Local Advisory Board

The Gift of Good Governance

As part of our governance structure, DAA has a Local Advisory Board (LAB) which meets 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 Board Members

Amr Albialy, Chairperson

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, Inclusion Governor

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 Murphy, DAA Superintendent/CEO, Vice President and Chair of the GEMS Education Committee

Prior to her move to Dubai, Tammy spent 12 years in California as the Superintendent of both Ross and Montecito Union School Districts. Originally from the East Coast, Tammy dedicated most of her 37-year career in education to the Cherry Hill Public Schools in New Jersey, USA. There, she served as an Elementary and 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 to be recognized as one of only five US schools honored as an International Habits of Mind School of Excellence and received the US Department of Education’s National Green Ribbon School Award. Tammy also served on the California Board for Schools for Sound Finance.

Tammy 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. 

Hywel Benbow, GEMS Senior 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.

Simon Herbert, GIS Superintendent / CEO

Simon Herbert joined GEMS Education in 2020 as Head of School/CEO of GEMS International School – Al Khail. A dynamic, culturally astute school leader skilled at encouraging and inspiring both students and staff, Simon has worked in the education sphere for over 30 years, having taught and held leadership roles in high-profile schools across the globe.

Prior to joining GEMS, Simon was based in China, where he quickly rose to the position of Headmaster of Dulwich College Beijing after initially joining as Head of Senior School. Over the course of his eight years at Dulwich, the school achieved consistently high average IB results as well as superb university placements, while maintaining its holistic and philanthropic values. Simon also spent 12 years with the prestigious Fettes College in Edinburgh, Scotland, first as Head of Modern Languages and then as Housemaster of Glencorse House. During his time at Fettes, he led the introduction of the IB Diploma Programme and transformed the effort grades of his house from mediocre to best-in-college. He also coached the First XI Boys’ Hockey team, who went on to win the Scottish Championship.

Faizal Hasham M.Sc. MBA, P.Eng., Parent

Faizal Hasham is an air quality consultant, and is the General Manager of AQM LLC, a UAE based lifestyle products company.  He provides strategic planning and engineering consulting services, and has over 20 years of work experience in environmental engineering, geographic information systems (GIS), construction management, and e-commerce in Canada and the UAE.

Faizal completed his Masters degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta, Canada, and his MBA from Queen's University, Canada.  He and his wife have 3 sons, aged 12, 10, and 1, with the older 2 currently attending DAA.  He has a passion for voluntary work, and has served on various boards including FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Canada and the OMS Montessori Canada.

Sanjeev Goel, Parent

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, Parent

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.

Jolie Remington, Wellness/Safeguarding Governor and Parent

Jolie Remington is the mother of a GEMS schools graduate and current DAA high schooler.  Originally from Hawaii, she has spent the last 23 years living around the world as a military/expat spouse.  Before moving to Dubai, she held various Senior Leadership positions focusing on the morale, welfare and support of active duty soldiers and their families.  Jolie has continued that passion for support by advocating for students and families requiring modern solutions in the diverse classrooms of today.  Her academic background includes undergraduate and graduate studies in Music, Psychology and Behavior Analysis.

Akshat Sinha, Student & Co-President

Rebekka Laubenthal, 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.

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