|Vince Cook - President|
CEO National Bank of Furjairah PJSC
Vince joined National Bank of Fujairah PJSC in 2009 as the bank’s Chief Executive Officer. Since then, he has led its growth with a specialised focus in trade finance, treasury and corporate banking. He has spent the majority of his 35+ years in banking in the Middle East. This included senior positions in Barclays and a stint as Managing Director, Gulf for Barclays Capital. He has also held general management positions in two other regional banks. Vince has a Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool and MBA from Henley. He has 5 children, all of whom have attended DESS/DESC at various times. He joined the Board in September 2016, became Treasurer in September 2017 and was asked to be President in September 2018.
Board of Trustees
The governing body of the school is best described as a Board of Trustees, who determine and approve those statutory policies which are required of them, including those as provided under the Articles of Governance, and receive, review and approve other school management policies from the Headteacher who is the Chief Executive.
The offices of President and Vice-President are the subject of bi-annual election each Autumn Term.
The governing body monitors the implementation of such policies via its sub-committees. Trustees who act as a body, in good faith and in the light of best advice, will never be vulnerable in law: hence, individual Trustees have no power to act alone, unless otherwise empowered. Any matters relating to a school policy should be directed in the first instance to the Headteacher who will ensure an appropriate member of staff deals with the matter.
Board of Trustees
|Ammar Shams - Vice President|
Ammar Shams was with the HSBC Group for 8 years from March 2008. He had several roles, starting as the Head of HR for the GCC region, followed by three years as Regional Head of Corporate Sustainability before becoming Advisor to the CEO. He has been a part-time instructor at the Higher Colleges of Technology, where he taught courses on History, Ethics, Economics, and HR and chaired the Programme Advisory Committee for Business. Prior to joining HSBC, Ammar was a Project Manager at the Ministry of Federal National Council Affairs for the first-ever elections in the United Arab Emirates. At Emirates Media Incorporated, he was the Chief Consultant to the CEO from 2004 to 2005. For more than 10 years prior to that, he was the Administration and Training Manager at Dubai Natural Gas Company. Ammar is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the University of Strathclyde in the UAE and a full-time student, undertaking research at SOAS leading to a PhD in Law. His research topic is ‘Gender parity in inheritance law in the UAE: Opportunities and Challenges.
|Helen Barrett - General Secretary & Trustee|
Partner CBD Consultancy
Helen is a British qualified solicitor who has been living and working in Dubai since 1998. Before establishing her own business in 2014, Helen worked for two international law firms advising foreign investors. Helen now supports foreign investment by providing business formation and professional sponsorship services to ensure a smooth market.
Helen joined the Board in September 2017 as Trustee/General Secretary providing guidance and oversight on legal matters and ensuring that the Board operates in an effective and compliant manner. Helen enjoys attending the many performing arts events held at both DESS and DESC, but has a keen interest in the safeguarding, inclusion and special education needs of SEND pupils and ensuring that DESS continues to be outstanding in this area.
|Justin Crowley - Treasurer & Trustee|
Real Fix Technical Services LLC
Justin is the owner and Managing Director of Real Fix and Real Curtains, Dubai. A chartered account by background, he was recently an audit and advisory Partner with BDO in the UAE. For more than 20 years Justin has provided audit and consultancy services to the education sector in both the UAE and the UK. His clients have included DESSC, Dubai College, Rougemont School, Middlesex University and many others.
Justin has 2 children. He joined the Board in 2019 and is currently the Chair of the Finance SC.
|Maggie Thorne - Community Trustee|
Joined the board: 10/10/10
Maggie has served on Governing bodies in UK, Secondary and 6th Form Education as well as supporting DESSC in countless ways over the years. She was awarded the Papal Medal of Catholic Church Dame of St. Gregory (DSG) for services to Education Wales and has been a Member of OCPA (Office for Commissioner of Public Appointment) in the UK.
In 2006, Maggie became a Governor when DESC opened with 250 Students and in 2010 joined the combined DESSC Board. In 2018 Maggie was appointed Community Trustee, reporting to the Board on community activities. She is also Abstentia Foundation Governor of St. David’s Catholic 6th Form College, Cardiff. A mother of 4 children, with 17 Grandchildren and 2 Great Grandchildren! The proud grandmother of a past DESC Student.
|Dr Hannah Al Ali - Trustee|
Emirates Aviation University
Dr Hannah Al Ali is an Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics and Dean of the School of Mathematics and Data Science at Emirates Aviation University. She has been a lecturer at EAU for several years whilst studying for her PhD with Coventry University, UK. Dr Al Ali’s research focuses on mathematical modelling of diabetes and using mathematical and data science approaches to solve real life problems.
She was born in Dubai to an Emirati father and British mother and went to school at DESS and DESC, where she was deputy head girl for her final years. She is passionate about the future of education in the UAE as well as the school itself, having been a large part of shaping her life. As a young academic herself, she feels in a position to help the vision of academic standards for the school.
|Darren Clarke - Trustee|
Chief Financial Officer – Commercial Bank of Dubai
Darren Clarke is currently the Chief Financial Officer at the Commercial Bank of Dubai. He has more than 20 years of banking experience.
In his previous role, Darren was the CFO for National Australia Bank (NAB) International, and based in Singapore. He worked at NAB for 13 years, including as the CFO for Global Markets & Treasury. Prior to that, he worked for JPMorgan Chase in the UK, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. Darren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Wollongong. Qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. He joined CBD in April 2018.
Darren has three children, one of whom attends DESS.
|Jonathan Siklos - Trustee|
Senior Case Intelligence Officer - Omni Bridgeway, Dubai
Jonathan works for Diligencia, a tech and consulting company that provides Middle East and Africa legal entity data, and runs the UAE’s oldest community theatre company, Dubai Drama Group.
Jonathan lives in Dubai – his home for the last 11 years, with his wife and two children – both devoted DESS students. As a non-native Arabic speaker who has spent years grappling with this exquisitely challenging language, he is passionate about getting adults and children alike to speak better Arabic! He joined the Board in 2019, and chairs the HR Sub-Committee.
Contacting the Board
Please address any correspondence to the President or other members of the governing body to:
Mrs Lucy Pritchard
Executive Clerk to the Trustees
c/o DESS and DESC
The Executive Clerk to the Trustees is not a member of the governing body.
Email: [email protected]