Passion for Mathin’ — Mr. Shelburne Finds His Way to La Salle


Seleste Maldonado-Ruiz

Having attended Yale University for college, Mr. Shelburne spent a majority of his 14-year teaching career in Massachusetts but found his near 3,000-mile way to La Salle this year.

Lillian Paugh, Editor

La Salle welcomed several new members to the community at the start of this school year. This story is one of a series of profiles highlighting these people.

Crossing the country from East Coast to West, math teacher Mr. Peter Shelburne has found himself back in the Portland area and, most recently, found himself a place in the La Salle community.

While new to La Salle, he is not entirely new to either the city or the workings of the Catholic school system, as he previously taught for two years at Central Catholic High School in the 90s.

“I have just a tiny bit of experience in the area and with the Catholic schools,” Mr. Shelburne said.

Still, his experience at La Salle has been greatly different than that of his time teaching in Massachusetts, where he taught at a boarding school that consisted primarily of international students from Europe, Asia, and parts of South America. Coming from teaching at a school with less than 200 students, simply “having a football team feels different,” Mr. Shelburne said.

Not only having to adjust to a larger student body, Mr. Shelburne has also had to adapt to the block schedule and the technology used for nearly all things at La Salle, including figuring out the ins and outs of Schoology in particular.

“I’m beginning to feel like I understand it, but there’s some tech behind everything that happens,” Mr. Shelburne said.

Despite the changes he has had to make, one thing remains the same: his love for teaching math.

Throughout his teaching career, the only subject Mr. Shelburne has taught is math, attributing this to his affinity toward puzzles and his passion for teaching others — especially young people.

“I think I’ve always liked explaining things to people,” Mr. Shelburne said. “So teaching comes pretty naturally to me.”

Teaching, however, has not been his only interest in life. Growing up, theater played a large role in his eventual involvement in playwriting, as he participated in many productions when he was young, became heavily involved in acting in college, and has since been an avid theater goer. 

“I’m really exposed to theater, and I just decided, ‘I’m going to try to write a play,’ and it went pretty well,” Mr. Shelburne said. “But that’s not been a career, it’s been more of a pastime.”

An aspect of La Salle that has stood out to Mr. Shelburne thus far has been the community. “I think there’s a really positive attitude that I appreciate,” he said. From the very first day, getting to meet with the teachers and staff, experiencing the enthusiasm they exuded and the ideas they shared were things he admired.

This year, Mr. Shelburne’s goal is to further adjust to the new environment and community he’s found at La Salle, and he also hopes to become more acquainted with his students and their lives. 

Being more involved with school events, like attending theater productions and going to athletic games are ways in which he hopes to achieve his goal, but he also realizes that “it’s going to take time, mostly,” he said.