Pre-K Teaching Team
Geneva joined Clarion in 2019, with six years of early childhood teaching experience in the UAE. Geneva chose to teach at Clarion because she found a school culture that encourages students’ learning through exploration, seamlessly combining the outdoor and indoor environments into the extended classroom. This year, Geneva joins our K1 teaching team. Her teaching philosophy for early years children is to plan well incorporated, relevant instruction in literacy and STEM through the personal, cultural stories of her young students. Previously, she taught at Dubai American Academy and Dubai International Academy.
Geneva is a dual degree holder from New York University. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in International Politics and Economics and a Master’s degree in European Politics and Policy. She has a Post Graduate Certificate in Early Years Teaching from the University of Sutherland in the United Kingdom. Outside of the classroom, Geneva enjoys embroidery and trying new foods from different cultures.
Born and raised in UAE, Shafaq has a unique understanding of the diverse cultures present in our region which forms the basis of her approach to education. She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Community Services, concentrating in Child Development and attended Columbia University, Teachers College for her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Shafaq brings over six years of experience educating young minds, most recently teaching at the Aga Khan Early Learning Centre.
She is a collector of children’s books and enjoys conversations with children. Having worked in both play-based and school settings, Shafaq believes each child is unique and curious about the world around them. It is for this reason, that she sees a progressive setting like Clarion, as the right fit for her teaching philosophy.
Zass, as we know her at Clarion, rejoins Clarion this year teaching PreK. Zass was a founding, PreK teacher at Clarion in 2016. A New York City native, she earned a Master’s degree from the Bank Street College of Education in New York in Early Childhood Education and her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Literature from City College of New York. She worked in the renowned Bank Street Head Start program mentoring co-teachers, and providing individualized support for families and goals for children in her role as a lead teacher.
She has published papers in the Integrative Master’s Project on Lap Sitting and Its Impact on Teacher/Child Relationships and on Play as an Early Intervention Tool.
As Zass says, her admiration and passion for progressive education goes beyond words. “It has always been a goal of mine to find a place that would enable me to build a wealth of experience, challenge me but most importantly, be relatable to the real world. My interests are centered on the environment, children’s literature and advocating for children of diverse backgrounds.”
K1 Teaching Team
Erin comes Clarion with eight years of teaching experience. She joins us from Dubai International Academy, where she served as a KG1 and Year 1 teacher. Erin received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Communications from the University of South Africa and her PGCE in Early Childhood Education from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Prior to earning her university degrees, she lived in the U.S. for two years where she worked as an au pair and was inspired to earn her teacher qualifications at university.
Erin is a progressive/IB trained teacher who believes that children learn by doing. She encourages her students to explore the world around them, ask questions and problem-solve. Erin loves to read, travel and be around her family and friends. She became a teacher because of her love for children and to share the joy of learning.
Elizabeth joined Clarion as a K1 teacher at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. She is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Liz completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology and Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh and obtained her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Johns Hopkins University. Liz began her teaching career in Baltimore, Maryland. She most recently taught at GEMS American Academy Qatar, where she served as the K1 Grade Level Leader.
Liz is excited to begin her 7th year of teaching! Her favorite part of being a Clarion teacher is the strong community and progressive values. Liz is passionate about creating a learning environment where students are inquisitive, independent, and excited. Outside of school, you can find her relaxing at the beach, searching for new recipes to cook, or traveling.
Roisin has worked within the SIG group for the past 3 years as an Early Years Teacher. She lives in Dubai with her husband and two dogs Chico and Finbar. Roisin is originally from County Mayo, Ireland but has lived in the UAE since 2014. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Geography and her Postgraduate in Gender, Globalization and Human Rights from the National University of Ireland, Galway followed by a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Nottingham. Roisin is passionate about incorporating awe and wonder in the classroom through provocations that encourage children to experience the world for themselves. Samples of those include open-ended activities and thinking independently by being encouraged by their interests and exploring them in depth.
Born and raised in New York City, Jenny moved to the UAE in 2018. She has been teaching for almost 17 years in grades PreK to third grade between New York and the UAE. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education from Boricua college and Dual Master’s degree in Early Intervention and Special Education (Nursery to Second grade) from Bank Street College School of Education. In 2014 she worked as a behavioral therapist where she gained her certification in Behavioral therapy, Crisis intervention specialist and as well the CARS (Childhood Assessment Rating Scale) diagnostic assessment. She also earned a CDA certification from the council for professional recognition. Jenny is fluent in Spanish and English and is hoping to one day fluently speak Arabic and French.
“Student success is the primary focus of education. My teaching style embodies the role of facilitator for student success. I model an enthusiasm approach to learning, endeavoring to create experiences that impact information in a way that students will successfully grasp. To create experiences that invokes a students’ natural curiosity in response to their natural environment as well as gives the student independent direction in self learning. Students’ emotional well-being also plays a vital role, and, as a result, I strive to remain a strong source of nurturing support, motivating students to try their best.”
K2 Teaching Team
Katie, who grew up on a country farm in Tipperary, Ireland, comes to Clarion with a background Early Years and Primary teaching. Katie earned a Bachelor of Education with a specialization in DEIS (Educational Disadvantage) in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. She has taught in various settings in Ireland, before traveling to the UAE last year to further her career.
Katie’s love of learning inspires children to love learning. She values the importance of human connections and relationships in the classroom. She is a teacher that insists that every child is the best they can possibly be. The amazing family aspect of Clarion attracted Katie to join us and she believes she ‘won the golden ticket’ when she joined Clarion!
Spending her summers growing up by the beach, Katie has a passion for water sports. She taught swimming to young children with special needs for 8 years. She adores going to the beach and in particular enjoys kayaking and paddle boarding. Katie’s other hobbies include reading and cooking. She can make a mean carbonara and her favorite book is ‘What Alice forgot’ by Lianne Moriarty.
Laurine has been teaching early years since 2002. She is from Singapore and has recently moved to Dubai. Her experience includes teaching within the IB PYP curriculum framework, American Common Core and the Australian Early Years Learning Framework in Muscat, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Educational Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) with Adam State University, Colorado. Laurine is bilingual in Mandarin and English and hopes to add French as an additional language.
She believes that each child has their own learning journey and it is important that her students are empowered with the skills to take ownership of their learning. She is passionate about emergent literacy, metacognition and integrating technology purposefully in the classroom and is a Seesaw Ambassador. One of Laurine’s favorite things to do in class is to read aloud to her students.
Jacqueline has been an educator for 23 years. She holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood from Nova Southeastern University Florida; Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Studies and Education from the University of Technology, Jamaica and a Diploma in Montessori Education from Foundation for Montessori Education, Canada. Jacqueline believes education is a life long journey and continues to pursue professional development. Jacqueline represented Clarion in several professional training which includes the Reading and Writing Strategies Institute; Handwriting Strategies and Responsive Classroom Practices. As a grade level leader at Clarion, she has helped to train and implement these practices.
Jacqueline is very passionate about Early Childhood Development. She holds professional membership with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization that works to promote high-quality learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy and research. Like Maria Montessori, Jacqueline believes the greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken. A strong believer in progressive education, Jacqueline has contributed immensely to Clarion’s vision of igniting curiosity.
Grade 1 Teaching Team
Like many international teachers, Louise began teaching English to non-English speakers. After returning home to Ireland in 2014 from South Korea, she solidified her teaching degree from Hibernia College, in Ireland, and taught Grades 1 and 2 in Kilkenny for three years. She frequently combines her cultural curiosity with international volunteer experiences, spending a month’s vacation volunteering in a youth center for street children in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia in 2018. Louise joined Clarion teaching First Grade in 2019 and will continue in Grade 1 this year.
She holds a Master’s of Arts in Irish Studies from National University of Ireland in Galway and a Liberal Arts, Bachelor’s degree from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland. Her Professional Masters of Education in Primary Teaching is from Hibernia College, Dublin.
The progressive beliefs of Clarion match with the teaching practices that Louise has trained and worked in. Louise says that Clarion has been a wonderful school to spread her progressive wings.
Louise’s passions in life include caring for animals (especially cats), exercising and following her favorite sports team, Kilkenny hurling.
Hailing from Ireland, Dayna joins Clarion as our Grade 1 teacher. She holds a Professional Master’s Degree in Education and a B.A specialising in Children Studies and has over 17 years of experience.
When describing herself, Dayna quotes:
“I am a positive, dependable, and passionate individual with exceptional interpersonal skills. I am motivated and determined, and I prosper in challenging environments.”
Helena comes to Clarion with experience teaching First Grade both in Ireland and the UAE. Having grown up on a farm in Ireland, she went on to study for four years at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick to earn a Bachelor of Education degree. Helena is passionate about helping every student reach their full potential and is currently studying for a Master’s in Special and Additional Learning Needs with University of East London. In her spare time, she loves to stay active and plays both Gaelic Football and Rugby.
Helena comes to Clarion keen to put into practice a progressive way of teaching and is excited about fostering creativity, imagination and innovation in her students.
Grade 2 Teaching Team
Olivia joins us from Vera Caslavksa Elementary School, Prague as an experienced primary teacher, mainly teaching in Grades 1 and 2.
She obtained her BA in Marketing Management from the University of St. Thomas-St. Paul, Minnesota. Olivia then pursued a Master of Art in Teaching, focusing on Elementary Education followed by an IB Professional Development Certification in the Introduction to the PYP Curriculum Model.
Olivia prides herself as being an international educator and student-focused teaching professional.
Shalini obtained her Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning & Development from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995. In 2014, Shalini furthered her education and received a Master of Science in Education from the State University of New York as part of the program that was conducted in a Host School in Dubai.
Shalini has been in the UAE since 1996 and has over two decades of experience that she brings with her to Clarion.
During her early years, Shalini worked on campus throughout undergraduate years to help finance education. She is widely travelled and is keen on outdoor sport activities. Shalini is proficient in Hindi, basic French, and Malay. She loves Zumba & Yoga and an accomplished first ‘challenging’ trek in India in 2017!
She is raising two fantastic kids…and a Chihuahua!
Grade 3 Teaching Team
Born and raised in USA, Juana joins Clarion as a Grade 3 teacher. She holds a BA in Psychology from the State University of NY and a Masters of Childhood Education & Literacy from Mount Saint Mary College.
Juana has been teaching primary students since 2013, mainly in Grades 3, 4 & 5. She takes pride in going above and beyond with providing engaging learning experiences for her students. She is determined to provide excellent education for all and, as an educator, Juana strives to build positive relationships with her students and their families.
Estelle de Vendegies
Having been in the Middle East for over 6 years, Estelle joins Clarion from Kuwait, where she was a third-grade teacher. Among her responsibilities in Al Bayan Bilingual School, Kuwait, Estelle successfully used Whole Brain teaching methods to teach technology-based lessons in Math, Science, English and Art. In addition, she implemented the Tribes method to develop collaborative and academic skills as well as administering Fountas and Pinnell testing for student reading levels.
Estelle holds a BA in International Studies from DePaul University, Chicago, followed by a degree in Elementary Education from the University of West Florida. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
Grade 4 Teacher
Daniela Yela Gudino
Daniela joins Clarion from Ecuador where she was a Primary Mathematics and Science Leader at Colegio Menor Samborondon Nord Anglia Education. With a certification to teach mathematics by Stanford University, a master’s degree in Educational Technology and Innovation and over 10 years of experience, Daniela describes herself as a motivated, and goal-driven Primary school teacher with genuine passion for helping all students be the best version of themselves and accomplish all their individual goals.
Daniela is fluent in three languages: English, Portuguese and Spanish. She has also been accepted and admitted into Harvard University to continue her studies in School Management and Leadership.
Grade 5 Teacher
Joy Weir is our Fifth Grade teacher, moving up with her Grade 4 Clarion students. She has two Bachelor of Arts degrees; a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and her Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska in education with an emphasis on language acquisition. She has been teaching for 13 years both in elementary and secondary. She also comes to Clarion with more than a decade of international teaching including Kuwait, UAE, Spain, Costa Rica, and Greece. Joy is a fluent Spanish speaker.
Her experience in inquiry and progressive education is the greatest reason why she chose Clarion and extends beyond Clarion. Her love of sustainability and community development is a major component to her values as a teacher, which are matched well with the program of learning at Clarion. When she’s not working, she’s outside soaking up the incredible nature that UAE provides with its beaches and mountains. She loves to jump in the car with her dog and go on an adventure, seeing where the path will take them.
Grade 6 Teacher
Katherine received her BA in English Literature from Hunter College in New York and has been living in the UAE for the past 5 years. She is a highly effective, experienced IB educator with over a decade of experience teaching balanced, engaging lessons while using data to drive instruction.
Katherine is also a teacher leader with experience developing rigorous and authentic curriculum for all learners and has a comprehensive knowledge of curriculum design. She views her strengths are in differentiating instruction, inquiry-based learning and employing rigor in instruction. Katherine views herself as an empowering, global citizen with a passion for leading and collaborating.
During her tenure at Emirates National School, Katherine received the prestigious award of Teacher of the Year for the Academic Year of 2017/2018.