The Gator recently had the opportunity to interview incoming Lower School Head Emily Miller, who addressed the community last week during a meet-and-greet.
Where are you from?
I was born in New Jersey, but my parents moved to Nantucket just before my fifth birthday. Aside from living on Nantucket, I lived in Boston for college, New Jersey for my first teaching position and California where I worked at Marin Country Day School as a learning specialist.
What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy spending time on our boat in the summer, traveling with my husband Schuyler, visiting with my college-aged children Carter and Sophie, and attending restorative yoga classes. I love taking long walks with my dog Blue and exploring Nantucket’s beautiful, natural spaces.
Where did you go to high school and college?
I attended Nantucket High School, Boston University for my bachelor’s degree and Lesley University for my master’s degree [in curriculum and instruction].
What was your favorite subject in school?
In high school, I loved math. In college, however, I enjoyed taking classes in sociology, psychology and women’s studies. I also loved learning Italian and spent a semester studying in Florence, Italy.
What’s your favorite animal?
My Labrador Retriever, Blue.
What is your favorite food?
I love ice cream and just about every type of pasta, especially cacio e pepe.
What brought you here to work at Brimmer and May?
I have spent the past seven years working as Nantucket Lighthouse School’s Head of School, and while I have been deeply engaged in this position, I have been eager to return to work that is more closely aligned with the growth and development of students and teachers. As I contemplated this shift in my career, I saw in Brimmer a warm, child-centered community whose educational philosophy mirrored my own, especially in the areas of diversity and inclusion and 21st Century teaching and learning.
If you could give a ted talk about anything, what would it be?
I would talk about attention deficit disorder, ADD. I have spent many years working with children and families who are greatly impacted by ADD, and too often behavior, inattention and activity levels are misinterpreted. My focus would be on helping children build skills and strategies for managing ADD, in order to avoid misplaced consequences and an erosion of confidence and self-esteem. I would hope to dispel myths about ADD and help children, families and educators better understand the disorder and its impact on a child’s learning and friendships.
If you could choose anyone dead or alive to go out to dinner with, who would it be and why?
Sir Ken Robinson. He is one of the most inspired thinkers on creativity, innovation and education in the 21st Century. He is a prolific educational writer, and his Ted Talk “Do School Killing Creativity?” has been viewed over 55 million times. When I saw him speak at last year’s Learning and the Brain Conference, I was reminded of why I enjoy him so much: he makes me laugh, he makes me think and he inspires me to act.
What is your favorite book and why?
I read all the time, and typically have two or three books going at once. I listen to audiobooks on my drive to school each morning, and I enjoy reading fiction, memoirs and books about education and learning. I couldn’t possibly pick one, as there are so many I love. If I had to narrow it down to one fiction and one nonfiction, my two favorites are A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolf. A Little Life is one of the most beautiful, and painful, books about love and friendship, and Reader, Come Home is a groundbreaking new book about how our reading brains are developing in the digital age. These are two of the best books I have ever read.
Is there anything you want the community to know about you?
I am beyond thrilled to join the Brimmer community. From the moment I stepped on campus in December, I knew that Brimmer was exactly where I wanted to be.