Hi! We’re Charissa, Charles, Katherine, and Tim, the founders and owners of Threefold School. Here’s our story.
Charissa Mitchell is our CEO and Head of School. She’s a French-speaking, ex-investment consultant who grew up in Lancaster County. She and her Philly-born husband, Charles, a serial nonprofit entrepreneur, moved to Central Pennsylvania in 2010 and have four children (all girls!).
Katherine and Tim Clymer are also parents of four—but they figured out how to have boys and twins. They own and run Threefold Farm, an organic orchard and plant nursery in Mechanicsburg. Katherine is our resident Texan and serves on our Board of Directors. Tim is a software developer turned orchardist and a native of Perry County.
Now that you know how many children we have among us, you won’t be surprised to know that our families have experience with pretty much every kind of education—public school, private school, homeschooling, skipping school, school taxes, and more. We certainly never intended to start a school. But as we have struggled to find the right way to educate our children, we stumbled across Acton Academy, a school launched by Laura and Jeff Sandefer in Austin, Texas, and read Laura’s book, Courage to Grow.
Laura and Jeff’s words spoke to our dreams for our families in a profound and unique way that resonated deeply with our Christian worldview. And we’re not the only ones: Their school in Austin has spawned over 200 other affiliates across the globe—including five elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
It’s unique. It’s exciting. And it has achieved for many other children the three big things we want for our own kids. We want them to grow in wonder. We want them to grow in community. And we want them to grow to serve the world around them. When we saw that, we knew we had to start an Acton Academy affiliate in our community, and we embarked on that journey in February of 2019.
In May 2019, we made another big decision—we hired Al Jurina as our Elementary Studio Guide. Al has worked in the public and private education sectors for 18 years, having taught many subjects including foreign language, photography, computer programming, and digital video editing. In recent years, he has found himself captivated by the Acton Academy model just as we have. Al is excited to help a new generation of independent learners on their Heroes’ Journeys, and we are thrilled to have him. He and his wife Megan have three children.
Just in time for the beginning of the school year, Mariana Cervantes joined our team as an Apprentice Guide. She has a deep passion for serving others and has experience working with children at a daycare, in her church, and among family and friends. With this position, Mariana is pursuing her calling to work and learn alongside children and is ready to humbly grow in this opportunity. She is pursuing her associates degree in Early Childhood-Elementary Education as she studies at HACC.