Dedicated to Dennis Schapiro,
True Champion of Montessori Education
Nearly 20 years ago when we started MontessoriConnections.com, adding a database of Montessori schools to our site was a major goal for us. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for anyone to find Montessori schools in their area. There was no place that we could turn to find any lists of Montessori schools. So we began looking everyhere for Montessori schools and adding them one at a time.
We started going to Montessori conferences knowing we would find lots of people from Montessori schools. We rented booths in the exhibits area at the conferences where we had a printout of our database and asked every individual who stopped to visit with us to check and see if their schools were in it. If a school was not in our list then they completed a form so we could add their school to the database.
It was at one of those early conferences that we first met Dennis Schapiro. He was the publisher and editor of The Public School Montessorian a quarterly publication and a community directory of Montessori schools, teacher education programs and materials providers.
From the beginning he was very interested in our work and the site we were developing. He was especially interested in the work we were doing to build a database. He had a database of Montessori schools that he published in his community directory and was planning to add to the The Public School Montessorian website. He expressed his feelings that we should work together to make sure both of our databases were as complete as possible.
We agreed that it was a really good idea and we began exchanging our databases with each other. That was the beginning of a long, wonderful friendship. Over the coming years we would connect at Montessori conferences and visit by email.
Dennis passed away suddenly on May 13, 2014. It was a very, very sad day when we learned of his passing. He was a treasured friend and a true champion of Montessori education and education generally.
Dennis was a tireless advocate for Montessori education. He wanted to help everyone in any way he could if it promoted or furthered Montessori education. He supported everyone in the Montessori community and worked hard to bring people together in support of a greater vision of the Montessori community. His voice and his heart will be missed in the Montessori community.
To honor his love and devoted work to Montessori education, the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) established the Dennis Schapiro Innovation in Montessori Teacher Education Award. It is awarded annually to a member of the Montessori Teacher Education community that has brought about significant change. On the MACTE website they write:
Dennis Schapiro was an innovator. He wasn’t afraid to bring about change. Catherine McTamaney, author and education lecturer at Vanderbilt University was quoted saying “Denny pushed us to think beyond our sphere, …reconciling our visions of Montessori.”
It is in this spirit that we dedicate our newly updated Montessori School Directory to the memory and inspiration of Dennis. We will be forever indebted to you and your love of Montessori education. Thank you, forever.