Our Story


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

We Are Parents Just Like You!

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 Tampa yet.

Never one to turn down a challenge, we are launching Apollo Academy, an Acton Affiliate, in South Tampa. We are excited 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 2022 enrollment (ages 5-11). Schedule a call to learn more and request an application.

Our Team

Apollo Academy 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 on their own rather than lecturing or memorizing facts. Check out our approach to learn more about the school.

Beth Ann Valavanis, 
Founder & Head of School

Beth Ann has led teams for over 15 years, most recently as COO for GA Foods, a healthcare company. Prior, she worked for a college study abroad program focused on leadership and service. Beth Ann goes “all-in” when pursuing a new venture and believes that the world is changed one person at a time. She feels that her professional experiences paired with her passion for creating authentic community have led her to a calling to start Apollo Academy. She is driven by the vision that Apollo Academy will positively change the trajectory of South Tampa families, including her own.

Florie Reber, 
Guide

Florie Reber has over 30 years of experience designing and leading programs for children in a variety of nontraditional settings. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida, with a focus on arts and sciences. She also is the co-owner of Yellow Bird Art Studio. She enjoys making beautiful art, reading, gardening and exploring the great outdoors with her husband, son and three crazy dogs.

Monique Levy, 
Guide

Monique Levy is originally from New York City, where she earned her bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University – Stern College for Women and her MS. Ed in Special Education and Elementary Education from the College of Staten Island. Her career in early childhood education has exposed her to the need for differentiated approaches and has shaped her philosophy on learning to be one that is hyper-aligned to the Acton approach.

Tiarah bentley, 
Guide

Tiarah Bentley has over ten years of experience in traditional and nontraditional education. Most recently, she guided in a K-5 Montessori studio. With a Bachelor’s of Principles and Methods of Language Education, she also has a passion in language learning and has previously taught Mandarin Chinese. Her passion for learning doesn’t end there; she also spends time working & training at an aerial circus art studio.

Kathleen Amirault, 
Guide

Kathleen Amirault is a proud mom of two sons, ages 14 & 19. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Wildlife Biology, as well as an Early Education Certificate. She has spent over 20 years working with children ages 4-18. She is an environmental educator and naturalist who loves inspiring children through hands-on, project-based learning, especially when it combines math, science and nature.

Currently Seeking Guides

Are you on your own Hero’s journey, but too old to attend Apollo as a learner? We are currently hiring Guides to join our team. Our best Guides are entrepreneurial in spirit and believe all children are heroes on a journey that will change the world. Read the Guide job description by clicking here. If you’ve completed your own research on the Acton approach and think you would make a world class guide, then reach out to Beth Ann Valavanis to learn more!

Advisory Board

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

Ashley Steele

As the founder of 4 successful companies in the tech and service industries, Ashley contributes her unique perspective on business and community to Apollo Academy. Ashley embraces all of her roles as entrepreneur, business coach and mother of three young children giving her a deep understanding of the challenges of starting something new and the potential of this modern approach to education. Ashley also serves as the Chair of Board of Directors for Athensmade, a group focused on accelerating entrepreneurship in Athens, GA.

Barbara Remmers

No stranger to thinking outside the box, Barbara Remmers is accomplished inside and outside the classroom. Barbara Remmers is an actuary (FSA) by trade. She received her B.S. (mathematics) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. (finance) from the Stern School of Business at New York University. In addition, she founded the Athens Area Girls Math Team to create a space where girls can work together, improve their critical thinking skills and most importantly, have fun while doing math! Barbara is a mother of two delightful daughters and an avid long distance runner.

Glenn Davenport

With decades of experience as an executive leading high-growth businesses focused on helping people, Glenn brings his visionary leadership to Apollo Academy. He has a passion for marrying a deeply-rooted purpose with a strong and thriving business. He has previously served on the board for Mount Pisgah Christian School in Atlanta as well as on the board of directors for Cracker Barrel and TeamHealth. He currently is the CEO of GA Foods in Saint Petersburg, FL and serves on the board of his church, but frequently travels to Huntsville, Alabama to spend time with his seven grandchildren.

William Graham

William Graham is Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Georgia. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has taught a wide variety of mathematics courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He also served for several years as a coach for the Athens Area Girls Math Team. When he isn’t on campus, he is in the backyard exploring nature with his two daughters- one time even nursing a baby squirrel back to health!

Get In Touch

We would love to get to know you and your family.
Schedule a call here!

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