5-6 October 2018

MENA Teacher Summit

Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

About mena teacher summit

An initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the GCC, the Teacher Summit seeks to improve teaching and learning and connect education professionals throughout the MENA region to the resources provided by ASCD.

This regional event is a platform for American Curriculum teachers to engage and learn with renowned educators and scholars. Topics at the summit will address best practices in leadership, data, curriculum, and English Language Arts, Math, and Science. 

The audience for this conference will include classroom teachers, heads of department, program coordinators, school administrators, and organizations active in the educational sector.


5th October 2018 

Pre-Conference with 
Dr. Victoria Bernhardt
ASCD Author of Measuring What We do in Schools

8:00-8:45am                 Registration, Networking, Breakfast

8:45-9:00am                 Welcome

9:00-10:30am               Part I: Measuring What We Do in Schools

10:30-10:45am             Coffee Break

10:45-12noon               Part II: Measuring What We Do in Schools

6th October 2018 

Dr. Victoria Bernhardt 

8:00-9:00am                 Registration, Exhibitors, Networking, Breakfast

9:00-9:15am                Welcome: H. E. Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi 

9:15-10:00am               Keynote:  Dr. Victoria Bernhardt

10:00-10:15am             Coffee Break, Exhibitors

10:15-11:00am             Session 1

11:10-11:20am             Ignite Talks

11:30-12:20pm             Session 2

12:20-1:20pm               Lunch, Exhibitors

1:20-1:45pm                 Panel featuring UAE ASCD Emerging Leader

1:50-2:35pm                 Session 3

2:45-3:35pm                 Session 4

3:40-4:00pm                 Exhibitor Giveaways, Closing, Reflection



Measuring What We Do in Schools: How to Know if What We Are Doing Is Making a Difference

Schools are perfectly designed to get the results they are getting now. If schools want different results, they must measure and then change their processes to create the results they want. School processes define what learning organizations do to help students learn: what they teach, how they teach, and how they assess students. Learn how to measure and understand whether your school’s curriculum, instruction, assessment, and feedback are aligned to the needs of your diverse learner.


Data Analysis for Continuous School Improvement

Schools can become much more efficient and innovative learning organizations when they use data effectively. When schools use data well, they are able to see which processes are working and which processes are not working to ensure that all students can succeed. Using data to improve all processes enables teachers, collectively, to take their practices to the next level and to make a difference for all students.


Individual Registration: 
Click here

Group Registration: 
Click here


H.E. Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi

H.E. Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi is a UAE national, who graduated from California State University, Hayward, at the end of 1986 with a BSc in computer science and spent 26 years between local and federal government entities.

He started as a programmer in Dubai Municipality then headed the support services. In 1993, H. E. was among the team responsible for establishing the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.


In 1999, H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoom assigned him to lead the team tasked with creating the Information Technology Strategic Plan for the Government of Dubai.


In 2000, H. E. was handpicked by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed to be among the eGoverment Executive Team in-charge of establishing the first eGovernment in the Middle East. He then led the Dubai eGovernment to the 19th rank worldwide and the 1st in the Middle East on the UN’s eGovernment Readiness Report, a position he maintained through his endeavor with the Dubai eGovernment.


In 2008, the UAE’s President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan appointed him as the Director General for the General Information Authority, in which he was in-charge of improving the federal eGovernment initiative. He delivered on the promise and the UAE’s eGovernment leaped from 49th to 28th position on the UN eGovernment Readiness Report 2012 and the first in the Middle East.


In June 2013, H. E. retired from the public services and moved on to Chair Al Shair Group, his privately owned group of companies. H. E. is also the Chairman of International Academy for Innovation and Development, and board member of I-GAT Dubai.



Starr Sackstein started her teaching career at Far Rockaway High School more than 14 years ago.

​She spent nine years as a high school English and journalism teacher at World Journalism Preparatory School in Flushing, New York, where her students ran the multimedia news outlet WJPSnews.com. She is a certified Master Journalism Educator through the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and serves at the New York State Director to JEA to help advisers in New York better grow journalism programs.

Sackstein is the author of several books, including Teaching Students to Self-Assess: How Do I Help Students Grow as Learners? (ASCD Arias). She blogs on Education Week Teacher at “Work in Progress” where she discusses all aspects of being a teacher and education reform. On Twitter, she co-moderates #sunchat and contributes to #NYedChat. She has made the Bammy Awards finals for Secondary High School Educator in 2014 and for blogging in 2015. She was named one of ASCD’s Emerging Leaders Class of 2016.


Bayridge Consortium, Inc.

Dr. Richard A. Villa is President of Bayridge Consortium, Inc. His primary field of expertise is the development of administrative and instructional support systems for educating all students within general education settings.

​Dr. Villa is recognized as an educational leader who motivates and works collaboratively with others to implement current and emerging exemplary educational practices. In the school districts where he has worked and consulted, his efforts have resulted in the inclusion of children with intensive cognitive, physical, and emotional challenges as full members of the general education community.

Dr. Villa has been a classroom teacher, special education administrator, pupil personnel services director, and director of instructional services, and has authored seventeen books and more than 100 articles and chapters. Known for his enthusiastic, humorous style, Dr. Villa has presented at international, national, and state educational conferences and has provided technical assistance to departments of education in the United States, Canada, Vietnam, and Honduras and to university personnel, public school systems, and parent and advocacy organizations. Additional information about Dr. Villa can be found at his website, ravillabayridge.com.


Jon Nordmeyer

Jon Nordmeyer is the International Programs Director at WIDA, a research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jon believes that an asset-based approach to professional collaboration can both ignite student learning and fuel teacher growth. He has been an international educator and consultant for 25 years, teaching at international schools in Quito, The Hague, Taipei, Istanbul, Shanghai and Bangkok. Jon has taught graduate seminars at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Tibet University, and has been a regular presenter at regional international conferences.

Jon has written articles for International Schools Journal and Journal of Staff Development, contributed chapters to Co-teaching and Other Collaborative Practices in the EFL/ESL Classroom and Breaking the Mold: Classroom Management, and, co-edited the book Integrating Language and Content (TESOL 2010).  He serves on the editorial review board of Globally Informed, a peer-reviewed journal for international educators. He holds a BA in Classical Archaeology from Dartmouth College and MA in TESOL from School for International Training. He is pursuing his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jon lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife Cynthia, a school counselor and mindfulness trainer, and their two sons, Gus and Atticus.

Ashley Green


Ashley Green’s passion for global education has led to her teaching in classrooms and collaborating with teachers from all over the world. Her desire to become a global educator began when she taught students in England, and had the chance to make connections between the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and Common Core standards. Since then, she’s honed those skills in Dubai; in both Elementary and Middle school settings as a full time classroom practitioner.

Ashley is a lifelong learner and believes that while she is an educator; she will always be striving to improve her own practice. She’s currently employed as a Middle School Math Teacher Leader, specializing in differentiating within the Secondary Math classroom. She also works as an Achievement Coach, assisting students with preparing for life beyond grade school.

Ashley holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and has developed and written curriculums for English, Language Arts and Mathematics for grades 3-8. She obtained a Gifted Endorsement in 2015 and also served as an ambassador for Gifted and Talented Education in Georgia, USA. Ashley was recently selected as the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East region for 2018-2019.



Rhonda G. Hearns has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Jackson State University and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in Reading from Prairie View A&M University in the United States of America. Rhonda has nearly 15 years of experience in the field of education covering the areas of teaching, curriculum, early intervention, and leadership. She has taught students of various languages, backgrounds and abilities. She worked as an Irlen Syndrome Screener and Dyslexia Specialist, where she developed a passion for struggling readers and the importance of early learning. Currently, Rhonda works as Deputy Principal of Elementary in Dubai, United Arab Emirates at Collegiate American School. She firmly believes providing a strong foundation for children in the early years has a direct impact on their academic success; and collaborating with other educators is an essential part of that success.

In addition, Rhonda has served as integral part of the Early Childhood Leader’s Forum hosted by Professional Minds LLC in Dubai. This forum provides professional learning with a goal of improving leadership practices resulting in an impact of student achievement.  Rhonda collaborates with Patricia Mezu to engage a diverse group of leaders with a focus on sharing and collaborating based on topics of interest.

Sandra Carden


Sandra Carden grew up on a farm in Montana where she was a free-range child.  She spent her days singing Madonna songs to a captive audience of sheep while doing farm chores and her summers, weeding an impossibly large garden.  As she headed off to college, she vowed she would never have anything to do with farms ever again. After getting her degree in Political Science and Education, she became a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Cameroon. She thought she was heading off to the motherland to share all that she had learned with the developing world.  Instead, she discovered how little she knew. After her two years, she set off to explore and learn from the world by joining the international teaching circuit. She taught the Humanities in both MS and HS levels for 15 years, but for the past four years, she’s been the Garden Coordinator at the American School of Dubai.  She’s come back to her roots (pardon the pun) and loves teaching kids and teachers to reconnect with our most basic human instinct- growing our own food. 


Sara Naeem is presently working as a high school teacher in American International School in Dubai. She is a passionate educator who is keen to learn and teach. Sara is well versed in curriculum development and implementation. She has been a full time classroom teacher for eight years. In 2015, she collaborated with another educator and become an active member of an educational leadership organization called Teach Educational HRD. She has worked on various multidimensional projects with local as well as foreign organizations in different capacities in Pakistan.  Some of her major accomplishments are visiting and monitoring the schools ran SoS Children Villages that come under the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative, working as an

evaluator and master trainer for schools adopted by Akhuwat foundation under PSSP (Punjab School Support Program),  working as a master trainer in KPK (Khyber Pakhtun Khawn) for a USAID funded project called KPK Reads where she trained about 80 teachers on in the districts of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan, collaborating on a project for Adam Smith International focused on Primary Grades Assessment Reform, and devising mathematics curriculum for Grade V for The Smart School in Pakistan. Her areas of interest are assessment reform, differentiation, and empathic teaching and learning.

Rachel Smith


Rachel Smith is originally from the United Kingdom and prior to joining Qatar Foundation in 2014, she was the Curriculum, Attainment and Progress Manager at an international school in Dubai and an Education Consultant in Saudi Arabia. In the UK, Rachel worked as a Curriculum Coordinator and a Program Manager and in Kenya, as Head of IT at an international school.

Her primary interest is in school improvement through professional learning and she is currently researching the level and nature of impact that a PD experience can have on students’ learning. Rachel holds an MA Educational Leadership and Management; BA Education and Applied Studies; Postgraduate Diploma in Management; Postgraduate Certificate in Computing; she is a Teaching ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms Trainer; Google Certified Educator; Ambassador for ASCD in Qatar and a member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA).

Aaron Shelby


Mr. Aaron Shelby is an Instructional Coach with a secondary certification from New York State. He is a former high school Social Studies teacher in Kuwait, New York City Public Schools and Boston Public Schools. Previous to his current position, Mr. Shelby was a high school Humanities teacher at Al Bayan Bilingual School in Kuwait. In 2012, Mr. Shelby participated in the United States’ Department of State’s Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) program, which is now a Fulbright program and received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to complete curriculum research in South Africa.

His current position allows him to partner with teachers grades 1-12 in the English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Physical Education, and the Arts departments to improve student achievement. In his current position, Mr. Shelby is interested in exploring the context of nationality, gender and professional title as it relates to curriculum decisions.

Sasha Robins


Sasha Robins started her teaching career over 15 years ago in Kingston, Jamaica. She taught for many years in several of Jamaica’s premier high schools including Hillel Academy, where she spent seven years as a teacher of IB Literature and IGCSE English. While there, Sasha was responsible for tailoring and implementing the Grade 12 IB curriculum. In addition, she has spent several years as a marker for both IGCSE and the IB examinations.

Currently she teaches Grades 9 and 10 at the Al Bayan Bilingual School, where her opportunities to grow and develop as a teacher, have had a profound impact on her teaching practice and philosophy. As a result of her work in Kuwait, Sasha has developed a passion and commitment to mindful education that will secure the whole development of students and teachers.

Octevia Torian


Octevia Torian is from Virginia, USA, has 13 years of experience in education. She graduated from Averett University in Liberal Studies; Capella University in Reading and Literacy; and Virginia Commonwealth University in Educational Leadership.  

This is her first year in the United Arab Emirates and she is currently teaching fifth and sixth grade science in Al Ain.  She has grown to have a passion for science and loves to bring real life experiences into the classroom. She enjoys seeing students engaged in the classroom and applying it to their everyday life. She relishes participating in professional development opportunities and speaking at conferences. Education is her passion and she is excited about growing and developing in this field.

Margaret Wang


Born in Canada, grew up in the USA and raised by Chinese parents, Margaret Wang currently lives in Bahrain as a high school social studies teacher, with an emphasis in IB Economics. She graduated from Princeton University, with a degree in East Asian Studies and Teacher Preparation.

Global engagement, empathy and kindness, integrated with business, has always been a passion, from the experience Margaret had, teaching college orphan students in Japan through an NGO. Also coordinating teaching programs in rural areas in China and also publishing articles regarding education policy equity in China and race equity in America.  In her classroom, Margaret likes to create ways and ideas to empower her students to be entrepreneurs in any way or form—to not only succeed but push themselves beyond their limits and help others, which she models in their professional and personal endeavors as an ultra marathon runner, ironman and aspiring entrepreneur.


Lydia J. Carlis, PhD, is Principal Consultant for eyemaginED, the education-consulting arm of Eyemagination Enterprises LLC, based in Washington, D.C. eyemaginED exists to significantly impact child outcomes, by developing effective educational solutions and influencing education policy to raise expectations for programs serving children from birth through elementary school. eyemaginED projects support children most at risk when schools and systems fail them through collaboration with schools, districts or networks, local and state governments, foundations and other ed-facing organizations.

Prior to eyemaginED, Dr. Carlis worked with AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation for eight years, most recently as AppleTree’s Chief of Research & Innovation. In her role, Dr. Carlis oversaw design, development, implementation and validation of the award-winning Every Child Ready early childhood instructional model (a 2010 federal Investing in Innovation project), which includes a comprehensive two-year curriculum, student and classroom quality assessments, and blended professional learning. Before joining AppleTree in 2007, she taught general education, special education, and English as second language to preschool through 7th graders in DC Public Schools and Hawaii Public Schools.

Dr. Carlis has evaluated early childhood, special education, ESL, and Response to Intervention programs and resources on behalf of parents, teachers, school leaders, policymakers and funders. She has taught undergraduate and graduate-level early childhood, special education and ESL courses at Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, and University of Maryland College Park.

Natasha Cox Professional Photo


A veteran educator, Natasha moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2015. She currently works as an academic school administrator for a school in Abu Dhabi. Natasha has a Master of Science in Education Administration and is a doctoral student for Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in special education at Liberty University in the U.S. Her key experiences include: teacher, coach, principal, professional development trainer, special education liaison, part-time consultant and special needs advocate with Key Education Solutions.

Natasha is passionate about empowering educators to create impactful school-wide practices for successful student and family outcomes. She particularly enjoys international education, traveling, painting and spending quality time with her family.

She has led teams comprised of both teachers and Heads of Department in creating a rigorous and yet balanced curriculums using Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards while ensuring integration of 21st Century skills for a student population of 40 different nationalities.  In her various Instructional Leadership roles, she has invested vast amounts of time researching and building her expertise in all related areas. Her passion is to share her knowledge and enthusiasm about this field with fellow educators and ultimately have an impact on learners in classrooms everywhere.



Heather Roy has been teaching for over 20 years, in both Canada and the UAE. She has had the privilege to work in both Elementary and Secondary Schools, as a Teacher and a Technology Coach. Heather is passionate about technology and the power it has to transform teaching and learning in schools. She is a Google certified trainer and leader of the Google Educator Group (GEG) for the UAE. She is currently working as a Technology Teaching and Learning Coach, at the American School of Dubai (ASD).

Emily Winchip


Emily Winchip is currently a PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on the experiences of teachers, specifically teachers in international and for-profit schools. She has presented extensively around the world, including at the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the European Conference for Educational Research (ECER) and the European Association for Learning and Instruction (EARLI). Emily was a research fellow at the Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE and has previously worked as an international educator, teaching in Dubai, Kuwait, and in Oregon, USA.

She received a Master of Education in Educational Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment from the University of Illinois – Chicago in 2014 and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Western Illinois University in 2006. 

Sania Green-Reynolds


Sania Green-Reynolds is a fully qualified and experienced English and Homeroom teacher. She has been teaching for 16 years (pre-training) and 10 years (post-training). She’s taught students (face to face) in Jamaica and the Caribbean, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and students of other nationalities in online forums. Over the years she have received various awards in education, which speak to her innovative and skilled approach to teaching as well as progressive student learning.

She is also a best-selling author and a writer who has contributed to several international publications. Over the last academic year she has been awarded as English teacher of the month, Most Innovative teacher, Education Journal Middle East Teacher of the Week and recognized as the teacher with one of two highest NWEA MAP progress and attainment in her current school.  She believes in giving back to the community. As demonstrated by her work in community improvement and social work in education, which spans from the Caribbean to Africa and as a result, she is honored to be a Walden University Scholar of Change Awardee. She holds a 3-year Diploma in English Language and Literature Education, a B.Ed in Elementary Education, Certificates in TEFL, Supervisory Management and Coaching and is currently wrapping up studies in Educational Leadership and Administration.

As a passionate educator, her goal is to support her students and help them develop an intrinsic desire to learn, explore, and understand both their strengths and weaknesses while she facilitates their academic, social, and emotional growth. She believes that it is her duty to ensure that each student in my care becomes the most equipped and psychosocially fit 21st century citizen who is globally competent, and aware.

Dr. Kay Gallagher


Dr. Kay Gallagher is the Associate Dean and an Associate Professor in the College of Education, at Zayed University. Kay has been involved in teacher education and teacher development in the UAE for many years and was formerly Head of Education Studies at Emirates College for Advanced Education. Prior to that, she was Chair of the Education department at Abu Dhabi Women’s College.  In the past, Kay was a Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong and is a former school Principal in her native Ireland. Kay’s research interests include language-in-education and classroom-based research.


Dr. Anna Dillon is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Zayed University. She is the former Director of the Early Childhood Learning Centre on both campuses. She has worked in education as a class teacher, head of faculty, school principal and teacher educator. Her research interests include dual language education in the early years, classroom-based research and co-teaching.


Dr. Hanada Taha is the Endowed Professor of Arabic Language at Zayed University.  Previously, she served for six years as Acting Dean & Associate Dean of Bahrain Teachers College. She also served as the Director of Arabic Programs at San Diego State University. 

Professor Taha has worked on a $ 6 Million MEPI literacy project with Scholastic Publishing House, in addition to serving as an adviser for Arab Thought Foundation managing its Arabi21 project since 2009.  She serves on the board of trustees of H.H Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Arabic Award. Professor Taha reviewed the national Jordanian Arabic language curriculum and wrote an educational reform policy paper both commissioned by the Queen Rania Foundation.  Moreover, Professor Taha evaluated the Arabic language national curriculum in Morocco commissioned by the MOE and USAID.  Professor Taha research is mostly focused on Arabic language teaching and learning.

Prof. Taha holds a PhD in Education from the University of New Orleans, USA; M.A. in Educational Psychology and Counseling and B.A in Social & Behavioral Sciences from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. 

Minnette Finney


Minette Finney’s passion is to ensure a superb learning environment for all educators and students by creating, nurturing, and enhancing a lifelong love for knowledge in order to attain their full potential; and consequently creating successful next generation educators, learners and innovators. She has a deep interest in learning about state-of-the-art educational tools, investigating research and designing instructional materials. The combination of my international educational and administrative experience coupled with her passion ensures that she has the aptitude to ascertain a thriving working environment.

Minette is enthusiastic to be completing my 3rd year at American United School (AUS), Kuwait! Prior to joining AUS, she gained a wealth of experience in education from West Africa, where she taught secondary school English Language Arts, French and Drama As an educator in London, U.K, Minette developed, implemented, and supervised Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) for students with Special Educational Needs in reception through year . Upon moving to the states, she settled in North Carolina, USA and served as an educator for 9 years, including a year of internship as an administrator. Her professional experience also extends into programs funded by educational grants. As the coordinator for a district After-School Quality Improvement Grant Program, Minette implemented an after school program for the Boys and Girls Club. She is excited to continue as part of the AUS learning community in order to create 21st Century lifelong learners and global citizens, thus providing the best educational experience for students, parents, and staff.


Laura Henry is an expert international award-winning Early Childhood Specialist. She is the founder of the community interest company for Early Childhood trainers and consultants, NEYTCO; vice-president of The British Association for Early Childhood Education; and national representative for the World Forum on Early Care and Education.

For three decades Laura has used her skills to support those who work directly with children. Every year she trains thousands of individuals, using her engaging and inspiring style. She is a highly regarded and popular trainer and writer. She is passionate about quality in Early Childhood, making sure that children receive the best possible care and education to help them reach their full potential. Laura regularly contributes to education and parenting publications. Laura has sat on the judging panel for, GESS, Nursery World and Nursery Management Today awards. She has used her specialist knowledge to work with government departments as well as national and international organisations, forums and working parties.  Laura set up and hosts the popular global free daily Twitter chat #EYTalking for teachers and educators, which has over 17,000 individuals sharing and connecting.


She has worked within the education, health and social services sectors, performing a wide range of roles such as teacher, education inspector and curriculum manager within a large college. In addition, Laura has been commissioned to work with the media, press and research companies, supporting them with their everyday activities.  Laura was recently chosen as a Global Master Leader in Education. There are 49 experts on the list and she is the only educational specialist from England.

Dr. Joi Chester photo


Dr. Joi Chester is a highly qualified education professional with more than fifteen years of experience in results driven educational leadership for American curriculum institutions. She has experience as a Special Education teacher, school district administrator, Wallace Foundation researcher, national consultant, and trainer for public, private, k-12, post-secondary and non-profit educational institutions. Her passion to make society different or better is delivered in her professional work and transferred to others to continue the same.  One of her greatest contributions to an educational institution was increasing the graduation rate over 30% in three years, offering a school of students from 100+ countries the opportunity to pursue higher education and careers using data and research-based practices.  As a current member of the Senior Leadership Team that has been commended for its 17 areas of improvement in less than 5 months, she continues to extend her theoretical and practical knowledge, skills, and disposition in the UAE.  Through a commitment to inspiring diverse educational stakeholders in implementing sustainable practices, Dr. Joi Chester is effective in leading educational change.

Laurence Myers photo


Laurence Myers is originally from Athens, Greece and is proud of it! He is currently the Service Learning Coordinator at the American School of Dubai (ASD). Prior to his current position he held the position of Sustainability & Service Learning Coordinator at the International School of Kuala Lumpur. He has taught economics, history, government, social studies, health and physical education at the middle and high school levels since 1997. He is also a steering committee member and workshop facilitator for Compass Education, a leading not-for-profit organization focusing on systems thinking tools and sustainability.

Laurence holds an M.Ed. degree in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska, an M.A. in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in International Relations from The College of Wooster. More recently he also holds a Sustainability Leadership certificate from Ithaca College.  His current work primarily emphasizes curriculum development and integration of ASD’s service learning framework across all learning environments but also includes heavy doses of collaboration and communication with administration, staff and external organizations. At ISKL he spearheaded ISKL’s accreditation process through the Eco-Schools program and guided ISKL’s efforts leading up to the receipt of Malaysia’s very first Green Flag award.

Laurence has facilitated sustainability and/or service learning workshops across the Asian region. He was a founding member of the National Working Group for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Malaysia, focusing on curriculum development and professional learning structures related to ESD infusion for national schools.  He is also a founding member of the NESA collaborative on service learning, sustainability and global citizenship education.


When not working with sustainability and service learning he is seen coaching student athletes (in volleyball and basketball), supporting environmental initiatives, engaging in outdoor learning experiences or spending quality time with his wife and two beautiful daughters, ideally in natural settings.

Jeremy Williams


Mr Jeremy Williams is the Head of School for Manor Hall International School in Al Ain. His career began in the United States as a middle school math teacher where he focused on using a constructivist and inquiry approach toward learning. He then served as an Assistant Principal, Principal and Superintendent. Originally from Indiana, USA, Jeremy completed his undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Middle School Mathematics at Indiana University. Jeremy also completed his master’s degree in Education and Administration at Indiana Wesleyan University. Currently, Jeremy is completing his PhD in Organizational Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University with a focus on transformational leadership and organizational commitment.

Thomas Shorrock


Tom Shorrock is the Operations Manager for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

After obtaining a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Bristol, Tom worked in Industry for 6 years in the UK & France. In his spare time, Tom worked with schools and a Cadet Force in his local area to help with the Duke of Edinburgh Award. It was during this time that he made the decision to become a teacher and trained through the Graduate Teacher Training Programme at the University of Wolverhampton. He developed his love for the outdoors and non-formal education by taking part in various courses relating to walking, kayaking, climbing, sailing and SCUBA Diving. Having taught in the UK for two years, Tom went on to teach Chemistry, Science and French at various schools in Qatar, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. It was whilst in Abu Dhabi that the opportunity to work for the Award arose.

Now based in Abu Dhabi, his main focus is the development of the Award and non-formal education within the UAE. He also supports the Award in Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

Mohamed Bamatraf


Mohamed Bamatraf graduated with honors from the oldest English University in North America – UNB in Canada. He proceeded to spend the next 14 years in the Internet industry, building e-learning solutions to transform traditional education.

He founded ArabiCollege as an online school in 2007 with the mission of conducting Arabic classes through live interactive one-to-one classes, around the clock. Today, ArabiCollege has branched out into 2learnArabic, an Xblended sub-product. Mohamed serves as the CEO of Xblended.

Dr. Craig Gabler


Dr. Craig T. Gabler is a Science/STEM education consultant and the KDSL Global science consultant for American curriculum schools in the MENA region. Previously he was at Educational Service District (ESD) 113 in Olympia, Washington, beginning in 2000. At the ESD, Dr. Gabler served as Regional Science Coordinator where his primary role was to coordinate and deliver science professional development to the 44 school districts in the region. During his time at the ESD, Dr. Gabler also served as Curriculum Director for Science & Mathematics for Tacoma Public Schools in Washington for two years. Dr. Gabler began his career in Centralia, Washington in 1975 as a high school chemistry and physics teacher. Outside of his work in districts, Dr. Gabler has been active in science education leadership.

He served as a writer for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), worked on Washington state science standards writing teams, and spent several summers as Mentor Teacher in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pre- Service Teacher program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He is currently the Retiring President of the National Science Education Leadership Association. In addition, he served a two-year term as president of the Washington Science Teachers Association and as the National Science Teachers Association’s District XVII Director. Leadership and leadership development continues to be an area of focus for Dr. Gabler. He served as the team leader of the 2014 NGSS Forum held in Dubai for American curriculum schools in the MENA region. Dr. Gabler was also a featured author in Teach UAE Magazine where he wrote an article on implementing the NGSS.  Dr. Gabler received a BS in Physical Science from Washington State University, an MS in Science Education from Oregon State University, and a PhD in Science & Mathematics Education from the Curtin University in Perth, Australia.


Amy O’Meara is Chicago native who teaches at Riffa Views International School, Bahrain. Prior to her first international post, Amy worked in Tampa, Florida for Hillsborough County Public Schools, a school district known for its innovation in education and the forefront of professional development for instruction. She spent several years in the classroom before serving 6 years as literacy coach. There, she specialized in the implementation of best practices for Writer’s Workshop. She worked side-by-side with both teachers and students in the classroom to implement the most current trends in education. She served on district-level curriculum research and development teams. Beyond this, she has also developed and delivered innovative professional development in literacy. She is a part of the National Writing Project and consulted in schools for the Tampa Bay Area Writing Project in. Currently, she is building a world consultancy business called Classivate that will help schools, teachers, and those that homeschool innovate their lessons, classrooms, and schools.


Cassandra is a visionary leader, coach and trainer who uses leadership insight and empowerment to develop and shift individuals and teams from vision to execution. She uses her expertise of over twenty years in education as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and executive director of schools to facilitate the following: positive and sustainable change, improve productivity and create an atmosphere of transformational leadership.

Cassandra graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern University & A&M College, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Texas Southern University. Cassandra is currently a certified John Maxwell Coach and a school administrator for the Abu Dhabi Department of Knowledge and Skills. 

Kenneth Johnson


Kenneth Johnson has been teaching internationally for four years.  Prior to joining the American United School of Kuwait, he taught for 10 years in several school districts in Atlanta, Georgia.  He has worked primarily as a middle school math teacher.  However, Kenneth has also served in the role as a Computer Tech Instructor and Physical Educational teacher.  His experience in these fields have assisted with his development as an educator in helping to understand the various developmental needs of students from elementary to high school.  He is proud to continue as part of the AUS learning community in order to create 21st Century lifelong learners and global citizens, thus providing the best educational experience for students, parents and peers.

Rashenah Walker


Rashenah Walker is an international curriculum specialist and educational trainer. She holds a Master’s degree in Education majoring in Instructional Technology and is a dual major Doctoral Candidate in Educational Leadership and Curriculum Design. Beginning her career in the United States as a special education and Advanced Placement teacher, Rashenah has worked in the areas of curriculum design, educational leadership, organizational needs analysis, and teacher development.

Rashenah has contracted with organizations such as TESOL, College Board, Edmodo, and KDSL Global to design and implement professional development, which has resulted in significant contributions being made to improve education within the U.S. and internationally.

Her professional accomplishments include serving on the TESOL Professional Standards Council, being published in international magazines, appearing as a guest on Myk12career.com, in addition to winning 2 GESS awards for her research using Edmodo.

Dr. Zeenath Khan


Dr Zeenath Reza Khan is an Assistant Professor. She has been teaching in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at University of Wollongong since 2001. She completed her PhD under full fee-waiver scholarship from University of Wollongong in Ethics and E-cheating among Students which was nominated for the Emerald Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award 2016. Dr Khan’s research interests are in community informatics, ethics in IT, teaching and learning, and STEM for girls and has been nominated thrice for the Research Excellence Award by UOWD’s Research Committee. She is the winner of UOWD Teaching Excellence, BE Excellence in Teaching by Bangladesh Consulate in Dubai, Sony Gulf Federal Environment Award, Turnitin Global Innovation Awards: Africa and Middle East Region – Academic Integrity Category and recently Wollongong Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning 2016. She is currently a Fellow of Wollongong Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence (WATTLE), Turnitin Webinar Speaker and Reviewer for Oxford University Press – Epigeum Academic Integrity Course Module.

Dr Khan is a passionate advocate for academic integrity in and out of classrooms having completed the only PhD in the region on the topic. She has been researching the topic since 2005, coined the term ‘e-cheating’ in 2007 and launched workshop module for teachers and counsellors of schools in 2012 among other initiatives such as hosting international conferences, running competitions for students and so on.

Dr. Khan has to-date five book chapters, 10 journal articles, 23 conference papers to her name, is a Tier One speaker who has spoken at major international conferences, summits and workshops as invited/guest/keynote/lead speaker and been interviewed as lead expert on academic integrity by major newspaper nationally and internationally. She chaired the ranked International Conference on Academic Integrity with collaboration with the Centre for Academic Integrity in USA, received grants to conduct research locally and aboard, is a member of the European Union’s European Network On Academic Integrity and country representative for the Global Essay Mills Survey Project by Erasmus.

Katia Al-Kaisi


Katia has 18 years of business development and management experience in the Education, Telecommunications and IT Industries. She has held various key roles in multinational companies based in Finland and the Middle East. She has an in depth understanding of the Middle East and Finnish markets in specific due to her multicultural Iraqi/Finnish background and native knowledge of both cultures and languages. Katia is passionate about making the two cultures meet and by working with innovative Finnish solutions in the innovation nurturing UAE environment she is working in her dream job!

Katia’s current focus is on introducing world class Finnish education solutions to UAE schools, universities and corporates. Especially in areas of gamification of learning, digital and coding skills for students, 21st skills and solutions supporting the happiness agenda. One particularly close to heart subject is how to make learning Arabic more fun and engaging using gamification.

Prior to joining The Gulfpoint team, Katia was a Country Director heading the UAE and Qatar sales and commercial teams at Pearson Education.

Earlier, Katia worked as a Sales Director for Comptel Corporation, based in Dubai were she was responsible for sales management of a set of large telco operator customers in the region. She has also held positions at Sun Microsystems (Oracle) in Finland were she managed the distributor and reseller networks in Finland and the Baltic countries. She also launched the Sun Startup Essentials Program in Finland and the Baltics and managed relations with the Web 2.0 industry players. Katia has as well worked for Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks. First in global functions in Finland working on strategy, roadmap planning and business development and later on in sales and bid management positions in the United Arab Emirates and later on in Kuwait and was responsible for sales management, solution marketing activities and bid management for several multi-million cases. She also organized many professional customer workshops in addition to several customers visits and events outside the Middle East.

Katia is also the Vice Chairman of the Finnish Business Council in the UAE and works actively on organizing business and social events for the Finnish and Nordic community.

She holds an M.Sc. in Telecommunications from Aalto University and B.Sc. in Computer Engineering from Baghdad University.


Ashley Green has lived in Dubai for nearly 8 years after completing her teaching degree in Scotland. More recently she started her Masters degree in Positive Psychology and Coaching while teaching year 1 at JESS. She is hugely passionate about enabling educators to care for their own well-being and that of the children in their care through mindfulness practice and various positive psychology strategies. 

Scott Farber

With a mission to help students from all backgrounds succeed in college and beyond, Scott founded A-List Education in 2005. Now serving tens of thousands of students and teachers from the US to the GCC, A-List provides everything from professional development and direct instruction to sophisticated assessment platforms and curriculum alignment. Scott has more than 12,000 hours of instructional experience and has been featured on Bloomberg, NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN to comment on developments in the education space.

While he continues to serve on the Board of A-List and remains active in its institutional work, Scott was recently named COO of PACE Mental Health. A national venture dedicated to expanding access to psychiatric care and counseling, PACE represents a natural extension of his belief that good mental health and a good education are both essential for us to achieve our true potential. 

Dr. Firas Amawi

Dr. Firas Amawi

Dr. Firas Amawi is an American Board Certified Family Physician. She has over 20 years of experience practicing medicine and is currently a Consultant Physician in Dubai Healthcare City. Dr. Firas Amawi is a graduate of the University of Florida and Philadelphia Medical College. She is also an active member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Medical Association. 
Nisreen Amer

Ms. Nisreen Amer

A dynamic teacher trainer with 16 years experience in the educational field. Ms. Nisreen Amer is currently an MYP mathematics lead teacher at Qatar Academy. Ms. Amer has a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Management Information System both from C&E American University. She holds a PGCE and a Master’s degree in International Education-Mathematics both from the University of Nottingham –UK. She is pursuing another Masters of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies and Technology at SUNY Buffalo State University-US. Mrs. Amer has been selected as an “Outstanding Teacher” for the Qatar Foundation School Awards in 2017 and is also a Google Certified Educator. She designs and delivers training programs within a theme of resources exchange and active collaboration that took place in the annual Teaching and Learning forum, Tech4Maths and MINI NESA.

Dr. Cheantel Adams

Dr. Cheantel Adams has developed her craft as an educator and educational leader for more than 20 years.  With  multi-faceted experiences as a teacher and school leader she has practiced and studied teaching and  leadership techniques to become a transformational leader in various school settings, helping teachers and students achieve success in teaching and learning. Currently, Dr. Adams is a professor at Abu Dhabi University, training, teaching, and supporting a new generation of teachers and learners in the United Arab Emirates. 

Dr. Adams graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership.  In 2009, Dr. Adams earned a PhD. in Educational Leadership from Prairie View A&M University, with a mixed-method dissertation study titled, An Analysis of Crisis Management Preparedness.  


Christine Kritzas, M.A.

Christine Kritzas, M.A., is a Counselling Psychologist. Prior to joining The LightHouse in 2016, she was a practicing psychologist in South Africa for 8 years where Christine worked extensively with children and families in distress. During that time, she created and developed a board game which aims at facilitating emotional expression in children. Smart Heart Board Game ® is manufactured in South Africa and distributed internationally. 


Dr. Raychellet Williamson

Dr. Raychellet Williamson (Dr. Ray) has over 18 years of experience in education, serving as a teacher, principal, college professor, board member, and a school accreditation external review team lead evaluator.

She earned both her Ed.D in Leadership and Policy Studies and her M.A.T. in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from the University of Memphis. She earned her B.A in Sociology/ Anthropology from Rhodes College. She holds both a Tennessee Professional Administrator and Special Education license in K-12. She’s a graduate of the University of Memphis Center for Urban School Leadership program. Dr. Ray received specialized training in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Wide World. She also worked as an Apprentice Coach for Harvard’s Data Wise online course. She held positions of service in both the West Tennessee Reading Association (WTRA) and Tennessee Reading Association (TRA). Dr. Williamson was the 2017-2018 President- Elect for the Rotary Club of Memphis Central, briefly serving as president before relocating to the UAE.

She believes schools should create practical experiences that make learning real for students. Her motto, “Everything has not been created yet, so you can invent it.” Dr. Ray is currently serving as the new Executive Principal of Rising School in Dubai, a community of innovative leaders. 


Summit sessions are based on these topics below:


Ensuring that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged

All educators want to improve the work they do for students, their families, and the community. Whether it’s instruction, school climate, leadership, family engagement, or any of the other issues schools face on a daily basis, all educators need tools to help them improve their actions and methods. A whole child approach sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long-term student success.


Building a continuum and capacity for leadership

Whether you’re currently in a leadership role or aspire to be in one, you’re ready to take on new challenges. From creating a positive school culture, to effectively using data, to leading professional learning, you see things as they could be, not as they are. Discover support for the many facets of your role—visionary, engager, learner, collaborator, and instructional leader.


Connecting educators across the world and fostering global competence in all students

Today’s students require the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to participate as citizens in a global society. In addition to being actively engaged in learning, students need to understand their connection to their communities and the world at large. Develop the intercultural competence to expand your curriculum beyond a textbook and learn about promising practices and topics of concern to educators worldwide.


Moving from a narrow definition of student success that traditionally relies on achievement test scores and grades

You want to help your students succeed in school and in life. By expanding the notion of student success, and moving it beyond a metric governed by test scores, authentic assessment puts the emphasis on student understanding. By providing school cultures that emphasize life skills and attending to their social-emotional development, you can support students as they learn to take appropriate ownership of their learning.


Using innovative teaching to spark meaningful and engaged student learning

You understand the impact of effective teaching. Consistently, the most important school-based factors affecting academic success are the classroom teacher and the school principal. Enhance your skills through differentiated instruction, the FIT Teaching® approach, the Understanding by Design®framework, and more. 


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Enter Password: To Access Presentations & Handouts

Dr. Victoria Bernhardt
Measuring What We Do in Schools: How to Know if What We Are Doing Is Making a Difference


Minette Finney, Kenneth Johnson, and Dr. Cory Bennett Developing Reflective and Persistent Problem Solvers


Octevia Torian
Project Based Learning: Inquiry and Innovation and a Little More…

Handout | Presentation

Starr Sackstein Teach Students to Self-Assess and Reflect for deeper learning


Starr Sackstein
Empower Student Experts to Provide Peer Feedback


Sandra Carden – Ignite Talk
Curricular Connections to a School Garden

Ignite Talk

Margaret Wang
Social entrepreneurship in the classroom

Handout | Presentation

Aaron Shelby & Sasha Robins
Coaching – a framework for improving student achievement


Dr. Richard A. Villa
Inclusive Education: Access & Success for All


Dr. Richard A. Villa
Differentiating Instruction


Dr. Victoria Bernhardt
Data Analysis for Continuous School Improvement


Natasha Cox, Cassandra Dyson, Dr. Cheantal Adams, Dr. Raychellet Williamson
Transformational Leadership: A Roadmap to R.E.A.L. Success

Presentation 1 | Presentation 2

Octevia Torian
Project Based Learning: Inquiry and Innovation and a Little More…


Amy O’Meara
Word Problems…No Problem! – Close Reading in Math


Jon Nordmeyer
Transforming the Conversation Through Asset-Based Teaching: Discover What Your Learners Can Do


Jon Nordmeyer Transforming the Conversation Through Asset-Based Teaching: Discover What Your Learners Can Do.


Lydia J. Carlis, PhD
Charting the course: using the conversation compass approach to guide children to culturally relevant instructional conversations


Natasha Cox, Cassandra Dyson, Dr. Cheantal Adams, Dr. Raychellet Williamson
Transformational Leadership: A Roadmap to R.E.A.L. Success


Dr. Zeenath Reza Khan
Igniting Academic Integrity Holistically


Kevin Simpson
10 Lessons: Teacher to Entrepreneur to Starter


Jeremy Williams
Values and Global Competencies in International School


Sara Naeem
Is Differentiation Dumbing Down?


Scott Farber
Ignite Slides – College Readiness


Scott Farber
Beyond the Numbers


Rhonda Hearns
Balanced Literacy

Handout | Presentation

Craig Gabler
NGSS Learning Lab


Craig Gabler Supporting Crosscutting Concepts


Tom Shorrock
How does the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Develop Resilience


Laura Henry
The Child at the Centre


Sania Green-Reynolds
Balanced Literacy: Success for All







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Please use the below link to reserve a room for the KDSL Global- MENA Teacher’s Summit 2018 at Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf, Dubai during 4-6 October 2018. 
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Leading an Inclusive School: Access and Success for ALL Students


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