The idea for The Domus Academy began when co-founder Joy Palacios' oldest son started kindergarten in 2019. She felt her son, who is very bright and also quiet in school, would thrive in a homeschool environment. To homeschool, though, Joy or her husband would have needed to leave their career. She thought what her family needed was a “preceptor,” a model popular in centuries past. In France, preceptors belonged to what we now call "The Republic of Letters," meaning they represented France's intellectual elite. In contemporary terms, the families who hired preceptors delegated homeschooling to a highly educated scholar. This system provided personalized education to students and afforded France’s thinkers and writers an income that allowed them to pursue their intellectual and creative work. A preceptor model would thus help solve another problem on her mind: how to expand opportunities for scholars trained in the humanities and social sciences.
In twenty-first century North America, we have the perfect ingredients for a renaissance of the preceptor model. On the one hand, we have a K-12 school system designed to train factory workers when what we really need are creative, critical thinkers ready for the knowledge economy. On the other hand, we have an intellectual elite whose training and talents are squandered by a university ecosystem in which most MAs and PhDs in the humanities and social sciences work as part-time or contract-based faculty without enough pay to make ends meet, let alone to pursue their research. In an updated version of the preceptor model, The Domus Academy therefore aims to match families who have children ages pre-K to 12th grade with scholars in the humanities and social sciences who hold or are pursuing an MA or PhD. For families, we believe this model opens a “third way” between homeschooling and traditional classrooms, whereas for scholars it opens a “third way” between the tenure-track and the adjunct treadmill.
Our team brings together humanists, entrepreneurs, and financial experts whose combined expertise bridges the worlds of homeschooling, private schooling, and academia. All of us are parents with young children.
Joy Palacios – Joy is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Calgary and holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. As a scholar, her research focuses on the way ritualized performances build and sustain institutions, from the Catholic Church to corporations. She is the mother of two boys (ages 4.5 and almost 7) and worked extensively with children as a nanny, a youth group leader, and a summer camp organizer before pursuing her Ph.D.
Jessica Kamin – Jessica is a passionate educator whose experience has spanned university students to preschool children. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College and a foreign language teaching diploma from Université de Paris III, as well as a Ph.D. in 17th century French Literature from University of Washington. Jessica has applied her experience teaching at the University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University to the homeschool environment, where she educates her four children, ages 10, 8, 6, and 3.5. She enjoys empowering other families to create rich learning opportunities.
Jaime Colmenares – Jaime is an expert on multi-sided markets, having worked at Airbnb's marketing data science team and, before that, at eBay's customer data science and corporate strategy teams. Before his work experience in tech, Jaime was a management consultant at Bain & Company.
Jim Lind – Jim is an investor with a bias for turnarounds and broken situations. Following graduation from Stanford, he worked in investment banking, private equity and hedge funds. He has three children ages 10, 7 and 5.
Miguel Palacios – Joy’s husband, Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Calgary.