KATHLEEN HUNT FUTRELL
January 13, 1926 - June 6, 2014
It all began when Kathleen Futrell had the opportunity to visit a Montessori school in Rome, Italy, wnile her husband, Al, a 1946 graduate of West Point was stationed in Germany. Even with the language barrier, the impression of the focus, concentration and happiness of the children at work made huge impression. When she returned to the U.S. she wanted this type of education for her children.
Living in Riverside Estates, she sent her children to the Montessori school in Woodbridge while she taught 62 students in a fifth-grade class at St. Charles in Arlington. After extensive research, she decided to open Aquinas Montessori. It was the fall of 1965.
A quote from Maria Montessori's book, Secret of Childhood, became her mantra: "Not in the service of any social or political creed, should the teacher work, but in the service of the complete human being, able to exercise in freedom a self-disciplined will and judgment unperverted by prejudice and undistorted by fear".
Kathleen Futrell was very active in the Montessori community. She was the keynote and guest speaker for several conferences and the author of "The Normalized Child", a book which originated from a speech she had given to parents and sent to other schools upon request.
What our former students and their parents say about Kathleen H. Futrell:
I can't begin to say how much Kathleen and her wonderful, inspired Aquinas Montessori school has meant to me and my children. My daughter and grandchildren went there from the age of 2 and one half until the age of 12. They credit the school and the training and education they received there to much of their success (all of them) in the math and sciences. I knew little about Montessori when I chose to send my daughter there at the age of 2, but grew to love it (Montessori) and Aquinas and Kathleen.
Elaine Cassel, Alexandria, Virginia
From the first day I walked into Aquinas Montessori School, I was in awe of the atmosphere created by Mrs. Futrell and her wonderful staff. It was to me such a haven of serenity, peace, love and learning and I loved seeing the industrious little ones so absorbed in what they were doing. I am so happy my sons had the experience of the school and of Mrs. Futrell. She was truly a gift.
margo jurgensen, naples, Florida
My children were students at the Aquinas Montessori School from the late 1970s through the 1980s. Kit, Mr. Dave and Allison gave them so much! As adults, my daughters continue to use what they learned at Aquinas. Sara applies the Montessori principles to her own children. Her younger sister, Eve Uberman, was so inspired that she became a Montessori teacher, earned a graduate degree in Montessori education and is now the head of a Montessori school, Nia House Learning Center, in Berkeley CA. Kit lives on in our memories.
Carolyn Miller, Alexandria, Virginia
I was a student of Mrs. Futrell many years ago. She was a wonderful teacher who inspired me and hundreds of other students.
Gina Carusillo Lockland, Arlington, Virginia
You touched the lives of SOOOO many people Ms. Futrell. There are not enough words to do your life justice. There will always be a place in my heart for you.
Kathleen Futrell and the Aquinas Montessori School had a profound effect on so many hundreds of children. She was the kind of teacher who inspired kids to dig a little deeper, and to try things they were afraid to try. Her love of the arts and commitment to give every child an experience performing on stage was life changing for many a shy student. She leaves a tremendous legacy that will go on and on.
Janet Peyton, Richmond, Virginia
Kit Futrell did the greatest of service to families in establishing Aquinas School for 3 - 12 year olds allowing youngsters to enjoy the full power of the Montessori method, not until first grade, but through those productive primary years where tasks in the learning process knew no bounds. She allowed me to participate in the school adding my science meeting the criteria of the Montessori range of experiments and whatever happened that would further enrich the program. I am so very grateful for this family experience. My four children were prepared and have been so self motivated in their studies and careers doing marvelous things. My gratitude for her work cannot be fully expressed for lack of words. Thank you, Kit. DENNY
Denyse DuBrucq, Dayton, Ohio
Her influence on my life was so profound! What a Great Lady. I was privileged to attend Aquinas for 9 years and Mrs. Futrell's influence shaped my life as a Montessori teacher and now as a homeschooling mother. I frequently reflect and try to re-create the same love of learning that she instilled in her students.
Sonja Lynham LoVecchio
I will never forget the wonderful time I had learning at Aquinas. The education I received there was 2nd to none. You will be greatly missed, but your spirit will live on forever in the alumni of Aquinas.
Justin Jones, Virginia Beach, Virginia