New Teachers Quietly Join the Emma Community

Suzanne Romero Dewey and Melissia Mason
In most schools, every autumn is a time for new beginnings. New classes, new friendships, new adventures, and new teachers! Typically we’d announce these new teachers early in September just as school is underway. This year, 2020, is unique in so many ways. We’ve been paying attention to our new COVID safety protocols, making sure virtual learning and on-campus learning are going well while creating community even as we are located around the world. While all of this has been going on, three new instructors have been quietly teaching and fostering learning. Please welcome our newest faculty members to the Emma community.
Emily Desmarais - English Instructor - Ms. Demarais joined Emma Willard School last spring as a leave replacement, so she is only partially-new to the community. Ms. Desmarais has a M.A. in applied linguistics from University of Massachusetts and a B.A. in English Education and Theatre from SUNY Potsdam. This is her seventh year teaching. Before joining Emma last spring, Emily taught Albany Leadership Charter High School and Albany High School. She has two years of teaching experience in Vermont, and she spent two years teaching English and learning French in Strasbourg, France. Ms. Demarais is teaching three sections of English 1 for the fall semester.
John Riley - History instructor - Dr. Riley comes to Emma from higher education where he was most recently a visiting assistant professor at Lycoming College (Williamsport, PA) and is an adjunct instructor at Binghamton University (SUNY). Dr. Riley earned his PhD in History from Binghamton University (SUNY); his dissertation was titled “This is the Last Time I Shall Ever Leave My Family”: American Fatherhood in the Civil War Era. Dr. Riley also completed an M.A. in History at the University of Buffalo (SUNY) and an M.S. in Literacy Education at Elmira College. He earned his B.A., also at Elmira College, in Adolescent Education and History. Dr. Riley holds a teaching award (Graduate Student Excellence Award for Teaching, Binghamton University, 2015) a grant (Kramer Doctoral Research Grant in History, Binghamton University) and several fellowships. He is a published author, contributor, lecturer, and civic participant. Some of the courses he has taught in the past include African American History, Modern American Civilization, Crime & Punishment in America, Civil War & Reconstruction, The Shaping of the Contemporary World, and the United States since 1877. Dr. Riley is teaching AP American Government & Politics and United States History for the fall semester. He grew up in Pittstown and has lived all over New York but finds himself drawn back to the Capital Region. He and his wife live in Clifton Park and have two cats. In his spare time, Dr. Riley enjoys running, biking, and video and board games with friends. He admits to streaming history games on Twitch!

Holly Ye - Chinese Language Instructor - Ms. Ye is joining the Emma Willard School community from Waltham, Massachusetts where she recently completed her Master of Arts in Teaching at Brandeis University. She has a B.A. in English Education from Hainan Normal University and experience teaching Chinese at Brandeis, teaching middle school Chinese in Sarasota, Florida, and teaching high school Chinese in Thailand. Ms.Ye worked partially remotely and partially in person during the first month of school experiencing something similar to many of our students as the school year began. Ms. Ye is teaching Chinese I and Chinese III for the fall term.
    • Emily Desmarais, English Instructor

    • John Riley, PhD, History Instructor

    • Holly Ye, Chinese Instructor

285 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY 12180 | P: 518.833.1300 F: 518.833.1815
Welcome to Emma Willard School, a private day and boarding high school for girls in Troy, NY, and a leader in girls' education for over 200 years.