Here is another in a series of feature stories on Springdale School Board members.
School Board Secretary-Treasurer
Nick Emerson was raised by a teacher, married a teacher and thought about teaching and coaching for a career. Things changed when his baseball playing days ended and he learned about firefighting.
“I played baseball and basketball at Springdale High School and went to the University of Central Arkansas to play baseball,” Emerson recalls. “It only took one year of college baseball to let me know I was done. So, I transferred to Northwest Arkansas Community College and got a degree in fire science. I had done volunteer work for the Johnson fire department while I was in school and a friend recommended I look at the Springdale fire department.
“I liked fire science. In fact, my grade point average went up once I started taking those classes. So, I applied at Springdale and was hired. At the same time, I had always been interested in the medical field and 90 percent of our calls were medical rather than fire related. So, I went back to school to get certified as a paramedic.”
Emerson served as a firefighter for five years, then was a paramedic for three. However, he began having neck issues and was forced to make a career change.
“I was already doing real estate part time so it was an easy transition to get a broker’s license and move into that field,” Emerson explains. “Last March I was certified to sell property, casualty and life insurance. So, I am working for Gibson Real Estate and Adams Insurance and Financial. The businesses go together well.”
Does he miss firefighting and serving as a paramedic?
“I miss the guys, the work, the job,” Emerson responds. “I don’t miss the schedule. First responders go through a lot to provide service to the community and they sacrifice a great deal of family time. There are no holidays and, there are some tough moments. We worked some bad wrecks. It’s difficult to see people lose their loved ones.”
Emerson is glad his loved ones are in education. His mother is a first grade teacher at Tyson Elementary, his wife, Rachel, teaches pre-k at Shaw Elementary, his sister taught at Harp Elementary before becoming a stay at home mother and his sister-in-law is an instructional facilitator at Elmdale Elementary. His wife is the daughter of Roger and Cynthia Voss, both of whom retired at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Cynthia was principal at Shaw and Roger taught and coached golf at Springdale High School.
He and Rachel have two children, Carter and Cannon, in fourth and first grade, respectively, at Shaw and a daughter, Claira Kay, who will be in kindergarten next fall. The newest member of his family, Corali, was born in July.
“My dad and I are the only ones in the family that aren’t in education,” Emerson says. “Without going back to school and becoming a teacher, I wanted to get involved. I have a passion for Springdale and Springdale Public Schools. I went through the Springdale District as a student, from Tyson Elementary to Tyson Middle School to Southwest Junior High to Springdale High School.
“I’ve always liked being part of a team and that’s why I love being on the school board. We have a spectacular administrative team. With everything that is going on, our administrative team is proving they are the best and can handle just about anything. I have complete trust in them. They work countless hours and make our job as school board members much easier.”
Emerson’s memories of being part of a team go back to making an all-star baseball team as a 10-year-old.
“I made the all-star team but my dad told me I probably wouldn’t play much because the team
was loaded, Emerson says. “I still wanted to be part of the team, even though I only played a little. Later, I played basketball at Southwest, then as a sophomore tried out for the team at Springdale High. They only took 20 for the junior varsity team and I got cut.
“During the first week of school Coach (now assistant principal) Don Eichenberger stopped me in the hall and told me one of the junior varsity players had quit and there was a spot open if I wanted it. That night my dad told me, again, that I might not play much but asked me if I still wanted to be part of the team. I said yes and ended up starting quite a bit that year and most games as a junior.”
Emerson adds, “I like being part of a team and involved. If you want to solve problems, you have to get involved instead of complaining. That’s why in real estate and insurance my goal is to serve people and make the experience of buying or selling a home or buying insurance as enjoyable as possible. It can be a stressful time. I try to be an example of loving my neighbor. In our world today, that is as important as ever.”
A man who says he “loves life, being with family and sports,” Emerson is a major asset to the Springdale school board and among the reasons Springdale Public Schools are #THEChoice.