Poonam is an Economics Honours Graduate with an MBA from India's premier business school, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Prior to envisioning and cofounding Dubai International Academy, Poonam has had significant industry experience working on leading edge technology solutions with a range of organizations across India, Hong Kong, USA, Belgium, Sweden, The Netherlands, Oman and UAE. She is the CEO of Innoventures Education and has served as the President of the Middle East IB Association of Schools and is the Secretary of the Dubai Private Schools Group.
Michael Stephen is a Chartered Accountant and has a Diploma in Portfolio Management with over 20 years’ experience in consulting and industry. He was part of the core team of Innoventures Education that set up Dubai International Academy. Michael started his career in an accounting firm focused on audit, tax, corporate law, and business and investment advisory services. He enjoys business and financial modelling to develop new business ideas, building key relationships, and the challenge of establishing new projects. In 2005, he cofounded Eternus Foundation in Chennai which provides education and health cover to children. Michael is a Fellow of the Association of International Accountants, UK and has been on the faculty of a business school in Dubai.
John Bell is joining Innoventures Education as Director of Learning. A very experienced educationist, having held several Headteacher and Executive Headteacher posts in UK and Spain as well as a Director of Education responsible for the quality of education across a worldwide international schools group; and a multi-academy trust and large local authority in the UK.
John has also served in an advisory capacity to national governments and also co-chaired a working group of the Council of International Schools on safeguarding. Besides having worked extensively across Europe, John has a long track record of leading school inspections and training around the world including UAE, .Jordan and Singapore.
Ms. Samira has over twenty years of experience in education and leadership of Arabic and Islamic Studies teams in Jordan and Dubai. She has a Diploma in Teaching Techniques and Bachelors of Arts in Arabic and English from the University of Jordan. She studied and delivered a large number of courses in education, teaching and learning of Arabic and Islamic Studies. Samira is passionate about raising the level of interest in these subjects in Dubai as they open the gate to the great Arabic culture and Islamic heritage. She believes that radical changes should be made in teaching and learning these two important subjects and is happy to be one of those who lead this change.
An experienced school leader, Jacquie has held senior positions both in the UAE and UK for the last 20 years. During her time in the UK, she was seconded to the LEA acting as consultant with responsibility for innovation and leadership development. Jacquie is a Research Associate for the former National College of School Leadership and has published internationally on leadership development, talent spotting and succession planning. As a consultant headteacher, Jacquie supported new headteachers and schools in challenging circumstances, during her tenure in the UK. Working within an international setting, Jacquie has lead two schools successfully through the DSIB Inspection process. In her last role as Principal, Jacquie has been instrumental in the design, build and transition to a new campus and expanding a successful international primary school to a 3 to 18 through school. Jacquie has extensive experience of school improvement and preparing schools for inspection within the Middle East and UK. She believes in creating a school community which nurtures each and every student to become successful global citizens, well-prepared for the 21st century.
Donavon brings with him over 40 years’ experience in education across teaching and various leadership roles in the US and internationally. Among his several tenures in the past, he has worked with Innoventures Education for over 7 years as the founding Head of Primary at Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills, Principals of Raffles International School and founding Principal of Collegiate American School.
Tim took over as the Principal of Raffles World Academy in 2016. He has held leadership positions in the Middle East, Europe and most recently in Abuja, Nigeria. A graduate in Business Education and Information Technology, Tim also has a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management. He brings with him extensive experience as a Teacher, Head of School and as an inspector of schools.
Tim. Richardson has been involved in international education as a primary school teacher and a school leader for 24 years. He has been a Head of Primary for over 8 years, 3 of which were at Dubai International Academy. Tim joined Innoventures Education in 2012 as a School Improvement Partner, before taking over as a Head of Primary in 2014. During his tenure at Dubai International Academy, the school was recognised as the first “Outstanding” IB continuum school in Dubai. A British citizen, with a degree in education from the University of Exeter, his entire career has been in British and other international schools.
James is promoted to the position of Principal of DIA Emirates Hills and will lead the school to further build on its position as the leading IB continuum school in Dubai. He joined Raffles World Academy in 2016 as the Head of the Secondary School. James is passionate about ensuring that young people have opportunities to be successful and achieve their aspirational dreams. He takes pride in supporting staff, students and parents to ensure that students are happy, resilient, independent lifelong learners and responsible citizens. An honours graduate from the University of Exeter, James also has a Masters in Educational Leadership besides a post graduate qualification in E-technologies.
David Hicks has 22 years of experience as a teacher and a leader. He is a firm believer in setting high expectations and challenges for students underpinned by rigorous curriculum and assessment while supported by an environment of nurture and trust. David is a Holder of NPQH and MA in Educational Leadership and Management. His research paper on Dubai education and inspections has been cited by both the World Bank and CfBT. He has13 years of IB experience (8 as Head of school/Principal) supported by a strong background in UK education and has overseen MYP and CP authorisation as well as CIS accreditation multiple times for his schools. He has spent significant time in Middle East/Dubai including start-up and IB continuum schools. David has served as a Member of the IB Regional Council (representing Africa, Europe and Middle East) from 2015-17 as well as a Content Advisor for ‘KHDA What Works’ since 2014.
Vaishali has been promoted to the position of Head of Nurseries in addition to her current role as Vice Principal of the Lakes Nursery. She will be responsible for leading and improving the provision of quality care and education at all of the Raffles nurseries. Vaishali joined Innoventures Education in 2011 and has been the Vice Principal of the Lakes Nursery since 2012. She has been the Acting Head of Nurseries since March 2018.
Susie has been promoted to the position of Head of Raffles Starters and Springs Nursery. Raffles Starters is Innoventures Education’s new school for early years (ages 3 to 5+), at the Springs Souk, adjoining the Springs Nursery. Susie will lead this innovative centre for young children that aims to provide a sound education in a warm and caring environment in the neighbourhood. Susie has been working in Innoventures Education since 2010, as KG Coordinator, Nursery Coordinator, Assistant Head of Primary, and then as Deputy Head of Primary School at Raffles International School.
Mihail has spent more than 20 years in the fields of Sports and Physical Education. A graduate in Physical Education and Sport, he also has a Masters in Sports Studies from the National Academy of Sports in Bulgaria. A former professional athlete, 5 time national champion of Modern Pentathlon and UAE Triathlon Champion in the past. Mihail joined Innoventures Education more than a decade ago and has been devoted to inspiring young people, teaching and developing the PE curriculum and sports culture. He is currently pursuing a PhD Degree with a focus on sport in international education, curriculum development and students’ wellbeing.
Hitesh has spent more than 15 years in the field of Educational Technology. A graduate in Computer Science Engineering, he also has a Masters in Philosophy for Computer Management. He joined Dubai International Academy in 2007, as a Technology teacher. In the same year he took up the role of Head of Department – Technology for Dubai International Academy. He later in 2014, took up the role of Group Head of Educational Technology for Innoventures Education and consolidates the efforts across the Group’s schools to maximize the use of Technology systems into teaching and learning. He is also the Timetable coordinator and the Standardised Testing Coordinator for all the schools across the group.