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Marilyn Swan Miller Schultz Fund
By Jean Cohoon / April 16, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
“I always considered Marilyn to be the teacher every child should have. She was a remarkable teacher and a very creative person,” John Schultz says of his late wife.

Born in Cambridge, MA, Marilyn graduated from Jackson College, then the women’s division of Tufts University, in 1953 with a degree in English literature. She and John had met in college – he then attended Tufts – and they married the day after Marilyn’s graduation.

She worked for a year at the Widener Library at Harvard University before the young couple moved to Rhode Island. Here, she enrolled in a training program at Providence Public Library to become a children’s librarian.

Instead, in 1956 she was hired on an emergency teaching certificate by the Town of Johnston, beginning what would be a 33-year teaching career. She taught third, fourth, and fifth grades at the former, two-room Simmonsville School and first grade at Sarah Dyer Barnes School in Johnston before accepting a job at the Henry Barnard School, on the campus of Rhode Island College, where she taught first grade until her retirement.

“She had vivid colors all over the room to keep the kids interested. And she had a barber chair in the front of her classroom. I don’t know where she got it or how she got it into the classroom, but she sat in it like a queen and when students did something especially good, she let them sit in it,” John recalls.

And Marilyn continued her own learning. Told by a professor, “You can never know too much about teaching,” Marilyn earned not only her certification, but also a master of education at Rhode Island College and a Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut.

“She never wavered in her commitment to grade one. It was her contention that it was the most important grade because it could make or break one’s study habits further down the road,” John explains proudly of his wife who died in January 2014. Her survivors also include a son, Eric.

This fund will benefit Rhode Island College graduating seniors planning a career in elementary education.
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