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

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


Senior Leadership Team

Dr. Paul Lieblich

Dr. Lieblich joins Scholars International Academy (SIA) as Principal and Executive Principal of Scholars International Group, owner and operator of SIA.

Dr. Lieblich has held the Executive Principal post with Scholars International Group since 2018. Recognized by the US State Department, Office of Overseas Schools, as a National Distinguished Principal, Dr. Lieblich is a widely recognized international educator who previously held leadership positions in China, Switzerland, the Netherlands, U.S. and the Bahamas. He has been leading oversight and planning for SIA during the past 18 months, including the restructuring of Lower Primary, the remote learning program and reopening of school in August.

For the International Baccalaureate Organization, International Schools Curriculum Project, Dr. Lieblich was co-initiator and author for the widely respected Primary Years Program, creating a new educational framework for primary school education.

Dr. Lieblich earned a Doctorate of Education, in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado. He holds a Master of Education in Diagnostic & Prescriptive Teaching, SEN from the College of William & Mary. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Bethany College.

Ms. Janet O’Keeffe
Director of School Improvement

Ms. O’Keeffe is leading school improvement at Scholars International Academy and across all Scholars International Group(SIG) schools. Prior to joining SIG, Janet 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 curricula 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.
Ms. O’Keeffe can be reached on jkeeffe@sigeducation.com

Mr. Dileep Menon
Director of Operations

Mr. Menon, who is overseeing operations and campus improvements and across all Scholars International Group Schools(SIG), has lead the covid-19 health and safety protocols for re-opening of SIG schools this year. He previously served as Director of Operations for Scholars International Group before moving internationally within the organization. This year, he renews his role overseeing operations at SIG schools and will lead SIA administration reprogramming and campus facility new construction. Working closely with SIA leadership and administrators, he will ensure SIA’s ability to meet current and future physical and administrative challenges.
Dileep holds an MBA from the US and Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Engineering from India. He brings his vast experience across several industries including education, financial services, real estate and hospitality to SIA management and operations.
Mr. Menon can be reached on dmenon@sigeducation.com

Ms. Heather French
Phase Head of EYFS

I have worked around the world in International Schools for over 20 years. I have been privileged to have taught in countries such as Tunisia, Greece, Spain and the UAE. My experience includes being a class room teacher, subject coordinator and Head of British curriculum in Outstanding Primary Schools. Additionally, I have written a series of books for primary children and have delivered hundreds of training workshops for teachers and parents internationally. I very much believe that children need opportunities to learn through play and ‘hands on’ active learning. It is only when we have happy, confident and engaged pupils that we can truly unlock their full potential. Every child is following their own individual Learning Pathway and it is our jobs as educators, to facilitate the very best journey possible for each and every child.

Mrs. Nazish Sheikh
Phase Head of Upper Primary School

Ms. Nazish Shiekh brings years of leadership at primary schools in London and the UK to her work at Scholars International Academy. She holds a B Ed (Hons) in English from Leeds University College, National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) from London University’s Institute of Education and School Improvement partner qualification from the National College for School Leadership (Nottingham UK). More recently, she has trained as a British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspector and joined the inspection team for schools in the Middle East.

Ms. Nazish taught for 12 years and held senior leadership positions in schools in the London borough of Haringey. She then went on to work for a further five years in other London boroughs as Head Teacher and School Improvement Partner. Her most challenging and ultimately most rewarding experience was leading a pupil referral unit, before coming to the UAE. Ms. Nazish had been Head of Primary at Scholars International Academy for nearly six years. As a parent herself, She is very much aware of the responsibility that she and her team have in ensuring the highest standard of teaching and learning is achieved. She says, “the Primary section has a hugely committed team of educators and wonderful children, which is a great place to be.”

Mr. Darren Frearson
Phase Head of Secondary School

Darren brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a school leader to Scholars International Academy secondary school. He joins SIA from Uptown School where he was Senior Leader for Education Technology and has led ITC departments in schools in Dubai and the UK for the last 19 years. He is acutely aware of the power of technology integrated into the full school experience to give our SIA students the tools they need to succeed.
Darren holds a Bsc(Hons) in Mathematics, Maths and IT from the Nottingham Trent University.

Ms. Meera Rajan
Head of Operations

With 12 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 management of 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 and is the health and safety officer for SIA.

Ms. Meera holds a School Business Manager, Level 4 Diploma from ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management), UK and a Masters in Medical sociology and Business administration from Symbiosis Institute India.



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