It would be fair to say, Claver has changed the education scene in the UAE like almost no other, and yet, many parents and even educators have likely never heard of him or his Dubai-based company iCademy Middle East.
However, those who have a child with SEN, those nurturing a sporting star or actor, those with a child who has slipped through the gaps of a conventional education system, and those home-schooling will have found Claver at some point in their educational search.
General Manager of iCademy Middle East, Claver has pushed homeschooling in the UAE to the fore. His US curriculum courses are now approved both at home and abroad allowing parents in the UAE to legitimately home-school their children.
It is Claver’s ability to reach out to those who can’t find their educational ‘fit’ and the iCademy Middle East curriculum adaption to suit each individual child and their circumstance which really appeals to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com.
How long have you worked in the UAE?
I have worked in the UAE since March 2012.
What made you choose the education sector?
I chose the education sector because of my desire to work with young people both in the classroom and on the athletics field. I love history and it was a natural for me to dive into the field of teaching history. I always enjoyed putting students in the position of interpreting historical events and developing meaning from past to present. I am also a certified teacher of mathematics. My other true passion was (and still is) coaching young athletes. I was a coach of American football, wrestling and track and field. I still coach my two young sons in baseball here in Dubai.
In another area professionally, I obtained my principal’s license early in my career, as I wanted to become a leader of schools. My belief has always been that principals set the culture of a school and I enjoyed leading schools that created a warm and welcoming learning environment for students.
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the industry in the UAE?
I believe the greatest challenges currently facing the UAE are Teacher Recruitment, finding high quality teachers that are willing to leave their home country and teach internationally. Teacher Quality, ensuring a consistent level of teaching in every classroom, regardless of which curriculum is being taught.
Another challenge for the education industry in the UAE is meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities. There is a need for a customized individualized learning program that is accessible to all students.
What are the key milestones in your career so far?
Some key milestones in my career would have to include living here in Dubai and working for iCademy Middle East. The opportunity to live, work and build relationships with educators in such a rich cultural city, as Dubai has been an outstanding part of my professional career.
I have also been able to travel to various parts of the United States and work with many school districts including New York City Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools and Prince Georges County, Maryland Public Schools in training the concepts of Charlotte Danielson’s work entitled Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching.
What do you think is your greatest achievement, in education, to date - and why?
My greatest achievement to date in education is helping to grow the movement of online education for students in grades K-12 in the US and internationally. I have been in this field of education now for 12+ years and have helped to grow the concept of an individualized education for students. I have witnessed parents who state how this model of education literally saved their child’s life. There can be no greater achievement than to help students and families find success in education and allow them to pursue their dreams.
Name three things which get you up and motivate you each day?
The commitment to my family – no greater blessing than the love of my wife and children and my extended family back in the US.
The desire to make a mark in the world of education – doing something good for mankind.
Sports and politics I am fascinated by the happenings in both worlds.
What would you still like to achieve in your professional life?
I would like to create a movement that elevates the profession of teaching to a level of respect in line with doctors, lawyers, architects, and engineers. We need teachers in order to inspire learners.
I would also like to some day find myself back working as a principal.
What is your advice for others hoping to emulate your success?
The best advice I can impart for others is the same I tell my children:
What is the most enjoyable aspect of working in education?
The most enjoyable aspect of working in education is the relationships you build along the way. Successful education experiences are created when you can tap into the emotion of the moment. I have had the opportunity to teach, meet and work with some amazing people in my educational career. Being a small town guy from Idaho and finding myself now five years into an education job in the Middle East doesn’t happen by chance. At the same time, I would have never predicted I would be here. Education as a career has been a journey and an adventure!