Mrs. Hannelore Engelman founder and director of Montessori School of Los Altos passed away on March 10th, 2014. She is survived by her daughters Danielle Engelman of San Francisco and Nicole Engelman of New York City; and her brother Siegmar Haenig of Steinhude, Germany.
Hannelore was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland) and grew up in Hannover. She came to California at age 23 to start a new life and subsequently married Daniel Engelman and raised two daughters in Los Altos. In 1972, she co-founded, with Nicolette Stein, MSLA which was one of the Bay Area’s first Montessori preschools.
She was an early advocate of computer education in the classroom and implemented one of the first bi-lingual programs for young children in the Bay Area, which continues today. In the 1980's she was part of the first Montessori Teachers delegation to China, fostering cross-cultural connections and understanding with the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program.
She was always curious, and had a kind and generous spirit. She was an accomplished photographer and was active in the community of Montessori educators in the Bay Area. She loved most being in the classroom working with young children, and was passionate about adapting the traditions of Montessori education to the 21st century. As a self-made woman and an immigrant she was proud to have sponsored visas and green cards for several of her employees over the years.
Adhering to a longstanding request there will not be a memorial service. Her daughter Danielle, a former teacher and current acting director at the school, plans to memorialize Hannelore Engelman’s life and career online by making her collected writings and over forty years of early education resources that she created available for the greater educational community.
In lieu of flowers or other memorial gifts, the family suggests donations to one of the causes she most believed in Room to Read, Kiva or to the school to be put toward the memorial project via the http://montessorischooloflosaltos.org website.