Q&A: Conversations with Today's Montessorians

Montessori Life, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Q&A: Conversations with Today's Montessorians


[Editors' note: In October and November 2006, the editors intervieived a number of Montessorians-to learn about their personal Montessori journeys and to hear their insights on Montessori as a movement over the last 100 years and in the years to come. We would like to extend our personal thanks to all who took the time and made the effort to participate in the intervino process. This will be an ongoing project; anyone wishing to participate should send an e-mail to EdMontessoriLife@aol.com to receive the questionnaire.]

THE INTERVIEWEES:

JUDI BAUERLEIN

is past president of AMS. Retired after 44 years of teaching, including high school and Montessori levels 3-6 and 6-12, she continues to work with teacher education programs around the United States.

JACK BLESSINGTON

is a former AMS Board Member, headmaster emeritus of Whitby School and Unquowa School, and a writer, lecturer, and television producer at CBS.

DR. JOHN CHATTIN-McNICHOLS

took the Bergamo AMI training in 1970-71 from Mario Montessori and received a doctorate from Stanford in Early Education and Child Development. He is a past president of AMS and teacltes at Seattle University. He was the director of the AMS teacher education program in Seattle for 25 years.

DR. BETSY COE

is tlte founder and creative designer of the middle school and high school programs at the School of the Woods in Houston, TX, where she serves as principal and teacher. She is also executive director of the Houston Montessori Center for Teacher Education. A frequent presenter and keynote speaker at AMS traveling symposia, Betsy is an advocate for peace education. She holds AMS credentials in EC, ETII, and SECI-II.

AMY HENDERSON

is a lifelong resident of Fort Worth, TX, and a 9-12 teacher and head of school at Montessori Children's House in Fort Worth. She served as president of AMS and sat on the AMS Board of Directors for 8 years.

DR. MICHELE MONSON

is the liead of Whitby School in Greenwich, CT. Site holds the printary credential for ages 3-6 and has worked as a Montessori teacher at this level; she also holds degrees in elementary education and literacy education from Lesley University and educational administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University.

ANNA P. PERRY, MEd

is director of Montessori Education Centers Associated (MECA) and educational director of Seton Montessori School, a lab school for the MECA Teacher Education Program, Clarendon Hills, IL.

BRETTA WEISS WOLFF

is national director emerita, American Montessori Society, and past president, Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

Q How did you become involved with Montessori education?

JUDI BAUERLEIN: When I was in college, my favorite professor, Sister Mary Patricia, had met a man named Tom Laughlin who was very interested in Montessori. In 1959, site and Tom invited a speaker to visit Mount St. Mary's and give a talk on Montessori. This talk was given by none other than Nancy McCormick Rambusch!

I was truly mesmerized. I had never before heard of any educational method that was so "sensible. " I made a vow then and there that if I ever had children, they would attend a Montessori school. Luckily I had three wonderful children, and they did indeed attend Montessori schools in Southern California.

JACK BLESSINGTON: [I was] hired by Nancy Rambusch to teach at Wltitby School in 1960; I had read a little about Montessori and was taken with the possibilities.

JOHN CHATTIN-McNICHOLS: I took a part-time job with Santa Monica Montessori School in 1968 as a college student.

BETSY COE: I got involved when I was invited to a Montessori open house in 1973 in New Orleans. I came home from the open house with an assistant job and have been involved ever since.

AMY HENDERSON: My major in college was education and my early childhood instructor sent me to the premier kindergarten to observe. …

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