fb tracker back to top of page
toggle menu search form toggle

About Us

Jan Emler had two passions in her life as a young adult…teaching children and swimming. Her dream came true when she launched Emler Swim School in 1975 in Arlington, Texas.

The joy of more than 50 years as a swim instructor combined with the assurance of customer satisfaction has resulted in a happy and satisfied professional life for Jan. Additionally, the blessing of her husband, Dave, and her children, Paige, Tyler, and Katie have resulted in a joyful personal life.

Early on, the culture of Emler swim lessons was supported by two founding principles.
1. Every child should experience a fun lesson that caused him to fall in love with the water.
2. Every parent should receive a guarantee her child will learn to swim.

In the first four decades of Emler Swim School, it has become the premier swim school in the United States receiving multiple national awards from the US Swim School Association, including: Most Innovative Curriculum, Guiding Light Award and Hall of Fame Award.

When asked why parents should trust the experience of Emler for their child’s water safety, Jan responds; “Your Emler location may not always be the closest swim school…but it is always the surest way to make your child safe. Emler Sure!”


40 Years of Emler Swim School History

Emler Swim School Timeline

Emler Today

Since our beginning, we’ve taught thousands of children and adults to be safer swimmers. Today, we teach more than 45,000 students every year the life-saving skills they need to be safer in the water, using our award-winning curriculum that helps every swimmer gain confidence and achieve their goals.

When you observe the Emler staff, you will notice open communication, mutual respect and a team that’s 100 percent committed to each child’s success.

That commitment shows in everything we do – from the moment we greet your child by name, to the ongoing investments we make in our facilities, to the in-depth training we provide to every instructor and team member.

We want you and your child to be Emler Sure.

Emler Sure
Happy kid in pool

Customer Core Values

We love kids.
We promise 100% customer satisfaction.
We solve conflicts graciously and on the spot.

Professional Core Values

We are committed to be consistent.
We hold ourselves and each other accountable.
We actively search for and embrace changes that make us better.

Business Core Values

We create jobs that are financially and personally satisfying.
We run a profitable business.
We provide safety with a splash of love.

Our Leadership Team

Jan Emler

Jan Emler

Founding President

Jan, who began her career in swimming instruction at the age of 13 as a lifeguard and swim teacher at the YWCA in Kansas City, has devoted almost 50 years to her students and the swim school that she founded in 1975 with 16 students in a backyard pool in Arlington, Texas.

Today, Jan remains actively involved with every Emler Swim School location. She has also taken Emler Swim School’s award-winning curriculum to other swim schools, working as a consultant to teach others the techniques that result in a 99 percent goal achievement rate at every level.

Jan is a charter member of the U.S. Swim School Association and a three-time member of its board of directors. She is also a frequent speaker at national and international aquatic education conferences. Jan lives in Colleyville with her husband, Dave, and she loves spending time with her three grown children, Paige, Tyler, and Katie, and her wonderful grandchildren.

Email Jan
Kendra Walker

Kendra Walker

Vice President of Operations

Kendra joined Emler Swim School in the early 1990s, during a crucial expansion time for the business. She jumped right in and implemented the business systems, reporting procedures, computer registration, and online capabilities that have helped Emler Swim School thrive, grow, and teach lifesaving skills to countless children.

“I have a genuine love for babies and children, and I derive great joy from watching them be successful in the water and seeing them explore and play in the pool,” Kendra says. “I am truly blessed to have a job I love, working with people I consider part of my family.”

Before becoming a vital part of the Emler Swim School corporate team, Kendra worked for seven years as the director of public relations for a non-profit children’s residential care home. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration with a minor in business management.

Kendra served on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Swim School Association and is frequently sought for her advice and opinions about registration software and business systems.

Kendra and her husband, Randy, are most proud of their two grown children, who swam at the university level for Texas Christian University and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Email Kendra
Jen Brown

Jen Brown

Regional Director of Operations

Jen’s career at Emler Swim School started in 2011 when Emler had only 7 locations. She has worked in and out of many of our swim schools in and out of the state of Texas.

Aquatic education and working with children is a family tradition for Jen Brown. “My mother was a swim instructor and taught me how to swim at 6 months. With my background in aquatics and childcare, it is like God tailored this job for me!”

Born and raised in both southern California and Texas, Jen grew up around beaches, rivers, lakes, and pools. “We are surrounded by bodies of water and drowning is a real threat, one I can help prevent. This is an awesome responsibility that drives me daily.”

Jen attended Texas State University in San Marcos and worked full-time while completing her studies for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends, swimming around Austin, and curling up with a good book next to her husband and puppy Buddy the Elf.

Email Jen
Devan Tovar

Devan Tovar

Regional Director of Operations

Devan began her career at Emler Swim School in the Summer of 2013 as a Teacher. In the Summer of 2014 she became the Aquatic Director of the Allen location and in 2015, Devan was promoted to the Site Director position at the Frisco-East facility. In the Spring of 2018, she was promoted to her current position of Operations Director.

“There are so many things I enjoy about working at Emler. I love the relationships we are given the opportunity to build with each family, we make an impact on our community everyday and we work hard to provide fulfilling jobs for leaders from all different workplace backgrounds.”

Devan graduated from The University of Texas Austin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and is currently raising a future Longhorn, herself. She loves spending time with her family which includes many late evening wagon rides through the neighborhood.

Email Devan
C. J. Reynolds

C. J. Reynolds

Director of Finance

C.J. says that she loves the accounting and event planning work she does for Emler Swim School, along with the many other opportunities to witness the positive results of her work. “I enjoy the small family atmosphere,” she says.

C.J. joined the Emler team in 2005 after working with the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County for 10 years as executive vice-president and director of operations and finance. She also served as manager of the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. Although her educational background is in accounting, she was instrumental in organizing all special events and raised $1.5 million a year for granting to local arts organizations.

Prior to her tenure with the Arts Council, she served as operations manager and event coordinator for the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and the Mental Health Association.  A Fort Worth native, she loves spending time with her daughter, Tiffany, and granddaughter, Lexi.

Email C. J.
Vilma Dayoub

Vilma Dayoub

Director of Quality Control and Training

Since 2009, Vilma has been a Site Director and Corporate Teacher Trainer for Emler Swim School.  She was the Site Director at Emler’s Preston Forest, Southlake, and Allen locations.  Vilma first joined Emler in 2007 at the Arlington facility as a teacher. Prior to coming on board, she worked in California as a nanny and HR Assistant for Office Depot.

“I love and enjoy my job, and the major driving force in my life is my ability to help others,” she says. “The best parts of my job are the smiles, challenges, accomplishments, joy, and rewards that every day brings.”

Vilma was born and raised in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a major in organizational communications and a minor in business management. Always one to stay busy, she went to college full-time while holding down a full-time job. She loves English bulldogs, working out, fishing, and traveling.

Email Vilma
Christina Harris

Christina Harris

Human Resources and Special Projects Manager

Christina is a Human Resources Generalist with over 20 years of marketing, training and human resources experience. She said she feels fortunate her career spans many interesting and rewarding industries, including manufacturing, training, retail, national defense and nonprofit. She’s said she’s always been passionate about connecting potential customers and employees with the companies she believes in.

Christina, a Texas Longhorn, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and holds certifications as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and SHRM-CP from the Society for Human Resources Management. She served on a board of directors for SHRM when living in Virginia, and is a member of local and national human resources organizations.

As the wife of a 26-year Air Force pilot, Christina is pleased to be once again living in Texas, and to have been referred by family to Emler – a company with a culture like none other. She and her husband love spending time with their nephews, attending college football games with friends, golf, and travel.

Email Christina
Emily Smith

Emily Smith

Director of Operations

Emily is a long-time Emler Swim School team member and aquatics professional. Emily is the Director of Operations for the Houston, Texas area.

Email Emily
Melissa Magee

Melissa Magee

Director of Operations

Melissa is a long-time Emler Swim School team member. Melissa is the Director of Operations for the San Antonio, Texas area.

Email Melissa
Dennis Pawelski

Dennis Pawelski

Director of Operations

Dennis is a long time Emler Swim School employee, who is passionate about all things water safety! As a former General Manager at Emler Swim School of Southlake, Dennis is experienced in the front line needs of our teams and customers.

In his free time, Dennis loves spending time with his wife and daughter.

Email Dennis
Lester Ruiz

Lester Ruiz

Director of Operations

Lester is the Director of Operations for our West Coast schools. He originally began as a General Manager at Emler Swim School of Westlake in Austin, Texas – and has many years of experience in serving our customers, and helping keep children safer around the water.

In Lester’s free time he enjoys hiking and traveling!

Email Lester

Meet Your LocalSite Director

Find Your Location

Learn About OurTalented Teachers

Learn More

Awards + Designations