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Clair Andersen’s education began in her birth place of Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory. Her parents later moved to Tasmania’s North-West Coast, where she attended Smithton High School. Clair furthered her studies at the University of Tasmania, completing a Bachelor of Education in 1973.
Clair began teaching at Brighton District High School in 1974. Following the death of her parents, Clair took on the parenting role of her younger brothers and sisters. When teaching at Bridgewater High in 1975, Clair developed a parenting program for young mothers. She married in 1974 and has three children, a son and two daughters.
In 1981, Clair was appointed as the Coordinator for Aboriginal Education for the Education Department. Since 2001, she has been the Director of the Riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education at the University of Tasmania. Clair has served on a wide range of state and national committees and has made an invaluable contribution to training, gender and indigenous issues.
Clair was a founding member of the Aboriginal Adult Education Group, Secretary of the Wayee Radio and Cultural Aboriginal Corporation (1989-91) and Treasurer of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (1989-90). Clair has been active in the Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness Committees at Margate Primary, and Kingston and Ogilvie High Schools. She is currently a member of the Mabble Largenner (young offenders/prison education advisory group), Karadi Aboriginal Women’s Corporation and the South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation. Clair was recently appointed to the national Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council.
Clair's career has been characterised by her dedication and commitment to educational issues at the state and national level. She has been instrumental in advancing Aboriginal education and training, Aboriginal women’s issues and Aboriginal community needs through her professional and voluntary roles. She is widely respected for her belief in people and the positive and constructive support she has provided to teams, committees and individuals. Many of the outcomes for adult learners, which have been achieved by the Aboriginal Training Programs, are due to Clair’s guidance, support and advice.