Welcome to ACE Academy

The idea for ACE Academy can be traced to the 1990s when the founders, Karen Langdon and Donna Hulsey, were seeking appropriate education for their own children. Each became an advocate for her children’s needs for suitably paced, challenging materials and the opportunity to learn something new every day. “Regular classrooms” were boring or even punitive; understanding and finishing work quickly led to just more of the same or, worse, the reminder to “slow down and wait for other students to catch up.” The founders explored public, magnet, private, parochial, and alternative schools, as well as home schooling. The founders’ experiences with their own children matched the national educational research. Gifted students think and process information differently from the average student and benefit from less common practices such as flexible pacing, compacted curriculum, intense individual exploration, and hands-on learning. There was no school in Austin intentionally designed to meet the needs and nurture the passions of gifted students at that time.

In 2005, the founders started just such a school, opening ACE Academy with eight students. In 2006, the school grew to 20 students; 2007 welcomed 40 students, a 500% increase since the first year. 2008 brought 60 students, 2009 brought 81, and the 2010-2011 year ended with 111 students. The flexible pacing and homogeneous grouping make ACE unique, drawing students and teachers alike.

We educate the architects of our future.


Our MISSION is to teach, support, affirm, and nurture individuals in realizing their intellectual, emotional, social, and creative potential.
Our VISION is to provide a learning environment in which gifted learners can explore their passions, push their limits, celebrate their talents, and truly become citizens of the world.
Our PURPOSE is to bring gifted students together with one another and with teachers who are passionate about giftedness and creativity. We provide classroom flexibility, inquiry-based learning, and innovative, cross-curricular alignment. We encourage holistic development through formal emotional intelligence courses.


About Austin Gifted

Austin Gifted is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas. The mission of Austin Gifted is to teach, support, affirm, and nurture gifted learners of all ages, intellectually, emotionally, and socially, and to provide an environment that supports that mission. This mission is accomplished through a full-time independent school, an award-winning summer program, assessment services, teacher training, and research and resources.


    ACE Academy

  • Est. 2005—A private, independent school for gifted children ages 3 through high school; grew from 8 to 164 students in 8 years (1,700% increase). Accredited through SACS/CASI.
  • Summer Wonders

  • Est. 1999—A summer program for gifted children Pre-K to 6th grade; Mind Games for 6th to 10th grade; two sessions each summer, up to 200 students each; draws participants from the Austin area, Texas, out-of-state, and out-of-country. Saturday Wonders is an extension of this program, offered to low SES students two Saturdays a month. www.summerwonders.org
  • Assessment Services

  • IQ and achievement testing available with behavioral observation reports.
  • Teacher and Parent Training

  • Seminars and other community resources available.
  • Research

  • Continuing data collection, study, and documentation of the social, emotional, and academic needs of gifted learners; welcoming graduate students, interns, and others researchers exploring best practices for gifted children.