By Dana Delgado
Jan Tredemeyer says she is blessed.
On this Mother’s Day, the Liberty Hill Elementary School Principal and mother of three and countless others she has looked after as an educator over the last 39 years, says her career choice has been a blessing.
“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “I’ve been so blessed. Family has always come first.”
Mrs. Tredemeyer said the feeling is indescribable when people say, “You raised them right,” referring to her own children. And seeing her “school family” grow, mature and succeed evokes similar feelings.
The longtime Liberty Hill educator has plenty to celebrate this Mother’s Day, and credits much of her success to the values she learned from her mother.
“My mom at age 85 is amazing,” Mrs. Tredemeyer said. “She doesn’t miss a thing. She worked while we were growing up and is still very active. She’s a seamstress, sews and quilts. She starts a project at 5 and is done by 7.”
It was at the old family homestead and ranch in Leander that Mrs. Tredemeyer grew up. She is a descendent of some of Leander’s early pioneers including great-grandfather C.C. Mason and Lois Giddens, both of whom have schools named after them in the Leander Independent School District.
Over time, her family place would become known as the 6-J Ranch in honor of its occupants – parents Joe and Joan, and the children Joe Jr., Jan, Judith and James. Today, Mrs. Tredemeyer still lives on the old family spread and enjoys having her parents as neighbors, along with some of her children.
She continues to have a strong and special relationship with her mother. As the oldest girl and second oldest in the family of six, Mrs. Tredemeyer would learn the values that would serve her well when she would become a mother herself.
“It was and still is all about family and church,” she said. “I never heard my parents use a curse word and they never fought. Both my parents had jobs and had 10,000 chickens so we learned to work hard. We all had our duties as well as homework and practicing for our after-school activities. For me that was band and twirling at Leander High School.” She was also assistant newspaper editor at the school.
Mrs. Tredemeyer recalls that growing up, there was hardly time for television, which her parents called “an idiot box”, and talking on the telephone was limited to only five minutes.
“It was hard talking to my boyfriend in five minutes so I knew and learned that I better say something meaningful quickly,” she said, adding that she married her high school sweetheart, Larry Tredemeyer. She said she never dated anyone else.
There was also great reverence for her parents.
“I wouldn’t dare challenge my parents,” she said. “They would spank us. It was just unheard of.”
As a disciplined, caring and protective middle child, Mrs. Tredemeyer said her siblings called her their “second mom.” She would carefully inspect them to insure that they had all the necessary gear and had taken all the necessary precautions before heading out on their next adventure or excursion away from home. Safety, she said, was always at the top of her list of her concerns.
This was something she carried over to her own children and to her school children and staff at Liberty Hill Elementary School. When she first started teaching, Mrs. Tredemeyer said she was very strict, but realized over time that she needed to change.
“I learned that not every rule fits everybody,” she said.
When she graduated from high school, it was understood that she would attend college. Growing up, her parents only asked her where she was going to college not if. She had thoughts of becoming a nurse, but after looking at the requirements of the chemistry course, Mrs. Tredemeyer felt she was better suited for a career in education.
It was while serving as a teacher that Jan and Larry Tredemeyer would have their first child, Brent.
“We had been married for a few years and were ready to have our first baby,” she said. “It was exciting.”
Brent is married to Jennifer and they have two children between them, Ashley – a high school junior and Joseph – a third grader.
Andrew was their second child. He was born on Mother’s Day and is married to Christi. The couple has a 19-month-old son Fisher and is expecting their second child. Daughter Chelsea is the Tredemeyers’ third child.
Being a grandparent has brought a whole new joy to Mrs. Tredemeyer’s life.
“It got more exciting with grandchildren,” she said. “We get to spoil them.”
As a principal and experienced educator and parent, she offers some sound advice to new and young parents.
“I tell them that the most important thing you can give kids is time and attention because that can make such a big difference,” she said. “I also tell them to enjoy the moment with their kids because those moments go so quickly.”