Knight Errant

Junior High Principal Claire Shea leaves BSM for Kuwait

The junior high principal, Ms. Claire Shea, has accepted a job in Kuwait.

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Junior High Principal Claire Shea leaves BSM for Kuwait

Junior High Principal Ms. Claire Shea will be leaving BSM next year.

Junior High Principal Ms. Claire Shea will be leaving BSM next year.

Knight Errant file photo

Junior High Principal Ms. Claire Shea will be leaving BSM next year.

Knight Errant file photo

Knight Errant file photo

Junior High Principal Ms. Claire Shea will be leaving BSM next year.

Erin Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

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It’s one thing to start teaching at a different school; it’s another to move to and teach in a different country. Junior High principal Ms. Claire Shea is doing exactly that and moving abroad to teach in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

Shea is moving abroad with her family to become a high school/middle school principal at American Creativity Academy in Kuwait City, Kuwait. “During last summer, we partnered with what I would describe as like a search firm that helps place educational leaders abroad. So this past summer, I interviewed all over the world via Skype with different schools. So we were really open on going anywhere, we were not focused on Kuwait. At the time it had come down to a job between Colombia and Kuwait, and we chose Kuwait for a variety of reasons, one of which being my husband’s Muslim, my two little girls are being raised Muslim and I think it’s really important for us to also incorporate that culture and religion into their life because we haven’t had that here,” Shea said.

To some, the job transition may seem extreme, but for Shea and her family, it’s a new opportunity with a religious connection and a different culture. “We talked about teaching abroad. Both of us are in education and we talked about it when we were both teachers in Memphis and then we had our children and we thought, ‘no, we can’t do it’ and then we were traveling with the kids this summer, so we kind of thought ‘what if we did this for a living.’ So it’s been a longer conversation,” Shea said.

We talked about teaching abroad. Both of us are in education and we talked about it when we were both teachers in Memphis and then we had our children and we thought, ‘no, we can’t do it’ and then we were traveling with the kids this summer, so we kind of thought ‘what if we did this for a living.’ So it’s been a longer conversation.”

— Ms. Claire Shea

Shea and her family plan on staying in Kuwait for a couple of years, but they don’t think that they will be there forever. “I don’t think we’ll be abroad for long term. I really do think that is a temporary investment right now for us because Amelia, my oldest, will be in first grade next year and we absolutely want to return when she leaves elementary schools, so when she goes to sixth or seventh grade,” Shea said.

Kuwait’s national language is Arabic, but rather than seeing the language barrier as a hindrance, Shea is optimistic about the opportunity. “I am hopeful that it will be wonderful for [our children]. I was saying to my husband that the school that we’re going to is an American school so everything’s in English, but I was watching a PE class and they were speaking in Arabic to each other, and I do think the bilingual nature of living abroad will be hard for them initially, but then I think so there’s many kids, even here at BSM [who] are bilingual, and it’s just an adjustment and just part of learning a new dynamic to yourself,” Shea said.

Even though it’s a new country and a new school, Shea believes she will find similarities between BSM and American Creativity Academy. “There’s a lot of similarities in the community work they do as a school, as a private school, and building the community and culture that I think––what I’ve learned at BSM––will echo in my experience there. I’m really excited about the strategic planning that just happened at BSM. [It] has been so informative [in] helping me understand what it means to build a really dynamic Catholic environment and I think that experience will really help me next year and bring a lot of that knowledge next year in that building there. They’re an American school, but they also teach Islam so they have Islamic values that permeate into their curriculum and that will mirror how we permeate Catholic values into our curriculum,” Shea said.

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Junior High Principal Claire Shea leaves BSM for Kuwait