Montessori program honors career of Martha McDermott, one of its first instructors

Forty years later, University has graduated 1,600 Montessori teachers | February 2, 2006

Martha McDermott, who became one of the University’s first Montessori education instructors more than 40 years ago, is the guest of honor at a banquet commemorating the 40th anniversary of Xavier’s Montessori Teacher Education Program on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 5:00 p.m. at the Cintas Center. Bretta Weiss, national director emeritus of the American Montessori Society, is the keynote speaker.

In 1965, Xavier broke new ground in the world of education when the University became the first to offer a master’s degree in Montessori education. Forty years later, Xavier has graduated about 1,600 Montessori teachers and continues to be a national leader in Montessori teacher education.

In the early 1960s, Montessori-based education was relatively new. When Cincinnati’s first Montessori school opened at Cincinnati Country Day School there were few teachers. Hilda Rothschild convinced the dean of Xavier’s graduate school, Raymond McCoy, to start the Montessori program. McDermott, who was teaching at Ohio’s first Montessori school in Cleveland, was asked to join Xavier’s faculty. The first graduate class had 80 students.

By 1975, the University had added an undergraduate program and helped open the first public elementary Montessori school in the country, which still operates in Cincinnati today as Sands Montessori. Clark Montessori in Cincinnati was the first Montessori public school for junior high and high school. Other Cincinnati Montessori schools include Dater, North Avondale and Winton Montessori. Xavier also helped open public Montessori schools in Dayton, Louisville, Indianapolis and Seoul, Korea. The department is now working in Taiwan to establish elementary Montessori schools.

For more information please contact Elizabeth Bronsil at 513-745-1072.