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Emily Watson » Bio


This is my fourth year working and teaching at the JAO. I am so excited to be our Curriculum Coordinator and Director of Jewish Life this year. I graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in psychology and then attended Bank Street College of Education in New York City, where I received a Masters of Science in Education in Childhood General and Special Education. Before moving to Orlando three years ago, I lived and worked in New York City. During this time, I worked at an independent school for students with language based learning disabilities, where I developed curricula each year to meet the needs of my students, both in supporting them and enabling them to reach their full potential. This experience in working with students with a wide range of abilities cultivated my love of curriculum design. I am trained in and have prior experience with Understanding by Design, Singapore Math, Stern Mathematics and The Hochman Method: Teaching Basic Writing Skills. Additionally, I am a certified Orton Gillingham Classroom Educator and have worked individually with students for over six years in supporting their reading development. 


My connection to Judaism goes back as far as I can remember. I was very involved at my home synagogue growing up. I was a teacher’s assistant in our Hebrew School, taught the 5th grade class my senior year, and was active in my synagogue’s youth group and my NFTY region. My favorite part of being at synagogue and at youth group/regional events was the community that came along with them. Everything was more meaningful as a result of the special communities that existed, much like our JAO family. In high school, I spent two summers learning in Israel, and in college I spent three summers working at the URJ’s Kutz Camp, a camp for Jewish high school leaders from around the country. All of these experiences led me to pursue a Minor in Judaic Studies while in college. For three years after graduating, I was the Youth Director at my home synagogue and taught the post-B’nai Mitzvah class to the 8th graders where we learned about Judaism throughout history and around the world. Throughout these years, I song-led at various services and retreats and helped to plan and run holiday celebrations and events. I am so excited to be able to tap into this part of myself and share my love of Judaism with JAO.


I love all things math, anything chocolate, and rooting for the New York Yankees and Giants. I look forward to working with and getting to know you and your children this year.