Spotlight on Shattuck-St. Mary's felt beyond Minnesota's borders

Shattuck-St. Mary's School
A school bus enters the campus of Shattuck-St. Mary's School Wed., Oct. 10, 2012, in Faribault. The Rice County Attorney filed charges against Lynn Seibel, a former teacher at Shattuck-St. Mary's School, accusing him of having sexual contact with students.
Alex Kolyer for MPR

Headlines about a former Shattuck-St. Mary's teacher accused of criminal sexual conduct with students have appeared on computer screens across the country this week, and likely around the world.

The private boarding and day school in Faribault is small, but it has a big reputation. Its 439 current middle and high school students hail from 39 different states and 31 countries. Tuition for the boarding school is about $40,000 a year. Alumni are spread throughout the country, some pursuing high-profile careers including professional hockey and movie acting.

Hockey has been Shattuck-St. Mary's claim to fame, at least over the past couple of decades. Many students who played hockey at the school have gone on to play for Division I college teams or the NHL. The Minnesota Wild's Zach Parise and Sidney Crosby, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins trained at Shattuck-St. Mary's. The school has also been trying to put itself on the map as a training destination for elite-level soccer players.

But Shattuck-St. Mary's is also known for its performing arts. The late actor Marlon Brando even attended the school for a time in the 1940s, and students graduating more recently have gone on to become screenwriters, actors and cinematographers.

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Lynn Seibel, the former drama teacher charged in the sex abuse case, had been an actor himself, starring in works such as "Count Dracula" and "Fiddler on the Roof." More recently, he appeared briefly on the TV show, "The Big Bang Theory," on CBS. The school's current drama director, Milton Papageorge, has appeared in dozens of films and theatrical performances.

The school's president, Nick Stoneman, has seen those focus areas as opportunities for growth in enrollment. Since the beginning of Stoneman's tenure in 2003, the school has grown by more than 100 students.

Three-quarters of the school's current students live on the 250-acre campus, a site with limestone buildings nestled on bluffs over the Straight River in Faribault. The arch made of stone welcoming visitors to the campus has become an important symbol for the school over the years.

The school's origins date back to 1858, when a minister named James Lloyd Breck established an Episcopal mission school in Faribault. Just after the Civil War, the school added a military component that lasted more than 100 years.

In 1972, three separate schools — Shattuck, St. Mary's and St. James — merged to become Shattuck-St. Mary's School. Today, the school's endowment is worth more than $15 million, up from $8 million when a capital campaign was initiated about 10 years ago.

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