Magazine article Montessori Life

2016 LIVING LEGACY: Carolyn Kambich

Magazine article Montessori Life

2016 LIVING LEGACY: Carolyn Kambich

Article excerpt

The American Montessori Society Living Legacy is an honor created by the AMS Scholarship Committee to recognize individuals whose exemplary achievements have had significant impact within the Montessori community. Each fall, Living Legacy nominations are made to AMS. The nominations are then sent to a committee that reviews applications through the lens of several criteria: breadth of influence in Montessori education and general education, service to AMS, and volunteerism. Final approval by the AMS Board of Directors is based on recommendations made by the committee. Donations to the AMS Living Legacy Scholarship Fund support future teachers in AMS teacher education programs. Since the inception of the award in 1993, AMS has awarded over $520,000 to 285 aspiring teachers, to help fund their studies.

The AMS 2016 Living Legacy is Carolyn Kambich. Born into a family of first-generation Scandinavian immigrants, she saw early in her life the importance of a strong work ethic, determination, and mentorship. Her self-educated parents loved music and were avid readers. At the urging of one of her high-school teachers, Carolyn applied for and was awarded a scholarship to Northern Illinois University; there, she earned a BS in elementary education and met her husband, Tony.

In 1965, after hearing a Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center speaker, Carolyn organized a Montessori study group. With encouragement from Dr. Urban Fleege, founder of MMTTC, Carolyn and an interested local parent, Terry Fine, placed an ad in a local newspaper to gauge interest in a potential Montessori school. The response was 200 phone calls!

The resulting Deerfield Montessori School- championing not only Montessori pedagogy but also a philosophy of diversity and inclusion, applied equally to students and staff-opened in September 1966. Subsequently, Carolyn opened four more Illinois schools, in Deerfield, Highland Park, Riverwoods, and Glenview/ Northfield. The four schools still in operation (the Montessori Center of Highland Park closed in 1986) are known as the Deerfield/North Shore Montessori Schools; all AMS-accredited, the schools serve infants through sixth grade, with second-generation Montessorians Lisa, Tony Jr., and Doug Kambich at the helm. Riverwoods also now hosts the MMTTC Elementary teacher education sessions. …

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