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 Board Members consist of the following: 

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

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.

Ben Voborsky, DAA Deputy Superintendent

Ben is the Deputy Superintendent of GEMS Dubai American Academy. He joined DAA from GEMS American Academy in Abu Dhabi where he held the position of K-5 Elementary Principal. Prior to joining GEMS, Ben served as an Elementary Teacher in American Curriculum and American Overseas Schools around the world. Ben holds a Bachelors from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, a Masters in Special Education from the University of Southern Queensland, and a Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Advanced Educational Leadership from the University of New England in Maine. His focus when developing schools has been on systems thinking, school culture, innovation, inclusion, and the professional learning of teachers. Ben is passionate about continuous school improvement and creating the best educational experience for each student. He is an active Council of International Schools and Middle States Association Evaluator.

David Stegall, GEMS Vice President of Education

Dr. David Stegall is the Vice President of Education for GEMS Education overseeing the United States curriculum schools. He previously served as the Superintendent for Newton-Conover City Schools for over five years. David has also served Newton-Conover as the Associate Superintendent, and previous to that as the Director of Elementary Curriculum, ESL (English as a second language) and AIG (academically and intellectually gifted). In February, 2012 he was named the Outstanding Young Educator for North Carolina by NCASCD and was a National Finalist for the ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award. In 2016, Dr. Stegall was named a national "Superintendent to Watch" by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and in 2017 Dr. Stegall was selected as North Carolina Region 7 Superintendent of the Year by NCASA.

Stuart Walker, GWA Superintendent

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 Strazimiri, Parent

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.

Hananah Zaheer, Parent

Hananah Zaheer is a writer and editor. Her work has been published extensively and in 2017 she was awarded the Lawrence Foundation literary award from Michigan Quarterly. She spent 13 years as a university professor of English, both in the USA and in the UAE. Currently, she works as a corporate trainer and actor and runs the Dubai Literary Salon, a prose reading series that hosts local and international authors and offers writing workshops locally. She is also the co-founder of MTGcollective, a traveling retreat for writers and poets as well as Fiction editor for Four Way Review, a literary magazine. She had been hanging around the hallways of DAA since 2009, mostly at pickup times.

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.

Eman Qadumi, Student and Co-President 

Nicholas Hensel, Student and 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 below.