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Dissertation & Thesis Awards

The American Montessori Society offers annual awards for graduate-level work that furthers the understanding of Montessori education.

Four awards are available each year:

  • Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation. First Place: $1,000; Second Place: $500
  • Outstanding Master’s Thesis. First Place: $750; Second Place: $250

To Apply for an AMS Dissertation or Thesis Award

To apply for a for 2017 Dissertation or Thesis Award:

Via postal mail, send the following to Dr. Phyllis Povell, 14 Gray Avenue, Dix Hills, NY 11746:

  • A hard copy of your dissertation or thesis AND
  • A copy on a flash drive (or disk)
  • Include your full name, your postal mail address, and your e-mail address.

Deadline: November 1, 2016

Eligibility: To be eligible for a 2017 award, research must be completed November 2, 2015 – November 1, 2016

Award Recipients

To access the dissertations and theses written by these award recipients, visit the AMS Research Library.


Kimberlee Belcher-Badall, “Policy Reservations: Early Childhood Workforce Registries and Alternative Pedagogy Teacher Preparation." Doctoral Dissertation (First Place) $1,000.

Jennifer D. Leung, "Montessori Classrooms in Australia: An English as an International Language Perspective.” Master’s Thesis (First Place) $750.

Linda Engelhart, "The Child and Nature: Re-Integrating the Whole,” Master’s Thesis (Second Place) $250.


Rebecca Keith, “Learning As Development: Reflections of Former Montessori Students.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place) $1,000.

Diana Butler, “Right Where They Are Right Now: Formative Assessment in Montessori Lower Elementary Classrooms.” Master’s Thesis (First Place) $750.


Punum Bhatia, “Mind Over Matter: Contributing Factors to Self-Efficacy in Montessori Teachers.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place) $1,000.

Jill Stansbury, “Dealing with Diversity: Administrator, Teacher and Parent Perceptions of the Responsiveness of Montessori Schools to Racial and Ethnic Diversity.” Master’s Thesis (First Place) $750.

Victoria Livingston, “Educators on Social Media: A Look into What Montessori Teachers and Other Educators Believe About Intrinsic Motivation and Rewards.” Master’s Thesis (Second Place) $250.


There were 3 tied-place awards for master’s theses, each in the amount of $500. There was no dissertation award.

Judy Blahut, “Children's Effortful Control in a Montessori Classroom: Effects of Parenting and Purposeful Work.” Master’s Thesis.

Prairie Boulmier-Darden, “Montessori Education and Learning in Living Systems.” Master’s Thesis.

Katrina Mosscrop, “Place Attachment: Grade 2 Students' Special Places at Their Schools.” Master’s Thesis.


Tim Cauller, “Toward an Improved Model of Education: Maria Montessori and Karl Popper and the Evolutionary Epistemology of Human Learning.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place).

Katari Coleman, “The Montessori Method in America: Montessori Schools in New York and Rhode Island from 1910-1940.” Doctoral Dissertation (Second Place).

Margaret Clark, “Making Peace: A Creative Thesis Project.” Master’s Thesis (First Place).


Candy Schnepf, “A Comparative Case Study of the Implementation of Montessori Pedagogy in the United Republic of Tanzania and the Russian Federation.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place).

Wendy LaRue, “Empowering Adolescents: A Multiple Case Study of U.S. Montessori High Schools.” Doctoral Dissertation (Second Place).

Tracy Crawford, “Does Working With Sets Contribute to Conservation of Number for Young Children?” Master’s Thesis (First Place).

Shawn Elizabeth Carroll, “Finding Balance without Compromising Integrity: Montessori in the Public School Setting.” Master’s Thesis (Second Place).


Kathryn Ross, “Montessori and Reggio Together: Exploring Possibilities.” Master’s Thesis (First Place).


Erin Hennigan, “Assessment and Instructional Decision-Making in Montessori Early Childhood Classrooms.” Master’s Thesis (First Place).


Linda Gatewood Massey, “Pilgrims and Guides: A Phenomenological Study of Montessori Teachers Guiding and Being Guided by Children in Public Montessori Schools.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place).

Michelle K. Yezbick, “How Montessori Educators in the U.S. Address Culturally Responsive Education.” Master’s Thesis (First Place).

Alison Stern, “Observational Assessment of Literacy Development: The Use of Running Records in the Montessori Classroom.” Master’s Thesis (Second Place).


Nanette S. Schonleber, “Culturally Congruent Education and the Montessori Model: Perspectives from Hawaiian Culture-Based Educators.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place).

Peggy E. Pate-Smith, “Implications for Peace: Montessori Elementary Education.” Master’s Thesis (First Place).

Noreen Sullivan, “Characteristics of Early Elementary Homework: Montessori and Traditional.” Master’s Thesis (First Place).


Joan J. Mariana Gomes, “Using a Creativity-Focused Science Program to Foster General Creativity in Young Children: A Teacher Action Research Study.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place).

Angela Kinney Murray, “Identifying Challenges to the Future of Public Montessori Elementary Schools.” Master’s Thesis (First Place).


Carolyn Daoust, “An Examination of Implementation Practices in Montessori Early Childhood Education.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place).


Laura M. Opfer, “A Descriptive Research Study Examining the Use of Standardized Testing by Montessori Teachers of Kindergarten through Sixth-Grade Students.” Master’s Thesis (First Place).

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