Ed Shafer ’70 has
spent his entire career educating young people. So for
him, it was a logical step to donate $10,000 to endow
a scholarship for education majors at Oswego.
Ed Shafer shakes hands with Andrew Kennedy, a resident at Pathfinder Village.
Shafer is the executive director of Pathfinder Village,
which serves 80 Down syndrome children and adults. It’s
modeled after a little New England village and sits
in a rural area between Utica and Cooperstown.
“I know every story,” he says. “I’ve
got 80 people I’m responsible for and they’re
all interesting and fun.”
Shafer joined Pathfinder after a 30-year career in education,
which began at Hillside Children’s Center in Rochester,
serving emotionally disturbed kids.
Along the way he served as the St. Lawrence County BOCES
director of special education, superintendent of schools
at Harrisville in Lewis County, and district superintendent
for Madison-Oneida County BOCES for 19 years until 2003,
when he retired to take the post at Pathfinder Village.
His role at BOCES was mostly an administrative one.
“We had 23,000 kids, I didn’t know any of
them,” he said. “I got into this business
because I wanted to help kids. I wanted to finish my
professional career getting to know very well the people
I was trying to help.”
And at Pathfinder Village he does just that. This February
he went on the annual ski trip with seven adults from
the village. Often residents will wander into his office
to chat, or he will stay late and have dinner with them.
“One of the great things about Pathfinder is that
I learned more about human potential in my first 12
to 14 months here than in all my time in school administration.
The challenges these guys face every day, the poise
and dignity they display every day is stunning,”
“It’s a good place to come to work. It’s
been a good life and Oswego’s been an important
part of that.”
A very important part is his Certificate of Advanced
Study, earned in 1977. He calls it a “very powerful”
force in his life, and recalls important influences
like John Readling, Bob Thompson and others involved
in the program.
Shafer stands with two
Pathfinder Village residents during the annual
resident trip to Stratton Mountain in Vermont
So when Shafer, who earned a doctoral degree in 1992
from Columbia Teacher’s College, wanted to recognize
what Oswego meant in his life, he decided on a scholarship.
He tied his fund to a scholarship to which he contributes
to honor his predecessor at BOCES, Andrew D. Rossetti.
A Rossetti scholarship winner who chooses to attend
Oswego will receive an additional award from the Dr.
and Mrs. Edward Shafer ’70 Scholarship.
It’s one more way Ed Shafer will contribute to
the education of young people in Central New York.
— Michele Reed
To March 2007 E-Newsletter