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School History

The Montessori School of Ithaca was founded in 1979 by Andrea Blitzer and Carol Hill. Their goal was to transform the world by educating children in an atmosphere that promoted respect and dignity for all.

The school, housed on the top floor of the T.G. Miller building in downtown Ithaca, had an initial enrollment of nine students. The school moved to its current location on East King Road in 1988.

In 1998, the Montessori School of Ithaca was renamed the Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca in honor of one of our most beloved students: Elizabeth Ann Clune. As a three-year-old, Elizabeth, a child with Down’s syndrome, had been a student in Andrea Blitzer Riddle’s Primary classroom. In contrast with special education practices of that time, Andrea taught Elizabeth using the same materials and methods as every other child in her classroom.

Elizabeth thrived and was a student at the school for the next 12 years. The relationship between Elizabeth and the school was formative in defining its mission. The faculty became passionately committed to educating children – regardless of their personal strengths and weaknesses – using the Montessori Method. Furthermore, inclusion became a basic tenet of the school, still practiced today.

In 1998 EACMSI acquired the house across the street on King Road, which was renovated for Upper Level use. A few years later, the blue house next door to the main building became our Middle School program. In 2017 the school acquired the house at 124 King Road, which was renovated in 2020 to expand Upper Level during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, EACMSI has more than 220 students! The incredible success and longevity of EACMSI can be attributed to Andrea B. Riddle’s unique vision of what it means to be a school; she blurred the usual boundaries between school, extended family, and community. When parents enroll their children at EACMSI, the family as a whole is embraced and welcomed. As a result, EACMSI is a dynamic, deeply connected, and constantly evolving community: people of all ages come together to inspire the best in all.