Meet the principal: Tom FarquharDecember 15, 2015, 7:18 am GMT
After a 25-year long career in teaching, Tom Farquhar had already announced his retirement, when Gems Education contacted him to consider running its new flagship school in Dubai.
Having travelled to various schools in Asia, Africa, and Europe during his time with the prestigious Sidwell Friends school in Washington DC, Farquhar was previously unable to really experience the diversity of international schools for an extended period of time.
"I'd never been to Dubai, but I thought it would be interesting to see what Gems was planning. As I learned about the scope of the Nations Academy project, I quickly realised that this was an opportunity to implement a new model for 21st century growth and learning," he says.
Since arriving in Dubai in August 2014, Farquhar and his family have been settling in, getting used to the cultural and linguistic differences the expatriate community in Dubai offer.
Farquhar's time is now dedicated to launching the new school, which will offer an enhanced American curriculum that will also focus on Arabic language education, as well as computer programming.
"Creating something that is big and new is complicated. We want to get every single thing just right. And after the school opens, every day we will be building the practices and the traditions that will carry the school community to great heights.," Farquhar states.
Creating a tone for the school is also a priority for Farquhar as founding head.
"Two areas of intense interest and importance have defined my contribution as an educator. First is a concern for the tone, morale, culture, and spirit of the school. So much is gained when students feel that the school and the teachers are devoted to the fullest development of their diverse potentials.
"In recent decades I have focused on the new curricula and pedagogy for 21st century education. The keys to success in these dimensions is hiring and planning," he explains.
Tom Farquhar is the founding head of Gems Nations Academy – Dubai. He comes to Gems from Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C where he was head of school, having first started a teacher of physics and mathematics. He has been active as a trustee on school and college boards. As a speaker he addresses topics ranging from school culture and values to environmental responsibility and 21st century teaching and learning.
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