our story

Extreme Academy is where your students will experience an academically rigorous program that will provide the foundational learning elements to prepare them for success in their future classroom experiences and beyond in "real life". At the same time, your students will be comfortable in a supportive and caring environment at a potentially uncomfortable stage in their lives where we make it a priority to know their story.  

Extreme Academy is my story. The concept was birthed out of my own passion for learning and deeply personal education experiences that closely mimic those of Extreme Academy. I was educated in private schools my entire K-12 career and found that the small, personal environments were key to my success. In addition, learning in non-traditional ways, such as through project-based learning and unconventional teaching strategies allowed me to learn at my pace in my own way and ultimately, take personal ownership and pride in my education journey and life success.

Here at Extreme Academy, we strive to engage your students in a way that will provide an engaging framework to ignite passion for learning and life, allowing them to be successful in and connected to their learning environments. Knowing your students' story is our priority. EA is committed to your students' success both in the classroom and beyond. We are excited to be part of your students' educational journey and life story!  

Extreme Academy Founder, Katie Smith

Management team

Extreme Academy CEO + Founder - Katie Smith

Katie Smith's experience with Extreme Learning began in 2006 as a tutor while transitioning careers. In her search for a career change from radiologic technology, Katie tutored middle school students for Extreme Learning while pursuing her B.S. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership. Through what she thought was a short-term transition, Katie realized her passion in the field of education management and held several key leadership roles in the company, including Sales Manager, Regional Operations Manager, Operations Director, and Chief Operating Officer. In September of 2013, Katie pursued ownership of Extreme Learning Center. With a personal history of being educated in non-traditional school environments and an ever present passion for learning, Katie most recently founded Extreme Academy as a private school in which students are encouraged to learn at their own pace, in their own way, in a supportive and nurturing environment.

Extreme Academy Director - Sarah Zare

Sarah Zare has been working at Extreme Academy since 2006. She has a B.A. in Sociology and is working on her Masters in School Counseling. She has spent her career working with children in the field of education; from a preschool director, high school teacher, to regional operations manager with The Phoenix Children’s Academy & Extreme Learning, Inc. She enjoys all age groups and loves to see the look on the faces of children when the “light goes on” and they understand a concept. She truly enjoys working with the students and parents at Extreme Academy. "I feel the virtual environment is the perfect balance of academics, enrichment all while providing a safe and enriching environment for students to "ignite a passion for learning and life”. She lives in Morgan Hill with her husband and son. Sarah likes to spend her free time, reading, baking, gardening and spending time with her family at the beach.

Extreme Academy Lead Teacher - Mike Bower

Mike Bower has been the  Lead Teacher of Extreme Academy since its inception in 2014 and an integral part of Extreme Learning Center since 2003. He has a B.A. in Mathematics, and has been dedicated to the education profession for over 15 years. Before coming on board with Extreme in 2003, he served in the U.S. Navy, and then onto working as a math teacher at Gilroy High. Though his speciality is math, the last, almost 20 years of teaching experience, have made him very well acquainted with all the core subjects. “My main motivation for working at Extreme is the opportunity to instill confidence and mold lives through the means of education.”

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