Longtime Staples High School social studies teacher, and later Westport Public Schools director of technology Jack Culbert, died last week. He was 80 years old.
Culbert enjoyed sailing, fly fishing, and telling tales of his years at boarding school, his rabble-rousing days at the University of Connecticut, and countless ending adventures.
His obituary notes; “His cup was full, his heart was warm, and his course was strong.”
Culbert is survived by his daughter Susan Culbert Woolard of Virginia; his son Adam of West Hartford, his daughter Lisa Miller of New York, and 4 grandchildren. His wife Deanna died last year.
Honor Heath recalls Culbert — who taught social studies for 39 years — as “a standout in an amazing generation of teachers at Staples. He already had the nickname Jumpin’ Jack Culbert when I took him for Government in 1974-75, and it was easy to believe he might have been born in a cross-fire hurricane.
“He seemed to be in perpetual motion in his double-sized classroom, and he led a deep dive into political and societal issues that went far beyond any traditional idea of civics. Anthony Lewis of The New York Times visited Staples in 1976, and urged the faculty to prepare students for an increasingly complex future by teaching them to think analytically and question assumptions.
“At the time, I thought it was pretty funny since it sounded a lot like Jack’s class the year before.”