Charlie Hoard: "After the second day, I knew I was put on earth to teach."

NEWARK, DE — Charlie Hoard Sr., runner-up for the second straight year inThe News’“Best Hvacr Instructor” contest, knows the importance of early exposure to a trade when students are choosing a career path. He himself came to hvacr work from a blue-collar family background, specifically “Steamfitters 420 out of Philadelphia on one side, and the other, UAW work in car plants.”

That’s why he is dedicated to exposing high school students to hvacr at Paul M. Hodgson Vo-Tech in Newark, DE.

Giving Back

Hoard’s eight years of teaching experience were preceded by 15 years of operating his own business.

“In 1994, the first week in September, my company was given a call from Hodgson Vo-Tech,” he recalls. “I was told that they were about to hire a new teacher. Checking on the other candidates’ standing in the field, all three references said that the best teacher they knew was Charlie Hoard. This was from my night school teaching days at RSES.”

The pay was not commensurate with his salary, he says, but they had no teacher.

“It was hard at first,” Hoard says, “going from teaching adults who knew how important it was to learn what I was teaching, to teenagers who didn’t know what it is to work, or why they would want to. All they knew is that Hoard made it fun to learn, cared about them, and got them jobs.”

Hoard says he was concerned about the decline in hvacr school enrollment and the dwindling numbers of new employees entering the field. “I took a teaching job in the school that had the last hvacr program at the high school level in the state.”

The problem, as he sees it, is that students are approached to go into hvacr and other trades too late.

Centered Students

Hoard teaches about more than hvacr technology. “I’m teaching the student as a whole, not just someone who can repair hvacr systems.

“I teach my students that if you get up each morning and work at a job you love, you’re the richest person in the world.”

He believes that to promote and sustain interest in hvacr as a career, industry has to educate not only middle school and high school students, but also their parents, in the idea that college is not the only viable path. This, Hoard says, will also help draw higher-caliber students to the field.

“If we look to only getting the people after they graduate from high school, and can only pick from the ones that didn’t choose to go to college,” he says, “we are not getting the best entering candidates for the field.”


Hoard is also dedicated to improving the image of vo-tech teachers among instructors. He is one of two vo-tech teachers on the Delaware State Educators Associa-tion (DSEA) executive board.

Hoard has developed partnerships with local hvacr suppliers, employers, and trade unions. Through this, the school receives substantial donations of material and equipment, and the students have opportunities to do co-op work while they continue their studies. And, qualified students are able to get jobs when they leave his classes.

“Like I said before,” Hoard concluded, “we must get the students that are smart, before they go to college, to choose our field. The proof is the last Dateline from Houston.”

publication date: 09/10/2001