May 12, 2012

Annemarie Roeper (1918-2012)

Good Morning:

Our dear friend Dr. Annemarie Roeper passed away yesterday morning.

I feel so very honored to have known her.  During our five years of working together, we had many adventures; including travels to one of our favorite places in the universe -- Big Sur -- and publishing many books and articles.

Over the past year, we had been working together on a memoir about her childhood in Germany. She made me promise to finish it, and I was so happy to be able to put the first draft in her hands shortly before she died. Much has been written about Annemarie and the Bondy family, but she was delighted  to know that this chapter in her life story would be fully told. MARIENAU will be published in the next month and I think it will be a wonderful tribute to Annemarie's exceptional life.

Should you wish to leave a note for the family, you can visit Over 3000 comments have been written since the site was posted last week, which should give you an idea of the powerful force Annemarie was here on earth. Now that she is part of what she called, "The Mystery," I'm sure she will continue to be a magnificent guiding angel to us all.

In deep gratitude,


P.S.  For a list of her books or more information about Annemarie, you can go to or Her book BEYOND OLD AGE can be ordered at or you can type in Annemarie Roeper to view her four children's books. 

Karen Mireau

510.919.6117 Direct Line


            Bloomfield Hills, Mich., May 11, 2012 - Annemarie Bondy Roeper, educator, author, and a founder of The Roeper School, a nationally recognized independent school for the gifted in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., died May 11, 2012 in Oakland, California.  She was 93.
             Annemarie Roeper and her husband, George Roeper, who passed away in 1992, established the school in Detroit in 1941 with nine students.  Their educational vision encompassed a profound respect for the individual and a commitment to freedom of growth and learning within an emotionally and intellectually supportive community. 
            Today the school serves 560 students from preschool through high school, and Annemarie is recognized as a pioneering figure in the field of education.
Throughout her life, Annemarie was a consistent voice for the individual soul of each child.   As she wrote in her book Educating Children for Life, “Humanity has made two promises to its children.  The first is to prepare a world which accepts them and provides them with opportunities to live, grow, and create in safety.  The other is to help them develop their whole beings to the fullest in every respect.”
            As the daughter of educators, Annemarie began absorbing educational ideas early.  She was born in Vienna on August 27, 1918, toward the end of the First World War.  Her mother, Gertrud Bondy, was a medical doctor and psychoanalyst in training with Sigmund Freud at the time.  After the war, she and her husband, Max Bondy, embarked on a career in education, founding a series of schools based on a psychoanalytic understanding of human development and a desire to educate children to build and thrive in a pluralistic, democratic society.  Annemarie grew up in her parents’ school, and met her future husband when he arrived as a student in 1923.
            The Bondys were Jewish by heritage and when the Nazi Party ascended to power in the 1930s, they were forced out of their school (Schule Marienau, which is still operating outside Hamburg) and fled first to Switzerland and then, in 1939, to the United States.  Annemarie and George were invited to come to Detroit in 1941 to direct a psychoanalytically oriented nursery school and established a grade school as well.   Their modern, humanistic approach to education was immensely attractive and the school grew rapidly.  In 1946, they purchased a campus in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and in 1981 the school expanded to include a second campus in Birmingham, Michigan.
            Over the years, Annemarie and George were innovators as educators and people.  Early civil rights activists, they embraced integration as both a moral and educational principle.  They integrated the student body in 1955 and the school’s first Board of Advisors in 1956.  That same year, Annemarie and George convened a panel of national experts in the nascent field of gifted education to develop a curriculum for gifted children.  In September, the school became only the second elementary school in the country to focus exclusively on gifted education.  In 1965, participating in another ground-breaking endeavor, Annemarie consulted with Joan Ganz Cooney on the development of the Sesame Street program.
            Annemarie became a pioneer in the emerging gifted education community, leading a movement to emphasize gifted children’s emotional needs as well as their intellectual needs.  Annemarie taught courses in gifted education at Oakland University, and in 1978 she and George founded the Roeper Review, a peer-reviewed scholarly quarterly that is still published by the school.   Annemarie retired from the school in 1980, although she remained a member of the Board of Trustees until 2002.  She established a consultation practice in gifted education, and was in demand as a speaker nationally and internationally.   In 1989, Annemarie received the President’s Award from the National Association for Gifted Children for a lifetime of distinguished service to the field.
            Annemarie never completed any higher education after high school.  In 1937, while a medical student at the University of Vienna, she was the youngest person ever accepted by Sigmund and Anna Freud to study child psychoanalysis with them.  The German invasion of Austria in March 1938 prevented her from beginning her studies.  She fled on the last train to cross the Austrian frontier before the Germans invaded, and the Freuds fled soon after.  In 1978, Eastern Michigan University awarded an honorary doctorate to Annemarie, as well as to her husband, George. 
Over her career, Annemarie published more than 100 articles and book chapters, three scholarly books (The “I” of the Beholder:  A Guided Journey to the Essence of a Child; My Life Experiences with Children:  Selected Writings and Speeches; and Educating Children for Life:  The Modern Learning Community), four children’s books, and a recent meditation on dying called Beyond Old Age.  She also developed the Annemarie Roeper Method of Qualitative Assessment to provide a more holistic understanding of a child’s abilities and personality.  She has been listed in Who’s Who, Women of the World and Who’s Who of American Women. 
In addition to co-founding and nurturing The Roeper School for 71 years, Annemarie mentored other educators who took her principles with them to other classrooms and to schools they founded, including the late Eleanor Siegl, who founded The Little School in Bellevue, Wash., and Anne Beneventi, co-founder of the New Helios School in Palo Alto, California.  In addition, numerous alumni who have become teachers have spoken of her influence on their practice.  Alumni who are parents have shared their gratitude for having their parenting style shaped by the deep respect for children they experienced from Annemarie. 
Annemarie is survived by her brother, Heinz Bondy and his wife, Carolyn, of Germantown, Md.; by three children:  Tom Roeper and his wife Laura Holland, of Amherst, Mass., Peter Roeper and his wife Martha Harnly, of Oakland, California., and Karen Roeper and her husband Peter Rosselli, of Muir Beach, California; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Founded in 1941, The Roeper School is a uniquely personalized, coeducational school for gifted and talented children in preschool through grade 12 from over 60 communities in southeast Michigan.  With campuses in Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham, Michigan, Roeper was conceived on founding principles that recognize the power of education, choice and self-expression, and the transformative impact these principles have on young minds.  For more information, please visit
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Some signs of giftedness in children and adults compiled by Annemarie Roeper, Ed.D. and Betty Maxwell, Ph.D.


Remembering insults forever

Doing three things at once

Doing the outwardly foolish thing, taking up lost causes


Interest in life and death

Driven to comprehend, complexity of understanding

Wanting to know the reasons and origins of things

Asks, “What is my purpose?”


Recognition of falsity, no “trophy friends”

Complexifying solutions

Finding non-conventional solutions, originality

Not motivated by extrinsic awards, discomfort with praise


Undeterred by conventional expectations

Self taught, non-sequential learning

Need for precision

Recognition of unfairness, strong sense of justice

Making intuitive leaps, making logical projections

Noticing what no one else does

Manipulation and bargaining

Make and follow their own plans, less teachable

Devise practical experiments to see “What if?”

Saying, “Actually”

Large vocabulary, love of big words

Delayed in toilet training, difficulty in separating from mom

Early sense of responsibility

Not wanting to grow up and face the world

Less physical risk-taking

Zipping through Piagetian stages

Friends of both genders, later sexual interests

Abstract thinkers before having the emotional ability to handle it

Symbolic thinkers

Can animate their fears, powerful emotional imagination


Please send your good wishes for Annemarie c/o Karen Mireau at and we will post them here.

Recent Congratulations:

Your work has been such an inspiration for looking at the world through the eyes of gifted children and validating their inner world and honoring the soul in all children. I think of the school you created as an ideal environment for keeping a child's spirit alive - in a world that wants to solve the problem of the "spirited child." I believe that your unique approach to children and education is the solution to what ails the education system and medicine for the future. - Dr. Lara Honos-Webb

This is not a re-launching of your career but the mere launching of a new website! Your career is and has always been a seamless continuation of a lifetime of experiences from which you extract a pure, translucent insight. You then use your skillfulness to apply this insight to your work with others. Your approach to understanding and working with gifted individuals of all ages is non-dualistic, holistic, nurturing, kind and intuitive. For this reason, people of all ages are instinctively drawn to you seeking to grow under your tutelage. I send you wishes for continued success. - Cindi Lardner

I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE!!!! It makes me so happy to see you in pictures, and to read your wonderful words, and view this tribute to your 60 years of accomplishments. I LOVE IT! It feels like new life....just like the springtime! You are re-budding!!!! AMEN! - Patty Gatto-Walden

I LOVE your blog! First, the photo of you captures your true essence: kindness that is obvious in that knowing smile that I have come to love. I had a chance to watch some of the videos that are linked to your site. Fabulous! - Jim DeLisle

HOORAY! The new website give a fresh look and re-launches Annemarie's consulting practice. It is a compilation of many aspects of your life, Annemarie, and it is a great look to the past as well as to the future. - Michele Kane

Onederful!!!! You didn't mention this when I visited....what a great way to continue your work and share it with so many more.... - Susan Ryan

Ellen D. Fiedler, Ph.D. writes:


“Ageless” is the word that I’ve always used to describe my dear friend and treasured colleague, Annemarie Roeper. Her vitality of mind and spirit transcends all chronological boundaries, and issues of age simply vaporize in the clear, bright light of times shared with her.

“Ageless” is a word that also describes Annemarie’s perspectives on “life, the universe, and everything.” The wisdom she brings to every conversation I’ve ever had with her, as well as to her writings, presentations, and consultations, defy the boundaries of time and space. The pioneering work that she (with her beloved husband, George) did in creating and heading Roeper School and in developing “The Roeper Philosophy” has stood the test of time in honoring the Self of the child and broadening our perspectives on giftedness far beyond the narrow thinking of those who focus solely on the academic achievements and scholastic accomplishments of the gifted.

Most recently, one of the many manifestations of Annemarie’s ageless wisdom has been related to her Qualitative Assessment method for understanding the giftedness of children. She realized long ago that there was much more to identifying giftedness than was being revealed through traditional methods (test scores, teacher observations, performance tasks, etc.) and that she had been going well beyond those methods for years, dating well back to the days when she was at Roeper School full time. Her Qualitative Assessment (QA) method involves entering the world of the child and discovering much more about emotional and spiritual aspects of that individual, in addition to the child’s cognitive functioning, than could ever be revealed otherwise. So, Annemarie enlisted the aid of many of us who were close to her and very familiar with her work (Linda Silverman, Betty Meckstroth, Patty Gatto-Walden, Michele Kane, and others, including me) to establish an “apprenticeship” program that currently is well along in developing a cadre of skilled QA practitioners.

Spending time with Annemarie is, in itself, a timeless experience. Whether it was our conversations at the breakfast table, walking along one beach or another, riding together in a car, or sharing a meal, I invariably have found our discussions lively and intriguing and very influential in relationship to my work with teachers, schools, and school districts who are concerned with gifted children. (In fact, I often said that Annemarie and I should keep a tape-recorder going as we explored all those many complex and significant topics.) In an ongoing interplay between the past and the present, Annemarie draws on the experiences of a lifetime lived deeply and intensely while simultaneously being fully present in the here and now as her thoughts and feelings are dynamically shaped and reshaped in meaningful conversation with others.

Those of us who have known Annemarie well continue to be enriched by our connection with her. However, others who know her only through her prolific writings and speeches have continued to benefit by her timeless and ageless wisdom, benefits that have permanently changed the course of the field of gifted education for the better.

Ellen D. Fiedler, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL. Educational Consultant: Wings for Education LLC, New Buffalo, MI.



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The “I” of the Beholder


Educating Children For Life


My Life Experiences

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Living with Intensity


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