Superintendent's Message

Welcome to Dubai American Academy!

Thank you for your interest in Dubai American Academy (DAA). Whether you are a student, parent, or teacher, it is my pleasure to welcome you to this website, which gives me an opportunity to share my pride and enthusiasm for the qualities that make DAA a world-class school.

My enthusiasm for DAA begins with its unique mission, which was revised by a committee of teachers, students, and parents during the 2013-14 school year. This mission largely captures what makes DAA special: “Dubai American Academy is a vibrant international community, deeply rooted in a culture of kindness, creating and empowering leaders and independent thinkers with integrity, character, and drive.”

With nearly 100 different nationalities represented among its 2,360 students, DAA takes seriously its obligation to respect, protect, and celebrate diversity – religious, racial, cultural, linguistic, political, and philosophical – and to ensure that its students thrive in safe learning environments that emphasize empathy, understanding, and respect. At DAA, we believe a school should be a safe, child-centred place where teachers are idealistic about the potential of every child and tenacious in their support for students as they learn, take risks, and grow.

To this end, DAA offers a rigorous US curriculum that culminates in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and/or an American high school diploma. The quality of DAA’s academic and extracurricular programming has been well established by the external organizations that accredit or authorize our school, including the Council for International Schools (CIS), the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). DAA’s reputation is further reinforced by the judgments it has received from Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). For three consecutive years DAA has been rated as “outstanding” following thorough school inspections, making it one of only twelve schools in Dubai to achieve this highest level of distinction and the only US curriculum school to do so.

While our graduates matriculate to the most prestigious colleges and universities around the world, I am especially proud of the emphasis DAA places on “creating and empowering leaders and independent thinkers with integrity, character, and drive.” At DAA we want our students to acquire the skills and dispositions that will make them successful leaders in the 21st Century. Such skills include the abilities to collaborate effectively with others, to critically analyze and solve problems, to innovate strategically and purposefully, to communicate with clarity, and to use technology effectively. We also believe that certain dispositions are essential in the modern world and that the most successful leaders are highly reflective, engaged, empathetic, inquisitive, adaptable, and well-rounded. Above all, we believe that dedication and effort are the most critical attributes of high-achieving individuals, and it is our goal to develop these qualities in our students.

Beyond the experience it provides for its students, DAA also endeavors to cultivate a dynamic professional culture that challenges teachers to reach their own potential as educators. DAA’s faculty is comprised of teachers from 22 different nations. The school’s leadership team and I have aggressively recruited these teachers from around the world because they possess skills and attitudes that complement our student-centered ethos. DAA takes seriously its obligation to help its teachers grow professionally once they join the school and offers, consequently, a dynamic professional development program anchored in research-based best practices. One of DAA’s related strengths concerns its reflective capacity as an institution. We are earnest about strategic planning and take seriously our efforts to identify and advance areas for improvement in the school, which has created what we believe to be a world-class professional development program that is focused, strategic, and data-driven.

Finally, DAA benefits from its active participation in the GEMS network of schools. Whether we are supporting the charitable initiatives of the Varkey GEMS Foundation (VGF), organizing meaningful student trips through Camps International, or exchanging professional practices with other GEMS schools in Dubai and around the world, we are strengthened by our ability to collaborate with colleagues who work in other schools.

While this website provides a useful introduction to DAA and its programs, I hope you will be able to visit our campus for a tour. I think you’ll see for yourselves that we are a school that not only “talks the talk,” but one that works incredibly hard to “walk the walk.”


Jim Hardin, Ph.D. 
Superintendent / CEO
Dubai American Academy