Top private school in NJ The Elisabeth Morrow School of Bergen County
The Elisabeth Morrow School's shared purpose is to provide exemplary academics and character development in a diverse and inclusive child-centered community, inspiring students to become curious scholars, ethical leaders, and global citizens.


A Message from our Board President

When I think of EMS, I think foremost of the happy students, who spend their formative years here, and emerge well rounded, prepared to confidently stride through life, ready to take on its challenges and opportunities. Our school is a place where the students are known and loved, and their talents are nurtured and respected.

Eighty-nine years ago, when Elisabeth Morrow and Connie Chilton founded EMS, the notion of a school for very young children was an innovative and exciting idea. Much as our founders proved to be ahead of their time, so too do we seek to always be forward thinking in all of our programs. For example, our Innovation Alley in Little School is an integrated space for science, math, technology, art, library/media and gardening for our lower school students.

Beyond the lessons learned in the classroom or on the playing field, our students develop as life-long learners, thinkers and leaders. The school’s emphasis on service and character education, social and emotional growth, encouraging creativity, as well as academic excellence, provides a foundation that prepares students to take their place in the global community. I see this in the development of my older son, who just graduated after eleven years at the school, as well as in the legions of other children who have also progressed through our school.

A key element of our school is the warm, diverse, and embracing community that extends across our students and their families, faculty, administration and staff. New families are quickly welcomed into our community, where they find what a helpful resource it can be.

As president of the Board of Trustees, I believe it is the collective responsibility of the board, to govern this precious institution with our hearts in the past, our minds in the present, and our eyes on the future. We must ensure that it is sustainable and able to provide, in the words of our founders, “the best of the old and the best of the new.”

When our students leave our beautiful campus, we know that they are going into their secondary schools and beyond as people of character who are also intellectually curious and emotionally confident. This is the promise of our school’s mission, which guides us in building upon a legacy of excellence in education and service to our community.

Hanita Walia


About the Board

The Elisabeth Morrow School is governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. It is the responsibility of this body to plan, develop and establish policy, and to assess the performance of the School within the School’s mission and philosophy. The Board also oversees the School’s financial health and physical plant; to this end, the Board sets tuition and initiates capital campaigns. As well, the Board is responsible for the selection of the Head of School and works in close collaboration with the Head. The Head of School is charged with the implementation of policy and the day-to-day operations of the School.

Board of Trustees 2020-21

Hanita Walia, President

First Vice President
Greg Amerkanian

Second Vice Presidents
Joseph Agresta, Jr. ‘78
Jennifer Ostfeld
Frank Zhang

Heide Ilgenfritz

Kathie Kamiel

Victor Alvarez '93
Robin Dillard
Elizabeth Gabbay '93
Candace Gonzalez '94
Neal Merker
Jamil Myrie
Kaan Onur
Dana Ranawat
Jeffrey Rowbottom
Clare Sheridan
George Staphos
Wendi Hoeben Thompson

Trustees Emeriti
Sandra Borg
Joan Van Alstyne Johnson '34 (deceased)
Graham Jones
Emily Mann
Rosemary Mills Russell
Jayanne Tedesco
William Van Ness

(Updated 11/2020)