Al Yasat Private School - Staff Section | Al Yasat Private School, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | One place, countless opportunities

American curriculum school in the capital city, Abu Dhabi, offering enriched and remarkable educational provision to develop well-rounded transcendent glob…

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Al Yasat Private School


Senior Leadership Team

Dr. Asif Ilyas Padela Executive Principal

Dr. Asif’s interest in the field of education began when he developed a passion for social justice as a high school student. His enthusiasm led to acquiring a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religious Studies, and subsequently a Master of Arts in Teaching. Upon graduating he pursued a career at the Harlem Children’s Zone: Promise Academy Charter Schools under the leadership and guidance of Geoffrey Canada. The core focus being on ending generational poverty through creating a network of educational services that provided support from cradle to career. Over the course of his years working at the institution he held many roles Lead Teacher, Dean of Student, Assistant Principal, and Principal. His students and school consistently outperformed neighboring school districts. In an effort to deepen his experience and develop as an educator Dr. Asif relocated to the U.A.E. and served as a K-12 Vice Principal. Dr. Asif has led many professional development workshops on curriculum development, the Common Core standards, instructional design, using data to drive instruction, and other related topics.

Reem Rekieh Vice Principal Middle and High School

Mrs. Reem Rekieh comes from Toronto, Ontario in Canada. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology specializing in Education from York University. After arriving to Abu Dhabi in 2007, she has been a part of the Al Yasat family since. She has taught all grades in elementary and has been the subject coordinator for Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship Education (PSHCE) as well as a department head for the Grade 1-3 sections. She has also served as an Assistant principal of Elementary for 3 years and is currently serving as the Vice Principal of the phase. Reem completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Education with the University of Warwick in England with distinction, as well as her Masters in Innovation in Education. Her thesis focused on the effectiveness of assessment for learning strategies on improving students’ writing particularly in the UAE. This interest stems in part from her experiences over the years delving into reasons why students particularly struggle in the strand of writing, with the goal of discovering innovative ways to improve attainment of writing in the UAE social context. Aside from spending time with her children, Reem enjoys cooking and playing basketball in her spare time and has aspirations in the very near future to continue her education with plans to pursue a Doctorate in Education.

Abdallah Higazy Dean of Students
Vildana Dupanovic Vice Principal Elementary School (K - 5)

Vildana is very humbled and honored to introduce herself as the new Kindergarten and Primary School Vice Principal of Al Yasat Private School and to join this excellent school community. She believes that, with the cooperation between home and school, every student can succeed. She looks forward to sharing in this school community’s dedication to caring for our students daily while providing them with an intellectually challenging, motivating, safe and supportive learning environment.  


She completed her BSc in Elementary Education (K-6) at West Chester University in the USA & her Master of Education (K-6) with Principal Certification (K-12) at Cabrini College in the USA as well. She was a grade 3 teacher in the USA for 9 years and then spent 7 years in various leadership roles ranging from HOD to School Principal in the USA and UAE. 


She believes that home is not where you are from, but where your heart is. She lived and worked in Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the USA, India, Cambodia and the UAE. Aside from traveling, Vildana enjoys leading a healthy lifestyle, doing Yoga and cycling. She is a certified Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Aerial Yoga instructor. 

Victoria Diane King Head of Curriculum Development Coordinator (Secondary School)

Victoria is an educator with 10 years of post-certification experience, three of which in the United Arab Emirates. She was trained at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education. Prior to certification, she worked as an English Composition tutor and a preschool support teacher. Throughout her time as an educator, Victoria has built strong relationships with her students and colleagues. As a result of her dedicated service to her students and increased rigor in all classrooms, consistent performance, and exceptional leadership, she was named Teacher of the Year for both her local school and the entire school district in 2016. Victoria describes herself as transformational empowering students to take ownership of their learning to develop analytical skills. She has come to realize that giving feedback to students is the most important aspect of the teaching-learning process. She believes that the classroom experience should be diverse and the curriculum should focus on teaching students to develop an academic curiosity.

Middle Leadership Team

Nadine Harb HOD,KG2 Class Teacher
Mrs. Nadine obtained her Bachelor of Business degree from Amman, Jordan. She worked as a kindergarten home room teacher for four years prior to joining Al Yasat Private School in 2011. Mrs. Harb has engaged in workshops that are related to classroom management, learning using technology and advanced learning classroom structures. She has advanced her career by applying the 21 century means of Education in the classroom. Additionally, she worked one to one with Special Needs Students. She coordinated Social Studies section from Grade 1 to 6 for two years. Nadine acquired her International Post Graduate in Education (Primary) from University of Warwick- London. Her thesis focused in her IPGCE on a better inclusion of Special Needs Students in mainstreams classrooms. She believes that every child deserves to have a chance to be educated. She loves art, dancing and cooking new international dishes.
Alberti Strydom ES Class Teacher/HoD Math/Science/ICT

Alberti Strydom completed her teaching degree in both English and Accounting from the North West University (South Africa) in 2010.She was an English teacher for five years and Head of Performing Arts in Hartbeespoort High School in South Africa. Alberti loves drama and music and is keen to perform in community theater. She enjoys the arts, traveling and spending time with family. Alberti aspires to advance her studies in Education and teaching English as a second language.

Rachel Faith O 'Riordan HoD English and Social Studies (ES)

Rachael graduated with an honours degree from Mary Immaculate College in Ireland. During her time in university she had the opportunity to specialise in the area of Special Education Needs, an area which has helped her to identify the learning targets and needs of many of her past and current students. Rachael has been teaching for ten years in total. She has been teaching in Abu Dhabi for three years now and her most recent post was at an ADEC school where she was the Year Lead for the Grade 4 classes. Rachael also taught at Belvedere British School where she was responsible for teaching Grade 2 for two years. Rachael enjoys creating a positive, and supportive learning environment for her students which promotes high expectations for both the learning and behaviour of students. Rachael provides ongoing support and assessment in her classroom which allows room for growth and feedback on the children's progress. In her spare time Rachael enjoy keeping physically active in the gym, cooking and travelling the world.

Sheima Al Kubeisi HoD Arabic/IS/UAE SS; ES Islamic Teacher

Mrs. Shaima Sobhy Abdel Fattah El-Bealawy is an Egyptian Nationality 28 years old Graduated from the Faculty of Arats and Education Department of Arabic Language and Islamic Studies Menoufia University 2011 she is married and has two children She started her career in the UAE in 2013, She has worked in 3 schools before Alyasat school Private school. Her current job in al yasat private school as Arabic teacher started September 2018. Her favorite things are reading books on women's issues and following fashion news.

Manal Steitiyeh MS/HS Science Teacher/HoD Science
Manal graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Biology and Environmental Sciences from Beirut Arab University. Then she earned her Master's Degree in Molecular Biology (Genetic Engineering) from Beirut Arab University in cooperation with the American University of Beirut. With an experience of 9 years as a science teacher and Principal’s assistant with the UNITED NATIONS SCHOOLS, Manal has gained valuable knowledge and expertise in curriculum development and planning. Manal has a teaching diploma from the UN Education Department and was a lecturer of the undergraduate’s science strand for new staff in the UN. Manal prepared remedial courses in science for different classes and provided targeted intervention for boys and girls across a number of UN Schools.
Steluta (Stela) Samuela PE Teacher/HoD Creative and Performing Arts MS/HS
Stela Samuela has lived in Abu Dhabi for 12 years. Before being appointed at Al Yasat, Stela taught PE at GEMS American Academy School, The Cambridge High School and Choueifat School. She spent her childhood at the Romanian National Gymnastics School in Deva and in her teenage years studied dance at the Romulus Ladea Ballet and Theatre School. At Babes Bolyai University in Cluj –Napoca Stela graduated with a BA in sports and physical education and a MA in Sports management. She has a keen interest in fitness, gymnastics, soccer and mixed martial arts. This is her second year at Al Yasat Private School and is the current head of department where she is teaching the middle school students PE. She has a passion in making learning fun, and inspiring students be the best they can be. In addition to her work at Al Yasat, Stela had the privilege to coach at the Manchester United Soccer School in Abu Dhabi. For more than 10 years she coached U11 to U19 boys’ and girls’ soccer teams. Stela has coached swimming, volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, cross-country and track and field.
Samia Zaigham MS/HS ICT/STEM Teacher/HoD Design Technology
Samia graduated in Computer Science and has completed her Masters in Education, Planning and Management. She has taught for 10 years and is enjoying her teaching and learning experience with diverse group of students and institutions. Samia is a dedicated, resourceful and innovative instructor who strives to help students to improve their grades and transform their study periods into an exciting experience. She believes in supporting student’s social and intellectual growth by creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and open communication.
Isobel Marie Jones HoD English MS/HS English Teacher

Isobel is a qualified English and Religion teacher for Post-Primary. She completed her Bachelor of Education in Dublin City University and received a scholarship to complete a Master of the Arts in Education at the same university, which she completed in 2016. She is currently studying the National Award for SEN Co-ordination with Leeds Beckett University and is due to graduate at the end of this year. She also has a TEFL certificate specifically aimed towards Post-Primary students. She has been teaching for 3 years and has taught in Ireland, Qatar and the UAE. She has also worked in educational settings in Toronto prior to this. Isobel spent last year as a Lead Teacher for her grade in a school in Al Ain but is looking forward to moving to Abu Dhabi this year. She is very passionate about the performing arts, particularly drama, which she has studied since she was a child. Her other main passions are travel and poetry. Her favourite travel destination is Spain and her favourite poet is Paula Meehan.

Thabet Awad Issa Obeidat MS/HS Career Guidance Counselor and SEN

Thabet Obeidat has a B.A degree in counseling and mental health graduated from University of Jordan 1999 and has been working in the field of student services since 2000. After five years in Jordanian schools, he shifted to join the Emirate of Abu Dhabi community from 2005. Thabet has more than 13 years of experience inside the UAE with my wife and four kids, helping and supporting school environments to gain more developed skills and increase students awareness toward the best of their shining future. Thabet collaborates with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school and the community helping students and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.

Labiba Abu Khadra School Councellor
Mrs. Labiba has B.A degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Sociology. With over 19 years of working in schools with students, between teaching and counselling, spending 10 continuous years in Al Yasat. For the 15 years, she has been living in Abu Dhabi, with her husband and their four kids. One of Labiba`s self-set targets is to see the children enjoying learning with self-confidence to reach what they aspire.​ ​ Labiba​ ​ loves​ ​ traveling​ ​ and​ ​ enjoys​ ​ walking.
Ceanlia Vermeulen K-12 People Of Determination (POD) & Talented And Gifted (TAG) Coordinator

Ms Ceanlia Vermeulen’s career to date has exposed her to the corporate, small commercial and public service environments. She’s passionate about education, teaching, especially curriculum development and teacher training. She’s our POD & TAG Head. POD is People Of Determination (previously called Special Educational Needs) and TAG is Talented And Gifted. Ceanlia has experience teaching from Kindergarten right through to adults with her main area of expertise in Special Education Needs. She compiled several training manuals, has presented at conference workshops for Outcome Based Education and Information Communication Technology and is an accredited assessor. She worked in South African schools for 21 years and 8 years in the UAE where she enjoyed the opportunity to teach a diverse group of students, including those in the primary, high school and special needs with ADD/ADHD, autism, non - compliant behaviour, learning disabilities, mentally handicap and physical challenges as well as the talented and gifted. Ceanlia has had many years of teaching experience in both the classroom and as a specialist in the areas of languages, remediation and the library. She has also held a variety of leadership roles that include Curriculum Coordinator and Special Olympics District Coordinator. She was a Course leader for Human Development International conducting classes in assisting learners with learning problems, offering courses for students at different schools, including attending courses and compiling study guides for students. She has also had employment with a software company as Regional Manager and Consultant Trainer and was director at Athena Interactive Training Network, a private, SETA accredited training institution. Outside of school Ceanlia is an avid Toastmaster where she’s the Vice-President Education of her club and a Pathways Guide in District 105 (comprised of four countries in the Middle East, including: Oman, UAE, Jordan and Lebanon). Yearly she volunteers at the Dubai Rugby 7s as a field marshal and manager. When she’s not enjoying time with family and friends she enjoys reading and painting with acrylics. Her future education plans is to pursue a Masters in Education.

Dale Giesbrecht HoD Humanities