Letter from the Head of School
Think back to the outstanding teachers you’ve had over the years. The ones who inspired you, who cared for you, who sparked your curiosity and led you to places you never would have gone. Emerson has many such educators, but sadly, we must say farewell to two such veterans who will be retiring at the close of the 2016-2017 school year. Both have served as teachers as well as school leaders, both share the same last name (though they are unrelated!), and both leave behind incredible legacies of their time here at Emerson.
Tim joined Emerson in 1982 as a science teacher, when Emerson was starting its ninth year of operations, and the school was housed in the basement of Westside Methodist Church. From 1987 to 1993, Tim took the reins as Headmaster, leading the school forward as it grew its present campus. Under his leadership, Emerson built a specials wing, received its first ISACS accreditation, and created a new Middle School. Having finished these daunting tasks, Tim returned to the classroom to serve as middle school science teacher, where he has sparked a joy in learning for more than 20 years. It is through his passion and dedication that we now enjoy the Emerson Nature Center, where he has brought hundreds of students to learn about the environment.
It is a daunting task to begin to list Tim’s many contributions to Emerson, one that will take us quite some time to compile. Tim, like many great leaders, has a special connection with many of us—mentor to new teachers; touchstone for the community; source of wry humor; keeper of the flame. Tim has been an elemental presence for all of us, and we will miss him dearly! Few educators would have been able to negotiate the transition from teacher to school administrative leader, then back again, with the grace that Tim has demonstrated. As school Head and as science teacher, he has been a positive force for Emerson. Each role he has played, and the extraordinary combination of positions he has undertaken, testify to his seminal significance for the success of this school. Upon his retirement from Emerson, Tim plans to take on a new challenge, as he seeks to join a new venture with a mission to increase educational opportunities for school children of Detroit.
(And before you ask, let me reassure you that his wife and 2nd Grade Teacher Ruth Wilson has sworn that she has no plans to retire this coming year!)
In 1991, Peggy came to Emerson to fill the role of 1st grade teacher—perhaps one of the most fortunate hires the school could have made, given the deep impact that Peggy came to have at Emerson. She demonstrated herself to be a master teacher, and she successfully taught some of our youngest children for the next 15 years. In 2007, she was named the school’s first Assistant Head of School, and in this role, she has been a guide to faculty, parents, students, and administrators alike. As one of her many achievements, she has been instrumental in developing our Learning Support Center to ensure that all our students’ needs may be met. She has also championed professional development for our faculty, ensuring that our teachers are best prepared to meet the needs of our students.
Peggy’s contributions to Emerson cannot be overstated. She is very much the glue that binds us together. Not only does she have many responsibilities as an Assistant Head, but she fills countless other roles as well – master proofreader; problem solver; supportive confidant; joyful Halloween celebrant; considerate communicator. Peggy cares deeply for all of us, and her thoughtfulness is evident in everything she does. She looks forward to spending her retirement with her husband Dick Tobin, who is also retiring at the close of this school year from Greenhills.
So, where do we go from here? First, we look to a date this coming spring for a gathering of our community and alumni to help celebrate the milestone achievements of these two. Please keep an eye out for a future newsletter for an announcement on ways for us to celebrate Peggy’s and Tim’s many years. I will also be announcing our transition plans early in the calendar year. In the meanwhile, please join me in celebrating their outstanding tenures.