Professor Ralph Tabberer CB
Chair of Governing Body
Ralph is an alumni of Plymouth College after which he attended Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, gaining a MA in Economics, Social and Political Science. In addition, he gained a PGCE from Brunel University. Ralph was a teacher and completed 10 years’ of research study into how children learn before joining the Civil Service. A highly successful career led to his appointment in 2000, as Chief Executive of the TTA (Teacher Training Agency), which became the TDA (Training and Development Agency for Schools), and was the UK’s most senior official for schools under the Blair Government. In 2009, he came to the Middle East as Chief Schools Officer and Chief Operating Officer for GEMS Education.
After 4 years in charge of their schools, he set up his own companies in the UK and UAE that provide governments, investors and operators with financial, planning, educational and marketing support for their schools. and is a visiting professor at Warwick University and University College London.
He was made Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath by Her Majesty The Queen in 2008.
Chairman of Hartland International School and Co-Chairman of Sobha Group, UAE.
He joined the Company in 2004 bringing with him, a wealth of industry and leadership experience. In his capacity as Co-Chairman, Ajay has helped shape Sobha Group’s growth in the UAE, a key market for the company including the diversification of the Group into Educational Services. Ajay is known for incisive industry analysis and team-building skills.
Ajay is a gold medallist in Chemical Engineering from M.S University Baroda and holds a post graduate degree in Business Administration from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, University of Mumbai.
Mrs. Bindu Menon
Director of Hartland International School
Bindu is one of the promoters in the Sobha Group portfolio in the U.A.E. She has been associated with Sobha Group since 2008 and spearheaded the operations and team building for certain group companies.
She was instrumental in setting up Sobha Landscaping and Nurseries LLC –FZ (2013) and Sobha Horticulture & Landscaping (2014) to cater the landscaping requirements of UAE companies as well as the Group’s growing residential development portfolio – Sobha Hartland and District One projects located in Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City. As the Director of these companies, she is actively involved in the operations and expansion of this division.
Bindu holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. She was born in India and raised in Oman where she spent her childhood along with her family and is now an Omani passport holder. She has been in Dubai for more than 15 years.
Dubai Business Governor
Former Chairman, World Travel and Tourism Council.
Chairman, Irish Business Network.
Non executive Director Dubai Expo2020.
Non executive Director Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority advisory board.
International Ambassador Galway2020.
Non executive Director Temes Hotels and Resorts, Greece. Member of the Board of Trustees Tolerance Institute UAE.
Adviser Emirates Palace Group, Dubai.
Former President and CEO Jumeirah Group.
Gerald Lawless started his career with Forte Hotels which culminated in him setting up and growing Forte’s operations in the Middle East.
After a 23-year career with Forte Hotels, he joined Jumeirah in 1997 and helped establish it as one of the premier luxury hotel brands in the world. Taking on the challenge of launching Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, after the successful introduction of Jumeirah Beach Hotel to an eager travelling public, Mr. Lawless went on to become President and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah Group.
At the beginning of 2016, having served for 18 years at the helm of the Jumeirah Group, Mr. Lawless assumed a new leadership position responsible for tourism and hospitality in Dubai Holding, the Group’s parent company. During this period he served as Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council.He has now retired from these roles and continues to reside in Dubai.
Mr. Lawless is a Graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland and holds the following Honorary Degrees:
- Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management at the Johnson & Wales University, State of Rhode Island, USA;
- Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws at the National University of Ireland, Galway;
- Honorary Doctorate at the Middlesex University Dubai.
He served as a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mobility with the World Economic Forum. He is fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality; and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Ecole Hô telière de Lausanne.
Recipient of the 2017 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.
Mrs Al Blooshi
Emirati Community Governor
Director of Partnerships at Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation and Member of MBRF’s Supreme Committtee.
Mrs Al Blooshi is a highly skilled professional with a wide range of management expertise with a career spanning over 20 in developing and managing the core group businesses.
Mrs Al Blooshi’s core competencies lie in developing business strategies, restructuring entities, improving profitability, carrying out infrastructural changes, identifying and securing suitable investors for various sections of the business and identifying/disposing of non profitable business units.
In addition to the aforementioned competencies, she also excels at offering advisory services to the Board of Directors in making timely and efficient business decisions. She is highly commercially aware and has the ability to turn any business unit from a non-profit entity into a profitable business unit in numerous business segments.
She is a proven leader in managing core businesses including passing on timely directives to directors, divisional heads and managers to ensure the operations are run efficiently and effectively to ensure corporate goals are achieved. In addition but not limited to performing advisory services on management and organisational development, corporate policies, business strategies, planning, information management systems, human resources, financial management and budgets, corporate communications, marketing and public relations.
Business and Community Governor
Bernard West has two decades of experience building investor backed education businesses across developed and frontier markets in Asia, Africa and the Americas. His work in the sector spans K-12 education, postsecondary training and online learning. Currently he is an advisor to Sobha Group’s education business.
Earlier, Mr. West served as the founding CEO of Tadrees Education Holding in KSA, a K-12 education platform sponsored by the Safanad and NCB. He grew the school platform to serve more than 12,000 students in just under 5 years. Bernard’s previous work includes managing and advising several leading education companies, school acquisitions and public/private partnerships in USA, Mexico, Brazil, Middle East, and India.
Mr West was also a shareholder and advisor to the founders of Meritas Schools, a group of elite college preparatory schools in ten locations around the world. He was a founding executive with Singapore based Knowledge Universe and built K12 Inc. (LRN: NYSE).
He also held senior executive positions with GEMS Education (Commercial Director) the largest owner of private schools in the world and Edison Schools (Vice President) the former largest manager of schools in the United States.
Mr West is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Howard University.
Dubai Education Community Governor
Ken Jones is the Director of Education for Praxis Education. Previously he was engaged by the Aga Khan Education Service to co-author a school quality assurance framework, successfully trialing this in schools in Africa and Asia. He jointly reviewed 156 Aga Khan Schools worldwide and co-authored a global report on the findings. Prior to this he was the Director of Education for the successful Al Najah Schools Group in Dubai and Oman, and CEO of the Al Dhafra Schools, group based in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Ken was also the Country Director, Qatar and Bahrain, for GEMS Education, opening GEMS first schools in Qatar in 2014 and 2015. Ken started teaching in the UK in 1989, becoming a successful Principal; OFSTED described his Leadership as ‘inspirational’. He became an Advisory Headteacher in the largest Local Authority in the UK, supporting the introduction of the National Literacy Strategy. Ken was also a Consultant Leader for the UK’s National College for School Leadership (now the National College for Teaching and Leadership), and a Regional Representative for the Fast Track Accelerated Leadership Program. He was a Continuing Professional Development Adviser for ‘Teachers TV’ and a School Improvement Partner. Ken ran his own educational consultancy for five years from the UK, providing services worldwide. He was also an assessor of Advanced Skills Teachers, and a Basic Skills Quality Mark Assessor. Ken was educated at Frobel and Avery Hill Colleges in London where he was born, and has worked in the UAE, Libya, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Brunei, Kenya, South Africa, France, Pakistan and India. His first degree was in Environmental Studies and Geography and he has a passion for the natural environment. Ken enjoys kayaking in the sea and in rivers, walking, and camping. He is married and has four children from the ages of 13 to 30.
Dubai Education Community Governor
Sanam has worked for the University of Birmingham since January 2018 when she joined the organisation as part of the School of Education at the University of Birmingham, Dubai. Having been in the UAE for over 10 years, Sanam has a wealth of experience working in UAE schools in a leadership role, with a particular passionate focus on improving Learning and Teaching as well as raising attainment and aspiration for positive student outcomes. Sanam has a key role in developing the Education Strategy Vision as part of the University of Birmingham Dubai, specifically around Initial Teacher Education and Continued Professional Development of Teachers and School Leaders.
A qualified teacher for 20 years, Sanam has held leadership roles within schools in the UAE. A key element of her role was to oversee both Arabic and Islamic departments with a specific focus on pedagogical improvement and raising the profile and integration of these subjects areas across the organisation. As Advanced Skills Teacher, she supported newly qualified teachers develop their practise against the UK and UAE Teaching standards. A qualified and accredited Executive Coach and Mentor, Sanam has a particular interest in supporting teachers to improve their performance through both one to one and group coaching sessions. As Vice Chair of the International Society of Qualified Coaches, Sanam is passionate about empowering individuals to reach their potential and achieve goals. She has previously held a position as a School Governor in a UK school with a specialist role in overseeing curriculum development.
Sanam’s early career was in Financial Services following her Post Graduate from Kings College, London. Sanam is currently completing her Masters in Character Education with the University of Birmingham, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. An ambassador of diversity, equality and tolerance, Sanam is passionate about working in International educational settings ensuring that learners have access to challenging and engaging learning environments where they can continue to flourish.
With a background in law, having qualified as a lawyer in Australia in 2001 and in England and Wales in 2008, Cassie has worked both in private practice in Sydney and in-house in London across a number of fields of law.
She has extensive experience in the education sector having been in-house legal counsel for the largest group of independent schools in the UK. She has assisted schools deal with all sorts of issues relating to facilities, employment, parental concerns, child safeguarding, health and safety and compliance with school standards.
Cassie and her husband have two children in the primary phase at Hartland.
Seema has a Degree of Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from India and a Masters Degree in Special Educational Needs from the University of Birmingham UK, both of which she passed with distinction. She also holds a post graduate qualification in Social Communications Media from India and a Diploma in Human Resource Management from the UK.
She began her career as a journalist and worked with leading newspapers in India and later joined the World Health Organisation Oman, in the capacity of Communications Officer. Seema currently works in the Inclusion Department of North London Collegiate School Dubai.
Right from her undergraduate days, Seema has been actively involved in the education of underprivileged children in a government home in India. She continued to follow this passion working with children of determination when she moved to Muscat, Oman and now in Dubai.
Seema is the mother of two children both of whom attend Hartland International School and both are in the secondary phase.
Angela joined Hartland International School in September 2017 as Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages. Angela has taught French and Spanish for over 14 years and she spent most of her childhood in several countries and her own education was a mix of three very different curriculums, located mainly in Europe. She has a Bachelor of Arts in French Studies, and PGCE in Modern Languages.
Kathryn joined Hartland International School as Head of English as an Additional Language in 2015 in the first year of the school’s opening. Kathryn is originally from England and is married with three grown up children and has worked overseas for many years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Economics and a Master’s Degree in Education as well as a range of postgraduate EAL / TEFL qualifications. Prior to commencing a career in English language teaching, Kathryn worked in marketing in a variety of industries in the UK.
Should you wish to contact the Chair of Governors, Professor Ralph Tabberer or any member of the Governing Body please do so by contacting the Clerk to the governors: Ms Gerladine Nixon firstname.lastname@example.org