Location – Mian Street، Al Wukair, Al Wakrah, Qatar
Contact – +974 4032 9000
The Genesis Story
The mission of GEMS American Academy Qatar (GAAQ) is to deliver high-quality education in a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment conducive to lifelong learning. We believe that our school’s core values – purpose, tenacity, innovation, leadership, and respect – are central concepts that empower individual growth and serve as cultural cornerstones.
It is vital for our students to holistically reach and expand their potential by achieving their goals, developing healthy connections with different members of the community, leveraging constructive feedback to improve their assessments, utilizing time effectively, and nurturing independence and inquiry in a rapidly changing world.
Our 20,000 square meter campus features innovative infrastructure designed for dynamic and experiential learning. Specific features include, but are not limited to, interactive and technology-rich classrooms at every level, dedicated Arabic and Islamic rooms, diverse resource areas, dual libraries and quiet workspaces, a theme-based early years environment, an aquaponic greenhouse, 2D and 3D art studios, a ceramics and pottery room, a multipurpose sports hall, rooftop sports courts, indoor mini-gyms, a CrossFit space, a professional dance studio, multiple ICT labs, a BlackBox theater room, various indoor and outdoor covered play areas, dual dining areas, outdoor eating spaces, a full-sized soccer pitch, a dedicated Parent Café, a piano lab, practice music space, and music rooms with recording capability.
As the Head of School/CEO, it is my responsibility to cultivate the entire school culture. As the role model for the school, everything I do—statements, philosophy, reactions to important news and events, energy level, and interaction style—has a direct influence on the culture. Collaboration is a powerful tool for involving everyone and aligning them with shared values that steer the decisions and behaviors of all school stakeholders, collectively!
From handpicking the most qualified teachers and involving contributions from our parent community to selecting multi-faceted student support personnel and protecting the welfare and well-being of all individuals in the building, these important duties start with me.
Another prominent member of our Front of House (FOH) team, Parent Relations Executive (PRE) Justin Tyler, is chiefly responsible for parent relations, marketing, communications, and PR. Our parents know him well; he provides school tours to prospective parents and works closely with our parents to address their myriad concerns, feedback, questions, and recommendations to fully resource and answer the diverse family needs of over 800 families.
Another key member of our FOH team, Director of Admissions, Sima Hamadneh, is a very trusted source of support and information as she guides prospective families through the entire enrollment process and works collaboratively with myself, principals, and school leaders to ensure the execution of appropriate student growth strategies.
Ensuring Academic Excellence
We are approaching our ten-year school anniversary, and I have been in the role of Head of School/CEO for seven years. During this time, we have achieved significant milestones, including offering over 60 different After-School Activities (ASAs) at no cost to our families, establishing award-winning athletic programs spanning six sports, obtaining the highest NEASC school accreditation on our initial attempt, and implementing clearly defined policies and procedures that are effectively executed by the School Leadership Team (SLT).
Furthermore, we have shifted our focus to be more parent- and student-centered. Our leadership team has devised a plan to provide greater agency and support for an organized Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), fostered increased collaboration between parent and student groups, introduced monthly spirit days, and engaged students in championing important causes such as Breast Cancer Awareness, Earth Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, and the creation of a Ramadan Community Iftar, among others.
Fostering Academic and Integral Development
To ensure the comprehensive development of our students, we have implemented a multifaceted approach that extends beyond the traditional curriculum. Our commitment to their holistic growth includes project-based learning (PBL) to foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while our emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education encourages creativity and innovation. Digital literacy programs equip our students with essential technological skills, and experiential learning opportunities, such as field trips and community service projects, enable them to apply classroom knowledge in practical contexts. Furthermore, character education is interwoven into our curriculum, emphasizing ethics, empathy, and social responsibility.
We also prioritize cultural and global awareness, incorporating diverse perspectives and international studies. Physical education and wellness are integral components of our curriculum, promoting students’ physical health and overall well-being. Additionally, we foster entrepreneurship and innovation, encourage artistic expression, and offer mentorship and counseling services to support students’ social and emotional development.
Steps for Motivation
The school is dedicated to nurturing students’ passion for learning through a multifaceted approach. We believe that an engaging curriculum is paramount, so we craft lessons that are not only academically rigorous but also captivating and relevant to students’ lives. Our educators employ various teaching methods, embracing diversity in learning styles, and harness the power of technology to make lessons interactive and enjoyable. Beyond the classroom, our extensive array of extracurricular activities empowers students to explore their interests and talents, fostering a genuine love for learning outside traditional academics.
Recognizing the uniqueness of each student, we develop personalized learning plans and provide ample recognition for their achievements, instilling a sense of pride and motivation. Our mentorship programs and career counseling further guide students toward their passions and future goals. In addition, we prioritize creating a positive and inclusive learning environment, as we firmly believe that a supportive atmosphere is the bedrock for nurturing a lifelong love for learning.
While we do not offer financial assistance in the form of scholarships or need-based aid, we have established valuable community partnerships with over 35 companies in Qatar. Families with parents employed by one of these approved companies are eligible for a 10% tuition discount. Additionally, we provide tuition fee discounts based on the number of students within a family, as part of our Sibling Program. Lastly, our Ambassador Program offers a fantastic opportunity for all our families, providing a 4% tuition discount each time one of our families successfully refers a student who enrolls in our school.
An Inclusive School
Our school’s standout features include its remarkable cultural diversity, fostering one of the most diverse educational communities in Qatar. With over 77 nationalities among students and approximately 15 nationalities among faculty and staff, we capitalize on this diversity to create a unique triangular support system. Parents, teachers, and students collaborate closely to ensure each student reaches their fullest potential, resulting in an ‘Excellent’ Net Promoter Score (NPS) rating – our highest ever.
Additionally, our open-door policy extends to all stakeholders, promoting collaboration and problem-solving. This customer-centric approach has set us apart as a true differentiator in the educational landscape.
Moreover, we emphasize dynamic and supportive relationships between teachers and students. Beyond academics, teachers are available during daily Advisory periods to foster student-to-student relationships, address important issues, and promote holistic development.
Following Emerging Trends in Education
We prioritize ongoing professional development for our faculty and staff. This includes attending workshops, conferences, and training sessions that focus on emerging educational practices and technologies. By investing in our educators’ growth, we ensure that they are well-equipped to implement new approaches in the classroom effectively.
Our educators actively engage in educational research. They regularly read scholarly articles, journals, and books on pedagogy, learning theories, and innovative teaching methods.
Technology plays a pivotal role in modern education, and we are committed to keeping up with digital learning trends. We incorporate technology into our classrooms and curricula, enabling us to adapt to the evolving landscape of education and prepare our students for a tech-driven future.
Educational conferences provide an excellent opportunity to gain insights into the latest trends and innovations in education. We regularly send representatives to such conferences and conventions, where they can network with peers, attend workshops, and learn from experts in the field.
Awards & Achievement
In my seven years as Head of School/CEO at GAAQ, our dedicated community of parents, teachers, students, and staff has achieved remarkable milestones. Among our early accomplishments, we attained the highest accreditation from the oldest American school accrediting organization on our very first attempt, a testament to our commitment to educational excellence. Additionally, we proudly earned certification from the College Board for Advanced Placement (AP) programs, further enriching our academic offerings.
Our Eco-Club’s exceptional efforts culminated in the prestigious Eco-Schools Green Flag Award, a recognition shared by only three schools in Qatar. Furthermore, our talented art students secured first place and a 40,000 QAR prize in the Zeeenah Initiative World Cup decoration competition, sponsored by Ashghal. In the realm of music, our school band consistently secured top positions, ranking first or second place in the National Battle of the Bands competition.
From an athletic perspective, our under-19 Girls basketball team achieved an undefeated season, a remarkable feat highlighted by their victory over the under-19 Qatar Girls national basketball team. These achievements reflect our collective dedication to excellence in education, arts, athletics, and sustainability, and we look forward to building on this legacy in the years to come.
Every year, we strive to build on our strengths. We eagerly anticipate our upcoming NEASC re-accreditation process to maintain high educational standards. Our athletic department is exploring membership in international leagues, offering our sports teams the chance to compete globally. We’re also heavily invested in our Week Without Walls foundation, expanding experiential learning, establishing sister school exchanges, organizing international service-learning trips, and introducing theme-based activities. Additionally, we’re reviving our Grade 12 Internship Program, allowing senior students to intern for 16 weeks in their chosen fields at companies like Ashghal, Al Udeid Air Base, Woqod, Ritz Carlton, Hamad Medical Center, and Commercial Bank. These initiatives aim to bridge academic skills with real-life experiences outside traditional classrooms, providing valuable opportunities for growth.