Key Management

POONAM BHOJANI, Chief Executive Officer

POONAM BHOJANI Chief Executive Officer

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.

JAMES ROBERTS, Director of Standards

JAMES ROBERTS Director of Standards

James is Director of Standards at Innoventures Education. In this role, he works with the CEO and school leaders to drive forward the group’s quality agenda and secure the highest quality education for every student. He is an experienced school leader and Principal who began his teaching career at inner city secondary schools in London, before moving to the Middle East in 2011. He has over 15 years of senior leadership experience in both outstanding and challenging schools and as well as his degree in Biochemistry, James has a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Management, along with the National Professional Qualification for Headship. He firmly believes in unlocking the potential of every child academically, personally and socially through a continuous and relentless drive for sustained improvement in the quality of education.

MICHAEL STEPHEN, Director, Finance & Administration

MICHAEL STEPHEN Director, Finance & Administration

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.

SAMIRA SARAFANDI, Director of Arabic and Islamic Studies

SAMIRA SARAFANDI Director of Arabic and Islamic Studies

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.

PRATIBHA RAO, Principal – Dubai International Academy

PRATIBHA RAO Principal – Dubai International Academy

Pratibha is a highly experienced educator who began her teaching career 40 years ago in India.  She has been working in international schools in Dubai for the past 30 years.  Pratibha is an Honours graduate in English Literature and has a degree in Education as well as a Master of Arts in International Education from Oxford Brookes University.  A pioneer in IB education in the region, Pratibha has been involved in the teaching and development of the IB Diploma for two decades.  Pratibha believes in the holistic development of children and she considers herself to be a lifelong learner.

TAMMY TUSEK, Principal – Collegiate American School

TAMMY TUSEK Principal – Collegiate American School

Tammy has been in school administration for the past twelve years working with American and Common Core State Standards. She has specialized in school reform based on the utilization of data to impact change. Under her leadership in her first administrative experience, the school was acknowledged for decreasing behaviors utilizing data in a Positive Behavior Intervention Support Model by the State of Arizona in the US. Additionally, Tammy was named as the teacher who made the difference for the Phoenix Youth Male of the Year Award in 2008.


Prior to earning her Master’s Degree specializing in School Administration, Tammy taught Grade 7-11 grade students in the fields of Earth, Life and Physical Sciences and Health. Being a first generation American has led Tammy to her passion for international education and diversity where Collegiate American School has been a great fit. She believes all students have potential and her greatest joy is when students from her past remember lessons or mentoring sessions she led with them. Her interests include SCUBA, outdoor recreation and water sports.

NIDA O’BRIEN, Principal – Raffles Nurseries

NIDA O’BRIEN Principal – Raffles Nurseries

Nida has an MA in Education from University of Leicester, UK and a Montessori Diploma from Montessori Centre International, London. With 17 years in teaching and coordinator roles in early childhood settings, Nida strongly believes that in the important early years, care and education are inseparably linked and form the basis for a child’s social, emotional and intellectual development. Over the last 5 years in her role as Principal, she has been dedicated to the provision of the highest quality childcare and early education across all Raffles nurseries by working in partnership with the parent community. More recently, Nida has been instrumental in ensuring that Raffles nurseries qualify for the quality improvement scheme of the UK’s Pre-School Learning Alliance.

MIHAIL KOUZEV, Director of Sports and Activities

MIHAIL KOUZEV Director of Sports and Activities

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.

TIMOTHY CRAIG ROBERTS, Principal – Raffles World Academy

TIMOTHY CRAIG ROBERTS Principal – Raffles World Academy

Tim 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.

HITESH BHAGAT, Group Head of Educational Technology

HITESH BHAGAT Group Head of Educational Technology

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.