Sr. Valera’s retirement saddens Webb students


Graphic courtesy of Yiyi Ouyang ('21).

Sr. Valera has been an extremely influential in the dorms as dorm head. He has impacted countless students, preaching values of respect and community in the upper dorms.

It is no exaggeration to say everyone knows Javier Valera, or Señor Valera as his Spanish students fondly call him. Since 1989, Sr. Valera has been at Webb as not only a Spanish teacher, but also a head of dorms, advisor and sports coach. But the Webb community found out that his three decades of service at Webb were coming to an end when Taylor Stockdale, Head of Schools, announced Sr. Valera’s retirement in an email on November 30th, 2020.  

As we begin the three week stretch leading up to Winter Break, I wanted to let you know that our highly esteemed teacher, Señor Javier Valera, has made the difficult decision to retire, Mr. Stockdale wrote. Although his retirement is effective now, he and his family will remain in their campus home and very much a part of the Webb community until the end of this school year.”  

Mr. Stockdale has known Sr. Valera for many years and recognizes his long-time relationship with Webb along with his countless contributions. 

“It is impossible for me to envision a Webb School without Mr. and Mrs. Valera,” Mr. Stockdale wrote. I have long since admired his values, his total devotion to you, the students, and the special qualities he brought to the boys’ dorms that literally transformed countless students’ Webb experiences.” 

And Sr. Valera has certainly been an influential figure on the Webb campus for the students. 

As a teacher, he has ensured that his classes have the perfect balance between learning and fun.  

“I’m really sad because he made classes so much fun and his teaching style was so unique, Madeline Lilley (‘22) said. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn from him, and it’s unfortunate that many people won’t be able to have the same experience anymore.” 

In addition to his fun unique style, his classes have always had a homey atmosphere, comforting to all his students 

“I took Sr. Valera’s class last year. And the thing I really cherished was the strong sense of community he brought, Ryan Lin (‘21) said. “I remember that we weren’t really familiar, but he was still such a strong figure for me. I think that it really made the classroom feel like home.” 

His absence will also impact the dorms 

“I feel really bad for all the people who didn’t get to know him as a dorm head. He’s a good representation of the Webb honor code,” Alex Xiao (‘21) said. “He always made sure we were getting things done, but he also made sure we were enjoying dorm life. Even though he’s strict, he’s still such a lovable dude.” 

Besides honor, he has taught many students what it means to be a good, responsible boarder.  

I’ve had him as a dorm head for three years and I can’t imagine a dorm without him,” Steve Park (‘21) said. One thing I really loved was how he considered each dorm a family. He always reminded us of how much we should cherish our neighbors and people living in our dorms.  

Throughout his three decades with Webb, Sr. Valera has certainly made a lasting impact at the school. Not only will the students of Webb miss his teaching style in the Old School House, but the residents of the dorms will also miss his laughter heard in the halls.