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Celebrating Kathie Hammer’s 40 Years of Service to John Knox Cooperative Preschool

April 9, 2012

Living in an era of rapid expansion during the dot-com period and through a period of significant consolidation of major employers throughout the Bay Area, it is highly unusual to meet an individual that has dedicated her professional life to one organization over a period of 40 years. This June, Kathie Hammer will complete a career at John Knox Cooperative Preschool that began in 1972. Kathie is currently the Director of John Knox (as well as a teacher) and also serves on the Las Positas Advisory Board and the Dublin Unified School District Advisory Board. Kathie will begin to enjoy a well-earned retirement after investing four decades of her life into this Dublin institution. John Knox Preschool is a Christian-based, non-denominational pre-school that is located adjacent to the former Nielsen Elementary School. John Knox is currently runs and is authorized to operate three classrooms of up to 24 students.

In the early 1970’s, Kathie Hammer simply needed a pre-school option for her young son, Michael. A piano teacher serving their family told them about John Knox in Dublin and Kathie investigated this possibility. After your initial visit, you stated that “you loved it.” What impressed you about the school?

Kathie Hammer: “At John Knox, part of the arrangement is that parents/guardians are expected to provide five weeks of their own time into the classrooms as well as contribute to the overall maintenance of the facility throughout the school year. I immediately knew that I loved the environment at John Knox. The children are like little sponges and I enjoyed helping them with creating small crafts. What I’ll always love is giving the children a hug. When that occurs, their feet ‘dance’. You cannot replace the honestly of a child. I’ve accepted that this environment is the first one that they have outside of their internal family.” Of the many titles that you hold, you are currently a member of the Dublin Unified School District Advisory Board. How has this position translated into a material effect with John Knox and Dublin High School?

Hammer: We have a very constructive relationship with Dublin High School. The Careers with Children program at Dublin High School has exposed these students to our program. These students have exhibited an interest in early childhood development. They visited our site last October, in February and will come again in May of this year. These Dublin High students have been able to witness the growth of our students in a relatively short period of time. Over the course of 40 years, can you even begin to estimate the number of students that have matriculated through your program and into the Dublin Unified School District?

Hammer: “I haven’t even begun to do the math. But I can tell you, it’s been a lot!” You’ve earned your retirement, but it must be somewhat bittersweet. All of these children have been a part of your life – what lies ahead and what are your philosophies?

Hammer: “In our present cycle, we have ten currently enrolled students whose parents were previously enrolled at an earlier stage at John Knox. It’s absolutely amazing, but not surprising. Personally, I have ten grandchildren to dote upon and I look forward to the next stages of my life. My personal interests include being a lighthouse keeper, to continue my work as a nautical historian and for us to take our fifth wheel onto the road. On a last note, I have a plaque in my office which states “Education is not a race.  It’s who sticks with it the longest.” This serves as an appropriate postscript to the recently approved Developmental Kindergarten program within DUSD.

Karen Chamberlain has been a Campus Supervisor at Dublin High School for the past six years, and recommended recognize Kathie’s service. Karen’s family had an initial exposure to John Knox Pre-School when they moved from Livermore to Dublin in 2005. Please describe your relationship with Kathie and how has it has impacted your family’s experience in Dublin.

Karen Chamberlain:  “Simply, I know that I’ve become a better person by having known Kathie. She’s been very insightful and has helped our family in many ways. We were fortunate to enroll my son at John Knox and it’s been a great experience throughout.”  How were you able to make meaningful contributions to John Knox?

Chamberlain: “When I volunteered to take on the responsibility of the maintenance element of JK, I was a little unsure. Kathie gave me a lot of confidence and she ensured that my efforts would make a positive contribution. So what is left?  How will you honor Kathie Hammer for all of her accomplishments?

Chamberlain: “There will be a celebration. It will be held at the Wells Middle School Pavilion on Friday, May 11 from 6:00-8:00PM. We’ll have a large number of former students/parents in attendance and it will be a very special night.  Any additional thoughts to share prior to this event?

Chamberlain: “I’m a better person for having known Kathie. My son is an ‘October baby’. Kathie offered our family on opportunity for the gift of another year of schooling to provide him an advantage. This turned out to be the greatest gift of all. Thank you, Kathie for all you have given to our community over all of these years.”

  1. Cindy Trebino permalink
    April 23, 2012 6:08 pm

    Hi Mom,
    Rich, Keith (student @ John Knox 1986 – 1988…Best years of his life w/ Nana ) is now 28, Robbie – 26 had the pleasure to visit John Knox w/ brother Kieth and never wanted to leave. Emily – 18 always knew her Nana was the best teacher and wanted to attend, but we moved and the commute was to far. Emily Loved coming w/ her family to all the ice cream socials. We are very PROUD of you mom!!! It’s truly amazing what you’ve accomplished. Four decades…Wow!!! We are all so proud of you!!!
    Love always,
    Cindy, Rich, Keith, Robbie and Emily
    Love you Mom!!!

  2. Cindy Young permalink
    April 24, 2012 2:58 pm

    Mrs. Hammer was the BEST!! All four of our children spent time with her at John Knox!! You certainly deserve the rest!


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