Federal Way just lost a person who knew that he had an obligation, an actual duty, to disagree and to challenge the status quo for the betterment of all concerned. That person was Charlie Hoff. I had the honor of serving with Charlie when I was a member of the Federal Way School Board.
You did not need to worry about hearing Charlie’s opinion because he shared it with a zeal matched by few. Some of his opinions cut deep. He was unforgiving when it came to taking the easy way out or ignoring the fact that our students were not performing as well as they could. His driving force was the belief that we needed to expect more out of our students, but we could only do that if we expected more of ourselves as adults. He was not just talk, he took affirmative steps to help students succeed in life with nothing expected in return. Air Force JROTC, Public Academy, Cambridge, International Baccalaureate, TAF (Technology Access Foundation), K-8 schools at Woodmont and Nautilus among other improvements were all supported by Charlie. However, I lament all of the things that could have been had more people treated his disagreement as an opportunity instead of a threat.
There are many lessons we can learn from the life of Charlie Hoff, but the biggest one is that when someone is being critical or disagrees with you it may be that they are right and that you might be able to make your life, and the lives or others around you, better if you act on that criticism instead of resisting it because it is unpleasant to hear.
Thank you Charlie Hoff for a life well-lived.
Dave Larson, Federal Way