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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 2019 Dissertation or Thesis Award

AMS 2019 Dissertation & Thesis awards are for graduate-level work completed November 2, 2017 – November 1, 2018.

The application deadline is November 1, 2018.

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). Word document only (no PDFs).
  • Include your full name, postal mail address, email address, and phone number.

Award Recipients

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



Robyn F. Long, “Prosocial Activity in a Montessori Primary Classroom: A Case Study.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place) $1,000.

Daniel Robin Howe, III, “An Examination of Montessori Practices in American Elementary Schools” Doctoral Dissertation (Second Place) $500


Three recipients tied for first place and are sharing the monetary awards for first and second place ($750, $250):

Daniel (Jake) Cohen,“A Case Study of Montessori Early Childhood Head Start Curricula” Thesis (Tied for First Place) $333

Jennifer N. Johnson, “Does Storytelling Affect Story Writing in a Lower Elementary Classroom?” Thesis (Tied for First Place) $333

Gretchen Kyle Shaheen, “Montessori in the South Bronx: Considering Advantages for English Language Learners and Examining Tensions in the NYC’s First and Only Montessori Public School” Thesis (Tied for First Place) $333


Mira Debs, “Diverse Parents, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori, Fit and Conflict in the Era of School Choice.” Doctoral Dissertation (First Place) $1,000.

Katie Brown, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Montessori Reading and Math Instruction for Third Grade African American Students in Urban Elementary Schools.” Doctoral Dissertation (Tied for Second Place.) $250.

Anthony Setari, “Construction and Validation of a Holistic Education School Evaluation Tool Using Montessori Erkinder Principles.” Doctoral Dissertation (Tied for Second Place.) $250.

Michelle Lane Barmapov, “Montessori and Autism: An Interpretive Description Study.” Master’s Thesis (Tied for First Place) $500.

Erin Trondson, “Montessori Education & Social Justice: Overlap, Potential & Areas for Growth.” Master’s Thesis (Tied for First Place) $500.


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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