D’Neil and Michael Duffy have been involved in Montessori education for more than 40 years, ever since their daughter, Mignon, entered a Montessori program at age 2½, followed by their younger son, Brett.
D’Neil, who had been a teacher in traditional public and private schools, fell in love with the Montessori Method and philosophy, and went on to take AMI Primary-level training (she later received her AMS Elementary I – II credential from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education/New York). In 1979, she founded Blackstock Montessori School in Villa Rica, GA, where she taught and served as administrator for 21 years. D’Neil served one term on the AMS Board, helping to promote the organization’s public policy agenda.
Michael, a journalist by profession, received his AMS Elementary I – II credential at CMTE|NY. In 1989, he joined Blackstock Montessori School, teaching in Lower Elementary and then Upper Elementary.
Later, the Duffys both served as trainers in CMTE|NY’s Elementary teacher training program. They also assisted in the establishment of a MACTE-approved Elementary training course for public school teachers in Puerto Rico—Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE).
Most recently, they helped found and co-direct the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative (METTC) in Lexington, MA.
The Duffys have given workshops at national and international Montessori conferences and schools, and were keynote speakers at a 2015 Montessori conference in Warsaw, Poland. They represented the Montessori community at the 2 inaugural conferences of the International Big History Association (IBHA). In 2015, they were named recipients of MACTE’s Wisdom of the Elders Award.
They are authors of 3 books on Montessori education, all published by Parent Child Press/Montessori Services: Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom; Math Works: Montessori Math and the Developing Brain; and Love of Learning: Supporting Intrinsic Motivation in Montessori Students. Children of the Universe is used in many elementary training programs as a reference on Cosmic Education.
D’Neil and Michael retired from Blackstock in 2001 to devote more of their time to teacher training, writing, and educational consulting. They live in the mountains of Virginia, within a day’s drive of their 4 grandchildren, all of whom have attended Montessori schools.