Staff Spotlight: Emily Joy Waugh

Dean of School


Emily is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and, after receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy, transitioned into international education. She is currently working as the Dean of School for A+ World Academy.

What is your favorite travel memory?

This past year, we sailed to St. Helena while crossing the Atlantic from Walvis Bay, Namibia to Bridgetown, Barbados. St. Helena is an amazing place, filled with beautiful hikes, kind people, and an incredible history. They are also known for their whale shark season.

On our last day there, we went whale shark diving and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. They are beautiful in photographs but actually being under the water with them, they are truly magnificent. I hope I never forget that feeling of peace that I felt when I followed one that I named "Belarus" down and down, heading to the ocean floor. It was truly an indescribable experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working for A+ has challenged me in almost every way, and I am constantly learning. It's one aspect of the job that I love. I know that no matter how long I work here, there will always be more to learn and experience. Working on a ship you need to be incredibly flexible and prepared for everything from plan A to Z.

You have to constantly be on your toes, but it's important to have fun while doing it. My goal for this next year is to be better about finding that balance between rest and work, to set clear expectations for people, and to hold them kindly. but firmly, accountable to those expectations.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One of the best stories I've heard from a returning student is how they have such a broader perspective now of the world, a completely different idea of what is important. Now, social media posts, what the latest star is wearing, and the latest youtube craze doesn't seem nearly as important. He told me how he actually missed being off the grid and having that peace of mind that comes from taking a break from technology. He was striving to practice the mindset he learned onboard of being truly present.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Teaching at sea is an incredible experience. Your are brought back to the basics of teaching. You have your white board, markers, projector, computer, your mind and hopefully your students' active minds as well. You don't have google to rely upon, or other internet resources. The lack of internet really forces you to be on top of your material, and class preparation. It also encourages creativity as you need to find new ways of adapting lessons and discovering how to best use the resources that the ship offers you.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our company is unique do to our working environment. We are a small knit community, a faculty of only 8 people, so it is vital that we are patient, kind, and respectful to each other. One moment when I was especially proud of my team was when we needed to develop a new academic schedule a month into the academic year.

Creating schedules onboard is not an easy task as you have to consider day watch, galley, set meal times, etc. The whole team got together, using pipe cleaners, index cards, papers with lists plastered all over the crew mess, and we found a solution to our scheduling problems in record time. I was so proud of the way everyone pitched in to help, sacrificing the little free time they had to help better the community.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

One of the biggest factors in being a successful company is acknowledgment and respect. I've seen it so often in education where employees will kill themselves over helping their students, sacrificing so much to provide the best education and experience possible. In so many cases, the employees aren't even looking for monetary compensation, but simply acknowledgment of the work they are doing and respect. Respect always goes a long way.