In Loving Memory of Michael Dorer:
It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of a distinguished member of our community, Michael Dorer. Michael’s departure leaves a void in our hearts but also a rich legacy that has significantly shaped the Montessori education landscape and Sarasota University’s mission. Beginning his career in Montessori education in 1969, Michael quickly recognized the transformative impact of storytelling in engaging young minds. His dedication to this art form was matched only by his commitment to the Montessori method, leading him to earn multiple Montessori credentials and international training. For over 45 years, Michael devoted himself to educating students from ages 2 to 14 and he spent two decades mentoring adults to become Montessori educators.
Michael’s journey into the world of education was deeply influenced by his early experiences with his grandfather, whose calming voice and captivating stories instilled in him a lifelong love for storytelling. This gift would become a cornerstone of his teaching methodology, transforming the way lessons were delivered and experienced in his classrooms. His belief in the power of story to ignite anticipation and joy in learning was a testament to his innovative spirit and deep understanding of child development.
Michael’s academic achievements were equally impressive, culminating in a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from Argosy University. His passion for Montessori education led him to serve as the Director of Montessori Education at St. Catherine University for 25 years before founding the graduate-level Montessori program at Westminster College, “The Institute for Montessori Innovation,” in 2012. Beyond his professional achievements, Michael was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. He found joy in life’s simple pleasures alongside his wife Rose, their children, their grandchildren, and their Labrador retriever. His visits to schools, culinary adventures, and playful moments with family encapsulated the warmth and generosity that defined him.
His Impact at Sarasota University
At Sarasota University (SU), Michael Dorer played a pivotal role in shaping our graduate programs in Montessori education. He was instrumental in developing the initial frameworks for multiple programs, laying the foundation for a comprehensive and forward-thinking Montessori curriculum. Michael’s vision and leadership not only propelled our programs to new heights but also brought together a dedicated team of educators who continue to drive our mission forward.
For several within the SU Community Michael was the guiding force that brought them to Sarasota University. Words from Robin Howe, SU Faculty Member and Montessori Foundation Senior Consultant, reflect the essence of Michael’s influence: “Michael has been instrumental in so many people’s Montessori journey and certainly my own, starting many years ago as my trainer and evolving into a mentor, colleague, and friend. I hope that Michael recognized his contribution to so many people’s lives through his work with Montessori and then these last years with his passion for story and storytelling. Michael brought me to Sarasota University many years ago and was instrumental in helping Sarasota University develop its focus and mission in Montessori. Like so many in the world, I will miss him, and I will help continue and further develop his legacy through my work in Montessori.” – Robin Howe, SU Faculty Member and Montessori Foundation Senior Consultant
Honoring and Continuing Michael’s Legacy
To continue Michael’s legacy means more than simply remembering the work he did; it means embodying the principles he lived by. It means nurturing the seeds of curiosity, empathy, and love for learning that he planted in so many hearts. It means opening ourselves to the stories around us, recognizing their power to heal, to unite, and to inspire.
Let us, then, honor Michael not merely with words but with action. Let us approach education with the creativity, passion, and dedication that Michael exemplified, building on his foundation to create learning environments where every child feels valued, inspired, and empowered to explore their unique potential. In doing so, we ensure that Michael Dorer’s legacy is not confined to the past but is a living, breathing presence in our continued efforts to transform the world through education. In every story we share, in every lesson we teach, and in every life we touch, his spirit endures, guiding us toward a future where the power of education to change lives is realized in its fullest measure.
As we experience this moment of sorrow, we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Rose, their family, and all who were fortunate enough to know Michael. Though dealing with this profound loss is undoubtedly challenging, let us find solace in the rich and uplifting stories and memories that Michael generously shared with us. In doing so, we remember him not solely as the distinguished educator he was but as the extraordinary individual who will forever reside in our hearts.
With warmest regards and deepest sympathy,