• Heather Palin

    Dear Emerson Community,  


    It is my pleasure and honor to serve as the Principal of Emerson Elementary School.  I've learned so much about Emerson since I became principal here in 2014, and am consistently humbled by the brilliance of our young people, the dedication of our families, and the commitment and heart that our teachers bring to work each day.  My life’s work has been in service of educating children;  creating learning communities where children feel safe, where children feel belonging, and where children become scholars.  This is the work of school, this is our work.  I’ve played soccer my whole life, and through that being a team-player has remained core to my being.  I look forward to working together again, with families, faculty and school partners to continue to grow Emerson into an excellent school for all children.


    I began my teaching career in San Francisco, in a small non-public school serving students with disabilities. From there, I went on to teach and coach at Mission High School, before moving on to help open a small charter school in Richmond. I earned my B.A. in History from Connecticut College, my Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University, and my Master's in Educational Leadership from New York University. I’ve had the opportunity to work at the district level and serve as an administrator in both small and large schools in New York City.  I serve on the Board of the School Reform Initiative.  When I’m not at Emerson, I’m most likely with my partner and two sons, at home here in Oakland.


    I am fiercely committed to educational equity. I believe that all children have the right to come to school, to feel safe, to be challenged, and to remain in community with others. My role is to help create and implement structures, systems, and norms that allow our young people to thrive. This is a great privilege and responsibility.


    If you are new to Emerson, I look forward to meeting you.  If you are returning to Emerson, I can’t wait to welcome you back.  Let’s work together to have a great school year.


    With respect,



    Mission Statement:


    At Emerson, we strive to create a positive learning environment that will meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students. We believe that while children learn in different ways, all children are capable of excellence. By bringing together rigorous academics; art, music and poetry; athletics and games; and gardens and nutrition; we seek to engage the whole child and reach every kind of learner.