Tenneesee “Tennie” Robbins Triplett
was born in the state of New Mexico and was raised there and in Evanston, Illinois. Her grandfather, William Robbins, was a Virginia farmer, a school teacher, and local magistrate. Her other grandfather, Ralph Crumbliss, was a building contractor in Kentucky. Mrs. Triplett’s father, Raymond Robbins, worked his way through college, became a teacher and then a school administrator, first in Kentucky and later in New Mexico. Following many years in education, he moved to Illinois to work for Rotary International. After graduating from Evanston Township High School, Mrs. Triplett enrolled at Murray State University, Kentucky, to study education. Upon her father’s untimely passing, Tennie’s mother, a registered nurse, moved to Murray so the family could be together.
Following her degree and credential in teaching, Mrs. Triplett taught at the elementary level in the Owensboro schools for three years, leaving to accompany her husband when the Air Force assigned him to Arizona. Desiring to remain in the classroom, she taught in the Tuscon City School District. Before leaving Kentucky, Mrs. Triplett’s interest in education had led her to begin work on her Master’s Degree. When the Air Force moved the family to California, she took advantage of the opportunity to continue her advanced education by enrolling full time at the Montessori Institute of Los Angeles, an affiliate of the Association Montessori Internationale. After completing her written and oral exams in 1973, she was invited to remain at the Institute to assist in its training program. This she declined, preferring to work directly with children. Hired by the widely respected Primanti Montessori Schools for the following fall, Mrs. Triplett began a career distinguished by its committment to well-rounded learning. She taught six years at the pre-primary level, then nine years at the elementary level. She has designed and hand-crafted many instructional materials for use by elementary educators. A specialist in self-motivation and individualized learning, Mrs. Triplett typically has an age span in her classes of three years or more.
In 1976, Mrs. Triplett published “Childcare the Montessori Way,” which has become the standard for many schools in southern California. She has participated in many regional and national conferences over the years and is widely recognized among her colleagues as a highly capable educator. She has long been an active member of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association (NAMTA), and regional groups. Her comments on education have appeared in several local and national publications. In 1987 Renilde Montessori, granddaughter of the renowned Dr. Maria Montessori, visited California with her staff from AMI; from among all the classrooms available to her, she chose to visit Mrs. Triplett’s. This is an honor Mrs. Triplett will treasure always.
In 1988, students in Mrs. Triplett’s class were evaluated to see how they measured up by public school standards (a popular, nationally normed achievement test was used). The lowest student in her class scored above the national average and her class average was at the 92nd percentile. This extraordinary performance was despite the fact that these students were unaccustomed to testing, received no pre-test preparation, and completed the entire test in one day rather than the usual four. In the fifteen years she taught in California, many of Mrs. Triplett’s former students have gone on to receive academic honors and excellence in college. Often they return to visit and to reminisce about their experiences in her class. Mrs. Triplett spent much of her spare time in the 1980’s making plans and preparing materials with which to recreate her classes. Now this highly successful method of education is available to Owensboro area residents.
Frederic A. “Rick” Triplett Jr.
is a native of Owensboro, and his family has lived here for six generations. His grandfather, Robert S. Triplett, a manufacturer and businessman, served on the Board of Education for many years. Mr. Triplett credits his grandfather for introducing him at an early age to a sense of history and to the importance of education. His other grandfather, Hon. Glover H Cary, served area residents as a United States Congressman. Mr. Triplett was raised in Owensboro, with a strong emphasis on learning, self-reliance, and family values. His father, an architect and local businessman, set examples of character and enterprise for his children that still serve them well.
Mr. Triplett graduated from Owensboro High School with honors in science and language. During the following several years, he pursued a liberal arts major at the University of Kentucky. Later, he served in the U.S. Air Force, first as an enlistee and then as an officer. In preparation for this latter assignment, Mr. Triplett studied physics and math at the University of Arizona, receiving his B.S. Degree in 1971. Upon completion of his tour of duty with the Air Force Space Division, Mr. Triplett studied at California State University, Fullerton while administering a local private school, finally completing his Masters Degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology, and then his credential in Pupil Personnel Services. From 1979 through 1988 he worked full time as school psychologist and administrator for the Irvine Unified School District in California; he was part of the team that received the Department of Education’s 1983 award for excellence.
Along with his duties in the California public schools, Mr. Triplett pursued his interest in children and education. He received his license in Educational Psychology in 1981 and began teaching counseling and school psychology in the graduate program at California State University. Also, through the department of Teacher Education at the University of California at Irvine, he assisted in the design of the curriculum of the certificate program for Computers In Education; he taught many of the evening and weekend courses in this program during the following years. Because of the practical nature of his instruction, Chapman College hired him repeatedly to participate in their continuing education series for teachers.
Since 1984, Mr. Triplett’s contributions to education have reached an ever wider audience. He has been a frequent speaker throughout southern California at workshops, school districts, and conferences addressing many topics, including discipline, parenting, motivating children, the growth of character, and the education of the gifted child. He has provided training sessions for administrators and teachers in many school districts, has appeared on television and radio with his insights into parenting, and has authored or co-authored over a dozen publications including parent guides, teacher manuals and a book The Logo Language for Educators. In 1986, Mr. Triplett prepared a major revision to his district’s program for Gifted & Talented Education; over the years he has addressed several conferences of teachers and parents of gifted children.
For his research work with children, Mr. Triplett was inducted into Phi Delta Kappa, the national honorary society for educators. In the Spring of 1988, he was offered membership in the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, but declined due to his imminent move to Kentucky. During his last four years in California, Mr. Triplett resided in Orange County with his wife and daughter. Over the course of 1988 he brought to fruition two long-standing dreams: the return to his hometown and the founding of a school dedicated to providing children the very finest in education.