AMS Mourns the Loss of Two Devoted Montessorians

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marcy K. Krever, Chief Communications Officer
Phone: No calls please.

American Montessori Society
116 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003-2163

Posted August 1, 2011. Updated August 2, 2011.

We are saddened to announce the recent passing of Bee Pape and Marcia Green Gardère, whose enduring commitment to Montessori education enriched our community and strengthened our cause.

Bee PapeBee Pape

Bee Pape, a pioneer of the Montessori Movement in the United States, died July 29, 2011, in Oklahoma City, OK, at the age of 82.

Bee was among the early advocates of Montessori education whose remarkable vision and unstinting efforts spurred the dramatic growth of the Movement in its early years. In 1959—a year after the opening of the first current-day Montessori school in America—Bee founded, with Peggy Loeffler, All Souls Montessori Preschool in Oklahoma City, OK.

The school later became the Primary Division of the Casady School, where Bee taught until 1999. In 1964, Bee became a faculty member and then director of the Montessori Teacher Education Program at Oklahoma City University, a post she held until her death. In the 1970s, she also taught at the Early Childhood Program at St. Mary’s College in Omaha, NE.

Her own Montessori teacher preparation was under the auspices of the nascent American Montessori Society: in 1963 she received an AMS/AMI International Diploma with merit. Bee also earned master’s degrees in Early Childhood Education and in Elementary Education.

Bee’s commitment to Montessori principles was evidenced every day in her tireless support of students and steadfast empowerment of her faculty. She was also a long-time champion of AMS. Bee was part of the first AMS Teacher Education Committee, which set guidelines for all AMS teacher education. In 1985 she joined the first AMS Teachers’ Research Network, and thereafter served as mentor to subsequent groups of researchers. Over the years, Bee conducted more than 40 early childhood and elementary workshops for AMS and individual Montessori programs, as well as for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Independent Schools of the Southwest, National Association of Episcopal Schools, and other educational groups. For the past 25 years she served throughout the country as a consultant trainer  for the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and its predecessors.

Bee will be remembered as a woman of vision, strongly-held opinions, and an engaging sense of humor. She was authentic, practical, and plain-spoken, and although she didn’t like “mushy,” her heart was deeply connected to family, friends, and her young students. Showing horses was another of her great passions, and as an active member of The American Horse Show Association she often turned her leadership skills to organizing show horse competitions.

Bee is survived by a close, loving family that brought her much joy: her son, Will, and his wife, Louise; a daughter, Sarah Pape Hester, her husband, Richard, and their children, David and Amanda; daughter Susan Peacock, her husband, Allen, and their children, Julia and Anna; and 2 great-grandchildren, Alexander and Alena.

Donations in Bee’s memory may be made to:
AMS Living Legacy Teacher Education Scholarship Fund
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
PAMBEGhana, P.O. Box 18813, Oklahoma City, OK 73154

Expressions of condolence may be sent via postal mail to AMS for forwarding to Bee’s family. Send to:

The Pape Family, c/o American Montessori Society
116 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003-2163

Marcia Green GardèreMarcia Green Gardere

Marcia Green Gardère, a passionate educator and a devoted friend to AMS, died at her home in Brooklyn, NY, on July 23, 2011, surrounded by those she loved. She was 66 years old.

Marcia directed the Cooke Center Institute in New York City from 2006 to shortly before her death, providing literacy, math, and special education consulting services to inner-city charter, Catholic, and independent schools. Prior to that, she served as head of Bay Farm Montessori Academy in Duxbury, MA, leading its transition from a small, founder-run school to a nonprofit independent educational institution that now serves preschool through middle school students. Earlier still, during her 15-year tenure as head of Brooklyn Heights Montessori School in Brooklyn, NY, she piloted the growth of BHMS from a community preschool into New York City’s only Montessori preschool – 8th grade program.

Throughout the years, Marcia was active in her support of AMS. Among other things, she served on the Centennial Fund Committee, raising funds to finance our strategic goals; co-chaired the Silent Auction at the AMS 2004 National Conference in Boston; and was a member of the work group involved in the redesign of our logo.

Marcia was a dynamic leader and a tireless advocate for children, and embraced life with a gusto that inspired others to do the same. She was a talented artist and an avid bird watcher, and always stood ready to suggest a good book. She was outspoken and funny and formed deep and lasting friendships, and will be fondly remembered for her energy, intellect, and poise.

Marcia leaves behind her husband, Paul, and their children, Nicolas and Catherine. She will also be missed by friends, colleagues, and the many students who gained so much from her life’s work.

Contributions in Marcia’s memory may be made to:
The Marcia Gardère Fund at The Cooke Center 
Médecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)
Partners in Health 
NYU Cancer Institute, NYU Langone Medical Center

Expressions of condolence may be sent to AMS to be forwarded to Marcia’s family. Send to:

The Gardère Family, c/o American Montessori Society
116 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003-2163

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