Marian Cline Krutulis, founder of Gulliver Schools, dead at 89

Marian Cline Krutulis, the founder and head of the prestigious Gulliver Schools in Coral Gables, died early Saturday morning. She was 89.

Known on campus as “Mrs. K,” Krutulis taught or shaped thousands of young people during her 60-year tenure at Gulliver, which has with four campuses in Coral Gables, Pinecrest and Miami, serving more than 2,200 students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

“Mrs. Krutulis has left a major impact on education in Miami,” said Emilio Nuñez, chairman and president of the Gulliver Schools board and a 1983 graduate. “Her vision went beyond academics, the arts, foreign languages and athletics. She created an environment of caring, trust and intellectual enrichment for all students.”

Krutulis bought Gulliver Academy in 1953, with a small number of students in one building in Coconut Grove. She served as director of the school from 1954 through 2007, when her son John Krutulis became head of schools. She remained involved with the programs as director emeritus.

When Krutulis stepped down, Gulliver was the largest independent school in Miami-Dade, with more than 30 advanced placement courses, honors and college preparatory classes and dual enrollment programs at Miami Dade College, Florida International University and the University of Miami. Last year, Gulliver graduates enrolled at Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Emory University and Johns Hopkins.

Marian Cline was born Aug. 23, 1923. Her family moved to South Florida two years later.

Krutulis graduated Miami Edison High School at the top of her class, and studied math and finance at the University of Miami. That’s where she met football player Joseph Krutulis, whom she married in 1942. As a young woman, Krutulis took a job as a substitute teacher at Shadowlawn School, and began raising her five children.

In the early 1950s, Krutulis began teaching full-time at St. James Lutheran School, and, later, Riviera Day School. Krutulis opened a small school for youngsters 3- to 5-years old at the St. Phillips Church school.

Krutulis reopened Gulliver Academy with close to 150 students in September 1954, nine months after she bought it from Arthur Gulliver.

“Words cannot begin to describe the sadness that thousands of students and alumni feel,” said Jeff Bartel a founding member of the board, current vice-chairman.

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. The details have yet to be announced.

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