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Ambleside Schools International founders, Maryellen and Bill St. Cyr.

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The Charlotte Mason Method with Maryellen St. Cyr
Making the Leap Podcast

In the podcast linked below, our Founder Maryellen St. Cyr shares how she came to know Charlotte Mason, how it changed her understanding of education, and how this understanding is implemented in our Ambleside classrooms.


The Making the Leap podcast from our partners at the Herzog Foundation is hosted by Christine and Chris Stigall.


In 1989, after ten years in the classroom, Maryellen St. Cyr was a highly regarded but increasingly disenchanted teacher. Recognizing her need for a consistent and deeply Christian philosophy of education, she began searching. It was in reading the six-volume opus of British educator, Charlotte Mason that she discovered the answers to her questions.


Over the subsequent years, Maryellen would become a close associate of such luminaries in the Charlotte Mason renewal as Karen Andreola, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, and others. She traveled to England several times, searching for remnants of Charlotte Mason’s methods and meeting some of the last surviving Charlotte Mason Trained (CMT) educators. And she began implementing Charlotte Mason’s principles – first as a classroom teacher, then as a director of instruction, and finally as a school principal.


In 1999, with a calling and vision to build a Charlotte Mason school from the ground up, Maryellen resigned her position as a school principal and moved to the town of Fredericksburg, Texas. There she spent a year in prayer and writing curriculum. In 2000, with the support of several families from the community, Ambleside School of Fredericksburg opened. From the beginning, central to Ambleside’s mission was the fostering of a renewal of Christian education based upon Charlotte Mason’s philosophy.


Almost immediately, from across the country and the world, educators began traveling to this little school in this little town to learn of this remarkable, living education. Some began asking for help in establishing a similar school in their community. In 2002, Ambleside School in McLean joined with Ambleside School of Fredericksburg. In 2003, Ambleside School of San Angelo, now Ambleside Concho Valley, was founded. In 2005, Maryellen and her husband, Bill, together with a group of supportive board members, established Ambleside Schools International to both facilitate the conversion of existing schools to Charlotte Mason’s pedagogy and support the establishment of new Ambleside Schools.


Listen to the podcast.