Emma joined the School Board on January 1, 2009 after serving over three decades as a school educator and administrator in Arlington. She currently serves as the Board’s Vice Chair. For the past eleven years, Emma has been an adjunct professor in the department of Linguistics at Georgetown University.
Emma emigrated from Bolivia to the United States in 1961 and earned a B.S. in Foreign Language and an M.S. in counseling from Radford University. Additionally, Emma earned a doctorate in Education from George Washington University. Emma’s children, James and Julia, were born and educated in Arlington where they attended Key, Taylor, Williamsburg, Yorktown, and H.B. Woodlawn schools and where she served as an active member of Parent Teacher Associations. James and Julie are both now educators. Emma resides in the Donaldson Run community.
A Fulbright Senior Scholar and American Association of University Women Fellow, Emma is a researcher and author of numerous publications on education and parental involvement. During her time as an educator and administrator in Arlington, Emma led the development and implementation of a comprehensive program for English Language Learners which is cited as a national model. One of the many results of her community involvement was the establishment of the first bilingual GED program in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
A community activist committed to building cultural and linguistic resources, Emma founded the Dream Project, Inc., a non-profit that supports promising low-income immigrant students in their pursuit of higher education. In 1998, Emma founded Escuela Bolivia, now Edu-Futuro, which includes a Saturday School, extensive parent education programming, and the Emerging Leaders Program for high school youth. Emma’s commitment to family learning also led her to found Arlington County’s Project Family, a program that provides learning opportunities for parents of children ages 0 to 5 years.
A tireless advocate, Emma is a member of numerous community boards and organizations including the Northern Virginia Community College Board of Directors as the Arlington representative, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Arlington Retired Teachers Association, the American Association of University Women, the Arlington Learning in Retirement Institute, the Committee of 100, and the Donaldson Run Civic Association.
In recognition of her extensive commitment and service to education, Emma received the 2011 Chairman’s Award for College Board Member Exemplary Service for the Virginia Community Colleges. She also is a recipient of the James B. Hunter III Human Rights Notable Woman of Arlington Award and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund’s Community Service Award.