News & Blog

Family Newsletter – Aug. 3, 2015

Greetings from John Huber

John Huber, Head of SchoolDear Parents,

I hope that this note finds you healthy and well! Perhaps you’re planning one final family vacation before the school year begins in earnest. Have no worries—there’s still plenty of time before we kick off the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. And while we’re incredibly excited to welcome everyone back, we also understand the recuperative nature of a summer vacation!

I write to share with you an update of our summer work, as well as notify you of plans for the upcoming fall.

Summer Camp

We’ve had our biggest year ever, thanks to Director of Summer Programs Rose Hacker and Assistant Director Beth Muszkiweicz. Our enrollment this summer has increased 20% from last year! As I’ve started my first days here at Emerson, it’s been a pleasure to observe camp activities, and there’s been a very happy buzz in the hallways and the classrooms. This year, we’ve utilized both the new Middle School spaces as well as our outstanding Arts & Innovation Center (AIC). Camp runs through August 21st, but please note that we are just about fully booked for the remainder of the summer. If you’re interested in enrolling your child for 2016, be sure to sign up early when registration comes out. And please be sure to give best wishes to Rose with her upcoming due date!


Buildings & Grounds Manager Ted Steinbach and Arts & Innovation Manager/Buildings & Grounds Assistant David Moon have been working diligently throughout the summer to prepare the building for the new school year. Some key updates include a carpet refresh for sections of our new wing, a full renovation of the Academic Support offices, and a robust redevelopment of two Middle School science rooms. You may also notice that our parking lot is beautifully repaved and repainted. While we can’t control the quality of Michigan roads, we can make sure that your entrance to Emerson is a smooth one.


Many times, critical technology upgrades are invisible to most of us, until the moment that something goes haywire. Technology Director Roger Spurgeon and Technology Integrator Renee Durant have been laboring behind the scenes to ensure that the 500+ devices on campus are able to work smoothly and connect seamlessly. This includes wiring updates and network reconfiguration. Additionally, we will have a new phone system in place that will make it much easier to reach us—so if you’ve given up on voicemail in the past, give it a whirl this year.

New Faculty & Staff

While I believe you’ve been notified about all our new employees, I thought it might be helpful to refamiliarize you with our new faces. Please welcome to EmersonElizabeth May, our Learning Support Specialist, and Becky Wancier, our Middle School Math Teacher. Additionally, alumnus Eddie VanRiper, a familiar name to many families, will be taking on a number of new roles as our AIC Coordinator, Math Support Specialist, and Middle School Advisor.

Returning to Emerson in new roles are Mary Spaller, who will serve as both Middle School Science Teacher and Learning Support Specialist; David Moon, serving as both AIC Systems Manager and Building & Grounds Assistant; Kelly Vohland, our Lower School Science Teacher (4th & 5th grades) and Lower School Program Coordinator, and Marchell Burgess and Jen Kime, our Grades 3-5 Co-Coordinators.

This New Head of School

I am absolutely honored to serve as Emerson’s 6th Head of School. My family and I have moved into our new house (located near the stadium—I hear that football is big here?), and we’re settling in quite nicely. Our youngest son, Jack, will be starting at Emerson in 3rd grade, while our oldest two remain in Maryland to finish high school/start college.

Over the course of this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a number of you informally as you’ve been dropping by during Summer Camp. For the fall, I’d like to expand on this so that we can meet and you can share what’s on your mind. Now that I’m here, what do you hope that I’ll focus on? What do you want me to leave alone?

To accomplish this, I’ll be hosting grade-level Coffees with the Head each week from September to November. For each gathering, the parents and guardians of a given grade will be invited to stop by and talk with me. We’ll start with 8th grade parents (our “senior” parents), move down to 6th grade, then drop to Kindergarten and work our way up to 5th grade. A schedule of dates is forthcoming. In order to accommodate working parents, these Coffees will begin at 7:30am (with free childcare available, reservations required). Those who wish to come early and leave by 8:30am may do so. Otherwise, parents may arrive at the normal school start time and stay through 9:30am. I look forward to meeting with you and listening to what you have to share.

That should do it for now! Please resume your regularly scheduled August, and we’ll see you come September.

Take care,

John Huber
Head of School

All School News and Info

Admissions Info Meeting for Prospective Families

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Do you know of a family who should be attending Emerson? Invite them to attend this Information Meeting and learn more about us. Families considering attending are asked to please email to RSVP.

New Family Welcome & Middle School Orientation

Thursday, Sept. 3, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Learn more about your new school and/or the Middle School. Who should attend:

  • Kindergarten: All parents (no students please)
  • 1st – 5th Grade: New parents and students
  • 6th Grade: All parents and students (new and returning students)
  • 7th – 8th Grade: New parents and students

First Day of School is Sept. 8

  • Half days for K: Sept. 8 – 18 (dismissal at 11:45am)
  • Half days for 1st: Sept. 8 – 11 (dismissal at 12:00pm)

Back to School Picnic, Hosted by ESPO

Sunday, Sept. 13, 4:30pm – 7:00pm

Join us for a back to school picnic hosted by ESPO (Emerson School Parent Organization). There will be food, games for the kids, and a chance to mingle with old and new friends.
+ RSVP at

No School Monday, Oct. 19 for AIMS Conference

Emerson will be closed so our faculty and staff may participate in the Association of Independent Michigan Schools (AIMS) Conference. This is an important gathering of educators throughout the state, and it allows us to learn best practices and bring these to our students.

Middle School Musical Auditions: Seussical Jr.

Sept. 9 – 10, 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Sign-ups begin the first day of school on the Theatre Arts bulletin board located at end of hall outside of auditorium doors. All students interested in participating must sign up and bring a signed parent permission form to the audition. Students should be available to sing, read from the script, and perhaps dance in groups. If students cannot attend any of these times, please email Musical Director Mrs. Moon as soon as possible.
+ Learn more and see sign-up info

Middle School News and Info

Middle School Books Available for Purchase

Middle School books can now be purchased online at
+ Order 2015-2016 books

Summer All-School Read

How I Discovered Poetry, by Marilyn Nelson

Middle school students will once again be asked to read a book over the summer. The book we’ve chosen for this summer read is How I Discovered Poetry, by Marilyn Nelson. This powerful story, written as a series of poems, follows the life of an African American girl during the 1950s and 60s. It reminds us all about the similarities we all share and how compassion and perseverance can trump all. We know that students will enjoy this book. Books are available for order through MBS Direct.
+ Order through MBS Direct on June 1