Keynote Biographies

gems education colour coordinated books in library



Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski DBE

Dame Dana is an educational expert and sits as a Board member of Ofqual, the regulatory body for public examinations in England. Last year she acted as a consultant to the Centre for Social Justice, a think tank informing social policy and the policy of the major parties. Most recently Dame Dana has Chaired the Review for Head Teachers’ Standards in England. As a National Leader of Education, her knowledge skills and experience have frequently been called upon to support and improve schools in challenging circumstances. Dame Dana initiated the innovative Bright Futures internship project, enabling students to work in prestigious organizations and raising their career aspirations. She is a senior partner of Challenge Partners, a national network of schools committed to school improvement and closing the achievement gap. In her capacity as regional Head Teacher lead for the Prince’s Teaching Institute Dame Dana acted as a facilitator and trainer on the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms programme. Dame Dana is a member of numerous national and international working groups including educational and business organizations such as Future Leaders and the Institute of Directors.

Dr. d’Reen Struthers, Institute of Education, University of London

Dr d’Reen Struthers trained originally at Waikato University, New Zealand. She has taught in NZ, Scotland and England, initially as a teacher and music educator but since the late 1990s has been involved with teacher education. As Principal Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Roehampton her work involved facilitating the training and development of School-based Mentors /Coaches. d'Reen also set up a number of Action Research Circles (ARCs) with schools as both an academic partner and research coach. Her work in Mentoring continues to be recognised by a number of UK universities. In early October 2014, she was recognised as a Senior Fellow[sic] of the Higher Education Academy, UK. Additionally she is currently the Co-convener of the Practitioner SIG (Special Interest Group) for BERA (British Education Research Association) and the National Chair of APTE (Association of Partnerships in Teacher Education) with the remit of Research and Publications. d'Reen now works at the Institute of Education, University of London.

Mrs. Asma Gilani, Principal / CEO, Our Own English High School Sharjah (Girls)

Ms. Asma Gilani has been in the field of education for almost 28years. The vast experience and expertise gained is a result of teaching in multi-cultural school environments as well as schools presenting socio-economic challenges. She has been a catalyst for achieving objectives of the organization and talent development of the students through effective contributions.

Under her leadership, the school has seen transformational change and immense growth. OOS being a Harbinger of growth, has undoubtedly made commendable strides, both in the academic and extra-curricular fields. The school was rated ‘Highly Effective’ in the MOE inspection and has been recommended for ‘Accreditation with Distinction’. It is also the first Indian School to win the prestigious Sheikh Khalifa Award for academic excellence from the federal Government of Abu Dhabi. The school has maintained the rich tradition of excellence by winning The Green Flag for environmental initiatives. 11 girls won the Sheikh Hamdaan Award, and the Sharjah Excellence award .The school also had 4 films shortlisted in Children’s Film Festival. The school won awards for best cinematography, best direction. The film Blessed won the runner up for the best movie and also for the Best poster based on the number of likes. One student also won the most promising film maker award and received a 4 week scholarship programme from New York film academy. Also, the girls have represented the school at the National level in Athletics, badminton, Table Tennis, swimming and Chess tournaments.

She strives to transit her enthusiasm, creativity and experience into a position, where she continues to provide an enriching and stimulating learning atmosphere for teachers and students who can explore and develop their strengths to the maximum and contribute to the progress of their school.

She opines, teaching and learning is a process which not only enables the children but teachers too, to adapt to the fast changing educational landscape, to thrive on competition and challenges; and yet be anchored to the best values.

Dr. David Spendlove, Head of Initial Teacher Education, The University of Manchester

Dr. David Spendlove is Head of Initial Teacher Education at The University of Manchester. His  work and research is  involved in the development of  local, national and international policy and practice in a variety of areas notably  teacher education, technology  education and creativity and emotion. He is a member of two international editorial boards and has an extensive list of publications located  in research and practice. David is a member of  the national advisory group for Initial Teacher Training and in 2013 he received an 'Outstanding Contribution award'  for his  work related to Teacher Education, research.

Ghadeer Abu-Shamat School Principal / CEO Al Khaleej National School

Is a professional qualified leader with fifteen years of experience in the educational field. Recently, Ghadeer obtained an MA in Educational Management and Leadership from Institute of Education – University of London (became UCL recently) . Moreover, she was awarded a Higher Diploma in Educational Leadership and Management from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 2011. Ghadeer is a chemist by education and started her educational career as a chemistry teacher in one of the private schools in Jordan. Her success as a teacher was the driving force behind promoting her to become the middle school principal making her the youngest principal in number one private school “Amman Academy” in Jordan. Nine years later, alongside her studying and travelling journey, she had the chance to be part of a team to establish a new private school “Asamiah International School”, where she worked as a school principal for three years.

Recently, she was appointed by GEMS as the Head of School / CEO for Al Khaleej National School.

Her passion for education, in addition to her personal characteristics and leadership skills, helped her succeed and have a profound impact on the stakeholders in all her leadership positions throughout her years of experience.

She is a determined, dedicated and enthusiastic hard worker, with a sharp vision and focused mind. As an educator in a leadership position, she believes that students should receive high-quality education. Hence, building the capacity of the teachers and unleashing the potentials of the students become a top priority.