American Montessori Society 2024 Recognition Awards

OCTOBER 24, 2023—The American Montessori Society bestows annual awards in recognition of exceptional achievements in areas relevant to AMS and to the Montessori Movement. Some prospective honorees are nominated by the AMS community and then considered and chosen by select AMS committees, using articulated rubrics. Other honorees are suggested and selected by AMS committees and staff based on our specific knowledge of their contributions to our organization; information that community members might not be privy to.

Learn more about past award recipients.

Community Nominated Honorees

We enthusiastically invite your nominations for the following awards, according to the timetable below.

  • October 23, 2023: Nomination period opens
  • January 5, 2024: Nomination period closes

Living Legacy Award

Who is eligible? AMS members (1 per year)

Each year, the American Montessori Society Living Legacy Award honors an individual for their lifetime of dedication and service to AMS and the Montessori Movement. While recipients of other AMS recognition awards may have made an impact in just one area, the Living Legacy has had several if not many impactful roles in Montessori; for example, as a school or program administrator, teacher, author, researcher, mentor, presenter, lobbyist, union steward, education activist, board director, committee or commission member, and/or community leader.

Since the inception of this award in 1993, the Living Legacy honoree has played a critical role in helping to raise monies for AMS Teacher Education Scholarships, such as by serving as an inspiring speaker for fundraising events created for this purpose. The Living Legacy also delivers an address at AMS's annual conference, The Montessori Event.

Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch Award

Who is eligible? AMS members

The Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch Award honors AMS members for their contributions to the development, expansion, and/or recognition of Montessori education in previously unchartered or minimally chartered territories, and opening the doors for others to follow in their footsteps.

Nominees may have made an impact in a variety of ways; for example, by:

  • Contributing to the growth of Montessori education in countries outside the United States
  • Supporting the development and expansion of Montessori education in under-resourced areas
  • Helping to expand Montessori education in the public school arena
  • Developing Montessori schools or programs in areas or communities where it had minimal or no representation

Nominees for the Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch Award should meet the following qualifications:

  • Promotion of values of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Service to the Montessori community which includes underserved, marginalized, rural, international or public Montessori schools
  • Created influence and awareness for these populations
  • Established an organizational platform that encourages the continuation of service so that the created resources can continue to thrive and grow
  • Supplemental involvement and engagement in the AMS Montessori community.

This award pays tribute to Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch (1927 – 1994), founder of the American Montessori Society.

Montessori Innovator Award

Who is eligible? AMS members and nonmembers (1 per year)

The Montessori Innovator Award honors individuals for their original contributions to the practice and/or experience of Montessori education, such as:

  • The founding of a Montessori organization or program for a niche or under-resourced community
  • The creation of assessment tools or dashboards for Montessori classrooms
  • The creation of resources for students with learning differences or special physical needs
  • The authoring of Montessori-relevant books with unique perspectives
  • The design of unique Montessori environments or playscapes

Selected by AMS Committees

The following awardees are identified and chosen by AMS committees and staff.

Dr. Maria Montessori Ambassador Award

Who is eligible? AMS members and nonmembers (1 per year)

The Dr. Maria Montessori Ambassador Award honors individuals for strides they have made in bringing information about the value of Montessori education to venues that extend beyond the Montessori community, and in so doing, have helped to foster a landscape in which Montessori education can flourish.

By example, one recipient of this award included Maria Montessori in a book about women who dared to question the status quo, positioning her aside other such notables as Harriet Tubman and Malala Yousafzai; another worked to advance a bill that would enable qualified individuals to become eligible for teacher certification in Maryland Montessori schools.

Douglas M. Gravel Benefactor Award

Who is eligible? AMS members and nonmembers (1 per year)

The Douglas M. Gravel Benefactor Award honors individuals whose generosity has contributed to the sustainability and growth of the American Montessori Society. Benefactors may have contributed to AMS in a variety of ways, such as by volunteering time or effort to AMS for at least 10 years; contributing to one or more AMS fund for at least 10 years, regardless of amount; or raising donations or writing a successful grant proposal in support of an AMS initiative in a non-AMS-staff capacity.

This award pays tribute to Douglas M. Gravel (1931 - 2010), a Montessori educator and friend to AMS, whose generosity to the American Montessori Society, from its earliest days and through the decades, knew no bounds.

American Montessori Society Service Award

Who is eligible? AMS members (up to 3 per year)

The American Montessori Society Service Award honors members for their vigorous support of the work of AMS; for example, via our committees, commissions, affinity groups, discussion groups, affiliation groups, accreditation teams, or the board of directors; as participants of AMS initiatives or programs; or hosts or facilitators of AMS events.