Born into a large Irish Catholic family, Brother Robert Schaefer received his primary education in the Philadelphia suburb of Maple Glen. His mother having been the principal’s secretary there, young Bob’s attendance at La Salle College High School seemed a foregone conclusion. After his four years at “the high school,” Bob continued his education at La Salle University where he prepared for a teaching career. Following graduation, Bob turned his back on his fraternity Brothers for the Brothers of the Christian Schools, earning several masters degrees along the way, most recently in Educational Administration from Seton Hall University.
Bob’s career with the Christian Brothers has basically been divided into time spent at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh and time spent trying to be re-assigned to Viking country. A three year stint as Baltimore District vocation director notwithstanding, Bob has made his career in boys’ secondary education, winning the respect and affection of Central Catholic students as teacher, campus minister, and assistant principal for student affairs. The latter pairing indicates something of his versatility. In all his administrative assignments, he has kept his hand in the classroom, whether English, Religion, or Spanish.
In recent years, Bob’s ministry has had a unique component. He makes good use of his working knowledge of Spanish by escorting students at least once a year to various Latin American mission sites, whether in Mexico, Guatemala, or Nicaragua. There the students provide needed material improvements to various church and school facilities.
This year, Bob became the first Principal of Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh after the institution of the president-principal model of administration. His fellow principal, Brother James Butler of CBA Lincroft had this to say about Brother Robert: “Anyone who watches Bobby with his students and their families can see he has ‘the common touch.’ Warmth and humor characterize his daily interactions. Yet, that’s the only thing common about him. Otherwise, he is possessed of a capacious memory for people and events, extraordinary written and interpresonal communications skills, a judicious temperament when confronted with difficulty, and a truly Catholic sensibility that allows him to see all he encounters as an administrator as an occasion of Grace.”