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Our Educators

Dear Dunecrest American School Families,

Hello and Welcome to Dunecrest! If you are a new student, we are all super excited you will become a Dunecrest Eagle and we look forward to helping you start your Journey to Educational Excellence on your first day of school, August 30, 2020. If you are a returning student welcome to a new school year and we hope you have a fantastic time as you continue your journey! Parents as you prepare for the first day of school, please know we are all a team and we want you to stay involved in your child's school life as well as we want you to feel comfortable to call us for any assistance you may need. If you have questions about the school, the curriculum, or if you have questions on how you can help your child with their success, we are always willing and excited to be of assistance so please feel free to contact us at any time. Please find below written information and a short video about the faculty who will be working with your child. We encourage you to watch the videos with your child so they can become familiar with the faculty they will be learning with. 

TODAY AT DUNECREST AND IN THE FUTURE

With a mission “To provide a holistic American education that inspires students to discover their talents, pursue their passions, and make a positive impact on their communities and the world beyond” Dunecrest American School offers students unparalleled opportunities to undertake problem solving and exploration via hands-on activities.

Dunecrest American School will live the commitment to unite knowledge and good moral values. It seeks students who combine proven academic ability, intellectual curiosity, and tenacity with decency and good character. At Dunecrest American School, exacting inquiry and thoughtful discourse foster the life of the mind, instruction and activity promote fitness and health, and the daily interactions of faculty and students nurture integrity, empathy, and kindness. Because learning and growth at Dunecrest American School arise from each individual's engagement with others, the richness of education here requires diversity in all its dimensions; students and faculty value the differences they bring to the community they share.

The challenges that students meet at Dunecrest American School and the support they receive have a common purpose: to stimulate their development as individuals and as members of society. Dunecrest American School seeks to graduate young people whose creativity and independence of thought sustain their continuing inquiry and reflection, whose interest in others and the world around them surpasses their self-concern, and whose passion for learning pushes them beyond what they already know.

At Dunecrest American School we believe in the foundational importance of scholarship, the value of dialogue, and the need for academically curious young people to belong to a kind, creative, diverse, and joyful community. We challenge our students to engage deeply in learning, appreciate one another, and grow into adults who are intellectually adventurous, ethically sure-footed, and generous of heart and spirit.


Early Childhood Principal
Ms. Crystal Hanna

Ms. Hanna received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Special Education and Elementary Convocation. Ms. Hanna started her teaching career in Greece where she taught English speaking children in an elementary setting as well as she taught private English lessons to ESL students. Ms. Hanna then moved to Abu Dhabi where she became a Grade Level Coordinator, leading her team to meet the expected curriculum standards of all core subjects. In 1992, Ms. Hanna had her first teaching experience in Dubai where she has enjoyed the culture and vibrance of the community so much she continues working here today. Ms. Hanna has been a member of the Esol Education Team since 2004 and she was the Founding Early Childhood Principal of Dunecrest American School. Ms. Hanna believes that education is vital to establishing a strong foundation on which understanding is based. She guides students in developing the skills and knowledge necessary to become mature, contributing members of society. 

Get to know our Early Childhood Principal, watch the video of  Ms. Crystal Hanna.

Ms. Crystal Hanna, Early Childhood Principal

Elementary School Principal
Ms. Lisa Gibson

Ms. Gibson received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Victoria. In addition, she has qualifications through the British Columbia College. Ms. Gibson has a wealth of certifications from the International Baccalaureate (IB) organization and was instrumental in guiding Dunecrest to our IB accreditation. Ms. Gibson started her teaching career in London, England and has held international teaching and leadership positions in Canada, Venezuela, and Dubai as well. Ms. Gibson joined our team at Esol Education in 2013 and has been with us to her present position at Dunecrest American School where she is the Founding Principal of the Elementary School as well as the PreK-12 Curriculum Coordinator. Ms. Gibson is a NWEA Certified Trainer and travels the world helping schools interpret and develop improvement plans for their MAP testing data. She is committed to excellence in all areas of education and student success.

Get to know our Elementary School Principal, watch the video of  Ms. Lisa Gibson.

Ms. Lisa Gibson, Elementary School Principal

Secondary School Principal
Mr. Pat Hould

Mr. Hould received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Eastern Montana College and his Master of Education Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Montana. Mr. Hould's professional vision is to build a caring community for learning. He works hard to help every student reach their full potential and to make them feel valued and welcome. Mr. Hould started his career in Montana where he was a Band Director and Principal at both Middle Schools and High Schools. In 2012, Mr. Hould joined Esol Education Schools as Principal of the American International School in Egypt. Mr. Hould moved to Dubai in 2013 working with Esol Education Schools here and he was the Founding Secondary School Principal of Dunecrest American School. Mr. Hould is the recipient of the prestigious G.V. Erickson Award for his outstanding contribution to education in Montana and he was a founding Board Member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. 

Get to know our Secondary School Principal, watch the video of  Mr. Pat Hould.

Mr. Pat Hould, Secondary School Principal

Secondary School Asst. Principal and Athletic/Activities Director
Mr. Dylan Carter

Mr. Carter received his Bachelor Degree from Brock University in Canada and his Master Degree from the University of Otago in New Zealand as well as a Master Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Iowa in the U.S.A. Mr. Carter has lived the life of an international student graduating high school from Jakarta International School in Indonesia. Mr. Carter has taught at international schools in New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, and the U.A.E. In 2012, Mr. Carter joined Esol Education at our schools in Dubai and in 2018 because a founding administrator at Dunecrest American School. Mr. Carter enjoys playing soccer, rugby and scuba diving and he has presented several workshops to schools around the world. He has taught in grades 1 to 12 and works to develop literacy skills for all students.

Get to know our Secondary School Assistant and Athletic/Activities Director, watch the video of Mr. Dylan Carter.

Mr. Dylan Carter, Secondary School Assistant Principal and Athletic/Activities Director

PreK Homeroom Teacher
Ms. Elizabeth Boyd

Ms. Boyd received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from High Point University. Ms. Boyd started her teaching career with the Scotland County School District in North Carolina, USA. She also taught with the Guilford County Schools in the USA before moving to Guangzhou, China where she taught English with the Disney English Institute. After her China experience, Ms. Boyd joined a Esol Education School, The American International School in Egypt. Ms. Boyd has been a founding teacher of Dunecrest American School where she is dedicated to the success of all her students. Ms. Boyd is a dedicated life-long learner and has been a member and president of Kappa Delta Pi an International Education Honor Society. Ms. Boyd has been a Grade Team Leader as well as she plays the violin and has participated in several marathons and triathlons.

Get to know our PreK Homeroom Teacher, watch the video of  Ms. Elizabeth Boyd.

Ms. Elizabeth Boyd, PreK Homeroom Teacher

KGI Homeroom Teacher
Ms. Ella Cassidy-Clark

Ms. Cassidy-Clark received her Bachelor of Teaching and Learning Degree from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. She started her education career at Hazeldean Early Learning Center in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2010 Ms. Cassidy-Clark moved to Dubai and started her teaching career with Esol Education where she has stayed. Ms. Cassidy-Clark in a Founding Teacher of Dunecrest American School and has helped the team develop a robust early childhood program. She has helped co-develop the curriculum and she creates a warm, fun and passionate learning environment. Ms. Cassidy-Clark is an Apple Certified Teacher as well as a Google Certified Educator. She leads workshops and has helped schools create their IB program.

Get to know our KG1 Homeroom Teacher, watch the video of  Ms. Ella Cassidy-Clark.

Ms. Ella Cassidy-Clark, KGI Homeroom Teacher

KGI Teacher
Mrs. Shay Huskey

Mrs. Huskey received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education of Young Children from Texas Christian University and her Master of Science in Child Development from Texas Woman’s University. Mrs. Huskey started her teaching career at Motorola Child Learning Center in Texas where she taught students who spoke several different languages. She then moved to Bishop Elementary School where she was honored with receiving the Teacher of the Year Award. In 2012 Mrs. Huskey moved to Dubai where she taught at American International Schools. Mrs. Huskey is a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School where she has been dedicated to honoring each student’s unique development and helping each of her students to reach their full potential.

Get to know our KG1 Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Shay Huskey.

Mrs. Shay Huskey, KGI Teacher

KGII Teacher
Ms. Amber McClinton

Ms. McClinton received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Lincoln University and her Master of Arts Degree in Teaching from John Hopkins University in Maryland. She is certified in ESOL and elementary education. At her previous school, Ms. McClinton served as her grade level team leader, a mentor, and chair of several committees. Ms. McClinton taught in Maryland for seven years before relocating to Dubai in 2016 where she joined the Esol Education Team. She believes that students are most successful when the teacher, parents, and students work together as equal investors in the child’s education. She works hard to ensure her classroom is a positive and nurturing learning environment. Outside of teaching, Mr. McClinton’s biggest passions are music and traveling. She has studied abroad twice in college and loves immersing herself in new cultures.

Get to know our KG2 Teacher, watch the video of  Ms. Amber McClinton.

Ms. Amber McClinton, KGII Teacher

KGII Teacher
Ms. Reema Hanna

Ms. Hanna received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Wisconsin. Ms. Hanna began her career as a Kindergarten Teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She then moved to Abu Dhabi where she taught at international schools until 2018 when she joined Esol Education at our school in Dubai. Ms. Hanna has a proven track record and her students consistently become high performers. She has been a Team Leader in the Early Years program and she promotes a positive learning environment with her students so they can thrive and meet their educational goals.

Get to know our KG2 Teacher, watch the video of Ms. Reema Hanna.


Grade 1 Teacher
Mrs. Veronica Jones

Mrs. Jones received her Bachelor’s Degree from Victoria University through the Wellington College of Education in New Zealand. Mrs. Jones started her teaching career in New Zealand where she taught at several schools and became a Team Leader, Assistant Principal and finally Principal at the Te Aro School. In 2009 she had her first assignment at an international school and in 2011 she moved to Dubai where she has continued to work at international schools. In 2013, Mrs. Jones joined Esol Education and in 2018 she became a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School. Mrs. Jones is a master teacher who has extensive training and abilities to help developing readers. She has taken several PYP training workshops and she is a certified Reading Workshop Teacher through Columbia University.

Get to know our Grade 1 Teacher, watch the video of Mrs. Veronica Jones.

Mrs. Veronica Jones, Grade 1 Teacher

Grade 2 Teacher
Ms. Mary Rossi

Ms. Rossi received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Child Development and Education as well as her Master of Education Degree from the University of New Hampshire. Ms. Rossi started her teaching career at the Johnson School in Massachusetts and in 2018 she moved to Dubai working at DAA. In 2020 Ms. Rossi will start her education journey with us here at Dunecrest American School. Ms. Rossi has a strong knowledge of curriculum and believes in an inquiry led teaching approach. She is a trained Reggio Emilia teacher and also is Apple Certified. She is well versed with integrating technology into the daily activities of her students and she uses these resources to help with her student’s literacy and numeracy experiences. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Ms. Rossi is an avid volleyball player and has directed school plays in her past.

Get to know our Grade 2 Teacher, watch the video of  Ms. Mary Rossi.


Grade 3 Teacher
Mrs. Jill King

Mrs. King received her Bachelor Degree from the University of Alberta in Canada and her Graduate Degree in Teaching from the University of Otago in New Zealand. Mrs. King is a true international student herself attending international schools around the world as a child and she graduated high school from Jakarta International School in Indonesia. Mrs. King started her teaching career in New Zealand and then moved to Canada to work with schools there. Mrs. King then moved to South Korea working with two different schools until 2009 when she moved to Dubai to work with Esol Education at our schools here. Mrs. King is a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School and has helped our school with exciting events such as our Science Fair and other school wide productions. Mrs. King is a master literacy and writing teacher and she understands how to motivate her students to love reading and writing their own stories.

Get to know our Grade 3 Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Jill King.

Mrs. Jill King, Grade 3 Teacher

Grade 4 Teacher
Ms. Deana Hawkins

Ms. Hawkins received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Elementary Education Degree’s from Southern Illinois University. Ms. Hawkins began her teaching career in Arizona in the USA. She also taught in Missouri before moving internationally. Ms. Hawkins has vast experience with international teaching working in Abu Dhabi, the Russian Federation, and Indonesia as well as Dubai. She enjoys integrating technology into her lessons and Ms. Hawkins in accessing and addressing reading deficiencies. She has been a Grade Team Leader and provided many co-curricular activities and clubs for students.

Get to know our Grade 4 Teacher, watch the video of  Ms. Deana Hawkins.


Grade 4 Teacher
Ms. Jessica Smith

Ms. Smith received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the University of South Florida. She started her teaching career at Lewis Elementary School in Tampa, Florida and she also has experience working at an IB school in the USA. In 2015, Ms. Smith moved to Dubai and worked at an international school here before joining the Dunecrest American School team. Ms. Smith develops a classroom that is full of excitement and energy. She was a nominee for the Ida S. Baker Award for Distinguished Educator in Diverse Education, and she strives to help her students exceed their expectations in regard to their educational goals.

Get to know our Grade 4 Teacher, watch the video of  Ms. Jessica Smith.


Grade 5 Teacher
Ms. Shannon Durocher

Ms. Durocher received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Arizona University. Ms. Durocher started her teaching career at J.F. Kennedy Elementary School in the USA and in 2015 she joined Esol Education at our school on Egypt, The American International School. Ms. Durocher is a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School and she brings a vast amount of knowledge in technology integration. She has been awarded the Teacher of the Year at Greenfield Elementary, been a Grade Team Leader and a Mentor Teacher for Teach for America students.

Get to know our Grade 5 Teacher, watch the video of  Ms. Shannon Durocher.

Ms. Shannon Durocher, Grade 5 Teacher

Early Childhood and Elementary Counselor
Mr. Matt Frey

Mr. Frey received his Bachelor and Master of Social Work Degree from Stony Brook University in New York. Mr. Frey started his education career at Middle Country Central School District in New York. From there Mr. Frey moved to Casablanca American School where he was the all school counselor working with students from PreK to Grade 12. After leaving Casablanca, Mr. Frey was the Dorm Head and Counselor at Carlsbad International School in the Czech Republic. In 2018, Mr. Frey moved to Dubai and starting the 2020-2021 school year he will join the staff of Dunecrest American School. Mr. Frey is a master at building rapport with students from multiple perspectives. He is an expert with MAP and CAT4 testing and is an avid coach and mentor to students. 

Get to know our Early Childhood and Elementary Counselor, watch the video of  Mr. Matt Frey.


Secondary School Counselor
Mrs. Zeina Mougaine 

Mrs. Mouganie received her Bachelor of Art and Master of Art Degree in Educational Psychology from the American University of Beirut. From there she started her career in education at Valley International School in Lebanon. In 2007, Mrs. Mougaine moved to Dubai with her family and joined the Esol Education team. In 2018, she joined Dunecrest American School as one of our Founding Educators and she has been helping our students meet their educational goals ever since. Mrs. Mougaine sits on several committee's at Dunecrest and she provides guidance to students and teachers alike. She has helped the school implement the International School Counselors Standards and gives assistance to students managing the college application process.

Get to know our Secondary School Counselor, watch the video of Mrs. Zeina Mougaine.

Zeina Mouganie, Secondary Counselor

Arabic Teacher
Ms. Rima Wehbi

Ms. Wehbi received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Haygazian University in Lebanon and her Master of Education Technology Degree from the Canadian Academy of Technology University. Ms. Wehbi has a distinguished career starting her teaching time in Lebanon. She then moved to Saudi Arabia where she worked with schools in the Diplomatic Quarter. When Ms. Wehbi moved to Dubai, she joined Esol Education and has worked with our schools in Dubai for many years. Ms. Wehbi was a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School and she has helped develop the Arabic program at all levels. Ms. Wehbi has a very active classroom where she nurtures her students and helps them appreciate the beauty of the Arabic language.

Get to know our Arabic Teacher, watch the video of Ms. Rima Wehbi.

Ms. Rima Wehbi, Arabic Teacher

Arabic Teacher
Mrs. Nour Alani

Mrs. Alani received her Bachelor of Education Degree from Al-furat University in Syria. Mrs. Alani started her teaching career at Jamal Eddien Elqasmi school in Syria and in 2017 she moved to Abu Dhabi to work at Emirates Private School. In 2019 her family relocated to Dubai and she has been with us at Dunecrest since her move. Mrs. Alani develops a very positive environment for her students, and she enjoys hands on activities with her students. Mrs. Alani also enjoys encouraging her students to meet both their academic and life goals and she is always willing to offer counseling opportunities to help her students with personal challenges they may be facing.

Get to know our Arabic Teacher, watch the video of Mrs. Nour Alani.

 Mrs. Nour Alani, Arabic Teacher

Arabic Teacher
Mrs. Nageeba Ragheb

Mrs. Ragheb received her Bachelor of Arts and Education Degree from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. Mrs. Ragheb began her teaching career in Egypt and in 2004 she moved to Dubai. While in Dubai Mrs. Ragheb has worked at two international schools and in 2004 she started working for Esol Education with our schools. Mrs. Ragheb not only encourages her students to be great in their Arabic class, but she encourages them to participate in school wide events she sponsors such as Arabic plays, International Day and National Day. Mrs. Ragheb takes an active interest in keeping herself up to date in changes with the curriculum and she supports her colleagues with professional development workshops and discussions. Along with being a wonderful Arabic teacher she also is an avid volleyball player.

Get to know our Arabic Teacher, watch the video of Mrs. Nageeba Ragheb.


Arabic Teacher
Mr. Mohamed Galady

Mr. Galady received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mansoura University in Egypt and his Professional Diploma in Education from Al Ain University. Mr. Galady started his teaching career at Bin Luqman Private School in Egypt and in 2009 he started his International Education career in Abu Dhabi. In 2015 Mr. Galady joined Esol Education at the American International School in Abu Dhabi. Mr. Galady has been a leader in teaching Arabic IB courses for many years and he enjoys teaching students about the beauty of the Arabic Language. In addition to his teaching career Mr. Sayed is an avid volleyball player.

Get to know our Arabic Teacher, watch the video of Mr. Mohamed Sayed.


Arabic Teacher
Mrs. Hanan Yahia

Mrs. Yahia received her Bachelor Degree from Mentouri University in Algeria and received her Diploma in Teaching and Education at Al Ghurair University in Dubai. Mrs. Yahia started her teaching career at Al Huria High School in Algeria before moving to Dubai where she has worked at four different international schools. In 2019, Mrs. Yahia joined the faculty of Dunecrest American School where she uses strategies in the learning process such as connecting Arabic to the student’s real life which helps bring the language alive and useful. Mrs. Yahia is also a mentor teacher and she enjoys helping other teachers improve their instructional methods and love of the teaching profession.

Get to know our Arabic Teacher, watch the video of Mrs. Hanan Yahia.


Art Teacher
Mrs. Cindi Meeks

Mrs. Meeks received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from California State University. Mrs. Meeks started her teaching career with the Wonderland English Academy in Seoul, South Korea. After her South Korea experience, Mrs. Meeks moved to the United Arab Emirates where she has taught since 2009. She taught two years at Sharjah American International School and then moved to an Esol Education school and has stayed with our organization since 2011. Mrs. Meeks has been a founding teacher of Dunecrest American School and she brings vast expertise to the whole child educational experience by promoting an array of co-curricular activities for her students. Mrs. Meeks has facilitated whole school celebrations such as Reading Day, Science Exploration Day, International Week and Sports Day. In addition to her art expertise, Mrs. Meeks has a passion for math and literacy education. 

Get to know our Art Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Cindi Meeks.

Mrs. Cindi Meeks, Art Teacher

Art Teacher
Mrs. Darien Stankowski

Mrs. Stankowski received her Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts and Education from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Mrs. Stankowski started her teaching career in Massachusetts teaching at schools in the Boston area. In addition to her teaching experience in the U.S.A. she has taught in China and Thailand. In 2018, Mrs. Stankowski moved to Dubai and became a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School. Mrs. Stankowski is the recipient of the Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education Award winner as well as she has presented at the National Art Educators Association Conference. 

Get to know our Art Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Darien Stankowski.

Mrs. Darien Stankowski, Art Teacher

ELL Coordinator
Dr. Soledad Valenzuela

Dr. Valenzuela received her Bachelor of English Pedagogy from Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educacion in Santiago, Chile. She received her Master in Education Degree in School Administration from Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Sontiago, Chilie and her Doctorate in Education from BUiD, Dubai, in partnership with Birmingham University, UK. Dr. Valenzuela has extensive experience in the field of education as a teacher, trainer, school principal, and operations manager. Dr. Soledad has been involved in curriculum development and in implementing educational innovations with an emphasis on individualization and cognitive/affective variables to enhance children’s development and learning. She has been involved in nationwide education reform projects at a central level and at the school level in which the main approach has been to modernize education by introducing research-based best practices into curriculum and teaching as well as into the school operation. She is also knowledgeable in the field of early years education which includes research experiences in curriculum standards and quality standards for early years settings. Dr. Valenzuela has lived and worked in several countries in South America, South East Asia, and the Middle East. Dr. Valenzuela is a founding member of the Dunecrest American School staff and she is driven to help every student achieve their educational goals.

Get to know our ELL Coordinator, watch the video of Dr. Soledad Valenzuela.

Dr. Soledad Valenzuela, ELL Coordinator

English Teacher
Ms. Cary Smith

Ms. Smith received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology Degree from Regis University and her Master of Education Degree from the University of Phoenix. Mrs. Smith started her teaching career in Colorado where she stayed for sixteen years before moving to Dubai and joining the Dunecrest American School team. Ms. Smith has been trained through the Cherry Creek AP Institute and is a master at teaching composition and literature. Ms. Smith brings laughter and excitement to her classroom as she helps her students enjoy and appreciate the English language.

Get to know our English Teacher, watch the video of Ms. Cary Smith.

Ms. Cary Smith, English Teacher

English Teacher
Mrs. Susan Nour

Mrs. Nour received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Arts Degree also from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition she also received a second Master's Degree from Queens University Belfast. After college Mrs. Nour worked at several NGO's helping improve the lives of people around the world. In 2013 she joined Esol Education at the American International School in Egypt where she was the CAS Coordinator with the IB program as well as an English teacher. Mrs. Nour has also worked in China at the Utahloy International School before joining us here at Dunecrest. Mrs. Nour encourages her students to write well and to be passionate about helping others as well as themselves find happiness and success. She also encourages everyone to recycle as much as possible and enjoy a clean and beautiful world.

Get to know our English Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Susan Nour.


English Teacher and IB Coordinator
Mr. Eric Barrett

Mr. Barrett received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the College of the Ozarks and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Coastal Carolina University. Mr. Barrett started his teaching career at Colleton County High School in South Carolina. Mr. Barrett also taught at Coastal Carolina University and E Bo Young School in South Korea before joining Esol Education at our schools in Dubai. In 2018 Mr. Barrett was a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School and helped us start and develop our International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Mr. Barrett is an energetic and passionate teacher inspiring and empowering his students to be successful in a dynamic world. Mr. Barrett is also an avid coach leading students in Basketball, Golf, Track and Field and Soccer. 

Get to know our English Teacher and IB Coordinator, watch the video of  Mr. Eric Barrett.

Mr. Eric Barrett, English Teacher and IB Coordinator

French and Spanish Teacher
Mr. Jeremy Palmer

Mr. Palmer received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cardiff University (Wales, UK) in French and Spanish. After completing his university studies, Mr. Palmer moved to Colombia where he taught at Yes Institute, Aspaen Gimmnasio La Fragua and Gimnacio La Fontana. While teaching at these schools, Mr. Palmer developed a reputation for being dedicated to his student’s success both with their school goals and life goals. In 2018 Mr. Palmer moved to Dubai where he was a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Palmer coaches’ multiple sports and he is the reigning Ping Pong Champion at Dunecrest.

Get to know our French and Spanish Teacher, watch the video of Mr. Jeremy Palmer.

Mr. Jeremy Palmer, French and Spanish Teacher

French and Spanish Teacher
Mrs. Isabelle Palmer

Mrs. Palmer received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from The Open University and her Postgraduate Certificate in Education from The University of Buckingham. Before joining Dunecrest American School as a Founding Teacher, she spent seventeen years teaching French and Spanish at Garden House School in the UK. While there she was the Head of Foreign Modern Languages. At Dunecrest, Mrs. Palmer not only teaches French and Spanish, but she shares her talents by helping coach our Volleyball Team as well as she sponsors co-curricular activities such as the Cooking Club. Mrs. Palmer is a Certified IB Teacher and she loves sharing with her students the amazing world of speaking additional languages.

Get to know our French and Spanish Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Isabelle Palmer.

Mrs. Isabelle Palmer, French and Spanish Teacher


Spanish Teacher
Ms. Gilda Zivec

Ms. Zivec received her Technical in Bilingual Education Degree from Rudyard Kipling in Mexico. Ms. Zivec is a Certified IB Examiner and has presented workshops on the IB Spanish program around the globe. Ms. Zivec started her teaching career in Edo de Mexico and in 2006 she moved to Canada where she has worked at IB schools. Teaching Spanish is Ms. Zivec’s passion and she enjoys sharing her experience and culture through the art of teaching another language which opens global doors for young people and in the process, enriching their lives.

Get to know our Spanish Teacher, watch the video of Ms. Gilda Zivec.


Health and Physical Education Teacher
Mrs. Kristen Miller

Mrs. Miller attended Humber College in Canada and she received her International Teaching Certificate from the European Council of International Schools (ECIS). Mrs. Miller started her teaching career in Dubai in 2009 at an Esol Education School and she is a Founding Teacher of Dunecrest American School. Mrs. Miller encourages her students to participate in life-long activities that will keep them healthy throughout their life and she encourages our girls in particular to stay active by being one of our Girl Scouts sponsors.

Get to know our Health and Physical Education Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Kristen Miller.

Mrs. Kristen Miller, Health and Physical Education Teacher

Health and Physical Education Teacher
Mr. Jonathan Miller

Mr. Miller received his Bachelor of Physical Education from Brock University and his Master in Education Degree at the University of Northern Iowa. Mr. Miller started his teaching career at the Simcoe County District in Canada and in 2009 he moved with his family to Dubai to work with our Esol Education Schools here. In 2018 Mr. Miller was a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School helping us not only set up our athletic program but the Character Education Program "CREST" of the school as well. Mr. Miller has coached volleyball and basketball and his teams have won the ISAC and NESAC championship four times. (2009, 2010, 2012, 2017)

Get to know our Health and Physical Education Teacher, watch the video of Mr. Jonathan Miller.

Mr. Jonathan Miller, Health and Physical Education Teacher

Health and Physical Education Teacher
Mr. James Ham

Mr. Ham received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Newman College of Education. Mr. Ham started his teaching career at Whitley Abbey Business and Enterprise College in Coventry, UK where he was the Head of the Physical Education Department. Mr. Ham then moved to Dubai joining Esol Education and our schools here. In 2019 Mr. Ham joined Dunecrest American School and he has been coaching and inspiring our student ever since. Mr. Ham has vast experience in physical education and he will start our Weight Training program in 2020. Mr. Ham bring a great amount of positive energy to his classes and encourages his students to develop lifelong fitness skills.

Get to know our Health and Physical Education Teacher, watch the video of Mr. James Ham.

Mr. James Ham, Health and Physical Education Teacher

History and Business Studies Teacher
Ms. Mahayla Hill

Ms. Hill received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Education and Business Communication from the University of Northern Iowa. Ms. Hill has taught in Iowa and Texas in the United States as well as Shanghai Dianji University in China. Ms. Hill holds a Business Professional Readiness Program Certificate and excels at developing strategies in her students to develop their critical thinking skills. Ms. Hill encourages her students to become excellent presenters and to understand the principles of business law, finance and ethics.

Get to know our History and Business Studies Teacher, watch the video of Ms. Mahayla Hill.


History Teacher
Mr. Daniel Cruz

Mr. Cruz received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of Kentucky. Mr. Cruz started his teaching career in Flagler County Florida where is was also the Swim Coach at Flagler Palm Coast High School. In 2013 Mr. Cruz joined the Esol Education Team at the American International School in Egypt. In 2018 Mr. Cruz moved to Dubai where he was a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School where he was instrumental at setting up the IB program at Dunecrest and he continues to inspire his students to learn from our past. In addition to his amazing teaching career, Mr. Cruz is also an accomplished swimmer. He was a member of the National Swim Team representing the United States, he was an eleven-time NCAA Division I All American, he was the Southeastern Conference Champion 200 yard Butterfly Swimmer and in 2004 was a United States Olympic Swim Team Trials Finalist.

Get to know our History Teacher, watch the video of  Mr. Daniel Cruz.

Mr. Daniel Cruz, History Teacher

History Teacher
Mr. Michael Glavanis

Mr. Glavanis received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Keele University in the UK. Mr. Glavanis also holds a Master of Science Degree from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle and a Master of Arts Degree from Queen University Belfast. Mr. Glavanis has vast experience with International Education working in the UK, Egypt and China. In 2011 Mr. Glavanis joined Esol Education at the American International School in Egypt and he has extensive knowledge of the IB program and has taught at all levels. In addition to his teaching talents, Mr. Glavanis has also been a TOK Coordinator and CAS Supervisor with the IB program, a Week Without Walls Coordinator as well as Soccer and Track and Field Coach. 

Get to know our History Teacher, watch the video of  Mr. Michael Glavanis.


Islamic Teacher
Mrs. Sara Atef

Mrs. Atef received her Bachelor of Teaching and Translation Degree at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. In 2015, Mrs. Atef moved to Dubai with her family where she has worked at two international schools before joining Dunecrest American School as a Founding Teacher. Mrs. Atef has developed a warm and caring classroom environment and she displays her student’s Islamic knowledge through the many Instagram posts she makes of them. Mrs. Atef has developed two highly successful Islamic Fairs at Dunecrest American School and she does a super job helping her students become seekers of knowledge.

Get to know our Islamic Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Sara Atef.

Mrs. Sara Atef, Islamic Teacher

Islamic Teacher
Dr. Abdulkafi Kamch

Dr. Kamch received his Bachelor’s Degree of Islamic Studies, Master Degree of Islamic Studies and Ph.D. in Islamic Education all from Umm Durman University in Syria. In 2001, Dr. Kamch began his teaching career in Syria and in 2004 he and his family moved to Dubai where he has worked at international schools. In 2012, Dr. Kamch joined the Esol Education Team and he has stayed with us ever since, joining Dunecrest American School in 2019. Dr. Kamch brings a wealth of knowledge in teaching Islamic Education and he has been the Department Chair at three different international schools. Dr. Kamch often presents workshops to other teachers throughout the Middle East.

Get to know our Islamic Teacher, watch the video of Dr. Abdulkafi Kamch.

Dr. Abdulkafi Kamch, Islamic Teacher

Math Teacher
Mr. Dereck Durocher

Mr. Durocher received his Bachelor Degree from Northern Arizona University and his Master Degree of Education from the American College of Education. Mr. Durocher started his teaching career with the Roosevelt School District in Arizona teaching math and coaching volleyball, basketball and soccer. In 2015 he moved to Cairo, Egypt joining our Esol Education School there, The American International School in Egypt. In 2018 Mr. Durocher became a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School and helped the school develop our IB program. Mr. Durocher brings humor to his classes and his integration of technology is legendary. 

Get to know our Math Teacher, watch the video of Mr. Dereck Durocher.

Mr. Dereck Durocher, Math Teacher

Math Teacher
Ms. Heather Anslow

Ms. Anslow received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of New Brunswick in Canada and she also received a Master of Education Degree also from the University of New Brunswick. Ms. Anslow started her teaching career at Fredericton High School in Canada as well as she taught at the University of Waterloo and at Collegio Westhill Institute in Mexico. In 2011 Ms. Anslow joined Esol Education at our schools in Dubai and now she is joining us here at Dunecrest. Ms. Anslow is a master educator and does a fantastic job breaking down difficult math concepts into steps all her students can find success with. In addition to her teaching skills, Mr. Anslow is an outdoor enthusiast coaching Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Track and Field, and Dance.

Get to know our Math Teacher, watch the video of Ms. Heather Anslow.


Math and Science Teacher
Mrs. Kristy Fletcher

Mrs. Fletcher received her Bachelor of Science Degree and her Master of Education Degree both from Monash University in Australia. Mrs. Fletcher is living the goal we all have to be a lifelong learner holding degrees in Leadership, Mathematics, English, History, and Chemical Engineering. Mrs. Fletcher started her teaching career at Elisabeth Murdoch College in Victoria Australia. In 2015 Mrs. Fletcher started her International Education career teaching in Sharjah and Dubai. Mrs. Fletcher is an extremely passionate teacher who wants the best for her students and both her students and herself are expected to work hard. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Mrs. Fletcher enjoys photography, reading and snowboarding.

Get to know our Math and Science Teacher, watch the video of Mrs. Kristy Fletcher.


Music Teacher
Mrs. Mari Carmen

Mrs. Mari Carmen received her Bachelor of Education Degree with a Specialty in Music from Formacion del Profesorado University in Madrid, Spain. Mrs. Mari Crmen furthered her education by obtaining a Master of Arts Degree in the History and Theory of Music from Autonoma University in Madrid, Spain. Mrs. Mari Carmen has a vast amount of experience teaching music with teaching assignments in the Netherlands, Spain, United States and the United Arab Emirates. She is a committed life-long learner and has taken classes to be a certified teacher in Spain, Texas, and Dubai. As a Founding Teacher of Dunecrest American School, Mrs. Mari Carmen has helped our students to appreciate music and has pushed their performance skills to levels of excellence.

Get to know our Music Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Mari Carmen.

Mrs. Mari Carmen, Music Teacher

Science Teacher
Mr. Justin Cumbee

Mr. Cumbee received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of South Carolina and his Master of Education Degree from Georgia Regents University. Mr. Cumbee started his teaching career at Aiken High School in the United States before he moved to the U.A.E. joining Esol Education at our American International School in Abu Dhabi. At AIS Abu Dhabi, Mr. Cumbee was the Head of the Science Department teaching Advanced Placement classes as well as Honors classes in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Science. In addition to his teaching responsibilities Mr. Cumbee coaches both basketball and volleyball. 

Get to know our Science Teacher, watch the video of Mr. Justin Cumbee.


Science Teacher
Mr. Adam Hall

Mr. Hall received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Colorado and his Master of Science Degree from Green Mountain College in Vermont. Mr. Hall started his education career at Shanghai American School in China and in 2015 he started working with our Esol Education Schools here in Dubai. Mr. Hall is a master scientist and has started programs such as the Million Solar Stars as well as Moonwalk for Earth and Roots and Shoots. Mr. Hall has presented at the MENA Teacher Summit and has received the prestigious Dr. Jane Goodall Award for his work with the Million Solar Stars. You can also find Mr. Hall in the 2002 Guinness Book of World Records where he holds the title of the longest moonwalk which was 1.6 miles in one hour.

Get to know our Science Teacher, watch the video of  Mr. Adam Hall.

Mr. Adam Hall, Science Teacher

Science Teacher
Mrs. Kelly Walters

Mrs. Walters received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from DePaul University in Chicago and her Master of Science in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Secondary Education from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Mrs. Walters started her career in a lab managing the molecular diagnostic department and instructing medical students at Rush University. In 2015 she started her education career at Winter Springs School in Wisconsin and then moved to Dubai with her family working at international schools. In 2017 Mrs. Walters joined the Esol Education team and has been with us ever since. Mrs. Walters has helped establish gifted and talented programs and she brings real world applications to her lessons in science. Mrs. Walters also enjoys coaching in her free time as she was a Division I athlete herself at the collegiate level. 

Get to know our Science Teacher, watch the video of  Mrs. Kelly Walters.

Mrs. Kelly Walters, Science Teacher

SEND Coordinator
Mrs. Nicole Ashwin

Mrs. Ashwin received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University. She then completed her Master of Science Degree in Education with a focus in Special Education from Buffalo State University in New York. Mrs. Ashwin has over twenty years of teaching experience spanning the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific, sixteen years of which have been in the realm of special education. Mrs. Ashwin began her teaching career in inner-city Detroit and thereafter, Chicago. Mrs. Ashwin’s understanding of student developmental needs, learning modes and motivations was strengthened through teaching both gifted and special needs inclusion classes. Mrs. Ashwin embraces differentiation as a way for students to be able to express themselves and empower them in a way that works best for them as individuals. 

Get to know our SEND Coordinator, watch the video of Mrs. Nicole Ashwin.


Technology Teacher
Mr. Matt Backus

Mr. Backus received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Information Systems from Clarkson University in New York. Mr. Backus went on to receive his Master of Arts Degree in Educational Technology and Instructional Design from Michigan State University. Mr. Backus started his education career at Leysin American School in Switzerland before moving to Zurich International School. After a four-year tenure at the school, Mr. Backus moved to Dubai where he has been since 2015. Mr. Backus was a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School and he brings the excitement of IT Technology to our students through coding, programing and flying drones through the school. Mr. Backus holds a plethora of certifications such as; Microsoft Tech-Ed Certification, Google Apps Certification and Apple Bootcamp Certification.

Get to know our Technology Teacher, watch the video of  Mr. Matt Backus.


Technology Teacher
Mr. Ricky Prince

Mr. Prince received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Middlesex University in the UK. After graduation he sharpened his computer skills while working for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) where he learned many skills that he has used with his classes. While in the UK, Mr. Prince taught at Walton High, Hastingsbury Business College and Northampton Academy. In 2018 Mr. Prince moved to Dubai and became a Founding Teacher at Dunecrest American School. Mr. Prince enjoys creating a sense of excitement about computing and regardless of the student’s abilities he tries to ensure that all his students have a positive experience with Computer Science. 

Get to know our Technology Teacher, watch the video of  Mr. Ricky Prince.

Mr. Ricky Prince, Technology Teacher

Theatre Arts Teacher
Mrs. Asha Lynch

Mrs. Lynch received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Performing Arts and Education from New York University. Mrs. Lynch has worked and Directed around the world at schools such as the American Nicaraguan School, Zurich International School, Universal American School, International School of Indiana and the American International School of Kuwait. Mrs. Lynch is a master teacher with drama and has directed over sixteen plays and musicals and she looks forward to encouraging the students at Dunecrest and to push their performance skills to excellence.

Get to know our Theatre Arts Teacher, watch the video of Mrs. Asha Lynch.


Dunecrest American School was founded in 2018. We will continue to write our history with every new day.