Mrs. Madeleine Justus started what became the first private Montessori School in the Pacific Northwest in 1951.

In 1960, she found 14-acres of property to establish Spring Valley Montessori School in its present location in Federal Way, which has enhanced the learning experience for many generations of students from preschool through the eighth grade.

In the 50’s through 70’s, she was actively involved in legislation around early childhood education and the well being of children in Washington State, serving on Governor Dan Evan’s special task force for the education of children.

She was one of the founding members of WFIS (Washington Federation of Independent Schools), PNMA (Pacific Northwest Montessori Association), and MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education).

In 2001, Washington State Senate honored her for her contributions to education by enacting Senate Resolution 8700, a recognition of her 50 years of education service. In 2006, she received Best Program Leader Award by WFIS. In 2007 she was honored by the American Montessori Society and in 2011 she received the Columbia Award for Lifetime Achievement.

For over 70 years, Madeleine Justus worked with children, trained Montessori teachers and lectured around the world.  Mrs. Justus lived to her 100th year, devoting time, energy and passion to developing our state’s educational systems.