Famous Montessorians

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JOSHUA BELL

Grammy award-winning violinist 

                      

A world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell is thoughtful about the role his music plays in society. In a cultural experiment turned Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story, it is Bell’s humility, not his virtuosity, that most inspires. In suspending his fame to explore the true meaning of his work, Bell exhibits Montessori thinking at its best.

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JEFF BEZOS

Amazon founder


Amazon’s founder, who proudly cites his Montessori roots, Jeff Bezos is a study in contradictions: analytical and intuitive, careful and audacious, playful and determined. Critics note his extraordinary ability to learn from others, one hallmark of Montessori education. 

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T BERRY BRAZELTON

Pediatrician, child psychiatrist, author, &

Harvard medical school professor emeritus


Dr. Brazelton’s positive, child-oriented philosophy of parenting has influenced countless families to raise children who are “confident, caring, and hungry to learn”. Brazelton attended a Montessori school as a child and now supports Montessori philosophy through his lectures and publications. 

  

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JULIA CHILD

Celebrity chef & author


A student of Mrs. Davie’s Montesorri School in Pasadena, California, Ms. Child exuded a sense of fun and inspired others to try new things in the kitchen. She credits a Montessori background with her manual dexterity—a key feature of her mastery as a chef—and with the love and joy she found in her work. 

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SEAN "P DIDDY" COMBS

Multi-Grammy award-winning musician,   

rap artist, and CEO of Bad Boy Records


Sean “P Diddy” Combs credits his Montessori education with his drive for success: “I feel like I was nurtured into wanting to be somebody special.” 

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JOHN AND JOAN CUSACK

Academy Award-nominated 

actor and screenwriter, and

Academy Award-nominated actress,    

respectively


This sister-brother team, each of whom also has a hefty solo reputation, are not conventional heroes. Their work has been described as “idiosyncratic”, “offbeat”, and “fiercely original”.

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ANTHONY DOERR

Author


Anthony Doerr is the internationally-accalaimed author of five books, including Pulitzer Prize winning All the Light We Cannot See.  Regarding his Montessori education, Doerr said,"Of all the skills nine years of Montessori education gave me—critical thinking skills, social skills, kickball skills—the most lasting has been a sense of my place in deep geologic time. You’re six or seven years old and you’re being asked to measure the brief, warm, intensely complicated fingersnap of your life against the absolutely incomprehensible vastness of time. The sense of luck that made me feel—to be here at all!—has never left me.  It permeates my writing, my attitudes toward natural resources, and my relationship with my sons."

 


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PETER DRUCKER

Author, management consultant, 

social ecologist, and awarded the  

Presidential Medal of Freedom


Peter Drucker is one of the most influential management gurus in history. His work focused on human relationships as opposed to numbers-crunching; his books are filled with lessons on how organizations can bring out the best in people, and how workers can find dignity and community in their work.  

Often considered 'the inventor of modern management', Drucker was a great admirer of the Montessori method:

“For thousands of years people have been talking about improving teaching — to no avail. It was not until the early years of this century, however, that an educator asked, “What is the end product?” Then the answer was obvious: It is not teaching. It is, of course, learning. And then the same educator, the great Italian doctor and teacher Maria Montessori (1870-1952), began to apply systematic analysis of the work and systematic integration of the parts into a process.
— Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1973)

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DAKOTA FANNING

Actress

Screen Actors Guild Award nominee


Dakota Fanning attended a Montessori school in Georgia. She rose to prominence at the age of seven for her performance as Lucy Dawson in the drama film I Am Sam, for which she received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination at age eight, making her the youngest nominee in SAG history.

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ANNE FRANK

Memoirist & author


Anne Frank’s famous diary is a natural extension of her school experience. She—like all Montessori students—learned to cultivate observation skills and record her thoughts in a journal early on. Diary of a Young Girl has been translated into 67 languages and is one of the best loved books in the world today. 

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KATHARINE GRAHAM

Pulitzer prize-winning author,

Former owner & editor of 

The Washington Post


Crisis forced Katherine Graham to assume control of the Washington Post. Remembering that what matters is how people learn, not what they know, Graham said, “The Montessori method, learning by doing, once again became my stock in trade.” Her reign at the highly-regarded paper lasted more than two decades. 

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FRIEDENSREICH HUNDERTWASSER     

Viennese artist & architect


This world-renowned Austrian painter and architect attended a Montessori school in Vienna, which influenced both his affinity for vibrant colors and his love of nature. He collected pebbles and pressed flowers as a child, demonstrating an early interest in small, precious things—which later manifested itself in his work.