March 5, 2013- As a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, Emily Feder’s life accomplishments are impressive to say the least. At only 32 years, Emily has already written multiple speeches per week at the William J. Clinton Foundation, worked as an HIV/AIDS Prevention Fellow at USAID, taught undergraduates at Columbia University, and researched for and contributed to sections of articles for Vanity Fair. Being raised in New York City, Emily is accustomed to a busy schedule. But when she met me in the Art Center’s Orvis Theatre for our interview, she looked like a true Seattleite in her sweater and black puffy jacket, complete with a to-go cup of coffee in one hand. Emily was excited to share her story, and Seattle Academy is honored to welcome her into our community. For those of us who are not familiar with the SAAS graduation process, each student who graduates from Seattle Academy has the opportunity to sit in the Hot Seat, a chair in which students sit on stage during graduation and listen to a summary of their accomplishments at SAAS including faculty quotes, SAAS trip photos, and finally an announcement of which college they will attend in the upcoming fall. Starting with the Class of 2013, Emily will be researching leads for Joe and Rob to use as they write their Hot Seat speeches for each of the 100-plus students who will graduate from Seattle Academy in June. In her words, her current position involves a lot of “making spread sheets about who knows whom, and almost making a little family tree for everyone here. I have to figure out a lot of things like: Who can speak about this person the best?” Emily plans to bring her research background to the Hot Seat to help uncover stories about each member of Seattle Academy’s senior class. She will be accompanying the Class of 2013 on their senior retreat in March and on the annual Alaska Trip during Spring Break. She addresses the Class of 2013 when she states, “I’m very excited to hang out with you guys and talk to you myself. I would love to hear a story if anyone wants to share!”
Emily came to Seattle Academy looking to work in a community where she could resume teaching. After working at the Clinton Foundation in New York for several years, she says, “I was pretty tired of having to think about politics all day, loved writing, missed teaching quite a lot, and knew that I somehow wanted to do something that involves both writing and teaching.” As a side project, Emily is currently working on two books. She viewed her job at SAAS as “the perfect opportunity to make a life where I could do both the things I loved.” When her boyfriend was offered a promotion in Seattle, they decided to “give Seattle a shot and see how it goes.” Emily started out by teaching Robin Gage’s eighth graders, which she remembers as “up there with one of the best jobs I have ever had.” She decided to stay involved with the SAAS Community and ended up loving the school’s culture of performance and small community. She appreciates that SAAS “combines the things I care about the most: really great academics but also valuing what people get out of their classes rather than just a test score at the end.” Fortunately for Emily and for our community, SAAS has been a great match.