Jacqueline Cossentino

Jacqueline Cossentino

Saturday, June 6th, 1964 - Sunday, December 15th, 2019
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Jacqueline Mary Cossentino died in her sleep on December 15, 2019, at the age of 55 in her West Hartford, Connecticut, home. Relentlessly, Jackie fought an eleven-month battle with colon cancer, living her life to the fullest before finally succumbing.

Born June 6, 1964, in Baltimore, Maryland, Jackie was the only child of Carmen Griffith Cossentino and John Thomas Cossentino. She attended Notre Dame Preparatory School and Smith College before continuing graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she received her doctorate in in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy in 1999.

Jackie’s entire adult life was spent in education. Variously, she was a middle and high school English teacher; an elementary school principal; a provider of professional development for schools, districts, and museums; a professor of educational leadership at the University of Maryland; and a founder and leader of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

It was in Montessori education where Jackie found her true passion and life’s work. Captivated by the tremendous impact Montessori had on her own son, Jackie became a researcher of the pedagogy, and subsequently led two Montessori schools. It was in the public realm, however, where Jackie thought Montessori could have the greatest impact. For the final twelve years of her life, Jackie tirelessly promoted public Montessori for more children. She was a vocal advocate, wrote extensively, and created tools and handbooks for Montessori practitioners. The sole purpose of the organization she co-founded in 2012, the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS), was to create more and better public Montessori schools. With her leadership NCMPS, grew from a small organization with three part-time employees to an internationally renowned organization with 12 employees and numerous consultants who start and assist public Montessori schools throughout the world, although focusing primarily on the United States.

Jackie is survived by her husband, Keith Whitescarver, and their son, Jack Whitescarver; her father John Thomas Cossentino and his wife and Jackie’s stepmother, Donna Cossentino;
Kris Davis, stepbrother, and his wife Noel, and their children Jake and Ella; and Tracey Collins, stepsister, and husband John. Jackie was preceded in death by her mother, Carmen Cossentino.

A Memorial Service is being held at Saint James's Episcopal Church, 1018 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut, on Friday, December 20, at 1:00 p.m. The service will be immediately followed by a reception and celebration of Jackie. Flowers can be sent to Sheehan-Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home, 1084 New Britain Avenue,West Hartford, CT 06110. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector at Online condolences may be made at
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, December 20th, 2019 | 1:00pm
    Friday, December 20th, 2019 1:00pm
    St. James's Episcopal Church
    1018 Farmington Avenue
    West Hartford, CT 06107
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Burial will be private.


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Private Condolence
Alex Jackl, Ravi Devalupalli and The Boon Team, and other have sent flowers to the family of Jacqueline Cossentino.
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Alex Jackl

Posted at 11:53am
My condolences Keith and family! My thoughts and love are with you, and it was an honor to work with Jackie.
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Alex Jackl purchased flowers and planted a memorial tree for the family of Jacqueline Cossentino. Send Flowers


Ravi Devalupalli and The Boon Team

Posted at 11:45am
Our thoughts and love to your family.... She will remain in our thoughts and memories.
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Ravi Devalupalli and The Boon Team purchased flowers and planted a memorial tree for the family of Jacqueline Cossentino. Send Flowers


Patrice Britz

Posted at 05:32pm
Jackie was a rare, shining treasure and I enjoyed spending many impromptu moments visiting and laughing with her over the last few years. Her gifts and legacy to high fidelity Montessori implementation, particularly in public schools, will last for a long time to come. She was a tremendous source for good for so many in our profession - intelligent, visionary, passionate, kind, inclusive and insightful. Her work, along with all those at NCMPS, has made an incalculable difference to raising the possibility for and quality of providing high fidelity Montessori practice for children in public schools. But more than that, Jackie was a lovely, joyful, hardworking, memorable person. We have all improved our Montessori practice because of her tremendously important work and our collective loss is great. It is hard to accept the inevitable fragility of our lives - my deepest sympathies are with you all.
Patrice Britz

Sheryl Morris

Posted at 12:14pm
Why would I say that I love the Internet?
It’s the way I got to know of Jackie and her good works.

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 09:36am
Rest in peace our sweet and fun loving friend. You will be missed and forever in our hearts in Baltimore! Love, the Strombergs and the Chasneys
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Flowers were purchased for the family of Jacqueline Cossentino. Send Flowers


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