Ben Schellenberg Scholarship
North Clackamas School District
It is with great sadness and fond memories that the Schellenberg family and the North Clackamas School District announce the passing of Ben Schellenberg, who served with great distinction as Superintendent from 1980-95. He died Monday after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Ben was known for guiding a young district as it grew to become the fifth largest district in Oregon, and helped it develop a reputation for innovative programs, community participation and professional technical education.
“Along with being a great leader in the community, our Dad was just as great at home. We knew he was a father figure for many in the community, but he was Dad to us,” said sons Blake and Greg Schellenberg. “Everyone in the family was important to Ben. As the family got bigger, his love just grew.”
“Ben was a giant and a legend in this community and this state; a champion for kids and schools. His leadership and influence was developed through hundreds of personal relationships,” said Joe Krumm, current director of Community and Government Relations, who was hired by Ben in 1989. “I know this is a loss for many people across Oregon.”
Ben combined education and business practices in his work. As Superintendent, he worked closely with the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce, at one point becoming its first public sector President. He earned the Irwin Adams Lifetime Achievement Award from the chamber. He also served as president of the Oregon Association of School Executives.
During the 1980s, North Clackamas Schools needed to pass property tax levies each year to garner local support for the budget. In some years, it took up to four elections before the electorate would approve a levy. For a district history project, Schellenberg recalled that in 1983, the district came within 48 hours of closure. With the ‘90s, Measure 5 was approved by voters, and funding levels were determined by the state Legislature.
Through the years, Schellenberg used community connections and political acumen to develop and maintain support for the district.
His devotion to professional-technical education prompted him to work to advance the work of the Sabin Skills Center. He worked with legislative leaders from the community to develop funding to expand the programs there. The enrollment at the school increased from 750 students to more than 2,000 under his watch. Today, there are close to 3,400 students who attend. Since 2007, Schellenberg’s name joined Sabin’s in the name of the center: the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center.
Known for his faith and devotion, Ben was one of the founders of Milwaukie Covenant Church. Ben’s faith in God was foundational and guided him as a leader, husband, Dad, and educator.
Born May 26, 1937, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Ben Schellenberg moved to Linden, Washington, as a young boy. He met his future wife Marge at Seattle Pacific University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. He later earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Oregon State University. His Master’s Degree in Business Administration came from University of Portland. His Superintendent accreditation was earned at University of Oregon.
Ben served North Clackamas Schools for 32 years, after teaching in Seattle and Portland for two years. Prior to serving as Superintendent, he was a teacher, principal and administrator.
He was an active member, past president and Rotarian of the Year for the Rotary Club of Clackamas, where he established the Clackamas Rotary Foundation. Following his service to the district, he helped found Town Center Bank, and served as Chairman of the Board.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at Clackamas High School auditorium. It will be followed by a reception in the commons.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Ben Schellenberg Scholarship Fund through clackamasrotaryfoundation.org. Funds will support scholarships for North Clackamas students.
Ben’s wife Marge passed in 2008. Ben Schellenberg is survived by sons Blake and Greg Schellenberg, their wives Linda and Angela, and grandkids Celia, Mike, Dagny, Sam, and Caleb, two sisters Dora Wirsche from Fresno, CA., and Renetta Krause from Eugene, OR.
All contributions are 100% tax-deductible as allowed by the law.
Your donation may be tax deductible. Federal Tax ID #94-3032557
If you would like to send a message to the family, here is the contact information:
mail: Clackamas Rotary Foundation-Ben Schellenberg, PO Box 601, Clackamas, OR 97015