series of photos of man

Rest in Peace, ‘Stan the Man’


We remember a booming laugh, a wooden bow tie, and a very large heart

A math teacher and so much more, Stan Samuelson began his illustrious career at Williston Northampton School in 1982 and retired in 2014, an expansive tenure in which he was beloved by faculty, staff, and legions of students. Samuelson, who died this April of COVID-19, was the quintessential engaged faculty member who modeled volunteerism and active support of everyone in our community. He played an integral part in the Community Service Club, was a leader and supporter for the Gay-Straight Alliance and Diversity Committee, and was also a strong figure in the campus Jewish community, hosting a well-attended Passover seder in Whitaker-Bement each year. During his tenure, Samuelson was a dorm parent in both Ford Hall and Clare House and an active, engaged coach for many teams, including boys squash, cross-country, tennis, and soccer. His presence in the greater community, moreover, was extensive, given his limitless energy and unbounded spirit to help others. After retirement, he served on several boards for his local synagogue and taught brain aerobics and bridge at the senior center in Mashpee on Cape Cod, where he lived with his wife, Elinor Saltz. Those who knew him won’t soon forget his deep and resonant voice and his wonderful laughter. 

 “Stan was a fine math teacher and squash coach. But he taught me more about life than either of those things. We talked of politics and philosophy and fairness and virtue, and occasionally of pre-calculus and where to stand on the court. Stan had a way of engaging with teenagers at exactly the right level to allow them to listen. His words both carried weight and offered comfort. He was a good man in a world that needs good men on the front lines of education. And for whatever I was able to accomplish at Williston or since, Stan deserves a great deal of credit.” —Jeff Traczynski ’00

“It should be no surprise that this bear hug of a math teacher was “Stan the Man” to decades of students. He never made me feel stupid even when I was getting straight C’s in precalc, and for that I am strangely still grateful. He and his warm, big laugh will be missed.”— Myra Palmero ’03

“Stan was my dorm parent during my junior year at Williston in 1994. That was the year I left my hometown, Hong Kong, to attend boarding school in the U.S. I was trying hard to adapt to my boarding school life and was quite homesick. Stan and his wife Elinor were always extremely nice, kind, and attentive during my stay at Clare House.”— Amelia (Kam Ping) Ng ’96

“Stan was a great guy, 100% genuine, always had the students’ best interest at heart. It is terribly sad to see him succumb to this awful disease. He will be greatly missed. A true ‘school man.’”—Bob Shaw, former faculty

“I will never forget taking your geometry course. You were the first teacher to ever have us use your first name and first name only. Always ready with a quick joke or line and definitely made mathematics enjoyable. Your wooden bow tie was definitely my favorite. Stan will long reside as one of the educators that inspired me to be a great educator to my students.”—Nadine B. Muniz ’10

“Stan organized the first seder at Williston. I realize now that it was something completely new to the school, and it taught me to be proud to celebrate our shared heritage and invite others to join as he did in such a joyous manner.”—Rex Solomon ’84

“Beyond being an exceptional and one-of-a-kind educator, Stan was a moral beacon on campus. He was there for so many of us who were different or struggled to fit in, always ready to lend an ear and greet us with a smile or a joke.” —Bryan Perley ’10

“Stan was one of those those teachers you lookback and remember the very moment they changed your life! He believed in me, he encouraged me and made me less fearful of math. Stan came to swim/diving meets, track meets and I always felt supported despite being far away from family.”—Christine McBride ’92

“Stan was my dorm parent and geometry teacher. My favorite story was his detailed account of his first day at Woodstock, and that he was not sure what happened on the other two days. He will always have a place in my heart.” —Chad Beyerle ’89