CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The mastermind behind the prestigious Gulliver Schools in Coral Gables, Marian Cline Krutulis, died Saturday night at the age of 89.
Krutulis, also known as “Mrs. K” was the founder and head of the schools which has four campuses in Coral Gables, Pinecrest and Miami. The schools have over 2,200 students starting from pre-kindergarten through high school.
“Mrs. Krutulis has left a major impact on education in Miami,” Emilio Nuñez, chairman and president of the Gulliver Schools board and a 1983 graduate told CBS4’s partner The Miami Herald. “She created an environment of caring, trust and intellectual enrichment for all students.”
Mrs. K shaped taught thousands of kids, but she inspired a lot more of those young people during her 60-years at Gulliver.
Krutulis dream became a reality in 1953, when she bought Gulliver Academy with just a handful of students and one building in Coconut Grove.
She served as the director of the school until 2007 where she passed the torch over to her son, John Krutulis. Even then, Mrs. Krutulis stayed active with the schools and remained involved with the programs as director emeritus.
One school evolved over time and soon Gulliver was the largest independent school in Miami-Dade.
The schools incorporated advanced placement courses, honors and college preparatory classes and dual enrollment programs with Miami-based colleges and universities, which would later prepare students to be successful in their higher education.
Last year, Gulliver graduates enrolled at Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Emory University and Johns Hopkins.
“Her vision went beyond academics, the arts, foreign languages and athletics,” Nuñez told the paper.
Krutulis graduated at the top of her class at Miami Edison High School and later studied math and finance at the University of Miami.
She married Joseph Krutulis, whom she met at the University of Miami, in 1942 and became a substitute teacher.
In the early 1950’s Krutulis continued her teaching carrer at St. James Lutheran School as a full-time teacher, and later at Riviera Day School.
Krutulis then opened a small school for preschoolers 3- to 5-years old at the St. Phillips Church school. Krutulis bought Gulliver Academy from Arthur Gulliver and reopened it in September 1954 with close to 150 students.
Jeff Bartel a founding member of the board, current vice-chairman told the paper “Words cannot begin to describe the sadness that thousands of students and alumni feel.”
She is survived by her children: Barbara Holliman of Hiawassee, GA; Virginia of Evergreen, CO; Joseph J. of Anaheim, CA; Sharon Smith of Amelia, VA; and John W., in Miami.
Administrators at Gulliver are planning a “celebration of life” for Krutulis, accoriding to the Herald.
The details have yet to be announced.
The Miami Herald has contributed to this report.