The JESS Board of Governors is made up of members who are appointed on a voluntary basis and are willing to give their time, energy, and expertise in support of the school community. Working closely with the Director, the Board provides oversight of school operations as well as support in developing a long-term strategy to ensure that JESS is ready to meet the needs of generations of students to come.
Mr Stuart Walker
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.
Dr Sapna Verma
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 Circle Care Clinic in Jumeirah. She currently has two children at JESS and was appointed to the Board in 2015.
Ms Alison Dawson
Ms Alison Dawson is a dedicated educator, who began her teaching career as a class teacher and PE Coordinator in England. She gained valuable international experience when she moved to Dubai. While maintaining her focus on class teaching, Alison also was responsible for leading Literacy and ICT. She followed the leadership pathway from Deputy Head to Head of Primary. A desire to impact whole school development and a passion for inclusive education led Alison into a whole school role as Head of Innovation and Inclusion. She is now Head of Primary in an IB school in Dubai. Alison is a certified PENTA school inspector. Alison is married and has two children who attend JESS Secondary and have been with the school since their foundation years. Alison was appointed to the Board in 2017.
Mr Ali Al-Sayegh
Mr Ali Al-Sayegh is Head of Onshore Operations with Dubai Petroleum. He has 25 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry that ranges from offshore oil and gas upstream operations, onshore gas supply operations, production engineering, safety leadership, human resources and management. He has held a number of senior positions within Dubai Petroleum Establishment, Dubai Supply Authority and Schlumberger. Ali's career has included delivering a variety of projects, leading multi-culture teams and managing large and vast departments and fields. Ali holds a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from University of Texas at Austin and Master of Business from American University in Dubai. Ali is a father to seven children, all of whom attend JESS. Ali was appointed to the Board in February 2019.
Mr Christopher D’Cotta
Mr Christopher D’Cotta is an Associate Director in the Enforcement Division of the Dubai Financial Services Authority. He joined the DFSA in January 2009. Christopher’s responsibilities include regulating and enforcing compliance with the Law and Rules administered by the DFSA. He has extensive experience applying administrative, civil and criminal remedies in domestic and cross-border investigations. His particular areas of expertise include corporate governance, anti-money laundering, fraud, securities and financial services regulation. Prior to joining the DFSA, Christopher held a senior position at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as an Assistant Director and Senior Specialist. He holds a Masters of Law from Sydney University and has practised law for over 22 years after being admitted in Australia in 1991. Christopher was recently appointed to the Board in April 2019 and he is an independent Governor.
Mr Paul Marson
Mr Paul Marson is working at Emirates Group, and is Head of Finance for dnata. He is responsible for the development and implementation of dnata’s global Finance strategy across the entire network as part of the global management team. With over 20 years of experience in accountancy and business management, Paul has worked across the globe in countries including United States, Japan and New Zealand before moving to the Middle East. Paul holds a BSc in Accountancy and Financial Management from Loughborough and is a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Paul is a family man with two daughters at JESS. Paul was appointed to the Board in June 2021.
Mrs Sarah Shaughnessy
Mrs Sarah Shaughnessy is the head of customer intelligence and online marketing at Emirates Group. In her role, she is responsible for managing digital customer experience programs end-to-end. She started at the Group as a traditional marketer, and as such, remains passionate about the core principles of great marketing: understanding brands, customers and their needs. Her role as a technologist followed naturally as customer behaviour shifted toward digital channels and online experiences.
In previous lives, Sarah also worked in non-profit and educational marketing in Canada, the UK and the UAE. She has taught courses at the undergraduate level in market research, international public relations and digital marketing in Canada and the UAE.
Sarah is a parent of two children attending JESS, one of whom has learning differences. She is a great believer in inclusive education and embraces the principles of celebrating diversity and the potential of all learners. Sarah was appointed to the Board in September 2022.
Mr Morten Sorensen
Mr Morten Sorensen is the Chief Operating Officer at 360 Holding, a local Emirati group focused on Education and Information Technology.
Morten is responsible for implementing the vision for the group’s development and the associated budgets. Development includes local and global expansion of operating business units.
Morten has over 15 years’ experience in the GCC, mainly in the construction sector. He has practiced the vertical integration process to optimize cost and create synergy between departments to deliver projects catering for all stakeholders needs.
Morten is a family man and has two daughters who both attend JESS. Morten was appointed to the Board in September 2022.
- Christopher Bean
- Jonkheer Hooft
- Sheila May
- Patrick Mockler
- James Berry 1994 - 2016
- James Hancock 1989 – 2003
- Jim Berry - 2005 - 2016
- John Boardman - 2003-2005
- Julie Epsom
- Marco Caporilli 2007 - 2021
- Mary Alford
- Maurice Flanagan
- Nigel Hopkins 2004 - 2021
- Omar Shams 2015 - 2018
- Pat Macpherson 2002 - 2021
- Paul Cracknell 2006 - 2019
- Robin Padgett 2006 – 2022
Always guided by our Values