Senior Leadership Team - Al Yasat Private School | 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.

Thomas O Meara Vice Principal High School

Prior to joining Al Yasat private school, Thomas spent over 10 years working in education in a variety of schools in Ireland and Abu Dhabi. His roles included classroom teacher, Coordinator, Head of Year and Head of Middle School. His most recent role was Head of Middle School in a private school in Abu Dhabi. As well as his teaching qualifications, Thomas also holds a Master’s in Education and School Leadership. He hopes to continue his own education further​ ​ in​ ​ the​ ​ coming​ ​ years. With a passion for rich and challenging, inclusive and cooperative based learning, Thomas believes he brings a wealth of experience to this role. He believes in a Middle/High school-based education system that will prepare students for life after school. He aims to enhance student opportunities and help equip students with a thirst for knowledge that will motivate and help them continue to develop their academic and social abilities to succeed in our ever-changing​ ​ and​ ​ challenging​ ​ world. Thomas is very enthusiastic about the opportunities at Al Yasat school and its community. He looks forward to being part of the school’s journey to being an outstanding provider of high-quality learning in Abu Dhabi. Outside of education Thomas enjoys both playing and watching all sports. He has a huge interest in Gaelic games and has coached and played at the highest level. He also enjoys traveling to new places, reading and spending time with his family and​ friends.

Reem Rekieh Vice Principal Middle 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.

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.