JESS Dubai


JESS Dubai
toggle page colour

JESS operates as a non-profit-making entity in accordance with the laws of the UAE and the constitution of the school. The board of governors forms the governing body of the school and its role is a strategic one.

The board of governors is ultimately responsible for the conduct of JESS. In addition to providing the long-term strategy for the school, the board of governors also appoints and holds the director to account for the management and performance of the school. The board of governors consists of individuals appointed on a voluntary basis and willing to contribute their time plus personal and professional skills to JESS.

If you wish to contact the board directly, please email us.

Mr Stuart Walker - Chairman

The Chairman, Mr Stuart Walker, is a partner with Afridi & Angell, a full-service Dubai law firm. Mr Walker specialises in financial-services regulation, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and employment matters. Prior to joining the firm Mr Walker was a solicitor in the banking department of Lovells in London. Born in Scotland, he grew up in Hong Kong and has lived and worked in London, Hong Kong, New York and Dubai. He wrote for and edited various magazines, trade journals and other publications before qualifying as a lawyer. Stuart has three children, all of whom have been educated at JESS. He joined the board in 2015 and was appointed Chairman in 2016.

Mrs Pat MacPherson - Vice Chairman

The Vice-Chairman, Mrs Pat MacPherson, is a professional HR Consultant with diverse HR expertise, both as an HR generalist and at management level with over 45 years’ experience.

Born in Worcester, United Kingdom, Pat and her husband initially moved to Bahrain in August 1976. At that time, Pat commenced working for Halliburton Inc., Bahrain, a USA energy services organisation, to help set up their Middle East Regional Office and oversee the creation of their Human Resources Department. In March 1983 following a move to Dubai, Pat transferred to Halliburton Energy Services to manage their HR, Immigration and Travel services. Pat continued to work for Halliburton for total of 18 years and in November 1994 moved to Dubai Petroleum Company, the oil company of the Government of Dubai. At that time DPC was managed by Conoco Inc., a USA energy conglomerate. As Senior Advisor, Human Resources Pat held a number of senior roles with responsibility for expatriate families assigned to Dubai, locally hired employees, policy development, talent management and employee relations until her retirement in February 2008.

Pat’s association with JESS began in September 1983 when her daughter commenced her primary education at JESS Jumeirah. Pat has been on the Board for over 15 years and accepted the role of Vice Chairman in 2006.

Mr Paul Cracknell - Governor

Board Member, Mr Paul Cracknell, is a graduate of Sheffield University holding a BSc, M.A. and Diploma in Landscape Architecture and became a Chartered member of the British Landscape Institute in 1985. Paul established Cracknell Landscape Architects in London in 1987 and then moved to Dubai in 1993 to set up the Middle East office. Cracknell has evolved in to one of the largest Landscape Architecture and Urban Design practices worldwide and has over 160 staff with offices in London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Jeddah and Muscat. Paul is the Executive Chairman based in the Dubai office.

Paul is also a partner in optimal FITNESS which is a holistic health and wellness centre based in Dubai Studio City. Paul is married to Jacqueline and they have four boys, three of whom were JESS students. Paul has been a Board member since 2006.


Mr Marco Caporilli - Governor

Board Member, Mr Marco Caporilli, is a Consulting Civil Engineer specialised in Marine and Coastal works. He runs his own marine consultancy as well as being a partner in a development company and a partner in a gym, cafe and physical therapy business in Dubai.

Prior to setting up his own businesses Mr Caporilli was the International Director for Mouchel; a UK based consultancy firm. Mr Caporilli was born in Zambia of Italian parents and studied at boarding school and universities in the UK. He has lived in Zambia and London and moved to Dubai in 1997.

Marco has two daughters, both of whom have been at JESS since they started school, initially at JESS Jumeirah and latterly at JESS Ranches. He was appointed to the board in 2007.

Mr Nigel Hopkins - Governor

Board Member, Mr Nigel Hopkins, is Executive Vice President Service Departments. He is responsible for the Finance, Treasury, Information Technology, Legal and Insurance services for Emirates Group. Nigel has been with the Group since October 1994 and was appointed Executive Vice President Service Departments in June 2005. Prior to this he has held a number of finance roles within Emirates, most recently as Senior Vice President Finance where he headed up the Group Finance function. Prior to joining Emirates, Nigel worked for British Airways for nearly 10 years. Nigel is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK. He is married with one son who has attended JESS since Foundation 1. Nigel was appointed to the Board in 2004.


Mr Robin Padgett - Governor

Board Member, Mr Robin Padgett, is dnata's Divisional Senior Vice President International Catering. In August 2014 he took responsibility for dnata’s newly created catering division which bought together a number successful business units including Alpha Flight Group Ltd, dnata catering in Singapore, En Route and a joint venture in South Africa. Dnata catering and its subsidiaries operate across 60 locations in 12 countries.

Prior to this he held a number of senior roles within the Emirates Group including Senior Vice President Aircraft Catering and also Vice President for Airline Procurement. Robin originally trained as an economist in the United Kingdom. He has 22 years of experience in the aviation sector; prior to which, he worked in industries as diverse as insurance & retail.

Robin has been based in Dubai since 1996. He is married with three children all of whom have attended JESS from foundation stage. He was appointed to the Board in 2006.


Dr Sapna Verma - Governor

Board Member, Dr Sapna Verma, graduated from the University of Birmingham Medical School in 1994 and was awarded Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 1998. She undertook postgraduate training in Paediatric Emergency Medicine in the UK, which included a one-year fellowship at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney, Australia. She was appointed as a Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UK) in 2003 becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2005. Sapna is also a member of the Association of Paediatric Emergency Medicine (APEM).

In Dubai, Sapna is now a Consultant Paediatrician at Infinity Clinic in Jumeirah. Sapna has three children at JESS and was appointed to the Board of Governors in May 2015.


Mrs Alison Dawson - Governor

Board Member, Alison Dawson, is a dedicated educationalist. She began her teaching career as a class teacher and PE Coordinator in England in 1996. She moved to Dubai to join Latifa School for Girls in 2001 where she gained valuable experience as Literacy and ICT Coordinator. Alison joined the Rashid School for Boys team in 2005 as KS2 Coordinator. In January 2014 she became Co Head of Primary. She is a certified PENTA school inspector.

Alison is married and has two children who have been with JESS Jumeirah since their foundation years. She is the most recently appointed board member, joining in June 2017.