Lutheran Education Servant Honoured in Australia Day List
LCANZ member and Lutheran Education stalwart Robert Hoff has been recognised in the Australia Day 2024 Honours List. Rob, from Myrtle Bank in suburban Adelaide, has been made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division of the awards “for significant service to primary education, and to professional associations”.
A Lutheran primary school principal for 46 years among a 51-year teaching career that began in the South Australian state school system in 1968 at Hope Valley Primary, Rob also has long served the wider Lutheran church on a wide range of committees and councils. A member at St John’s Unley, he is in his fourth year on the South Australia–Northern Territory District Church Council. He also served on former LCA bodies including the Lutheran Teachers College Council, the LCA’s Salaries Commission and its boards for Primary Education, Congregational Life and Publications.
Rob was the founding principal at St Paul Lutheran School Blair Athol in Adelaide’s inner north for a decade from 1973, was principal at Trinity Lutheran Primary School (now Trinity Lutheran College) on Queensland’s Gold Coast for 13 years from 1984 and returned to Adelaide as principal of Immanuel Primary School at Novar Gardens, where he served from 1997 until his retirement in 2018.
He was also a member of the Principals’ Australia Institute, became a Life Member of the Australian Primary Principals Association in 2014 and was a member of its National Advisory Council from 2002 to 2011; has been a member of the Independent Primary School Heads Association since 1986, was its Federal President for several years and was made an Honorary Life Member in 2018; served as State President of the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia; and is a former Board Director of Lutheran Principals Australia, serving as Chair from 2008 to 2011 and Executive Officer from 2013 to 2019.
He remains a mentor to young principals and leaders in the Lutheran and other independent schools systems.
Previously recognised with the Noel Volk Excellence Award by the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia, the John Lang Professional Development Award by the Principals’ Australia Institute, the Lutheran Education Australia Service Award for his service to Lutheran Schooling from 1973 to 2018, and a fellowship of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders, Rob said he was ‘quite thrilled and somewhat amazed’ by this latest honour.
‘I’ve been so blessed on the journey’, he said, acknowledging the support of his family, including his wife Sandra and Lutheran school leader daughters Sarah Hoff-Zweck and Jodie Hoff.
Rob also said Lutheran teaching and mission forebears and family members including Bernhard Hoff, Pastor Carl Hoff and Naomi Hoff had influenced his career and passion for service through education, while Lutheran teaching, pastoral and leadership luminaries including Elmore Leske, John Koch, Rolph Mayer, Clem Koch, Ophie Renner, Eric Rathjen, Garry Matuschka and Wayne Zweck had been important mentors.
‘It’s how we were brought up – acts of service are just a natural thing’, the lifelong Lutheran said. ‘Faith without service means nothing.’
Rob said the most satisfying aspect of his many years in Lutheran education was easy to identify. ‘What stands out is the opportunity to boldly proclaim the gospel every day’, he said. ‘We are sowing the seed of faith – and I think we often don’t understand that – and we are helping to shape lives.’
The congratulations of the church are offered to Rob, and any other members honoured with awards.
Image: Rob Hoff (AM) is pictured with his wife Sandra and daughters Sarah Hoff-Zweck, who is Head of Middle and Senior Campus at Prince of Peace Lutheran College at Everton Park, and Jodie Hoff, who is Principal at LORDS (Lutheran Ormeau Rivers District School) at Pimpama.