Hockaday’s FOURever Teachers

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//PICTURED ABOVE: Ann Trenary, Lower School Teaching Assistant, helps a Primer student writing a letter. She shows her dedication to the students every day in class. After 23 years at Hockaday, Trenary will be dearly missed.


The four retiring members of the Hockaday community all share a love for their students, colleagues and their profession. Whether it be directing the Upper School Madrigals Choir or discussing the development of the United States’ economy in the notoriously difficult Advanced Placement United States History Class (APUSH), these teachers have all left lasting imprints on the Hockaday family. Entering the next stage of their lives, all four have intriguing plans for the future while they carry on celebrated memories of their time spent here.

Ms. Martha Zavaleta

After earning her degree in early education, Martha Zavaleta began teaching Pre-K in 1976 because she loved children. When Zavaleta’s daughter started attending Hockaday, her attraction to the school grew and she wanted to be in the same place as her daughter. For the past 21 years, Zavaleta has taught Pre-K at Hockaday.

This year marks her last.

“Getting to know the faculty and staff has been amazing and one of the most rewarding part of working in the Hockaday community,” Zavaleta said.

Zavaleta believes in encouraging young children to try to do as many tasks as possible for themselves. This helps develop self-confidence and pride.

“Children are so bright, and they need to feel that they are understood,” Zavaleta said.

Her plans for retirement include traveling, spending time with her grandchildren and working on her garden. She also plans to come back to Hockaday occasionally as a substitute teacher.

“I am so pleased that Mrs. Hussain, my teaching assistant, will be taking my place. I feel ready for retirement,” Zavaleta said.

Mrs. Ann Trenary

A member of the Hockaday community for 23 years and an educator for 32, Ann Trenary ends her Hockaday career in room seven as Teaching Assistant to Primer teacher, Tymesia Smaw.

The idea of teaching at Hockaday came as a result of her youngest child beginning first grade.

“It seemed like a good way to start working again while being able to spend time with my family,” Trenary says.

For Trenary, the most rewarding part of being a member of the Hockaday community was creating lasting friendships and working with talented teachers.

She wants more people to understand the time and preparation it takes behind the scenes for every little thing in the classroom.

“You have to really love children and have great patience to teach young children,” Trenary said.

In retirement, she plans to spend more time with her six grandchildren during retirement and is thinking about starting a garden.

“I would love to travel with my husband during the fall, which is something I have been unable to do in a long time because of teaching,” Trenary said.

Although Trenary is most looking forward to a vacant agenda, Hockaday holds a special place in her heart.

“Hockaday is my home away from home,” Trenary said.

Mr. Steve Kramer

After 45 years of traveling through time and history with his students, Mr. Kramer has decided to retire.

Kramer realized his desire to teach and coach during college, earning his graduate degree in teaching. He would move on to teach various classes, his favorites being AP U.S. History and any classes about marginalized people, such as African American Studies.

Kramer shared his thoughts about his favorite aspects of his time spent at Hockaday as a teacher and the Upper School History Department Chair.

“Getting to work with young women who are dedicated students and will respond to what they see as enthusiastic teaching and passion,” Kramer said.

Even though he has had a few opportunities to leave Hockaday over the years, Kramer always settled on staying at Hockaday.

“Hockaday girls are just good students, and you don’t find that everywhere,” Kramer said.

He has come to the decision to retire, not because he fell out of love with teaching, but because of the workload.

“There comes a time that the grading and work are a lot to deal with, and after 45 years in the classroom, I have decided it is time to relax and no longer teach,” Kramer said.

Kramer wants people to understand that no matter where one teaches, it is a demanding profession. He believes that students and teachers need to meet one another’s expectations of each other.

“Most teachers that I know work on the weekends and weeknights, so it is a common misconception that teachers get a lot of time off,” Kramer said. “Students will not respond to a boring teacher which makes it a painful profession, but when you can get students interested, teaching becomes a really fun profession.”

It is evident that Kramer makes teaching fun for both him and his students; this year, his APUSH classes are making their own “Kra-push” (Kramer-APUSH) merchandise.

“There has never been a day that I haven’t enjoyed being in the classroom,” Kramer said.

His plans for retirement include continuing his research of a female African-American reformer at the turn of the 20 century, visiting Britain for history conferences and simply doing whatever he wants.

Ms. Bonnie Jean Coleman

A member of the music industry for 58 years and one of the Hockaday community for 15 years, Bonnie Jean Coleman ends her career in the classroom, or in the rehearsal room.

Coleman has taught various classes at Hockaday including Upper School Choir, Seventh and Eighth grade Choir and Middle School Fine Arts Music — Upper School Choir being her favorite.

“I think the most rewarding thing about working at Hockaday has been the wonderful opportunity to get to know and work with such phenomenal young women, faculty and staff,” Coleman said.

Even after Coleman retires, she hopes to remain close to the Hockaday community through the friendships that she has made. She will miss the school and her job very much but describes her decision to retire as a bittersweet one.

“Teaching is one of the most rewarding and difficult careers you can choose,” Coleman said. “[The teachers here] are so committed to the academic, social and behavioral welfare of each student and are a support for their students in every way.”

Coleman wishes that people could know more about what happens every day in the classroom, realizing the time and effort teachers put into their jobs.

Her plans for retirement include spending time with her daughter, son-in-law and her grandchildren, participating in community service and getting involved in political organizations. Coleman loves to garden, read and cook; in fact, she hopes to start a supper club (similar to a book club but with food).

But her plans for retirement don’t stop there.

“I plan to have a voice (and some piano) studio in my home, where I will teach classical singing and do vocal coaching for musical auditions,” Coleman said.

In retirement, each faculty member will each take with them the lessons they have learned from the classroom, and the plans they hold for the future.


Story by Charlotte Rogers

Photo by Jade Nguyen

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Charlotte Rogers

Typically referred to as Char or Charlátte, Charlotte loves spicy foods and spending time with family & friends. She is usually found listening to music, whether it be while working out, finishing a math problem, or daydreaming of White Rock Coffee.

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