Head of School at GEMS American Academy, Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates
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Head of School
GEMS American Academy, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

Jul 15, 19
Aug 25, 19





Required August 2020


Trusted for over 55 years and now a third generation education family, GEMS Education began in a single school room in Dubai. Today, we have the privilege of educating over 190,000 students from over 176 countries through GEMS owned and managed schools globally; over 270,000 students access resources through our services division; and we will impact 20 million by 2020 students through the initiatives of our Charity partner the Varkey Foundation.

Following the recent announcement that Kathryn Miner will be leaving her post as Head of School at GEMS American Academy- Abu Dhabi (GAA) to assume the role of School Director at The American International School (AIS) in Vienna, GEMS Education is now searching for Dr. Miner’s replacement to start in post in August 2020.


Sister school to Dubai American Academy, GAA is regarded as the flagship American school in Abu Dhabi with over 2,000 students from 82 nationalities, speaking 40 languages. Founded in 2011, GAA has quickly developed a reputation for high academic standards for its students and corresponding professional expectations of its teachers and leaders.


The majority of GAA’s students are ‘third culture kids’ who hold multiple passports and who speak at least two languages with 40% of students representing the local host culture and Middle East region. The school offers a standards-based American curriculum and the Primary Years Programme (PYP) in Kindergarten through Grade 5 and the IB Diploma (DP) Programme in Grades 11 and 12. GAA’s students are high achieving, motivated by the goal of attending strong universities in the United States, Canada, and Europe. GAA also participates in international and local sports and activities leagues with other independent schools in the region and all students get the opportunity to participate in an array of rich and varied extracurricular activities.


GAA is authorized by the IBO and is accredited by CIS and NEASC. The school was reaccredited by CIS and NEASC and reauthorized by IBO in 2018 and has received a consistently high rating by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) over the last six years.





The school is led by a strong and highly collaborative leadership team, which works within a shared leadership model aimed at cultivating leadership K-12 across the faculty and staff. A strong commitment of professional growth and development has enabled GAA to build capacity among its faculty and staff to become a leader in American/IB education in the region.


GEMS Education and the GAA community are seeking an exceptional school leader who has the capacity and drive to help GAA become a world leader in international education.




GAA’s next Head of School will have:

  •  Strong educational leadership expertise and a proven track record of developing and sustaining high standards within an American or IB curriculum school;
  • A working knowledge of the IB PYP and DP programmes;
  • Experience of leading schools through reaccreditation (CIS, NEASC, and other North American accrediting agencies), authorization (IBO), and inspection;
  • Excellent communication skills and strategies that will motivate and inspire all stakeholders,
  • The ability to provide direction, set expectations, and inspire staff by communicating goals clearly and empowering them through collaboration within a shared leadership model;
  • An open and approachable manner with generous listening skills and multicultural awareness;
  • Successful and demonstrable experience of parental engagement and evidence of creating community partnerships that enhance learning;
  • Experience fostering inclusive learning environments with knowledge of effective practices in  learning support and English language learner (ELL) programs;
  •  A cultural understanding and ethos to lead both staff and students to continually strive for excellence; and
  • A commitment to work collaboratively with other GEMS schools on shared problems and challenges.

GEMS American Academy Recruitment pack PDF


Application Process


If you are passionate about teaching and learning and possess the drive to advance GAA’s mission, please submit (1) a CV that includes a recent photograph, (2) a one-page philosophy of education, and (3) a formal letter of application that outlines your skills, qualifications, and experience to Danielle West - Vice President Global Talent at principalrecruitment@gemseducation.com. If you would like an informal discussion about the position prior to submitting an application please email Danielle at the same address.


Closing date: Sunday 25th August. Any applications received prior to this date will be followed up immediately. Interviews to take place in Abu Dhabi w/b 22nd September or w/b 29th September (the dates may be subject to change).



Attention: If you apply for this position, please inform the school and us (Admin@searchassociates.com) that you saw the notice on the Search Associates website.



Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Gez Hayden led the first international school authorized to offer all three IB programs in China.