Our Mission

To ignite the passion of all young people to become entrepreneurial learners and leaders who will change the world.

Our Model

We believe…

Trailblazers cultivate their unique abilities to change the world.

Trailblazers direct their own learning through active discovery.

Trailblazers learn in a caring, joyful, and interdependent community.

Trailblazers create products that exhibit mastery across disciplines.

Trailblazers demand excellence.

How Were Different

Inspiring Innovators and Leaders

Inspiring passionate, purposeful innovators, entrepreneurs, makers and other leaders is not only an aspirational goal after graduation. While at Venture, students and staff engage in the passionate, deep practice of innovative, entrepreneurial leadership by taking charge of their learning and taking responsibility for improvement. Blending the best digital content and tools, time-tested classical approaches and hands-on project and discovery learning, Venture cultivates the knowledge, skills, mindsets and experiences of creative, 21st-century innovators, entrepreneurs, makers and leaders.


Venture’s educators and students seek constant improvement by tracking learning progress and adapting programs, methods and tools with the support of personalized digital learning plans, data dashboards and real-time feedback. Students, educators and leaders are always encouraged to try new approaches, take risks, admit mistakes and share lessons. Failing fast is essential to learning.

Growing Great People

Like the Talent Code’s Daniel Coyle, Venture believes that great learning, leadership and character is neither innate nor mysterious. Venture is designed to ignite the passions of young people and educators to relentlessly practice becoming great learners, educators, leaders and human beings.

Entrepreneurial Leadership

Venture encourages trailblazers to pursue areas of passion through experiential enrichment classes (makerspace, web development, music/digital media, visual arts, and physical education). Through entrepreneurial, student-driven independent study, we provide the time and space for trailblazers to connect these interests to their academic content.

We believe that part of preparing trailblazers for the 21st century is equipping them with the tools they need to succeed. Collaborative, project based learning that emphasizes entrepreneurial leadership equips students with the communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills essential to success in 21st century colleges and careers.

Our Story

banner1Venture Academy was founded in 2011 by Jon Bacal and Verne Johnson, and joined in 2012 by Kerry Muse, who shared the belief that in the heart, mind, and soul of every young person if a genius waiting to be discovered, a passion and purpose waiting to be found. They aimed to implement a personalized learning model that closes the vast college- and career-readiness gap that confronts economically disadvantaged youth in the Twin Cities.

Since opening our doors in August 2013, we are helping grow the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders, self-propelled students who know how to imagine new opportunities, take initiative and risks, and solve problems. We call our students trailblazers, and we’re guiding their personalized learning pathways with real-time data generated by digital tools, input from teachers (learning coaches), and self-reflections.

A trailblazer’s day includes digital learning, enrichment in the arts and sciences (check out our makerspace, where trailblazers tinker, design, and build), and responsive small group coaching in literacy and math. Advanced literacy pervades all core and enrichment classes through discussion, presentation, and evidence-based writing.

Venture Academy is authorized by Innovative Quality Schools.

At a Glance

Venture is 1 of 20 winners of the national Next Generation Learning Challenges Wave IIIa competition to identify breakthrough school models, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In our first year, Venture trailblazers are on track for 1.5 years’ learning growth in reading and math.

The Future

As we grow, Venture will remain a lean startup with the agility to try, measure, learn, and iterate in rapid data-driven cycles.

As Venture expands to serve students in grades 9-12, our personalized, non-classroom-based learning model will intentionally facilitate and encourage student participation in PSEO, internships, apprenticeships and other off-site learning experiences as integral components of the regular school day. Our trailblazers will discover their unique talents and become ready for college-level learning and meaningful career pathways by the age of 16.


315 27th Avenue SE

Minneapolis, MN 55414