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AMS 2018 Living Legacies: D'Neil and Michael Duffy

Dneil and MichaelD’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.

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Michael and D’Neil are visionaries. That is, they are people that see possibility and miracles before they happen. Montessori taught us to “see the child that is not there yet.” The Duffys’ faith in human nature and life make them see opportunity in the mist of crisis. They saw this possibility in Puerto Rico, and contributed to our Montessori public school movement, since 2005. The Duffys are our teachers, our friends. They are unconditional. They came and worked in good times, and in hard times, for a long time. They made our project theirs and were generous with their knowledge and time. They taught teachers, and trained the trainers that now carry on the important task of transforming the public schools in PR. The Duffys are our model to follow—their peaceful ways, their depth, their knowledge combined with humility, their sense of humor, their willingness to play, their love for others, their genuine interest in that each teacher construct himself or herself to become the best. We want to be like them when we grow up. The Duffys are part of our history and our family. We see them in every miracle that happens in our communities and schools. We are eternally grateful to you.

Ana María García Blanco, Friend, Colleague

05 /03 /2017 - Puerto Rico

We are honored to sell their books in our catalog.

Catherine Campbell, Parent Child Press

04 /07 /2017 - Sebastopol

D'Neil and Michael, you are my inspiration. Not only admire your passion and knowledge of Montessori, but your love of life. Thank you for all that you have contributed to Montessori and to make this world a better one. Congratulations! Can't think of a more wonderful couple to receive this honor.

Sharon Damore, Colleague

04 /03 /2017 - Chicago/Illinois/USA

Congratulations to both of you on this well-deserved honor for the countless hours, days, months and years that you have given to further Montessori Education, develop teachers, assist parents and encourage children. You have my great admiration.

Amy Henderson, colleague

03 /30 /2017 - Fort Worth

I have attended some of your talks at conferences and have always come away enriched. Thank you for your dedication to Montessori education.

Marilyn Martin

03 /28 /2017 - West Lafayette, IN

Two wonderful people who know far more about Montessori and about educating children than I ever will. I have been fortunate to draw on the wisdom of these two gracious and generous souls. This honor is so well deserved and I salute them both!

Michael Roehr, Trainee, colleague and friend

03 /28 /2017 - Norwood, Massachusetts, USA

I am so glad I can take this opportunity to thank D"Neil and Michael for the experience of knowing them. It did not take me long to recognize their dedication to and knowledge of the Montessori Approach when I was in elementary training through CMTE. Not a day goes by that I don't tell a parent some of the wonderful things I learned from them. Thank you again for everything and congratulation on the award.

Patricia Whyte, Student in their elementary program

03 /27 /2017 - Woodridge

I feel privileged to be able to learn from Michael and D'Neil at METTC. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Love of Learning and Children of the Universe in preparation for class as well as an interview I had this year. I am looking forward to the 2nd summer of my training coming up in 2017 and am so glad that another METTC grad recommended the program to me. They are an asset to Montessorians everywhere and completely deserving of this honor. Congratulations!

Stephanie White, student

03 /27 /2017 - Berea, OH, USA

I LOVE that you are receiving this honor together-how fitting! You have both been inspiring mentors and influences to my career in the field of Montessori education. It's hard to believe how far we've come since our days at LMS and CMTE/NY. I am forever grateful for your role in my training and education (along with a couple other Living Legacies as well, lucky me!). Please visit our school again soon (bring Mignon and her family, too). IMA is finishing its 10th year! CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU!

Lisa Nguyen

03 /27 /2017 - Marco Island, FL USA

I remember fondly getting to know D'Neil in New Rochelle and working on our albums together from time to time! Congratulations and thank you for all of your contributions that have helped lift the Montessori community!

Melissa Fleck-Aller

03 /27 /2017 - Charleston, South Carolina

Dear Michael and D'Neil, It is with great joy I wish you congratulations for being recognized by AMS as the 2018 Living Legacies. Your dedication and continued work in the area of Montessori education through your teaching and your writings is to be honored and blessed. With appreciation for all your gracious and hard work, Teri Canaday

Teri Canaday

03 /26 /2017 - Jackson

What a fitting tribute to all you have done for Montessori education! Everyone at Penn-Mont Academy sends their best wishes and appreciation for the contributions you have made to our school in providing quality teacher education and professional development. Congratulations!

Mary Zajac, Teacher training

03 /23 /2017 - Hollidaysburg

Congratulations to you both. You are a continued inspiration to all of us who work with children.

Dorothy Knox

03 /22 /2017 - NEWPORT NEWS

Congratulations for your loving dedication

Angelica Costello

03 /21 /2017 - Springfield

Congratulations to you both. Canada is pleased that your continued commitment to Montessori Education has been recognized in such a special way.

Annalea Matthews

03 /20 /2017 - Niagara Falls Canada

I have had the distinct honor of studying at METTC. The training program founded and co-directed by the Duffys. Their knowledge and experience are invaluable.

Kaleigh Richards, METTC student

03 /20 /2017 - Reno

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