GEMS Education appoints exceptional educators as new principals of three of its standout schools in the UAE

27 February 2024
  • Albie Huyser appointed founding principal of GEMS Founders School – Masdar City
  • Ranju Anand set to lead GEMS Cambridge International Private School – Sharjah
  • Michelle Thomas joins GEMS as head of GEMS Al Barsha National School in Dubai

GEMS Education has announced the appointment of new principals at three of its most in-demand schools, including the new net-zero-energy GEMS Founders School – Masdar City (GFA), as well as GEMS Cambridge International Private School – Sharjah (GCS) and GEMS Al Barsha National School (GNS).

Albie Huyser has been appointed the founding Principal/CEO of the sustainability-focused GFA in Abu Dhabi, while Ranju Anand, who has been with the group since 1996 and currently serves as Senior Vice President – Education, will step into Ms Huyser’s role of Principal/CEO of GCS from April.

Ms Anand, who helped launch GCS in 2019 and is already well-known and well-loved among the school community, will continue to serve as SVP alongside her GCS headship.

Distinguished educator Michelle Thomas, meanwhile, has been named as the new Principal/CEO of GNS in Dubai. Ms Thomas is new to the GEMS group but not to the UAE, where she has been a prominent school leader for the past five years.

Commenting on the new appointments, Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education, said:

“I have no doubt that Ranju will leverage her visionary background in educational leadership based on her 28 years with GEMS to drive continued growth and innovation at GCS, while Albie will bring her wealth of experience and proven track record of success to our pioneering GEMS Founders School in Masdar City.

At the same time, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Michelle Thomas to the GEMS family, where her extensive experience and dedication to academic excellence will enrich the educational journey of our students at GNS.

“These important milestones reflect our commitment to maintaining a dynamic and thriving educational environment within the GEMS family. We are dedicated to delivering exceptional education and nurturing the next generation of leaders.”

Ms Huyser has led GCS from strength to strength since its launch in 2019, securing a Very Good rating in its first ever inspection by Sharjah’s education regulator, SPEA. Over the course of her long career with GEMS, Ms Anand served as Principal of The Winchester School – Jebel Ali, where she led the school to a Very Good KHDA inspection rating. More recently, in her capacity as a valued member of the GEMS Education Committee, she has been overseeing a cluster of seven GEMS schools across multiple emirates, while also guiding GEMS’ wellbeing focus for students across the network.

In her two decades in education, Ms Thomas has successfully guided schools from ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Outstanding’ and managed transformational improvements across diverse settings. Recognised as a National Leader of Education and Lead Ofsted Inspector in the UK, she brings a wealth of education expertise and experience.

Dr Saima Rana, Group Chief Education Officer, GEMS Education, said:

“Our Principals are truly at the forefront of school leadership, guiding and inspiring their teachers and staff to raise the bar continuously in terms of education outcomes, opportunities, and wellbeing for our students.

We are immensely proud of our heads of school and delighted that Albie and Ranju will be taking the lead at GFA and GCS, two schools that will benefit greatly from their extensive experience and expertise. Equally, we’re very pleased to welcome Michelle to GEMS Education and GNS, and we look forward to supporting her and her team in the delivery of the highest quality education that are families have come to expect from GEMS.”

In the last two years, GEMS Education’s growth strategy has seen the group extend its footprint in the UAE, greatly enhancing and adding to the country’s education landscape. Highlights include the opening of GEMS Metropole School – Al Waha in Dubai in August 2023 as well as the upcoming launch of the groundbreaking net-zero-energy GEMS Founders School – Masdar City in Abu Dhabi in August 2024.

The group is also adding significant capacity across many of its existing schools, including noteworthy expansions and new initiatives at Jumeirah College, GEMS Dubai American Academy, GEMS World Academy – Dubai, GEMS Wesgreen International School – Sharjah, GEMS International School – Al Khail, and GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa.

Further developments will be announced in due course as the UAE’s largest and longest-established private education provider looks to make its world-class education available to even more families across the UAE, in line with the Emirates’ ambitious growth strategy and vision.

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