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By Lynn Kirkland, Ph.D.

In loving memory of Constance "Connie" Kamii.

Kamii was a friend and colleague to those of us who attended and worked at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Education. She passed away Friday, April 28, 2023, in the evening after a heart attack.

For those who studied and collaborated with Connie at UAB, the legacy of her work continues.

Connie came to UAB in 1984 as a tenured full professor. Dr. Milly Cowles, Dean of the UAB School of Education, recruited Connie and other faculty, such as Stephen Graves, Jerry Aldridge, and Cary Buzelli, to help develop and sustain a new Ph.D. program in Early Childhood Education that would also begin in 1984. Connie's graduate work with Piaget in Switzerland on young children's psychological and cognitive development informed her teaching and professional development in constructivist theory for faculty at UAB and teachers worldwide. For several summers before her full-time appointment at UAB and after her appointment, Connie held Summer Institutes on Jean Piaget and his work for teachers. Students from around the world came to UAB School of Education to study under her tutelage.

Connie's work in mathematics education and constructivist theory spanned 25 years. She wrote numerous books that continue to serve as seminal works on logico-mathematical knowledge and its application in the classroom. At UAB, she worked closely with an innovative administrator at Hall-Kent Elementary School in the Homewood City Schools to continue her research in the classroom on children's cognitive thinking related to physical knowledge and mathematics. Based on her lifetime of work, teachers have used her research and publications for developmentally appropriate and effective curriculum and instruction.

Constant Kamii, Ph.D. pictured with Taajah Witherspoon, Ph.D. (left) and Cora Causey, Ph.D.(right)Constant Kamii, Ph.D. pictured with Taajah Witherspoon, Ph.D. (left) and Cora Causey, Ph.D.(right)
Dr. Kamii brought name and notoriety to UAB. She traveled extensively worldwide, researching and providing professional development as a keynote speaker. Many of her publications have been translated into several languages. Connie served in many capacities with professional organizations supporting young children, especially the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Mathematical games for classroom implementation, developed or influenced by Connie, continue to support constructivist principles and children's cognitive development.

While small in stature, Connie was truly one of the "giants" in education. Her influence on the UAB School of Education lives on through the work of many of our faculty. When presented with her Professor Emerita proclamation in Boston, Connie reminded me that our teaching and learning have reciprocity with the children and teachers we serve. We are grateful for the strong scholarly model she provided for those of us who followed her.