our hola stories
¡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. One summer when I was just a few months pregnant with my first child, my mom had an idea to try and combine students in my tutoring times in an attempt for me to not work so much with a little baby on the way. It was then I had a realization! I left the district, and I began a small business from my home that next year, which was quite the opposite of trying to have less work on my plate! 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. 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 Operations. 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 over 500 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 120 small groups of all ages and subjects weekly, and 32 tutors teach for Hola HP. To think it all started in a small living room with a wild idea!
¡Hola! My name is Oscar Ruiz, and I am the Director of Operations 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 Director at ¡hola hp!.
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 Erin McCormack, and I am the English Director at ¡hola hp!.
In 2013, I began working as an 8th grade English Language Arts teacher at Highland Park Middle School. A few months into the school year, Katherine Herron and I had a conversation one morning before school in which she shared her vision of one day opening a multi-subject tutoring company. She asked if I would ever be interested in coming on as an English tutor should the need arise. I definitely expressed interest in the moment, but honestly, didn’t really think about it again beyond that conversation. Fast forward to 2016 - I found myself contemplating a career change as I felt like it was time for me to step away from the classroom and focus on growing our family. I remember texting Katherine out of the blue asking if she was still interested in bringing me on as an English and at the time, Study Skills tutor, and the rest is history! This year marks my 4th year tutoring with Hola, and I have since taken on the role of Director of English as well. I have been so blessed by Hola HP in that this job allows me to truly have it all: stay at home with my babies while still getting the opportunity to exercise my love of teaching and passion for reading and writing.
¡Hola! My name is Jenn Knagg, and I am the Elementary 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.