W. Rodman Snelling ’53

Rodman Snelling ’53 died on August 13, 2018, in Wilmington, Delaware.

(The following was published in The News Journal from August 15 to August 19, 2018):

Rod Snelling died on Monday, August 13 of complications following heart surgery. Son of Beatrice Bamforth and Samuel William Snelling, Rod was destined to make a difference in the world through his devotion to private-independent school education. A graduate of Deerfield Academy, MA, Rod first saw private school management under the leadership of legendary Deerfield Head, Frank Boyden. Rod went on to Bowdoin College and married Anne Kurtz after they graduated. Rod joined the army and had two children, Roxanne and Glenn, and pursued his doctorate in education from the University of Virginia.

Rod started as a math teacher but quickly moved to Headmaster of Detroit Country Day School, MI, as the youngest Head in the country at the time. There, he led the school through a period of large growth before taking a year-long sabbatical. He then moved to Wilmington, DE, to lead The Tatnall School from 1968-1976. While Head, he created a seven-term schedule to make more efficient use of time, space and personnel. While the Nova only lasted a couple years, he was fifty years before his time in his vision, as this type of schedule is now being adopted by private-independent schools across the country to give students a “Twenty-First Century” education.

During his last year as Head, Rod and Anne founded Independent School Management, a consulting and research firm which is devoted to the management and function of private independent schools, located in Wilmington. Over the 43 years since its inception, thousands of administrators and schools in North America and American schools abroad have benefited from his theory, research, and analysis.

Following Anne’s death in 2011 after fifty-eight years of marriage, Rod found another true love in Marge Bonetti. Missing him greatly are his wife of six years, Marge, his daughter Roxanne (Rob) Higgins, his son Glenn Snelling (Andrea Dickerson), three grandchildren Brian (Beth) Elliott, Lauren Elliott, and Morgan Snelling (Greg Plover) and two great-grandchildren Samantha Elliott and Mia Plover.

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