University Cooperative School

5601 University Way NE

Seattle, WA 98105

Emily Varner Nesmith

Officially, Emily is our K-2 Math and STEM teacher. Caffeinated Calculator, Geometric Gypsy, and Empress of Experimentation all work too! 

Emily has always known she would be an advocate for children. Amplifying children’s voices, defending the culture of childhood, and promoting developmentally appropriate education are her passions. She taught in two public school systems before coming to University Cooperative School.

Growing up, she would sit in class and imagine what she would do when she became a teacher. Other than a brief foray into cooking (and a childhood obsession with gypsies), she never considered another career.

Emily values University Cooperative School because it embraces all the messy realities of learning and childhood. It is a real-world learning environment that truly prepares kids to be competent, articulate, skilled, emotionally intelligent, and well-rounded whole people. 

Before University Co-op, I had never taught in a place where kids are thrilled to come to school. It was generally accepted that kids dreaded school and that was a part of education. Completely night and day.

It’s a community that I wanted to be a part of; everyone is seen and valued for who they are and their contribution to the whole.

Emily shares adventures in Seattle with her (incredible, delightful, patient…) husband Michael, two (needy, adopted, emotionally sensitive…) dogs, Fink and Wendy, and the (tolerant, dog-like, sleepy…) cat, Eames. She is also mom to 6 beautiful, bold chickens one of which (Randi Junior) was hatched by the kindergarten class.

She speaks American Sign Language, and would love to learn how to cut hair and speak Spanish fluently.

She loves camping, cooking and being outside – almost anywhere in the world. Most recently, she was sighted circumnavigating Ireland with teachers Josie and Randi, her co-conspirators in the K-2 pod.