When Tudor Elementary School launched its Montessori program a year-and-a-half ago, Cricket Ives was there to help get it started.

"I enjoy the fact that children get to pick their works, they get to self-correct and direct their own learning,” said Ives.

Prior to teaching first- and second-graders at Tudor, Ives spent 16 years teaching at Eagle River Elementary School.

"There isn't a day that goes by that [the students] don't bring laughter and joy in some way,” explained Ives.

Caring, kind and soft-spoken, Ives works to provide a peaceful place for her students to learn and grow.

“Children this age are always going to have conflict,” explained Ives. “So, we have a peace place and we have a peace mat where they can work out their differences.”

20 years ago, Ives was a medical assistant. After helping her two young children learn to read, she was inspired to teach more kids. Ives would go back to college and get her teaching degree. Her current students are glad she did.

"She's really helpful. She's kind. She's awesome. She pretty much helps us with everything,” said second-grader Ben Sega.

From academics and social skills to critical thinking, Ives wants her students to eventually leave her classroom as better students and people.

"I hope that they take with them a willingness to take a challenge and to try hard and to remember to always be kind and stop and think of what others might be going through before they react,” explained Ives.

When not at school, Ives is an avid reader, runner and bike rider.

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