Menaul School would like to officially announce that Emily Dawson has been appointed as a Middle School Director for the 2021-22 school year. Ms. Dawson is the third Middle School Director since Head of School Gilbert decided to split the Middle School from the Upper School in the 2014-15 school year.

“Emily’s story is a great one,” said Head of School, Lindsey Gilbert. “She began as an enthusiastic but green 22-year-old right out of college, as part of our ‘Teach Intern’ program, and in her seven years here has participated in every aspect of the school.”

Mr. Gilbert continued, “She is a terrific teacher, has directed Panther Camp effectively, coached multiple sports, led many clubs, and has learned how to lead. This year she and Mrs. Gilbert co-coordinated the Middle School, and Emily is now ready to run things on her own. It has been a joy to watch her develop skill and confidence as a leader.”

Menaul School Chaplain Takako Terina gushed about Emily as a school leader. “From what I see, the four pillars of Emily’s leadership style are Enthusiasm, Dedication, Commitment, and Compassion, on the firm foundation of her love for the students. When Emily was called upon to lead in the time of transition this past school year, she stepped right into the role, without hesitation, and started to lead. That was the moment I saw Emily claim her gifts and began to share them generously with the community.”

She continues, “the decisiveness and confidence with which Emily acted as a leader have provided a sense of calm and reassurance for the community when facing so much uncertainty.  Whatever the task, Emily’s ‘Can Do’ attitude translates into a collective ‘Let’s do it’ mindset, bringing the rest of us along, with a sense of adventure.”

Assistant Head of School Troy Williamson agreed, “Emily Dawson joined the Menaul community as part of our ‘Teach Intern’ program. Her enthusiasm for teaching students and her willingness to lend a hand when needed had an immediate impact on our community. Emily is organized, efficient, and has a zest for life that is second to none.”

Susan Hillmeyer, an experienced but new Middle School teacher, described the secret sauce at Menaul School. “What I really like about working at Menaul is our Middle School leadership. We talk, and there is not a top-down approach.  I know I can go to Emily or Laurie for any problem because they listen.

“Meetings are calm and productive… I’ve been places where they are absolutely toxic,” she related. “So, I fully appreciate the calm atmosphere. I’m able to be productive here; I’m supported. Above all, nobody on this staff yells at kids. That translates to a calm in the student body I truly admire. We all know we are there for each other.”

Emily Dawson

Emily shares her journey to Menaul School:

“Growing up I loved to read! I read many epic stories, some of adventure, some of friendship, some of great achievement, some of success, and some of great love. 💕 I always wanted a great destiny of my own, a destiny that fit me just right, but mostly I just read about them…

I grew up in Albuquerque all my life having never heard of Menaul School. After college graduation I had no direction, but something deep in my soul, pulled me to Menaul School.  The first time I walked onto campus, I had this strange feeling, I cannot quite explain it, I looked at the sparkly green foliage, I wanted to stay, and I wanted to belong here.

I have experienced true a true calling here at Menaul, never could I have ever dreamed up the special story that unfolded for me here. It was one of epic adventure, laughter, friendship, and just like I mentioned before, a story of love.

The students here are absolutely one of kind, there is nothing quite like them. They are wonderful, and make you smile and laugh every day. The parents in this community are passionate and intentional about having their students be a part of a great learning community. My colleagues have become my family, and this community to me is in the center of the universe. The word ‘lucky’ is an understatement, I truly feel blessed to work here and serve such an intentional community, unlike any other in the world.

To be here, is more than mere happiness, I am filled with exhilarating bliss to be the next Middle School Director. I look forward taking the reins to move the community forward from our current pandemic reality into what will be a time of celebration, where we are all together for school and fun and a far more normal life together once again! In the end, Frodo left the shire; Ariel got her voice back; Luke saved the galaxy; Harry went to Hogwarts; and Emily went to Menaul!


  1. 1
    Helen Dawson on March 19, 2021

    Emily is so passionate about her young adult literature. When my son was young she sent us down some paths that we both dearly enjoyed. Reading was how I shared time with him. Emily’s recommendations made that time together more precious.

    Congratulations to Emily and to Menaul School for believing in her.

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