Our Hola Stories
Meet Katherine Herron and Hola's Directors
¡Hola! My name is Katherine Herron, and I am the owner and founder of ¡hola hp!.
During the years of 2006 and 2014, I taught Spanish for Highland Park ISD. In those years, I began tutoring former students. I tutored a lot of kids in and out of my home. As I was tutoring my former students, I realized that the majority of my students were paying private tutoring costs, but they really didn't need private tutoring! It was then I had a realization of my future company! I left the district, and I began a small business from my home that next year. It was a small group tutoring business that allowed students to commit to a time each week where I would create materials to reinforce what was happening in their Spanish classes. It was a fraction of the price of private tutoring! Affordable, effective, focused, small group tutoring sessions grew to the point where I was teaching over 90 students a week in my small house. It was then I realized that I needed a space and a business name. I recruited an amazing tutor and teacher, Oscar Ruiz, to come alongside me. He now serves as not only a tutor but the Director of Spanish and French. In the Fall of 2015, I took the biggest leap of faith and decided to hire teachers of all subjects, not just Spanish. I reached out to my favorite (and best) teachers I knew and asked them to come alongside me and join my new venture to tutor their own small groups for Hola. Now, on a given week at Hola, we have around 1,000 students walk through our doors. We offer small groups (what we are known for), pop up/extra sessions before tests and quizzes, and private tutoring as well. We span from Pre-K all the way to ACT/SAT prep and college counseling. We tutor over 175 small groups of all ages and subjects weekly, and 65 tutors teach for Hola HP. It's amazing to think this all started in a small living room!!
¡Hola! My name is Oscar Ruiz, and I am the Business Director and Director of Spanish at ¡hola hp!.
I was a Spanish teacher at Highland Park HS from 2013 to 2016. During my second year of teaching, I started private tutoring a lot of students after school. One day, I received an email from Katherine Herron asking if we could meet for coffee. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of an incredible journey with an amazing company. That first meeting was the discussion of our cram session reviews. We started these reviews only offering Spanish, and they were very successful! Katherine then embarked on opening ¡hola hp!. The first year ¡hola hp! opened its doors looked quite different than it does today. Our newly formed company involved a small room above Banditos, where Katherine and I would alternate to teach our own Spanish groups. At the time, we were only offering Spanish tutoring, hence the company's name. I was still working at Highland Park HS the first year that ¡hola hp! opened, and at the end of that first year Katherine received a lot of requests to offer tutoring in other subjects. Katherine then asked me to come onboard with her full-time teaching my own Spanish groups and to be her Director of Operations. I made the decision to leave Highland Park HS to help her run the company. I am so grateful to be a part of something so special, and that we are able to serve so many families in our tight-knit community.
¡Hola! My name is Ali Jackson, and I am the Math and Social Studies Director at
I began teaching math in 2006 at a small school district in Fort Worth before marrying my sweet husband and moving to Dallas. After driving almost an hour to teach for a year, I decided to move districts and was thrilled when I was offered a math position at Highland Park! I fell in love with the district, the kids, the parents, and culture. It was so refreshing teaching students that WANT to learn and WANT to succeed. During my time as a full time teacher, I ventured out and started private tutoring one-on-one at students houses. It was wonderful being able to sit with one student and talk to them about math. See what they knew and where they needed help. I decided to stop teaching full time when we had our first child and wanted to tutor more. It was then that I got a call from my friend Katherine. We hadn’t seen each other in years, but when we met back up, it was like no time had gone by. She started explaining to me what Hola HP was about and how she viewed helping students. It was a NO BRAINER that I had to be apart of this amazing company! This is a place that I respect and value. Hola HP puts kids first and their success (academically and beyond) is our number one priority. The first year at Hola, there were 5 math students TOTAL! Now, we see over 200 students a week in math alone. We tutor every possible math subject that Highland Park offers and we make sure that each student leaves a session with a better understanding of a concept than when they walked in. I am beyond grateful to be apart of this journey and I am so excited to see where it goes!
¡Hola! My name is Martie Black, and I am the Science Director at ¡hola hp!.
I began my teaching career in 2000 in a large high school in Mississippi where I taught science and math. By 2006, I was living in Dallas, teaching at a science magnet, had 3 little boys under 4, and another baby boy on the way. I stepped away from the classroom and began ten years in curriculum and instruction consultation. I loved my work, but I missed teaching science. It seemed I was always helping kids at my home. In 2016, I decided I needed to be at home more. It lasted about three months when I received a phone call from Katherine Herron at Hola! I was hesitant at first, as I had committed to working less, but as I learned more about ¡hola hp!, it became apparent I was supposed to teach at this company. I love the message of ¡hola hp!, It truly is an environment where all kids thrive and find success. It is an educator’s dream. These kids become “mine.” And, I get to watch as they excel and hopefully find a little love for science. I am honestly blessed by the kids, parents, and community that surrounds ¡hola hp!.
¡Hola! My name is Jenn Knagg, and I am the PreK, Elementary and Specialized Services Director at ¡hola hp!.
During the 2016-2017 school year, I had Katherine Herron’s oldest child in my classroom in Highland Park ISD. Through working with her daughter on a private level as well as in the classroom, Katherine saw the connection I created with her daughter and my other students, and she invited me to dinner. At this time, she was ready to launch an elementary branch to her already popular middle and high school tutoring company and wanted to pick my brain. I was floored by the opportunity and could not wait to get started with helping to launch a full elementary program including summer camps and small group sessions. We started that summer with summer camps. The feedback we received after the camps concluded proved that these would be an elementary staple for years to come by both teachers and campers. We launched that next school year with small group sessions for students in Pre-Kindergarten through 4th grade. The small group sessions have been the most popular part of Elementary. They offer students consistent, focused, and effective instruction that supports what students are learning inside their classrooms. It has been such a blessing to join the family of staff that Katherine has put together and to serve this amazing community of families.
¡Hola! My name is Katie Eason, and I am the Director of Academic Coaching at
I began my teaching career in 2011 at Highland Park Middle School--making this my 10th year teaching Study Skills within the Special Education Department. Teaching and helping students develop executive functioning skills has become a huge passion of mine. I have had the privilege of watching my small groups of students grow and develop skills that have benefited their academic and personal lives tremendously. Katherine reached out to me in the Fall of 2016 about joining ¡hola hp! as they were expanding the company to include multiple subject areas, and she wanted to include study skills. I was too intrigued by the opportunity to work with more students to turn her down! Katherine shares my same passion for wanting students to learn how to be more effective and independent learners. It has been a joy to be part of a company with teachers who encourage eager-to-learn students, to reach their full potential. Highland Park has been a dear place to me for so many reasons--it is where I grew up and graduated high school, where I started and have continued my career teaching, and where I met my husband! It is truly a special place made by the most incredible people! ¡hola hp! has allowed us to be even more connected to this incredible community, and am thrilled to grow this department and watch as students learn and develop through lessons on how to organize, manage time, study, and set goals. With development and mastery of these skills, students will gain a sense of independence that they will carry with them throughout their entire lives--truly a teacher’s highest dream for students!
¡Hola! My name is Tara Callahan, and I am the English and Language Arts
Director at ¡hola hp!.
I began my teaching career at Highland Park Middle School in 2012, and I just finished my 10th year, nine of them in 7th grade language arts. I have a passion for literature, and it brings me true joy to help students discover a love of reading as well. About four and a half years ago, I subbed for an ¡hola HP! English class, and I fell in love with the small group setting. I realized how much supplemental learning each week reinforces what kids are learning in the classroom. Soon after, Katherine approached me about expanding ¡hola HP!’s English program to the middle school level, and I jumped at the opportunity. During my first year at ¡hola HP!, I taught 8th grade English, but as the program grew, I saw a need at other grade levels, and I now teach 8th-11th grade weekly classes. I have loved getting to know my ¡Hola! students and seeing their reading and writing skills grow over the years. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the accomplishment students feel when they finally understand something or when they do well on an assessment. I am grateful for the opportunity to help students develop a better understanding of English concepts and am excited for the ¡hola HP! English department to continue to foster those skills in the future!
¡Hola! My name is Vicki Cernosek and I am the Administrative Director at ¡hola hp!.
After I retired in 2018 from my career in Advertising and Direct Marketing, I joined Hola HP in March 2022 as the Administrative Director. I had heard so many great things over the years about Hola HP from my daughter, Ali Jackson who is the Math and Social Studies Director. One day she reached out and let me know an opportunity had become available to join this incredible team. Even though a lot has changed over the many years since my two grown children were in school, one thing remains the same and constant. Parents want to see their children grow and succeed just as I did. I am passionate when it comes to working one on one with parents. I feel those relationships are so important. I am also so privileged to be a part of a team where the owner, staff, and all our tutors feel the same way. On a personal note, I have been married for 48 years and have three beautiful grandchildren. I love to work in my garden, travel with my husband, Jerry and spend times with those beautiful grandchildren who are growing up way too fast. But, working at Hola HP has opened up a whole new world for me and I am having the time of my life and loving it!