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Charles O. Kuzminski MAT ’65

November 11, 2021, in Tigard, Oregon.

A dedicated educator, Charles passed up the ministry to pursue the dream of imparting learning to young people. He was born in Cle Elum, Washington, and spent his early years in Yakima. He spent two years at a community college before entering Multnomah Biblical Seminary, where he earned a degree in theology. When he decided he was not cut out for the ministry, he continued his education at Portland State University, where he got a bachelor’s degree in history, and then earned a master’s in education from Reed.

After teaching at Cleveland High School in Portland for six years, he moved to the administrative side of education, joining the staff of the Portland Teachers Association. By the age of 35, Chuck had become executive director for the 7,500-member Houston Teachers Association, where he was a leading spokesman for teachers’ rights. There he became the nemesis of school administrators, who felt teachers should teach and leave running the schools to others. He stood in opposition to the idea that teachers should perform what amounted to a maintenance role, eschewing the belief that “the teacher is the pro in the classroom.”

“In Houston the type of teaching that’s been rewarded is the type that amounts to maintaining the status quo,” he said. “Down here the general role seems to be to stay away from controversy. I don’t know how you can teach social studies, for instance, without dealing with controversial issues.”

In 1972, he became an organization specialist with the National Education Association (NEA) in Washington, D.C. After 20 years at the NEA, he retired and began his own consulting firm, Productive People, working with organizations in the D.C. area.

Chuck was an outdoorsman who was an avid skier, bicyclist, hiker, and fisherman. He married his second wife, Anne, in 1999 and moved to Sisters, Oregon, where he joined the coffee group at Ray’s and went to church at St. Edward the Martyr. He was a member of Kiwanis and the Sisters Corvette Club. After their move to Tigard, Chuck’s activities slowed, but his twice-daily walks with Sam, his beloved dog and best friend, made him many friends in the community. Anne survives him, as do his daughters, Beth and Jan Kuzminski, and his sister, Linda Kuzminski.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2022

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