With a number of anticipated retirements, the addition of a new world language program, and the unpredictable nature of life circumstances, we had the bittersweet experience of saying goodbye to several wonderful faculty and welcoming some outstanding new teachers into our school community.
These new teachers represent the best from a field of hundreds of candidates. Each brings a distinctive set of experiences and dynamic styles, and all were chosen because of their proven ability to challenge students, to inspire, and to teach to the exceptionally high standards of our community. Most importantly, these candidates are wonderful fits for our school community.
Ellen Chenier, 5th Grade
Ellen comes with a sterling reputation from the Ypsilanti Community Schools, most recently teaching in upper elementary classrooms at Adams STEM Academy. Over and over we heard praise for Ellen’s ability to bring out the best in her students and for her belief in teaching to the whole child. Ellen holds a BS in Education from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Marygrove College. She brings 12 years of experience and a wide variety of professional experiences beyond the classroom, including leading a school Engineering Club that partnered with the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering.
Justyna Delaj, 6th Grade Social Studies
After considering hundreds of applicants and interviewing many candidates, we were fortunate to find Justyna Delaj to teach 6th grade social studies at Emerson. She is moving back to Michigan from Florida where she teaches 8th grade American History. Before that, Justyna taught middle and elementary school for six years in Rome, Italy for two international schools. Justyna also holds an MBA in International Business. “Do not let this one get away,” read one of her reference letters, and she received unanimous support from faculty and staff.
Makie Kaehr, Middle School Japanese World Language
As a native Japanese speaker, veteran teacher, and long-time tutor in the Ann Arbor community, Makie brings a blend of language mastery, classroom experience, and cultural understanding to Emerson. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Ehime University in Matsuyama City, Japan, and has five years of middle school experience as an ESL teacher in Japan. Makie is eager to help our 7th and 8th grade students continue to hone their Japanese language skills, enrich their cultural understandings, and complete their three-year World Language curriculum.
Matthew McCoy, Lower School Music and Chorus
Matt brings more than 24 years of teaching experience, most recently as a professor teaching future elementary and secondary music educators at Kansas State University. McCoy shares Emerson’s belief that students learn music best by doing as musicians do: singing, playing, moving, listening, analyzing, improvising, and composing. His expertise in Orff Schulwerk pedagogy (both as a student and a certified instructor since 1999), experience incorporating multiple teaching approaches, and the ability to incorporate a broad range of musical styles make him a great fit for our school.
Bryan Seymour, 6th Grade Language Arts
After a five-year stint at Horizon Middle School, an International Baccalaureate school in Colorado Springs, CO, Bryan is returning to Michigan as Emerson’s 6th grade Language Arts teacher. Bryan has taught both social studies and literacy classes, and his former colleagues cited his sincerity, great care for kids, and his dedication to helping students achieve a deep understanding of class content as hallmarks of his teaching. Bryan holds a BA in International and Area Studies from Kalamazoo College and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from University of Michigan, Dearborn. Bryan will also be coaching our track and cross country teams.
Bill Wood, 7th Grade Math
Bill comes to Emerson from Frankel Jewish Academy, where he has taught for the past nine years. During that time, Bill has been the consummate school person, as a great supporter of his students, Math Department Chair, coach of the Math Madness team, leader of the Entrepreneurs Club, and mentor for new teachers. He has a BA in Math/Statistics with a minor in Physics from Miami University, and he earned his Master’s degree in Teaching from University of Michigan, Dearborn. Bill will continue his extracurricular activities at Emerson as a coach for the Emerson basketball team.
Xiaojing (Tabitha) Yang, Chinese World Language
Xiaojing (Tabitha) Yang will be teaching our new Chinese curriculum in grades 4-8. Xiaojing has most recently taught students of all ages through her work at the Confucius Institute at Western Michigan University. She holds a Masters Degree from Beijing Language and Culture University in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language and a Bachelors Degree in Chinese Literature and Linguistics from Shandong University. She impressed us all with her communication skills, teaching skills across age levels, and her energy and enthusiasm.