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Bastrop Montessori Team

Cheryl Kruckeberg, Founder and Director

Cheryl Kruckenberg, Founder + Direcor


My lifelong passion has been working with children. I am constantly inspired by their curiosity, tenacity, eagerness to learn and their fun loving spirit, and  am humbled by their trust, kindness and courage. In pursuit of my passion for supporting young people I have worked at over a dozen holistic and non-traditional schools as an assistant, classroom teacher, administrator, director, consultant or board member. The opportunity to create a Montessori School in my own hometown is one that I am very excited about!

I was first introduced to the Montessori Method in 1988, when I was searching for the perfect school for my little girl, and I instantly knew that here was the model that most closely matched my own beliefs; that learning is the innate desire of all children and that in a thoughtfully designed environment and in an atmosphere of respect, they will do what comes naturally to them – inquire, practice, learn and take care of each other! My first inspiration grew into a lasting appreciation of the power and beauty of Dr. Maria Montessori’s work. I have incorporated some of the fundamental aspects of the Montessori Method into my work with children ever since, whether as a teacher, administrator or school director.

In the past 15 years I have been the Director of Austin EcoSchool/Austin Village Academy and have been developing an educational program called Game of Village, which I’ve run both in the homeschool community and in private schools.

Aside from my work with children I enjoy non-traditional building, gardening, puttering around outside, yoga, arts and crafts and spending time with my family and friends!

Dena Beattie, Assitant Teacher, Ages 3-6


Before becoming a teaching assistant at Bastrop Montessori School, I was a high school Special Education teacher for eight years.  I’ve also worked for several years as a substitute teacher and teacher assistant, and I taught English in Thailand for a year.  I decided to pursue a career in education because I love working with children and watching them learn and grow. 


I grew up in West Austin and graduated with a degree in Geography-Resource and Environmental studies at Texas State University.  My hobbies include traveling, attending music shows and festivals, gardening, playing sports, cooking, and interior decorating/designing.  

Ayla Richie, Lead Teacher, Ages 6-9

 As a mother of two, it was through Ayla's love of homeschooling that she began teaching core curriculum and enrichment classes for grades K-8 in a local homeschool enrichment program, while helping to manage an educational nonprofit and working part time for EISD. She experienced many different schools, classroom models, and teaching styles over eight years of teaching experience, and came to love the Montessori method and philosophy. While working at Bastrop Montessori she completed Montessori training to be an elementary guide.

It is my honor to observe, guide, and provide experiences for my students that will help them reach their potential as compassionate and intelligent people. 

  When I'm not in the classroom I love caring for my many plants and pets at home. I enjoy reading, gardening, kayaking, camping, and traveling with my son Max, daughter Lily, and our dog Lemon.”

Laura Metzger, Assitant Teacher, Ages 3-6

We're looking more great teachers!

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