Douglas M. Gravel and Maria Gravel
Active in the American Montessori movement throughout their professional careers, educators Douglas and Maria Gravel provided strong and unwavering support to the American Montessori Society from its earliest days. Although Nancy McCormick Rambusch was the visionary who founded AMS in 1960, the Gravels provided the organizational savvy that kept it growing.
They recruited an office manager and created the materials center. Over time, Maria supervised interns, evaluated infant/toddler teacher education programs seeking AMS accreditation, chaired the AMS Certification Committee, wrote for Montessori publications, and consulted with schools. Doug designed and administered the first university-based AMS teacher education program. He headed two Montessori schools. He served on the AMS Board of Directors three different times. With Maria, he served on the Founders Fund committee.
When the AMS archives needed a permanent home, Doug and Maria called upon Senator Christopher Dodd and his sister Carolyn Dodd for help. Our valuable historical documents are now housed at the Dodd Center of the University of Connecticut at Storrs.
In addition to their pragmatic, hands-on contributions of time and expertise, the Gravels’ leadership was invaluable as AMS developed policies and procedures, set standards for teacher education and school accreditation, and advanced Montessori theory and practice throughout the United States. The worldwide influence of the American Montessori Society today owes much to the dedication and foresight of Doug and Maria Gravel.