In Memoriam Tribute: Willa Mae Golden

Willa Mae Golden
October 10, 1938 – October 25, 2022

“Willa Mae Golden—inspired teacher and loving mother, grandmother, sister, and friend—passed away on October 25, 2022, in Washington, DC. She was 84.”

This heartfelt opening can be found in the 11/9/22 life celebration obituary for Mama Golden, as I affectionately referred to her. I was blessed to meet her through my wife, over a decade ago in DC. My wife and I were founding group members for a DC public charter Montessori school in 2010. During the school start-up phase, we sought out community elders like Mama Golden for guidance because she was one of DC’s first Black Montessori trained public school educators. We were so impressed with her vibrance and wisdom that we quickly asked her to join the Board of Directors for Shining Stars Montessori Academy (SSMA). Moreover, our Montessori school community was particularly grateful whenever she came out to work as a substitute guide whenever we needed her.

Over the years, I would reach out to Mama Golden when an interesting Montessori workshop was coming to town and sure enough, she would often attend the events, “bright-eyed” and full of excitement. We were always impressed with Mama Golden’s excitement about Montessori education and her commitment to making Montessori available to children in the African American community.   My wife and I were fortunate to participate on a panel at a Montessori conference in DC with Mama Golden and Ms. Marsh. Mama Golden and Ms. Marsh shared their experiences as two of the early African American Montessori pioneers in the DC area. Mama Golden also recently participated in a Montessori for dementia training and she was truly an inspiration to my wife and I and we are grateful for her tireless efforts in the world of Montessori education.  Truly, a tall tree has fallen, having dispersed many seeds.  So, it is with gratitude and heartfelt appreciation that I would like to announce on behalf of the Black Montessori Education Fund that our Montessori teacher training scholarship will now be called the Willa Mae Golden Scholarship.  Ase.

To see (and hear) more about her life, please visit this link.

To contribute to the Black Montessori Education Fund’s teacher training scholarship – the Willa Mae Golden Scholarship – click here.