A lifelong resident of Perry Township until moving to Nashville in 1995 to become the assistant superintendent of Brown County Schools, Shaffer attended Calvary Lutheran, where he was heavily influenced by Principal August Schwark.
Shaffer graduated from Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and returned to Southport to teach social studies. He joined the Indiana National Guard and served a six-year commitment while continuing his teaching duties. He noted that it was a unique experience to teach with his former educators.
It was during this time that he met his future wife, Janis, whom he married in 1974.
When the township’s second high school, Perry Meridian, opened in 1973, Shaffer was named to the teaching staff and to coach the tennis team, which had the unenviable task of playing every match on the road because Perry’s courts were still under construction.
Nevertheless, the Falcons compiled a winning season, and Southport’s winning traditions carried right over to Perry, where Shaffer coached his team to a third-place finish in the 1975 state finals.
Teaching U.S. history and government became a passion for Shaffer, who was named chairman of the social studies department in 1977. He earned his master’s and education specialist degrees from Butler.
An opportunity to work in the field of tennis caused him to temporarily abandon his career as an educator in 1979, but he soon missed teaching and coaching and accepted a position Triton Junior High School in Shelby County.
Shaffer earned his principal’s license from Butler in 1983 and was appointed assistant principal and athletic director at Triton Central High School. He was named principal in 1985 and served in that capacity for 10 years.
He left Triton Central to accept his aforementioned job with Brown County Schools, and in 2007 was appointed superintendent, a position he still holds.
Shaffer attributes much of his success to his former teachers and colleagues at Southport, all of whom had positive influences on him.
Being selected as Alumnus of the Year was an unexpected honor, and it has prompted him to reflect back on his years as student and a teacher at Southport.
He will be honored May 19 during the school’s scholarship banquet at UIndy.