American Montessori Society 2019 Recognition Awards

April 2, 2019.

Every year, through a variety of awards, the American Montessori Society honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the Montessori Movement. The following recipients were announced during Community Night at The Montessori Event 2019, held in March in Washington, DC.

Dr. Maria Montessori Ambassador Award: Senator William C. Smith Jr.

The Dr. Maria Montessori Ambassador Award honors individuals who, through their work in a variety of arenas, are fostering a landscape in which Montessori education cannot only thrive, but flourish.

Our 2019 honoree is Maryland State Senator William C. Smith Jr. (D-Montgomery). A dedicated public servant and champion of Montessori education, Senator Smith is currently working to advance a bill that would enable qualified individuals to become eligible for teacher certification in Maryland Montessori schools. The Senator has reaped the benefits of Montessori firsthand, having attended the AMS-accredited Barrie School in his hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland. Senator Smith is a civil rights attorney, an intelligence officer, and member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, and he will deploy as a part of Operation Resolute Support later this month.

You can read more about Senator Smith in this announcement.

Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch Pioneering Award: Martha McDermott

AMS recognizes individuals who have made significant advances in raising the profile of Montessori education through this annual award. It is named in honor of education visionary and pioneer Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch, whose vigorous efforts were vital to the founding of AMS and the growth of the Montessori Movement.

Our 2019 honoree for the Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch Pioneering Award is Martha McDermott. Martha has been a Montessori educator for over 60 years, and at age 89, continues to visit classrooms at least once a week to “hone her skills.” She has spent much of her career in Cincinnati, Ohio, as an integral member of the Xavier University Montessori Lab School and Xavier University Montessori Teacher Education Program. She founded their Elementary program, and has served as a faculty member and curriculum developer. She was instrumental in developing public Montessori schools throughout Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Martha has also served on the AMS Board of Directors, Cincinnati Montessori Society Board of Directors, and she has worked closely with the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association.

Montessori Innovator Award: Catherine McTamaney

This annual award honors up-and-coming individuals for their original and inventive contributions to the practice and experience of Montessori education.

The 2019 honoree for the Montessori Innovator Award is Dr. Catherine McTamaney, MEd, EdD, AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood). Catherine is an associate professor of the practice and director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College, in Nashville, TN. She is author of the blog, Montessori Daoshi, and writer of the books The Tao of Montessori and A Delicate Task: Teaching and Learning on a Montessori Path. She supports countless parents and educators around the globe by translating Montessori principles, practices, and curriculum for the home, community, and classroom. Her texts and articles are often sited in teacher education program courses, and she is a highly sought-after presenter at Montessori events and conferences. Dr. McTamaney was a keynote speaker at The Montessori Event 2019 in Washington, DC.

Douglas M. Gravel Benefactor Award: Judith McCartin Scheide

AMS acknowledges those whose generosity has contributed to the sustainability and growth of the organization through an annual award named in honor of the late Douglas M. Gravel, one of AMS’s most consistent and generous benefactors. Doug, along with his wife, Maria Gravel, provided strong and unwavering support to the American Montessori Society from its earliest days.

This year’s honoree is Judith McCartin Scheide, MA, AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood). Judith is a passionate educator, and has been a steadfast supporter of AMS for over 20 years, donating approximately $750,000. Judith and her late husband, Bill Scheide, provided initial funding to create the Douglas M. Gravel Fund in support of preserving AMS’s history, as well as the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (which was founded by AMS and has since become an independent organization). Judith is also a member of the AMS 1870 Society, which helps support AMS’s long-term growth and stability through planned giving. She has also donated her time to AMS; she is a former member of the AMS Board of Directors, where she served as Vice President for Professional Development for 5 years. For 17 years, Judith worked in fundraising at Princeton University. Previously, she was a teacher in the Upper Freehold Regional School district, Princeton Regional Schools, and the Minneapolis School System. She also founded the elementary program at the AMS-accredited Wilmington Montessori School where she was also a teacher.