Scholars International Academy



Educators with years of international teaching and leadership experience, who hold higher education degrees give our Senior Leadership Team the pedigree of superior qualifications to lead academics and school life at SIA.

The Senior Leadership Team’s goal is to create a high-quality educational atmosphere for your children that focuses not only on a strong academic program, but also develops values of trust, good behavior, tolerance, and honesty to make them responsible individuals in a global society of the future.

Senior Leadership Team

Picture of James Batts

Mr. James Batts


MSc (Hons), BSc (Hons), PGCE,


A passionate educator and school leader, Mr. James Batts places the happiness and success of children at the heart of his professional practice. His drive to develop provision and ‘support children and young adults to be the best they can be’ through growing and enhancing global competency skills in this ever-changing world is truly admirable. His purpose in education is to develop a learning approach that recognizes that all learners have the potential to achieve the highest results and place emphasis on developing attitudes and characteristics. Excellence is what he hopes to drive at SIA.

Alongside SIA stakeholders, Mr. Batts works hard to continue the legacy of success that has already been established. He continues to build strong relationships with our parents, learners, and the extended community. In effect, he aspires to inspire the next generation of learners and create an environment where your children can thrive. In his own words,

There is no limit to what is achievable.

 – Mr. James Batts

Ms. Heather French - EYFS Head at SIA

Ms. Heather French


Ms. Heather French worked around the world in International Schools for over 20 years. Before her role as Phase Head for EYFS at SIA, she was a classroom teacher, a subject coordinator, and the Head of British Curriculum in many Outstanding Primary Schools. She had the privilege to teach in countries such as Tunisia, Greece, Spain, and all around the UAE. 

She is also an inspired author, having written a series of books for primary children, and a motivated educator for providing hundreds of training for teachers and parents all around the world. Ms. French believes that children need opportunities to learn through play and ‘hands on’ active learning because it is only when children are happy, confident, and engaged that they can truly unlock their full potential.

She also believes that every child is following their own individual Learning Pathway and as an educator, her purpose is to facilitate the very best journey possible for our children at SIA.

Mr. Danny Mellor - Primary Head at SIA

Mr. Danny Mellor

Vice Principal and Primary Head

For over 25 years, Mr. Danny Mellor had the privilege to work in a wide range of schools within the U.K. and other parts of the world. He has successfully developed and led high performing teams in pursuit of improving outcomes for students while at the same time fostering a supportive working environment.

He holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E.) and a National Qualification for Headship (N.Q.P.H). Mr. Mellor believes in the importance of self-discipline, setting rigorous expectations, and creating a culture of success and achievement for staff and students alike. Excellence is what he hopes to drive at SIA.

Mr. Donal O’ Callaghan - Assistant Phase Head Secondary at SIA

Mr. Donal O’ Callaghan

Head of Secondary

Mr. Donal O’ Callaghan is the Assistant Phase Head for Secondary with responsibility for Curriculum, Exams, Timetabling and Data. Donal has been a member of the SIA family for the past 6 years. He has worked as a Geography teacher in our Secondary phase teaching students from Year 7 to Year 13. He introduced our IGCSE and A Level Geography curriculum to SIA which has gone from strength to strength each year. He has studied his PGCE with the University of Sunderland in the UK and also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Limerick in Ireland. Mr. Callaghan is a firm believer in knowing all learners have unlimited potential that just needs to be unlocked to help them be the best they can be. He loves to see learners rise to challenges and push themselves in all aspects of their school life.’

Assistant Phase Heads

Ms. Daisy Hutton - Assistant Phase Head EYFS and Lower Primary

Ms. Daisy Hutton

Assistant Phase Head EYFS
and Lower Primary

Ms. Daisy Hutton has worked at SIA for ten years. She has been lucky enough to work across Foundation 1, Foundation 2 and Year 1. Ms. Hutton completed her PGCE, (specialising in Early Years) in the UK and has recently completed her NPQSL. She is a very dedicated, enthusiastic and passionate teacher. She believes that happy learners learn wanting to harness their energy, enthusiasm and building on those light bulb moments that all learners have every day. Ms. Hutton knows that learners learn by exploring and using a variety of resources with a hands-on approach. Each learner is on their own learning journey and Ms. Hutton is so excited to be a part of their journey.

Ms. Tanita McCarthy - Assistant Phase Head Primary at SIA

Ms. Tanita McCarthy

Assistant Phase Head Primary

Ms. Tanita McCarthy has been teaching for over 12 years and has experience in the leading of teaching and learning across different year groups and in an international setting. She is passionate about education and seeing every learner develop holistically. Her educational philosophy includes providing the best possible environment which encourages all learners to be the best they can be. Ms. McCarthy holds a Bachelor of Education and believes in everyone being a life-long learner.

Ms. Fareeha Nadkar - Assistant Head Teaching and Learning (Secondary) and Well-being

Ms. Fareeha Nadkar

Assistant Head Teaching and Learning (Secondary) and Well-being

With over 17 years of experience in the field of education in various teaching and leadership roles, Ms. Nadkar’s first love has always been teaching. A passionate educator, her practice is driven by two motives – to create a safe space for every learner who walks into the school and to instil a love for learning in them.

Having worked as a Special Needs teacher  and a SENCO for over 10 years, she truly believes that no child should be left behind and that our role as educators is to ensure that we encourage learners to develop the skill sets that will help them to become learners for life.

She has completed her PGCE and B. Ed in Special Needs Education, has a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management and is currently completing her NPQSL qualification.

In her role as Assistant Head, she will be leading Teaching and Learning in Secondary and will look after Staff Wellbeing for the whole school. In this role, she aspires to create a school culture where all learners and staff feel supported and motivated to try new things, take risks, and strive to become the best version of themselves.

Corporate Governance

Ms. Janet O’ Keeffe - Executive Principal and Governor for Safeguarding & Inclusion at SIA

Ms. Janet O’ Keeffe

Executive Principal and

Governor for Safeguarding & Inclusion

Ms. Janet O’ Keeffe is the Executive Principal & the Governor for Safeguarding and Inclusion across all Scholars International Group (SIG) schools. Her role is to support and hold school leadership to account in realizing the school’s improvement plans while fulfilling the school’s vision and mission as the leading progressive school in the UAE. Prior to joining SIG, Ms. O’ Keeffe was the driving force leading accrediting qualifications and growth of the Fortes schools in Dubai, as well as the chain of Jumeirah International Nurseries. She has lived and worked in Dubai for 20 years. During that time, she has taken on multiple leadership positions including Head of School, Head of School Operations and Corporate Advisor. The schools she oversaw achieved very good and outstanding inspection ratings from the KHDA and are recognized for delivering innovative curricular in the UAE.

In her new role at SIG schools, she will work closely with senior leadership teams to ensure that our schools achieve the highest standards and accreditation ratings in each area of school life and academic curriculum.

Mr. Dileep Menon - Director of Operations at SIA

Mr. Dileep Menon

Director of Operations

Mr. Dileep Menon, Director of Operations, oversees operations and campus improvements across Scholars International Group portfolio of schools. Prior to his move to Dubai, he headed Indian operations for the parent company. Working closely with school leadership and administrators, he will ensure each school’s ability to meet current and future operational, administrative and facility challenges.
Mr. Menon holds an MBA from the Manderson Graduate School of Business at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, USA, and a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Industrial Engineering from the Kolhapur Institute of Technology, Shivaji University, India. He brings vast experience across several industries including education, financial services, real estate, and hospitality to SIG management and operations.

Ms. Meera Rajan 

Head of Operations

With over 16 years’ experience in the field of tactical and strategic planning, Ms. Meera brings her knowledge of management and administration to the Scholars International Academy leadership team.

The majority of Ms. Meera’s career prior to SIA was in the Indian Armed Services. Ms. Meera retired with the rank of Major in the logistics branch. During her service, she was responsible for planning and managing supply chain and logistics for over 15,000 troops. She also held management positions in Human Resources Management, coordinating HR policies for over 1,000 personnel, including induction, training, discipline, security, and management and career development. 

In her SIA Operations role, she oversees all operations including transport, facilities, accounts, HR, procurement, parent, education board and government relations, and health and safety. Ms. Meera holds a School Business Manager Level 4 Diploma from ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management), UK, and a Master’s in Medical Sociology and Business Administration from Symbiosis Institute, India. She also holds an International General Certificate in Health and Safety by NEBOSH, a Managing Safely Certificate by IOSH, and an OSHA certification.

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