Jeff Nafie

High School Teacher and Coach

While at Crater, Mr. Nafie taught a variety of Social Studies classes, including the demanding Advanced Placement United States History and Advanced Placement European History classes. He was also an integral part of the experimental Crater Social Service School, which later became the Crater Academy of Health and Public Services. Along with co-teachers, Karyn Hale and Steve Baird, they created an integrated student-focused block learning environment that was a demanding but popular student draw. Remembering this experience, Jeff relates, “ I look back on that team-teaching experience fondly and the students at Crater always made teaching easier.  I think these kids made it worthwhile to put in the long hours that good teaching always mandates.”  Jeff’s particular take on teaching was that “Teaching is much more like painting a picture than a scientific analysis of what works.”  Besides being a gifted Master Teacher, many of his former students will remember with glee his unique way of honoring a student on his or her birthday by donning a gorilla outfit, bounding onto a student’s desk and presenting a spirited and unique rendition of the birthday song. You had to be there.

Besides teaching, Jeff loved coaching and during his Crater tenure, coached freshman, sophomore and junior varsity football as well as establishing an Oregon reputation as a first rate throwing coach in track. In this capacity he coached many state placers. Reflecting on his coaching experience he relates, “Coaching had more highlights than I have space to relate. Going to state track meets was a biggie and having so many athletes actually place at that difficult competition was always rewarding.”  In his coaching circle Jeff Nafie was noted for his prodigious appetite; Jeff saw a two-hamburger meal as an appetizer.

Jeff’s high-energy spirit has not dampened in retirement and, if anything, has only intensified. Upon retirement Jeff and his wife, Artha, moved to Mill Creek, Washington where Jeff immersed himself in taking on the duties of “house husband” in superb fashion. “I do the housekeeping and cooking since Artha is still working full time. It’s funny all the chores one never gets to when teaching and coaching. I get these chores done now; the cars are always washed and waxed, the house floors are always vacuumed and mopped and my garden has no weeds.” But Jeff does not limit his activity to the house and garden as he relates, “I always wanted to get fluent in the French language, so I’m working on that. In addition, I read a lot with my goal in 2017 to read 100 books.”  He met this goal but also found time to work on his own book, an account of John Wycliffe and the Lollard movement in 14th Century medieval England. But he warns, “Do not look for the book at the bookstore or online just yet. Writing is a slow and sometimes tedious pastime for me. Someday I’ll have a first draft finished.”

Jeff is involved in his community as well. He leads a weekly Bible study for his church and through his church was part of a missionary team to Nagoya, Japan. In the spring, Jeff can be found at Eisenhower Middle School in Everett, volunteering to help the throwers on the track team. He also enjoys singing in a small group of chu rch-sponsored Victorian carolers at Christmas time, singing at retirement homes, homeless shelters at the nearby Alderwood Mall.

Besides leading a very active retirement life, Jeff and Artha find time to travel, especially enjoying nearby Victoria and Vancouver. Their oldest daughter, Andreanna lives in Oklahoma City, second daughter Carissa lives in the Washington, D.C. area and son, Evan, is in Portland, so frequent trips are made to these spots as well, especially to see their three grandchildren. Internationally, they are big fans of Western Europe; they will be making their 11th trip to the United Kingdom and their 6th trip to France this year.  Living in the Seattle area gives them numerous opportunities to attend concerts, go to plays and visit Seattle museums. If this is not enough, Jeff suggests, “There is nothing quite like the ear-splitting chaos that is called a Seattle Seahawks game. I am fortunate to have been able to go to a lot of games.”