Beloved former headmaster Manvel (Schauff) Schauffler has died

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Letter from Lark Palma, head of school

Dear Catlin Gabel community member:

I am writing with the heartbreaking news that Manvel Schauffler (known to everyone as Schauff), beloved headmaster of Catlin Gabel from 1967 to 1980, has died. He was 88.

Along with the legions of students, faculty-staff, parents, and friends who adored Schauff, I am ever grateful that I had the privilege of knowing him. When I least expected it, and sometimes when I most needed it, I would receive a letter from Schauff cheering me on and letting me know he understood the challenges and joys of leading the school. His support and guidance have meant so much to me. I will always treasure my collection of Schauff's letters, which are tied together with a blue ribbon in my top desk drawer.

Schauff began working at Catlin Gabel School (then called Catlin Hillside) in 1951. In his years at Catlin Gabel he taught 8th grade U.S. history and social studies; coached basketball, track and field, and soccer; led ski trips and camping trips; directed plays; helped to run the famous Catlin Gabel Rummage Sale; taught countless students to make a wooden boat or light a Coleman camp stove; and reminded young people over and over to leave a place cleaner than they found it, to shake hands with a firm grip, and to exercise their right to vote. He brought Catlin Gabel to national prominence with his work on the board of the National Association of Independent Schools. Schauff celebrated Catlin Gabel's progressive, creative, experiential approach in and out of the classroom.

Schauff's mark on Catlin Gabel included a de-emphasis on grades. Drawing on his philosophy that students are at the center of education and their voices should be heard, he made the student body president an ex officio member of the board of trustees and brought each year's president to the NAIS annual conference. Working with students, he established a dress code for the Upper School ("Clothing shall be neat and clean and appropriate to the day and the task at hand") in 1967-68, a time of great tension over what young people wore.

Everyone who knew Schauff will remember these favorite expressions: "I'll take three volunteers - you, you, and you," "Be sure to take care of each other," "Never put a hot pancake on a cold plate," "Lady with a baby," and "The sun always shines on the righteous."

Schauff Circle, at the crossroads of our campus, was dedicated on June 14, 2003, and serves as a reminder of Schauff's ability to bring together people of all ages and all walks of life.

You may read Schauff's full bio on the Catlin Gabel website.

Schauff is survived by his wife, Verna; his daughters, Robin '68 (Peter) and Deborah '70; his son, Allen '73 (Cyndy); and his grandchildren Robin Macartney '01 and Alex Macartney '06.

Mail cards to:
Verna Schauffler
7539 SW Esther Ct
Portland, OR 97223

The family asks that gifts in Schauff's memory be designated to financial aid at Catlin Gabel, Bush, Hyla, or Explorer West schools, or to any school or program that nurtures and supports young people in their middle school years.

The family suggests some good ways to honor Schauff: cook a pancake, chop some wood, ride a ferry, sail a boat, register to vote.

Sincerely,

Lark Palma
Head of School