The CMEC (Charlotte Mason Educational Center) began in the Philadelphia area in 2010 as a few families learning and studying Mason’s philosophy together. From that sprung our blended-model learning program, The Mason Academy, which has served many families in both Philadelphia and in Princeton, where we began a second learning community. A few years ago, we decided to expand our membership to include families across the country and world. We now develop our own full curriculum, provide the support necessary for its implementation, and offer ongoing education and training for teachers and parents.
A robust, experienced team of mothers and teachers collaborate in this work under the guidance of the CMEC Leadership Team, and now hundreds of homeschooling families and classroom teachers have joined us in bringing Mason’s ideas into their homes and to the larger educational community.
The CMEC Leadership Team
With a graduate degree in literature from the University of California-Irvine, Amy Snell taught in a variety of classroom environments. She then discovered Charlotte Mason, whose philosophy quickly convinced her to begin homeschooling. As her family thrived using Mason’s methods and grew to include five children, Amy wanted to share and learn more about Mason’s philosophy with others, including speaking at national conferences and local retreats, hosting Mason book discussions and workshops for parents, running a Nature Study Club, facilitating Truth, Beauty, Goodness afternoons, and creating the Mason Academy as director, teacher, and parent. Amy now serves as the Board President of the Charlotte Mason Educational Center and heads our curriculum team and community projects. You can find Amy on Instagram @learninghowtolivecm.
Erin Daly lives near Philadelphia, PA with her husband and two daughters. In 2012 she was introduced to Charlotte Mason and the work of the PNEU. Since then, she has studied Mason's life-changing ideas with a wonderful community of fellow homeschoolers. Erin and her family run the publishing company Riverbend Press, providing notebooks and artist prints to the Mason community. Erin is the Director of The Mason Academy, which provides weekly educational programs for homeschool students in grades K-12. She has degrees in economics and political science from Grove City College. Prior to staying home with her children, she worked as a Treasury and Finance Consultant, which equips her as the CMEC’s overall administrator.
Celeste Cruz lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their ten children. With a graduate degree in English and a background in European humanities and art history, she has taught literature and writing in classroom and small group settings. She discovered Charlotte Mason before her children were born and has enthusiastically studied her philosophy ever since, but her most rewarding experience has been putting that philosophy into practice with her own children at home. Besides organizing a local Mason group, she shares the joys of home education at Joyous Lessons and @celeste_cruz, collects Mason-style notebook work @keepingcompanycm, and speaks at retreats and conferences nationwide. Celeste serves the CMEC in a variety of ways, including contributing to community projects and acting as managing editor.
More of Our Team Members
Judy Clark has four children and has been learning alongside them since her oldest two were in 5th and 3rd grade. When she and her husband found themselves passing twin girls around the high school homeschool table, she knew she was in for the long haul. Meeting Amy Snell, joining her Nature Study Club, and being introduced to Charlotte Mason began a wonderful new adventure in homeschooling that has completely changed her and her family’s life. She and her family are delighted to be part of the CMEC. Judy has an undergraduate degree in biology and a graduate degree in computer science and also helps her husband run their two comic book and game shops. Judy assists the CMEC as a membership administrator.
Born and raised in Southern California, Tom Cox studied Latin and Greek at Hillsdale College in Michigan. After college, he went on an 18,000-mile road-trip exploring America, and, while touring the country with his barbershop quartet, was offered his current job at The Heights. Prone to misadventures, Tom has broken both of his ankles and doused a house fire with only a pair of frozen pants. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Nicole, and five children. In the summer of 2019, he completed a Master's Degree in Liberal Arts at St. John's College in Annapolis. Being a Johnnie sharpened his pedagogy while expanding the tools he uses in the classroom, from seminars to oral exams. When he isn’t speaking or reading Greek and Latin, he enjoys reading (English), hiking, and spending time with family and friends. Besides being a CMEC dad, Tom consults for our curriculum and resources, particularly on the ancient world, and speaks for our community.
Cassie Detwiler is a mother of three and lives in the Philadelphia area. Cassie was introduced to Mason's philosophy after graduating from Eastern University's Templeton Honors College where she studied philosophy, politics, and economics. She teaches at The Mason Academy in Newtown Square, PA. Cassie manages our Instagram account, @the.cmec, and our discussion board, La Pianta, and assists with member communication and events.
Dawn Duran lives in Maryland with her husband, who serves in the U.S. Army, and their two sons. She has undergraduate degrees in physical education and physical therapy as well as a graduate degree in health sciences. Her pre-motherhood career choices were influenced by her experience as a Division I athlete, and she worked as a physical therapist full time prior to taking on her most prized roles of stay-at-home wife and homeschooling mother. Dawn feels blessed to have encountered the philosophy of Charlotte Mason prior to her children reaching school age and has been immersed in Mason’s methods for ten years. Dawn has created Swedish Drill Revisited to assist homeschool families effectively embrace a forgotten form of physical education and she enjoys offering a local class to facilitate the study of Plutarch and Shakespeare in community. She also writes for the magazine American Essence, teaches classes online for Purdue University Global, and co-hosts The New Mason Jar podcast. Dawn draws on her experience with her local group to help write our guides.
Heather Ermine lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and eight children. After encountering Mason’s writings and philosophy at a local book club, she plunged wholeheartedly into applying those principles at home, school, and life. She holds a BFA specializing in sculpture and graphic design from the University of Central Florida. In her leisure time, Heather enjoys reading, cooking, baking, rugged hikes, and sneaking small bits of clay to sculpt. Heather serves as our Kinderleben and Form 1 leader.
Ashley Lefrak Grider is a writer, editor, and mother of three. Her writing, which includes essays and humor, has been featured in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Rumpus, and Real Simple. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Princeton University, a BSN from University of Pennsylvania, and an MFA from Yale University. Ashley started homeschooling when her oldest didn’t want to continue preschool and she wondered, “What do they actually do there, anyway?” After attending a Charlotte Mason book group and learning about the CMEC, she gained the confidence she needed to pursue an alternate path to education. She has enjoyed teaching at The Mason Academy and, more recently, running a small field trip co-op. Originally from Virginia, Ashley now lives outside of Philadelphia.
Jocey Jekel lives in Bridgeport, PA with her husband, Levi, and her two little ones, Cecilia and Simeon. Originally from Massachusetts, she attended the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University for her undergraduate degree (B.S. Biochemistry, with minors in Philosophy and Theology) as well as her graduate studies (M.A.T. in Classical Education). After two years of teaching and outdoor adventure in Jackson, WY, she spent the past four years as a teacher and administrator at Martin Saints Classical High School in Oreland, PA. Throughout her studies and her working experience in education, Charlotte Mason has become a treasured conversation partner. Jocey has enjoyed teaching a variety of subjects at The Mason Academy and assisting with the guides for the CMEC.
Camille Malucci is a homemaker and home educator in coastal Virginia using the Charlotte Mason method since the middle of her first son's first grade year. She earned a Bachelor's in Business Administration and worked as a Buyer and Planner in the fashion and home goods sectors, but is glad that when family life called, she was able to pursue lifelong learning beside her children. A lover of good books, homemaking, beautiful architecture, travel, and fiber crafts, the Mason method was a good fit from the get-go. Camille curates our list of historical supplements each year and writes for our website’s La Pianta feature.
Joanna Nice lives in New Jersey with her husband and six children. She wasn't even considering homeschool when a friend invited her to a mothers' reading group of Mason's volumes. After two years of slowly pondering and seeing the beautiful example of CMEC families, she realized she wanted to live this way too and invited her oldest kids home from public school. Joanna graduated from Princeton University with a degree in molecular biology and has a background in pharmaceutical marketing and clinical trials. She assists with The Mason Academy in the Princeton area and serves as the Form Leader for Forms 2 & 3.
An Ohio native, Renée Ricou moved to Philadelphia to attend college and received a BS in Biology and Chemistry and a Master of Science in Education from Drexel University. She studied French in high school and college and lived in Nantes, France for two years, first working in a university laboratory, then as a student of French studies at the University of Nantes. Renée met her husband there and they return to France about once a year to visit family and friends. Renée's background in science adds much to our curriculum.A lifelong bibliophile, Emily Sullivan is a graduate of the Great Books Program of Thomas Aquinas College. When she was a young mom, she began reading Mason in Amy Snell's reading group and felt certain she had found a true kindred spirit. The Sullivans currently reside in southwestern New Hampshire where a wild collection of animals, books and daughters are randomly strewn among a blue gambrel barn, the 1860s farmhouse, and various open fields and gardens. In addition to teaching her own girls, Emily also leads TBG afternoons and mentors college women at nearby Thomas Aquinas College. Before becoming a homeschooling Mom, Emily taught theology and philosophy at a classical high school outside of Manhattan and has written and lectured for a variety of catechetical non-profits. When she's not pre-reading for the upcoming term, she's happiest spending time over tea with old friends...like Aristotle and Aquinas. Emily uses her experience as one of our guide writers.
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