Academic Advisory Board

The current members of the Academic Board are:

HH Sheikh Butti
Bin Juma Al Maktoum

Honorary Chairman –
UAE Citizen

His Highness Sheikh Butti Bin Juma Al Maktoum is a respected member of the Maktoum family having served for many years in government positions in the Dubai Armed Forces.

He was the founder of one of the first and most respected English curriculum colleges in the UAE: The English College. He has also been developing his own commercial interests in construction and property.His Highness Sheikh Butti has shown his passion for sports, having been President of both the UAE Olympic Committee and the UAE Football Association. He was also the inaugural Chairman of The Emirates Golf Club. Furthermore, his interest in wild life is well documented in both Europe and the Middle East.

Bilbo Perrot

Representative of HH Sheikh Butti Bin Juma Al Maktoum – Swiss Citizen

Born in Geneva (Switzerland), Bilbo is an entrepreneur interested in emerging countries and project management. Bilbo has a vast network thanks to his golf career which brought him to many different parts of the world.

He is the Managing Director of Emirates Business Consultants, a company specialised in business development solutions in the GCC. The partners of EBC have more than 30 years of experience in the region and its Chairman is HH Sheikh Butti Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum.Bilbo Perrot is also an advisor to mining, real estate and forestry companies.

Bilbo was 11 times the Swiss National Golf Champion, he played for the Swiss National Team as well as for the European Continental Team. He also played 3 years on the Tour as professional.Bilbo is a passionate watch collector, lives in Dubai since 2003 and is married with one child.

Ruth Burke


Ruth Burke, who joined the school in August 2021, is a passionate and inspiring educator, with a career spanning more than three decades – teaching in Ireland, the UK and the UAE. During her career, Ruth has driven her schools to receive Outstanding ratings from the KHDA, and has a deep understanding of the International Baccalaureate education programme, which aims to develop students’ intellectual, emotional, personal and social skills ready for a globalised world.

Having served as a principal at three Dubai schools – Jumeirah English Speaking School, GEMS Wellington International School and Deira International School, Dubai, during the last 13 years, Ruth has almost unrivalled experience of what it means to teach and manage schools in a truly multicultural environment.

Her achievements include improving academic outcomes, increasing attainment for UAE nationals, developing better parent/teacher communications, transparency and engagement, and achieving improvements across the board at all her schools.

Ruth holds a Bachelor of Education degree with Honours from Trinity College, Dublin and a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management from the UK’s University of Bath.

Rania Hussein

Deputy Head of School

Rania Hussein is an IB educator through and through. She has worked within the IB Programme for the entirety of her teaching career fulfilling a variety of key roles. Her teaching journey has been largely characterised by her own international upbringing and experiences. After having attended several international schools in the Middle East, where she studied as an IB student herself, Rania graduated with Honours in MIT from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She then completed her PGCE at the University of Sunderland and moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to start her teaching career. Rania was a Head of Year and Head of House in the British International School of Jeddah, and taught the Diploma Programme and IGCSE simultaneously.

In 2015, Rania and her husband David moved to Dubai and worked at GEMS World Academy – Dubai. She has since occupied the roles of; CAS and Service Learning Coordinator, Research Project and Extended Essay Coordinator and IB DP and CP Coordinator. In the past three years she has overseen over 300 students in her capacity as Head of Senior School and was responsible for the academic and pastoral wellbeing of the Diploma, Courses and Career-related Programme students. Under her leadership, the IB Diploma Programme outcomes grew from 29 to 37 points and the pass rate from 67% to 100%.

Rania was also the IB DP network leader for GEMS and oversaw the progress, growth and development of other IB schools within the network. She is a qualified IB Examiner, teaching and learning coach and trainer who is passionate about empowering leaders within schools and creating visible impact that improves the learning provision for students.

Above all else, Rania is a committed mother to two wonderful children and a wife to David, who was also an international student and is currently a Head of School in Dubai. They both share a passion for working with children and strive to recreate their own wonderful school experiences and memories.

Matthew Farthing

Principal at Nord Anglia international school, dubai

Matthew Farthing is the Principal at NAS Dubai. Featuring over 30 years of international experience as an educationalist, Matthew is known for his passion for academia and his understanding of the importance of a personalised approach to schooling that enhances academic focus. Prior to joining NAS Dubai in August 2016, Farthing completed three successful years at the British International School Bratislava as principal, after functioning as the founding Headmaster of Harrow International School in Beijing and Head of Upper School at Harrow International School Bangkok, before that. As a school principal, his main role is to provide a strategic direction in the school system. Additionally, he is responsible for assessing teaching methods, developing a standardised school curriculum, monitoring student achievements, as well as evaluating staff and overseeing facilities. Matthew’s efforts at NAS Dubai are reflected in the outstanding success of its students, particularly at IGCSE and IB exams, thus prolonging his track record of producing excellent academic results throughout his career. Matthew has a first degree in English Language and Literature from Oriel College Oxford, an MA in Linguistics and English Language Teaching, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and holds the National Professional Qualification for Headship; he is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Francis Clivaz

Founder of College Du Leman, Switzerland —
Swiss Citizen

In 1960, Francis A. Clivaz founded Collège du Léman International School in Versoix, Geneva, which currently welcomes more than 2000 students representing 125 nationalities.

In 1965, Francis A. Clivaz co-founded ECIS (European Council of International Schools) where he has made significant contributions in the domain of school accreditation and has been Member of the Board of Directors.In 1983, Francis A. Clivaz founded Les Roches School of Hotel Management in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, which currently welcomes 1800 students and which offers Hotel Management Diploma and University Degrees in Tourism and Hotel Management.

Since 1985, Francis A. Clivaz has been an active member of NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges), he has been a member of the “Committee on American and International Schools Abroad” and the “Commission on Technical and Career Institutions”. In 2005, he was elected on the NEASC Board of Trustees.

Between 1970 and 1995, Francis A. Clivaz was Vice-President and then President of the Geneva Tourism Office. During this time, he was also invited to assume the role of President of the Geneva Association of Private Schools and was elected President of the Fédération Romande of Private Schools in Switzerland.

In 1994, Francis A. Clivaz was honored with the title of Dr Hc of Humane Letters from the University College of Endicott in Boston. In 2006, Francis A. Clivaz co-founded Genavensis Holding SA, a Swiss investment company active in the field of Private Equity with emphasis in Education.

Francis A. Clivaz currently serves as Member of the Governing Board of Les Roches Crans-Montana, Les Roches Gruyère University of Applied Sciences and Glion Institute of Higher Education. He also serves as Chairman of Collège du Léman International School. He is a Member of the NEASC Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Genavensis Holding SA.

Francis A. Clivaz is a member of various Boards of Directors including: Banque Pasche (Swiss Private Bank) and Serficom Family Office Geneva. He is an honorary member of CIS (Council of International Schools) and an honorary member of Hôtellerie Suisse (Swiss Hotel Association).

Miriam Burger

Chairperson of SISD Parent Forum Committee – Parent Representative

Born in Switzerland, Miriam Burger studied Ecole des HEC, University of Lausanne and has a Management Degree in Marketing Major.  Her family lives in Dubai since 2016 (second expatriation in UAE) and she is the mother of 2 kids, which are in Secondary and Primary.

Through her career, 9 years in the luxury industry and nearly 5 years in cosmetics industry she proved that she is committed and highly qualified in marketing and public relations. Her broad and international experience, her professionalism and her enthusiasm are an added value for being the SISD Parent Forum Committee chairperson.

As a member of the Academic Advisory Board, Miriam Burger holds the unique position of having a parental viewpoint of the school.  Her experience with parents’ concerns bring a different perspective to the management of the school, she gives advices and full support to SISD to get an outstanding education for the students.

Shareen Koleth

Medical Director & Founder Bloom Therapy, Dubai 

Shareen, with a rich background spanning 16 years in the field of Speech and Language Therapy in Dubai, is the founder of Bloom Therapy Speech Center, a thriving institution that has been positively impacting children and their families for the past four years. Born and brought up in the UAE, her roots and profound ties to the community fuel her commitment to giving back.

Her academic journey includes a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Dubai and a Masters in Speech Therapy from Australia. Throughout her career, Shareen has dedicated herself to diverse professional environments in the UAE, where she has provided valuable support to children across various age groups and populations.

Venturing beyond conventional paths, she took the bold step of establishing her own center, Bloom Therapy Speech Center. In a region where allied health services and the concept of inclusion are still emerging, Shareen actively pursues her passion for educating both parents and teachers about the transformative impact of Speech Therapy and the principles of inclusion.

Shareen took on the role of Governor of Inclusion at SISD with the explicit aim of advancing inclusive education practices. Her decision is rooted in the belief that every child, regardless of their abilities or background, deserves an education that recognizes and celebrates their unique strengths. This dedication to fostering inclusivity is at the heart of Shareen’s mission, driving her to make a lasting impact on educational practices and community awareness.

Stephane Sinimale

Director of Corporate Relations, for Middle East and Africa at Harvard Business School

Stephane joined Harvard Business School in 2015 and is based in Dubai. With over 20 years experience in executive education, his expertise ranges from selling complex management development programs with global roll-out to serving as trusted advisor to Fortune 500 Talent Directors in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining Harvard Business School, Stephane started his career in Quality Management in France, the UK and Canada. He entered the world of executive education at INSEAD in 2001, then joined Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2004. In July 2015, he relocated to Dubai for Harvard Business School as Director Client Development for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. Stephane focuses his business development activities to co design with his Clients impactful learning solutions to accelerate organizational effectiveness. From 2011 to 2015, Stephane served as an Executive Education Steering Committee Member for the Brussels based European Foundation for Management Development. Stephane holds an MBA from Thunderbird, is originally from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, has two very active boys and an equally education passionate spouse.
Angus Duthie

Director Field Security, CNN

Gus is a former British Army Officer who has been based in Dubai since 1999. He is currently one of the Directors of Field Security with CNN and when not deployed supporting news gathering with the front-line teams; he overseas and supports the organizations deployments globally.

Previously as the VP Security and Crisis Management for GEMS Education, Gus was responsible for the development and establishment of protocols covering all 60 schools and 130,000 children. Gus has supported numerous schools’ leadership teams and mentored senior leaders during crisis.

Gus supported the development of Safeguarding standards. Gus has been trained to the KHDA standards in Academic Board governance and previously served on the Local Advisory Board of Jumeriah College Dubai when it was graded as outstanding. He is currently on the Advisory Council for Nord Anglia International School and has a 9-year-old son at that school.

Based on his military career Gus developed search and rescue protocols and teams for motorsports in the UAE. This led him to be selected to crisis manage the first 4 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix from Race Control, a hobby he still enjoys.

Tamara Grannell

Grade 1 Learning Coordinator and Teacher 

Tamara has lived in Dubai since 2013 and taught  in two IB schools in Dubai before joining SISD in 2016. In her classroom, students can use their imaginations and inquire freely allowing their personalities and characters to blossom. She believes that children thrive when they are given opportunity to take ownership of their own learning and have time to play and develop personal, social and emotional skills.

Rhiana Courlander

academic counsellor

My name is Rhiana Courlander and I was born and raised in North Wales. I have spent most of my career working abroad, having lived in both Thailand and Dubai for the past 8 years. Initially, I spent 2 years supporting students as a Guidance Counselor at a Nord Anglia school in Thailand. We then moved to Dubai in 2017, and I worked as a University & Wellbeing Counselor at GEMS Dubai American Academy for 6 years.

I am very excited to continue my career at SISD, and am looking forward to meeting and supporting SISD students over the coming years.

Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two children, 14 year old Anía and 5 year old Oisín. We generally enjoy outdoor activities –  including growing our own fruit and vegetables! This can be a challenge in Dubai, but makes it even more rewarding.

Fun fact about me  – Prior to moving to Thailand 8 years ago I lived in a village named: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.