.  Controversial? Definitely.   But if Harris is correct – except for cases of parental negligence or abuse — the community in which our children learn and play is four times as important as our parental interventions, corrections and worries.

Harris splits the important developmental work in schools and self-organizing communities into three sub-systems:

  • Relationship building: knowing others, being known, and learning to predict how another human being will respond to our actions.
  • Socialization: learning how a community clarifies and enforces civil behavior for the good of the tribe; and
  • Status: how individual achievements are celebrated and rewarded to encourage individual growth.

While our decisions as parents impact behavior at home, and as parents we need to offer empathy, nurturing and support, it seems the natural, rough and tumble consequences from peers are more important for preparing children for adulthood and the real world.  If this is true, one of the worst parental mistakes we can make it to intervene to short circuit such tacit learning.

At Acton Academy, our covenants, Eagles Bucks, badges and 360 Peer Reviews are far from perfect, but if Judith Rich Harris is correct, they provide important behavioral guardrails and feedback for young heroes destined to change the world.

Acton Academy Offers Montessori Style Education for K-2 grade


The Montessori method of teaching aims for the fullest possible development of the whole child, ultimately preparing him for life’s many rich experiences. Complemented by her training in medicine, psychology and anthropology, Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) developed her philosophy of education based upon actual observations of children.

Children pass through sensitive periods of development early in life. Dr. Montessori described the child’s mind between the time of birth and six years of age as the “absorbent mind”. It is during this stage that a child has a tremendous ability to learn and assimilate from the world around him, without conscious effort. During this time, children are particularly receptive to certain external stimuli. A Montessori teacher recognizes and takes advantage of these highly perceptive stages through the introduction of materials and activities which are specially designed to stimulate the intellect.

Encouraged to focus her attention on one particular quality, the child works at her own optimum level – in an environment where beauty and orderliness are emphasized and appreciated. A spontaneous love of “work” is revealed as the child is given the freedom (within boundaries) to make her own choices.

Montessori teachers are trained facilitators in the classroom, always ready to assist and direct. Their purpose is to stimulate the child’s enthusiasm for learning and to guide it, without interfering with the child’s natural desire to teach himself and become independent. Each child works through his individual cycle of activities, and learns to truly understand according to his own unique needs and capabilities.

Everything in a Montessori classroom has a specific use or purpose. There is nothing in the prepared environment that the child cannot see or touch. All of the furniture and equipment is scaled down to the child’s size and is within easy reach.

A quality Montessori classroom has a busy, productive atmosphere where joy and respect abound. Within such an enriched environment, freedom, responsibility, and social and intellectual development spontaneously flourish!

Acton Academy Comes to Las Cruces Serving Grades K – 6th

Acton Academy Comes to Las Cruces Serving Grades K – 6th

The Acton Academy mission is to inspire each child and parent who enters our doors to find a calling that will change the world.

To learn more, visit the upcoming open house.
Open House May 14, 3 pm – 5 pm, 1730 Tierra de Mesilla

Do you still believe in heroes?   Do you believe that character still matters?   Do you believe that learning to be and learning to do are more important than textbooks alone?  If your answer is “yes” then perhaps Acton Academy is for you and your family!   Acton Academy is a self-paced learning environment that incorporates real world quests and apprenticeships.  A learner driven community that promotes serious commitments; genuine relationships, and authentic accountability.  Founded in Austin Texas, the Acton model of education is exploding across the country, Canada, and Central America.  The parent founder of Acton Las Cruces is Anna Emerick-Biad, mother of 5, wife to Chris, and entrepreneur.

“In my heart I had a vision for the type of education I wanted my children to have.  We had explored options available in Las Cruces, however, didn’t find the right fit for our family.  One day while rocking Matthew to sleep, I googled how to start a private school and that is when I found Acton.  Acton Academy was the learning environment I had hoped for my children to experience.    When I read further that they help families launch their own Academy, I signed up that night.  After completing a rigorous application process, I was approved.

At the time of this writing, it has been less than a week since I visited Acton Academy in Austin Texas for new owner training.   Processing the trip has been very powerful for me personally.  I went thinking I understood what Acton Academy was about but in reality I had no idea how truly powerful this model of education is.  There were times throughout the day that I was extremely emotional as I saw children as young as 7 discuss their personal hero’s journey as they shared what they thought their talents and gifts were.

Children are born with unique talents and abilities.   Often as adults we feel that we must shape children by putting them into an educational environment that uses tests, grades, and standard curriculum to produce an educated child.  In my opinion, children’s passions, interests, and morale are often extinguished by this type of educational model.  I admit that as a parent, I have often bought into this philosophy.  As parents, it is easy to parent from a place of fear – fear of failure, fear of being a bad parent or being judged by others, fear of our children not going to college, fear of our children being unhappy, or fear of our children not having a good job.  When we let limiting fears go and recognizes that children are highly capable, magic happens!   Acton Academy recognizes that when children are celebrated for their diverse learning styles instead of forced into a one size fits all program, children are free to soar.

One big takeaway from seeing Acton Academy in action is summarized by Zig Ziglar’s famous quote “failure is an event, not a person.”  Sometimes at Acton the children’s projects fail and when that happens they learn that it’s ok to fail, it’s what you do with the failure that matters.  The children learn to regroup and try again.  Everything the children do is brought back to their hero’s journey and how their unique gifts and talents can change the world.  I wish that I had been encouraged to think about my gifts and abilities at the age of 7 instead of being 35 and often questioning what my strengths are.  I am eager to walk beside my children as we all explore our own personal hero’s journey.

The families at Acton Academy draft a family mission statement that recognizes that as children and parents alike we are on a hero’s journey to change the world.  Acton families recognize that educating in the Acton model is completely new and innovative and as such they are committed to the process.  I encourage you to review our web site, ask lots of questions, and read the book A Thomas Jefferson Education.  If you feel that your family is excited to join this life changing movement, I encourage you to fill out the online application or join us at our upcoming open house.”