Local Advisory Board
As part of our governance structure, DAA has a Local Advisory Board (LAB) which meets at at least five times a year. As outlined in the UAE National Agenda, a major initiative for all UAE schools is to build strong school governance to help create a national education sector with enduring and consistent quality, as we work together towards achieving Vision 2021.
Our Local Advisory Board
Our Board Members
Amr Albialy is the Senior Executive Officer of Robeco Middle East. Robeco is a $200bn leading global Asset Manager with more than 15 offices across the world. Amr is in charge of the overall management, strategic, commercial and tactical operational decisions of the Robeco Dubai office, and is responsible for leading the team covering the Middle East and Central Asia. He is also responsible for managing and developing strategic relationships with large institutions, mainly Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds, Central Banks and Government Institutions throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. Amr has over 19 years of experience in the financial industry. He has extensive experience in Asset Management, Trading, Investment Banking and Private Equity from both international and regional financial institutions including HSBC and Deutsche Bank. He joined Robeco from Emirates NBD Asset Management where he was the Head of Business Development. Previously, Amr worked as Director, Head of Structured Products and Distribution at the Investment Banking subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank where he was also responsible for the development of the asset management business. Amr graduated with honors from the City University of Seattle, Washington with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Business Administration. He has furthermore completed the Pension Fund and Investment Management program from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Saliha Afridi
Dr. Saliha is a Clinical Psychologist and Managing Director at Lighthouse Arabia. Raised and educated in the US, she moved to Dubai in 2009. Dr. Saliha previously worked at a private practice for several years before co-founding The Lighthouse in 2011 to make a positive impact on the mental health of anyone living in the Dubai region. She has a particular interest in parenting and has spent many years doing research and implementing parenting programs based on Adlerian child guidance principles.
Dr. Saliha received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Arizona School of Professional Psychology and is a member of the American Psychological Association. She is also licensed by the Arizona Board of Licensed Psychologists.
Tammy is excited to begin her second year at GEMS Dubai American Academy after spending the previous 12 years in California as the Superintendent of both Ross and Montecito Union School Districts. Originally from the East Coast, she spent most of her 33-year career in education at the Cherry Hill Schools in New Jersey, USA. There she served as an elementary teacher and principal, middle school principal, and assistant superintendent of instruction for over 12,000 students and 19 schools. In each of these learning communities, she focused on both academic achievement and character development. At Montecito, she collaborated with a committed staff in helping them to be recognized as one of the five US schools honored as an International Habits of Mind School of Excellence. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and has completed extensive doctoral coursework in Educational Leadership at Rowan University.
Head of Teaching, Learning & Innovation
Lisa joined GEMS Dubai American Academy in August 2018 as the Head of Teaching, Learning & Innovation, and is excited to start her second year with the DAA family this year.
Lisa is entering her 11th year in Dubai, after starting an international career here at GEMS World Academy in the 2008-09 academic year. In 2011, Lisa moved to the Professional Learning and Development (PLD) Team at GEMS Corporate Ofﬁce (now TELLAL Institute) and was immersed in school based teacher and leader development. As part of the TELLAL Institute, Lisa continued to work closely with all GEMS schools and partner universities focusing on initial teacher training, professional learning and development, and school leadership and management. Lisa holds a Masters in Leadership and Management in Education from Manchester Metropolitan University in England and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Western University in Canada.
Vice President, Cluster Lead
David Fitzgerald joined GEMS in January, 2019 as Vice President of Education.He oversees our IB Curriculum schools and supports other projects.
David has held Principal positions in International, private independent and government schools. David has also worked as a senior Education Officer with the English Schools Foundation in Hong Kong as well as in the banking and finance industries. David has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership along with Undergraduate degrees in Education and Business.David is a qualified Performance Coach, IB and CIS Visiting Team member and certified DISC Psychometric trainer.
David has presented at national and international conferences on a range of topics from coaching and educational leadership to curriculum innovation and pedagogical development.
Vice President, Global Data & Analytics
Hywel Benbow joined GEMS Education in June 2017. As Vice President Global Data & Analytics, he oversees our education data and analytics capabilities and supports other projects. His role includes working closely with colleagues from across the business supporting the delivery of key priorities by developing insightful and analytical solutions that provide the right people with the right information at the right time.
Prior to joining GEMS, Hywel worked in the Civil Service for Ofsted in the United Kingdom and has over 10 years of experience working in data and analytics in both public and private sectors. Hywel also brings experience in policy and strategy development, performance management and research.
Stuart is a highly experienced educator and school leader. Prior to taking up the post of Head of School/CEO at GEMS World Academy he was the Principal of Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the leading British curriculum school in South East Asia. He holds BA from the Royal Military College in Duntroon and a Master of Educational Administration from Deakin.
Stuart is an experienced sailor who has participated in opcen racing, a rugby enthusiast and referee, an accomplished cook and photographer. He has also completed numerous marathons in different parts of the world.
Alzeta and her family have been a part of DAA community since 2006. Apart from being a mother of two children at DAA, she manages the Middle East Operations of an American Brand of Luxury Leathers for Interiors. In her free time she enjoys yoga, beach, reading, travelling and of course her best time is spent with her family.
Sanjeev Goel is the Head of Equity Investments for EMENA and South Asia in Financial Institutions Group for International Finance Corporation (“IFC”). IFC - a member of the World Bank Group - is owned by 184 member countries and has presence in over 100 countries with a mission to invest in sustainable and impactful private sector development.
Sanjeev has an MBA from George Washington University, B.Com. and LL.B. from University of Delhi, and professional accounting degree from Institute of Cost & Works Accountant of India. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, and education. He is now in the process of setting up a new venture to directly engage in these areas through investment and advisory work. He is also the father of two students at DAA.
Ghadeer Alsayouf has been working as a medical center manager for the last three years. Ghadeer chooses to work at her family’s medical center as a part time job to save time to take care of her three wonderful children. Even with a busy schedule, she makes sure to practice her hobbies like painting, calligraphy, photography, and fashion design. She has a strong passion for charity work, and a solid belief that helping others always pays back.
Student & Co-President
Student & Co-President
Functions of the Board
The Board works to understand and uphold GEMS and DAA’s vision and values, monitor, advise and support the school on matters of strategy and policy, assist with monitoring the school’s standards and performance, and support the school and the Superintendent by providing counsel. The members are experienced and skilled individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Our Local Advisory Board holds the important role at DAA of overseeing the achievement of the school’s strategic aims and objectives, greatly improving the school’s performance. The LAB is not involved in financial matters, the appointing of staff, the day-to-day operations of the school, admissions, nor individual issues. The LAB assists with monitoring the activity and performance of the school by supporting the school’s senior leaders to be fully accountable for DAA’s outcomes. Working in partnership with the school, the Local Advisory Board actively collaborates, engages and challenges the school through constructive dialogue.
Last spring, our LAB was selected by KHDA to participate in the production of a Governance video to be shared throughout Dubai Schools. Please take time to view this work as we were honored to have been part of this work that will benefit all schools. You can watch the KHDA video above.