In Memoriam: Carole Wolfe Korngold (1935 – 2019)

NOVEMBER 8, 2019—Carole Wolfe Korngold died Sunday evening, November 3, 2019, surrounded by family in her home in Boulder, CO.

Carole is acclaimed for bringing authentic Montessori education to thousands of children through independent, public, and charter schools, as well to childcare centers and Montessori teacher training programs.

Founder and Director

Carole Korngold’s experience as a school administrator stretches back to 1966, when she founded the Montessori School of Albany (now Woodland Hill Montessori School) in Rensselaer, NY. She also served as Early Childhood director at the Caroline Montessori School in White Plains, NY, and was founding director of the Early Childhood bilingual program (English and Hebrew) at the Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, NY. And, she founded the Montessori Children’s Center, one of the first year-round full time Montessori childcare centers in the United States. The Center became a model for others, including SAS Institute and Computer Associates.

Carole’s connection to teacher education has deep roots, as well. When she helped to found the Early Learning Training Center at the State University of New York, she also served as the program’s first administrator (1968 – 71). In 1968, she ran the first Montessori training for Head Start teachers at the University of Albany; her daughters were in the demonstration class. In 1991, Carole founded the Center for Montessori Teacher Education/NY, now known as CME|NY. CMTE was the first AMS-affiliated teacher education program to offer a credential at the Infant & Toddler level and the Elementary II (9 – 12) credential. At one time, CMTE had 18 additional locations, in states ranging from Alaska to Hawaii.


Among Carole’s many other achievements in the Montessori and wider education and public policy arenas, she:

  • Participated in the White House Conference on Early Childhood Development and Learning with President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (1997). In an article in Montessori Life (Spring 2000), Carole said this was one of the high points of her Montessori career.
  • Served on the American Montessori Society Board of Directors from 1985 – 1991, and as board president, 1989 – 1991.
  • Served on a panel about Montessori’s impact on Early Education at an NAEYC conference in the early 90s.
  • Co-chaired the First Montessori International Congress in Rome, Italy, 1996. 
  • Was an adjunct instructor at the College of New Rochelle in New York, and at the college’s satellite programs, including in Honolulu, HI, at Chaminade University.
  • Was a leader in the growth of Montessori in the public sector, helping to train teachers in dozens of public schools nationwide, including in Puerto Rico.
  • Was instrumental in the creation of Infants and Toddler Journal, a quarterly publication for Montessori parents and teachers.

Honored Member of the Community

In 2000, Carole was honored as the AMS Living Legacy, an annual tribute to a beloved and highly respected Montessori educator whose dedication and leadership has made a lasting impact on the AMS community.

The first in her family to go to college, she was also the recipient of a George Arents Award from her alma mater, Syracuse University. This award is the school’s highest alumni honor, presented annually to alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields.

In 2012, Carole was honored with a Wisdom of the Elders Award from the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).

Remembering Carole

A valued, esteemed, and beloved leader of the Montessori community since 1965, Carole Wolfe Korngold touched countless hearts and minds and always inspired the best in people.  

She is survived by her husband, Bob Korngold; daughter K.T. Korngold and her husband, Michael Whaley; daughter Rabbi Jamie Korngold; and granddaughters, Sarah Korngold Whaley, Emma Korngold Whaley, Sadie Korngold, and Ori Korngold.

She will be dearly missed.

Gifts to honor Carole’s passion for children, education, and community may be made to the Carole W. Korngold “Morah Chaya” Scholarship Fund (a part of Adventure Rabbi).

Donations in celebration of Carole’s generosity in nurturing Montessori programs, schools, families, and children throughout the years may be made to the American Montessori Society.

A Conversation with Carole, from Montessori Life.