Wayne Schaper Sr. walked into Landrum Middle School on August 1, 1961, with one goal – to be the best educator possible for Every Child with whom he crossed paths. He turned those opportunities into countless success stories, and Spring Branch ISD is one of the most coveted places to work and send children to school thanks, in part, to his efforts.
“On my first day, I went to see Herman English, the Landrum principal, and he gave me my schedule,” Schaper said. “I was to teach two classes of Algebra II, two classes of Algebra I, a class in Texas History, because he had no other teachers to teach Texas History, and one P.E. class. After I met with Mr. English, I went to Spring Branch High School and met coach Darrell Tully, and he assigned me to coach football, basketball and baseball, and I also drove a school bus.”
His schedule remained busy until his last day. After being hired by Spring Branch ISD’s first superintendent of schools, Dr. H.M. Landrum, Schaper Sr. served as a teacher, coach, associate principal and principal. His tenure at Memorial High School as the principal started when he was 27 years old and lasted 23 years. During that time, he made national headlines for enlisting one of the nation’s first and only school drug dogs.
His last paid position at Spring Branch ISD was as Associate Superintendent for Administration, which ended in 2001, and he ultimately went on to serve on the SBISD Board of Trustees for 14 years, three of them as president.
“The most important position to me was teaching,” Schaper said. “To see the light come on in student’s heads when they were able to figure out how to solve a math problem in more than one way was fulfilling. It should all start with the students.”
He has been involved with the school district for 61 of its 75 years of existence. He watched the district’s enrollment grow from 17,000 students up to 40,000 and settle around 35,000. One thing that has remained a constant in all those years is a focus on the education of Every Child. That commitment and other district priorities passed down from Dr. Landrum were eventually brought to life as the Spring Branch ISD Core Values.
Dr. Landrum’s name is synonymous with SBISD. But if you ask Spring Branch residents, administrators and alumni of the district, Schaper has built a legacy of his own.
“You can count a handful of people who have made a difference [in SBISD],” Spring Branch High School (SBHS) Museum board member and SBHS Class of 1968 graduate Frank Klam said. “Dr. Landrum, Darrell Tully, Mildred Elkins; Wayne Schaper Sr. is right there at the top. He is an amazing man.”
Schaper Sr.’s impact can still be felt in the district, trickling up to current Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jennifer Blaine.
“Mr. Schaper was one of the first people I met when I came to Spring Branch ISD in 2001. He came by Spring Branch Elementary to introduce himself, offer whatever assistance he could and welcome me to the Spring Branch family,” Dr. Blaine said.
“He has been my rock – a true foundation and example for exemplary leadership over the past 21 years. He is calm under pressure and has always taught me to stay the course, stand strong in my convictions and always do what is right for kids. Mr. Schaper taught me relationships truly matter and that part of being a great leader is building and cultivating relationships with others. I live by that principle daily and have given that same advice to others more times than I can count! Mr. Schaper is absolutely the greatest of all time.”