This is the first in a series of posts introducing the new members of the dedicated group of University Liggett School faculty and staff. Today, we focus on the Middle School.
Shaun McTigue, Middle School Dean of Students
Shaun is our new Middle School Dean of Students, replacing Jim Brewer who became the Head of Middle School this year. An Ohio native, Shaun is a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He has been an educator for 11 years, seven of them at an independent school in Chicago – mostly as athletic director and dean of discipline. He comes to Liggett from Abu Dhabi, where he spent several years completing his master of education degree from Jones International University, and working as Middle School coordinator and learning support teacher at the American International School there.
“As dean of students, I take a pastoral approach to discipline,” he says. “I believe in helping students learn from their mistakes as opposed to simply doling out punishments. In essence, I see my role as someone who is here to help guide our students in a way that allows them to make their own wise choices. With that said, I understand that all students are unique, and, therefore, require different approaches. I embrace this uniqueness, and always take into consideration an individual student’s needs before making any decisions.”
Shaun is married and has two sons: Remy, 2, was born in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Rune was born last month.
As you might guess from someone who lived in the Middle East, Shaun loves to travel and experience new things. He’s also an avid sports fan – both playing and watching. When not at work, he spends his time with his family and “I love every minute of it,” he says.
Emmalyn Helge, Strings teacher for all divisions
Up North is home to Emmalyn Helge, who takes on the job of running the school’s strings program for all students from grades 3 through 12. It’s a big job, but Emmalyn clearly likes to keep herself busy.
She started playing violin at age 6 and earned a violin performance and music education double major from Western Michigan University in 2009. While in undergrad, she was a development intern with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and the manager of the WMU Orchestra. After that, she taught more than 325 string students in the Grand Haven Public Schools, obtained a master of arts administration degree from Indiana University, and taught sixth-grade orchestra during her graduate program in the Bloomington Public Schools. While at Indiana University, she was also the Communications Director of the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com, a development assistant at the WonderLab children’s science museum, and the education director of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.
She moved to Detroit less than a year ago, leaving an adjunct professorship at Indiana University’s nonprofit management school where she taught arts administration undergraduate classes. Most recently, she has been working in development and special events with arts nonprofits (Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Eisenhower Dance, and Detroit Passport to the Arts). As if all that isn’t enough to fill her days, she also gives private lessons.
“In many ways, a music classroom is different from a typical classroom setting,” she says. “It lends itself more easily to the Curriculum for Understanding, with room to experiment, be creative, make mistakes, and more. My teaching philosophy is centered around the idea that it is not only the end product (i.e.- the performance) that is important. Every step along the way, each accomplishment, makes up music education. In a classroom where all the students have a ‘noisemaker’ in hand, routine and organization are key.”
Emmalyn and her fiancée – a law professor at the University of Detroit Mercy – recently bought a house in Indian Village. The two love exploring the city on their bikes and taking advantage of Detroit’s cultural institutions. She also likes to cook and garden, read and draw, sing and, of course, play violin.
Eunice John, Middle School Math
Eunice John grew up in California and earned her bachelor of science degree from the University of California Irvine. She has nearly completed her master’s degree in secondary education. She is in her fourth year as a teacher, most of that time spent at an independent school in West Los Angeles.
“I just love learning, and teaching is my passion,” Eunice says. “I am a reflective practitioner, and I see myself not only as an educator, but as a coach and a cheerleader for my students. I do not have to teach; I get to teach. I consider it a privilege. Being a teacher is not easy. It takes grit to be an educator, and I am grateful to do what I love every day and work alongside such innovative and hardworking individuals. I strive to empower my students to be advocates for their learning who learn to lead both themselves and their peers. I hope that my classroom will always be a space where students are thinking, learning, making mistakes, communicating … a classroom that is alive.”
Eunice was married in August and moved to Ann Arbor to join her husband, who’s completing his general surgery residency.
“As much as I love California, I am so grateful that only great things brint me to Michigan (especially the Liggett family), and I look forward to experiencing all four seasons for the first time in my life.”
In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying out new recipes (what she calls experimenting), catching up with friends and family, being in the outdoors, and traveling with her husband.
Yue Ming, Ph.D., Middle School Chinese
Dr. Ming taught Chinese full-time at Wayne State University (WSU) for 12 years and switched to a part-time faculty at WSU when she became a full-time Chinese teacher in the Grosse Pointe Public School Systems. She initially came to the United States from China as a visiting scholar at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and later earned a master of science degree from Washington State University, a Ph.D. in entomology from Michigan State University, and a master of art in teaching from WSU. She also conducted research in molecular biology and taught biology courses at various universities.
“The people I admire most are my K-12 teachers,” she said. “This remains true even after I completed my Ph.D. in entomology. A dedicated K-12 teacher can positively impact a child for a lifetime and I always wanted to emulate such educators. As a K-12 teacher, I would like to make learning a joyful experience for my students and help nurture their enthusiasm and foster their intellectual curiosity.”
Dr. Ming and her husband, a physician-scientist, have been living in the Grosse Pointe area for 14 years. They have two daughters, Sarah, 18, and Esther, 12. In her spare time, Dr. Ming enjoys ping pong, basketball, reading, sewing and gardening.
Now that you know who they are, be sure to say “Hi” to the newest members of the Liggett family next time you see them.
By Ron Bernas