04/19/2022 Alumni Spotlight

Katanna Wright Zachary '73

Katanna Wright Zachary ’73 has a penchant for writing and research. She currently works as a tutor for Midland College, assisting students from English classes, history and government classes, psychology classes, humanities classes, and even nursing students, who require extra assistance with writing effectively.

How did you get started in a career in your current sector / industry?
After graduating from McMurry, I began teaching in a small school district—so small that I taught all of the high school English classes. After marrying a fellow teacher who became a school administrator, I continued to teach in various schools while I pursued a Master of Arts in English from the University of Texas at El Paso. I enjoyed freelance writing and shared my research experiences as a graduate student with my high school students.

Briefly walk us through your career journey to this point.
My love for books and research led me to earn a library science endorsement, and I served as a director of both an elementary and a secondary library. Working with elementary-age students prompted me to add an elementary teaching certificate to my secondary certificate. At one time I was teaching sixth-grade reading during the day and college English at night. This experience reinforced my belief that “teaching is teaching”, no matter the ages of the students. I then returned to school again and acquired an administrative certificate. This led me to ten years as an assistant principal at elementary schools ( while I taught English at Midland College in the evenings). My love of research inspired me to co-author a book entitled THE LONE STAR SPEAKS which was accepted by the first publisher we approached (Bancroft Press).

What do you most enjoy about your sector / industry / job?
I enjoy using my personal experiences in and out of the classroom to convince students that writing and researching are even more exciting now that the internet can be used so easily and effectively.

How is your current career the same, or different, than what you thought it would be when you began college?
When I first considered a teaching career, I assumed I would only work with high school and college students. I never dreamed I would receive as much pleasure from working with elementary students. I also had no idea that the research methods I used at McMurry and in graduate school would help me co-author a book!

What words of advice do you have for McMurry students or fellow alumni interested in a career in your sector or industry?
The best teachers are those who are passionate about their subject matter. Skills and strategies concerning how to clarify and explain material are certainly necessary and should be acquired by anyone who plans on a teaching career, However, a passion for a particular subject matter and a desire to share that passion is vital. If you love a subject enough to study it— whether it is Shakespeare, calculus, or history—then consider sharing that love with others in a classroom!