B.A., Dartmouth College
Leadership & Company Culture Consultant/Culture Architect, Sapient Corporation
Courtney founded the Acera School in 2010 to serve accelerated children of all learning styles and needs. A passionate educator with a strong belief in public service, Courtney always knew she wanted to bring innovative teaching to the classroom. But how? It took some frustrating experiences as a young teacher, a successful career as a software industry leadership consultant, and her own accelerated son hitting the limitations of public schools for Courtney to realize: To get to the teaching environment she envisioned, she had to build a school from scratch. And with it, a strong, diverse community of teachers and parents devoted to innovative education.
Courtney’s vision for our school rests on three pillars: Acera is a progressive school that serves accelerated children, with a specific focus on innovation in STEM education and how scientific inquiry is driven by creativity and independent thinking. Under her leadership, Acera has grown in just five years from some 30 students to over 115; from a makeshift school in a rented church basement to a financially secure non-profit now in its own building in Winchester; and from a school no one knew to one whose 8th graders consistently place into the High Schools of their choice.
Courtney’s ability to create strong teaching-teams and an environment in which teachers can be entrepreneurs, mentoring students on their individualized learning paths, is crucial to the school’s success. So is her relentless entrepreneurial drive: On any given day, you will see Courtney work on a fundraising effort, sort out math group placements, check in with a student during recess, negotiate with contractors, huddle with a teacher over an exciting student project, or welcome the Winchester Fire Department.
The spirit of Courtney’s can-do attitude radiates through our school, allowing teachers to take ownership and be innovators in their classrooms, and allowing students to break out of the boundaries of grade-level and similar expectations. It’s how Acera gets to be not just a vibrant school that continues to grow and innovate, but a microcosm of what is possible in education.