Head of security departs from WJ


Photo courtesy of Will Cohen

Marc Hoffman has brought dedication and leadership to WJ security that will be difficult to replace. His improvements to school safety will make a positive difference down the line for future students.

On October 25 Head of Security Marc A. Hoffman left WJ after working at the school for the past year. Hoffman said farewell to the WJ community and moved on to the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Services. His replacement Patrick Rooney will be start his new position on friday, November 2.

Hoffman assumed the position after former head of security Howard Beaubien, who had worked at WJ since 2009, retired last year. Hoffman’s departure from the community that he loves so much will certainly be meaningful.

“I think he came in and looked at everything with fresh eyes and he had a well rounded security background,” Principal Jennifer Baker said. “He’s extremely collaborative and not afraid to share his opinion.”

Giving back to the community has always been at the core of Hoffman’s values and he will continue his career of serving with the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Services academy, a program which he was accepted into after two years of physical and mental testing.

“Through whatever line of work I’ve done, whether I was contracted to the military, or doing security for the hospital and then coming to Montgomery County Public Schools and now going into fire rescue services, I’ve always believed that my purpose was to make sure everyone else is safe,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman has been a favorite of many students due to his caring and genuine demeanor, and students will miss him as he moves on from WJ.

“I lost my jacket one time with my money in it and he helped find it, and I could tell he’s a really nice guy,” junior Ali Becker said. “It may not seem like it because he’s big and buff, but he’s really sweet.”

School safety at WJ has become more prevalent after the tragic school shootings in the US recently. MCPS has taken the initiative to prevent security threats.Hoffman has been at the forefront of that at WJ, with main precautions including keeping doors locked during the day, ensuring that visitors check in and reporting suspicious behavior.

“It’s about limiting the amount of doors that are open in the morning where I have security personnel stationed, the gates being locked now around the school building to prevent people from the community just being able to walk through,” Hoffman said.

Baker has begun the process of finding Hoffman’s replacement. She and the administrative team advertised the position and applications closed after the week of October 12. The position of Head of Security is a pertinent one at WJ, so Baker will be looking for a highly qualified candidate.

“It takes a special type of person to work in a school, so we will only hire someone who likes our students, someone with a great security mindset, someone who can collaborate with my administrative team, students, and parents,” Baker said.

It will be a bittersweet goodbye for Hoffman, who has made a home for himself at WJ, but will go on to live his dream as a career firefighter in Frederick.

“If I could use one word to sum up the entire community here it’d be amazing. Honestly, I think I’m going to miss the kids the most; there’s a great student body here,” Hoffman said.

Check out this article published after Hoffman’s induction into the Arena League Hall of Fame!

Update 10/25/18- Hoffman sent out an email Thursday afternoon to all the staff members expressing his final thoughts as he leaves WJ. This was his message included in the email:

“Good afternoon staff, students (even though I know they aren’t on here), friends and FAMILY, as I prepare step out of our hallways one last time, I sit and reflect. My time here, even though short has been an absolute life changing experience for me.  You have entrusted me with your safety and wellbeing and I hope that in some way I have provided a little comfort to you as you entered your work day. The staff at this school is the best I have ever worked with and your willingness to adapt new ideas and procedures in the name of safety was a tremendous help for the security staff here.  I know it has not been an easy journey, and downright scary at times but trust that my only thought ever was that of the safety of everyone inside this building.  Please continue to be compassionate, caring and vigilant in your efforts here at WJ.  I love you all and I wish you nothing but the very best, and I will miss you all. #Go Cats #Go Cows #GOWALTERJOHNSONHIGHSCHOOL.”