Ambleside's Staff

Dean Peterson, Executive Director

With the encouragement of the ASI Board, ASI Founders Maryellen and Bill St. Cyr prayed for several years that the Lord would raise up an operational and strategic leader to enable them to transition away from running day-to-day operations into roles that emphasize writing, speaking, training and mentoring. Hence Dean's role, to partner with them to take ASI and its commitment to the Charlotte Mason model of education to the next level.

Dean and his wife Lyle live in Falls Church, Virginia. They have three grown children in their twenties, and their youngest started college this year. Professionally, Dean served as Chief of Staff for three different Members of Congress and later headed up the communications and advocacy efforts at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, a nationwide nonprofit addiction treatment provider. His hobbies, besides faith and family, are jogging, reading and relationships.

In his life, the greatest spiritual growth has come in times of crisis, and he believes deeply that the essence of our spiritual life is a close relationship with a personal God who is intimately interested in all aspects of our lives, especially our suffering. Despite these obviously trying times in our world, Dean is highly optimistic about the future and the life of our community and is working hard to ensure that ASI and our school continue to thrive and flourish.

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Bill St. Cyr, Founder, Director of Training

The unifying mission of Bill St. Cyr’s academic, professional, and personal life has been the nurture of persons in intellectual, psychological and spiritual maturity. He holds a BA in political philosophy from Louisiana State University, a MA in theology from Catholic University of America, and a MS/PhD in pastoral counseling from Loyola University Maryland. Bill has served as a youth minister, led a discipleship ministry on Capitol Hill, served as assistant to the chaplain of the United States Senate, and spent thousands of hours as a professional counselor supporting committed believers whose lives have been something less than love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. In 2001, Bill joined his wife in the Ambleside work, serving as a high school teacher at the first Ambleside School. He has spent the last fifteen years training and supporting  principals and teachers across the Ambleside network. Bill is cofounder and currently serves as Director of Training for Ambleside Schools International.

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Maryellen St. Cyr, Founder, Director of Curriculum

Maryellen St. Cyr has been a professional educator for more than 40 years, holding a MA in Curriculum Development. By 1989, dissatisfied with the state of contemporary Christian education, Maryellen began to search for a philosophically and pedagogically consistent method of Christian education. She found just such a method in the writings of British educator, Charlotte Mason. Maryellen has since become one of the country’s leading experts on Charlotte Mason’s pedagogy and was a primary author of the book, When Children Love to Learn. In 2000, Maryellen founded Ambleside School of Fredericksburg, Texas, providing children with a Charlotte Mason education and serving as a training center for interested educators from around the world. Since then, Ambleside Schools International has grown to fourteen schools in the US, five schools in South Africa, as well as schools in Mozambique, Nigeria, Austria and India. Over the last two decades, Maryellen has mentored and trained hundreds of principals and teachers in Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education and pedagogical methods. Maryellen is cofounder and currently serves as Director of Curriculum for Ambleside Schools International.

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Shannon Seiberlich, Community Relations and Homeschool Director

Shannon's path to Ambleside Schools began when she decided to homeschool her children over twenty years ago. Without any background or experience in education other than her own schooling, she sought to educate herself, so she could teach her children well. Teaching her children about Jesus and the Faith was a guiding principle; it was equally important to educate her children well--a full and rich education. Shannon discovered Charlotte Mason's writings; they rang true in her spirit and inspired her imagination. Ultimately, they formed and educated her, filling in gaps that were missing in her own education. She took them to heart and considered…

...where and what the little being is who is entrusted to the care of human parents. A tablet to be written upon? A twig to be bent? Wax to be moulded? Very likely; but he is much more––a being belonging to an altogether higher estate than ours; as it were, a prince committed to the fostering care of peasants. (Home Education)

Shannon went on to teach for ten years at the Ambleside School of McLean, Virginia and had the privilege of teaching Art, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 8th grades. Prior to her work with Ambleside Schools International, Shannon received a B.A. in Advertising from The Pennsylvania State University. She held positions as Media Director and Account Executive for a D.C. ad agency. Shannon enjoys going on adventures and exploring the great, wide world, a photography hobby, writing, reading, collecting old books, cycling, and hikes with her two sons!

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Leslie Voorhees, Director of Member Schools

Leslie found the writings of Charlotte Mason while in pursuit of a life-giving education for her own young children. With over 23 years experience with Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education, she has served in many roles: Co-founder of Ambleside School in McLean, VA; board chair; classroom teacher; and now as Director of Member Schools for ASI. Prior to becoming a mom of three Ambleside students, she served as a regional director for Estee Lauder Companies, served on several boards including Young Life, and received her BS in Biology and Health from the University of Richmond. Her greatest delight is in spending time with her three grown children and two grandchildren, spread between Virginia, Colorado, and Arizona.

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