Our Team

Our teachers and leaders are all passionate educators who bring their unique talents into our classrooms every day.

The leadership team all have strong track records of educational excellence and have led "Outstanding" schools in the UK.

Fiona Cottam - Principal and Chief Academic Officer

Fiona joined Hartland after an extremely successful tenure at GEMS Education. Initially joining Jumeirah College as Principal and CEO in 2009, she led the school to “Outstanding” KHDA status in 2010, an accolade the school holds to this day. In 2013, Fiona moved into the role of Director of International Schools GEMS Education. In that role, she oversaw the day-to-day work of and line managed the Principals of the 23 International curriculum schools in the region. These included schools delivering the National Curriculum for England, IB curriculum and American curriculum schools. In 2015 she became Senior Vice President of the New Schools Team at GEMS. Prior to her roles within GEMS, Fiona was the Head Teacher of Wilmington Grammar School for Boys in Kent, where she was the first female leader of the school in its history.

Fiona Cottam


Antonia Giovanazzi - Vice Principal

MA (Hons), PGSCE

Antonia Giovanazzi joined Hartland from Beaconsfield High School in Buckinghamshire, UK, an Outstanding selective girls’ grammar school. Antonia led the school’s teaching and learning development plan alongside her role as Head of Modern and Ancient Languages.

As a passionate advocate for encouraging and inspiring curiosity, Antonia has undertaken extensive research projects with colleagues across the globe in order to design and deliver highly effective Professional Development plans to meet the needs of teachers and school communities. She has been seconded to a number of Educational Authorities in an advisory capacity, helping to create resources to support teachers in the classroom.

Antonia Giovanazzi


Professor Ralph Tabberer CB - Governor and Education Advisor

MA (Cambridge), PGCE, DEd, FRSA

Professor Ralph Tabberer is the former Director General for Schools in the UK appointed by PM Tony Blair when his top three priorities in government were ‘education, education, education’. Ralph is a world-renowned expert on student learning, teacher training, international schooling, parental engagement and digital learning. He has seven years experience in the Gulf and was the education lead for GEMS before establishing his own company, BBD Education.

He is a visiting Professor of the University of London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and he was honoured by HM The Queen in the 2009 Honours List for his services to schools.

Ralph Tabberer


Pavla Gariboli

Foundation Stage 1 Teacher

I come from a little quaint village in the Czech Republic. My family and I have been here the UAE since 2008 and now call this home.

I recognise that the most important relationship in early childhood is the bond between parents and children. I work extensively to ensure that parents are informed and involved in the activities of their children’s day at Hartland International School.

Here at Hartland, I practise inquiry based learning, which is a child-directed approach that allows for the flexibility to inspire individual pursuits and peer involvement. Likewise, children are given respect for their ideas and passion to pursue their own interests.

My hobbies include running, Pilates, swimming and reading.

Stefania D'Olimpio

Foundation Stage 1 Teacher

After working in Canada I moved to an international school in the UAE as an early years teacher and have been here since 2008. I have a passion for the magic of childhood and a talent for helping children discover and respect their inner voice. I am enthusiastic about inquiry based learning and child-directed projects. I have conducted independent research into the Reggio-Emilia approach to early years education and I am continually inspired by the value that children’s ideas hold in the Reggio Emilia approach.

My hobbies are focused around my family and I enjoy raising my twin daughters.

Stephanie Nazarian

FS2 Teacher

Following on from my Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Stirling, I received my Professional Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Edinburgh in 2012. I taught in Key Stage 1 in Scotland, before moving to the UAE three years ago, where I have been mainly teaching in Key Stage 2. This has provided me with experience and expertise in a multicultural learning and teaching environment. I am an extremely passionate and caring teacher, who is committed to ensuring the very best possible educational experience for all of my pupils; there is nothing more rewarding than helping them to progress, develop and achieve their goals. I aim to promote moral and ethical values in children and encourage them to reach their full potential; academically, socially and emotionally.

Emma Bowden

Year 1 Teacher

I am from Tutukaka, Northland, New Zealand. I graduated as a teacher in 1994 from the Auckland College of Education and went on to complete a Bachelor of Education (Primary) from the University of Auckland. My teaching experience has been in Primary Education from Year 1 to Year 6. I came to the UAE in 2013 and have enjoyed working in the international school environment.

As a teacher, my focus is supporting students to meet learning challenges with confidence and enthusiasm. I believe every child has a unique set of talents and abilities that will flourish in my calm and caring classroom environment.

Hayley Pearce

Year 4 Teacher

I am originally from Reading in the UK and this is my first year teaching in Dubai. I gained my teaching degree at the University of Reading. Prior to this I graduated from St Mary’s University College, where I studied Sports Science and Management Studies. I am currently teaching Year 4 at Hartland but have experience teaching most year groups in Key Stage 2.

Raj Kaur

Head of Science / Senior Tutor

Originally from Birmingham in the UK, I have been teaching for over ten years and working in Dubai for the past five years as a Head of Department. I moved to Hartland International School because I believed in the idea of forming a “strong partnership between our school, each child and their parents”. This is a great ethos that I strongly believe in, so that the child is able to grow into a happy, strong and independent individual. My hobbies include travelling, mindfulness, yoga and reading.

Claire Beggs

Head of Art & Design

I have been teaching for nine years, six of these in Dubai. I pride myself on being a competent, adaptable and enthusiastic professional with an established reputation for delivering outstanding innovative, effective and enjoyable classroom lessons. I have worked within range of practical and leadership roles, teaching to the British skills based curriculum, the International Primary & Secondary Curriculum and the International Baccalaureate. My success has evolved from a mature, constructive and eclectic teaching approach where I foster a strong, multi-cultural team working relationship between colleagues, students and parents.

Mrs Kathryn Llewellyn

Head of EAL

I am delighted to be part of the fantastic team at Hartland and have thoroughly enjoyed my first year as head of EAL for the whole school - from FS2 up to year 6. I am looking forward to also working with the secondary children joining in September. My professional experience in EAL is extensive and I have spent the past fifteen years working across all age groups both privately and in different schools and colleges in the Middle East and beyond.

Maureen McDonough

Head of Primary Maths

I graduated in 1996 from the University of Wales with a B Ed Primary Degree. I have been part of the teaching profession for almost twenty years and I have held positions in middle management for well over a decade. I worked as a co-ordinator in a school before being a consultant in teaching and learning in Manchester and then Blackburn. This enabled me to transfer my skills and knowledge to become a Head of Mathematics in a large British primary school in Dubai before I joined the team at Hartland International School in August 2015.

Mary Rose Grieve

School Librarian

I am from Edinburgh, and my husband, four children and I have lived in Dubai for three years. My children are all at the school, and I have been the Librarian at Hartland since December. I have the enviable job of looking after our wonderful, ever growing, collection of books, and helping the students and teachers in their learning and teaching. I am passionate about reading and children’s literature, and the promotion of reading for pleasure is a vital part of my job, as well as the teaching of information literacy and research though our library catalogue, and our digital and physical collections.

Peter White

Year 2 Teacher

I am from Tipperary in Ireland and graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Limerick in 2008. I have lived and worked in Cork, Ireland for most of my career, teaching children from age 6-12. I joined Hartland International School in 2015 and am currently Year 2 Homeroom Teacher. As a teacher, my focus is on creating a safe, inclusive atmosphere where children can learn effectively whilst gaining confidence and feeling supported. I believe that this is the best environment for children of this age to reach their potential, socially, emotionally and academically. This year, I coached the boys’ rugby team and also organised activities for the very popular “Lego Club” enrichment.

Rasha Mahdy

Arabic B Teacher

I come from Egypt where I did my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in education. I have had almost seventeen years of experience as an Arabic teacher to non-native speakers in Dubai. My major goal in teaching Arabic is to achieve advanced language proficiency in the four areas of language performance: speaking, listening, reading and writing and using Arabic in the real life. I am happy to be part of such an ambitious school with wonderful students.

Coming soon.