Achievement & Assessment Institute



Dr. Angela Murray is senior researcher and coordinator for the American Montessori Society (AMS) and an assistant research professor at KU. Dr. Murray earned her doctorate from KU in psychology and research in education, with a minor in cultural anthropology and won honors for her dissertation, “Public Perceptions of Montessori Education.” She is the founding editor of the Journal of Montessori Research and frequently presents on Montessori and other educational issues at national and international conferences.




Dr. Angeline Lillard, an elected fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science, is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. She received her doctorate in psychology from Stanford University in 1991, and she was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Boyd McCandless Award for Distinguished Early Career Contribution in 1999. Her book “Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius,” now in its third edition, received the Cognitive Development Society Book Award. She has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Science and Pediatrics, and her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and many private foundations.


Richard Ungerer currently serves as Interim Executive Director of the American Montessori Society (AMS) based in New York City. He was the Executive Director of AMS from January 2005 through July 2017. Most recently, he was an Honorary Council Member and Senior Advisor of the Wisdom International Education Group where he chaired the Advisory Board of the International Montessori School of Beijing (MSB). He has served in leadership positions at many education organizations committed to enhancing education reform and global learning including the National Institute for Work and Learning, the “I Have a Dream Foundation,” the Organization Development Network and the National Society for Internships and Experiential Education. He also was a Special Assistant in the U.S. Office of Education. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, a member of the Board of Advisors for the Montessori Model United Nations, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for American Private Education. Mr. Ungerer obtained his Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University, graduating Cum Laude and received a Master of Social Planning from the Boston College School of Social Work. In addition, he earned a Master of Theology with a concentration in Social Ethics from Boston University School of Theology. He has had several publications and participated in many national and international presentations, seminars and speaking engagements.


Debby Riordan is the incoming Executive Director of AMI/USA. For more than 20 years, Debby has been involved in Montessori education serving in a variety of leadership roles from a variety of perspectives including parent, educator, administrator, and board member. She assisted in the AMI/USA and AMI Elementary Alumni Association joint effort to map the Common Core State Standards to AMI Montessori Math and Language curriculum, and currently sits on several Montessori organization boards and committees including the Montessori Alliance of Texas State Group of the national AMI/AMS joint Montessori Public Policy Initiative, the Montessori Institute of Texas and the AMI Teachers of Texas where she also serves as a school inspector. Debby also is a member of the AMI/USA Board of Directors and is the founding Head of School for Southlake Montessori until she completes her transition to AMI/USA Executive Director this June. Prior to her interest and work in Montessori education, Debby was a marketing research consultant to numerous educational and healthcare institutions, advertising agencies, manufacturers and retailers. In addition to her AMI Elementary diploma, Debby holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Developmental Psychology.



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