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


Mr. James Batts
MSc (Hons), BSc (Hons), PGCE, NPQH,NASENCO

As a passionate educator and school leader, I place the happiness and success of children at the heart of my professional practice. My drive to develop provision and ‘support children and young adults to be the best they can be’ through growing and enhancing those global competency skills is vital in this ever-changing world. Supporting learners to be more resilient, to persevere when challenged and to have the confidence to ‘think big’ and ‘have a go’ are just some of those skills I am referring to and are at the heart of high performing learning models. Developing a learning approach that recognizes that all learners have the potential to achieve the very highest results and places emphasis on developing attitudes and characteristics to allow this to happen has become my core purpose in education and is what I hope to drive at SIA.

Alongside the SIA stakeholders, I will work hard to continue the legacy of success that has been established and will aim to build strong relationships with parents, learners and our extended community. Inspiring the next generation and being able to affect a visible impact on a child’s life is a great responsibility and my vision will be to create an environment where learners can thrive, and I hope to see that there is no limit to what is achievable. Collaboratively we will focus on developing and innovating the new initiatives, whilst striving to become a more reflective learning community with strong values and a focus on the effective use of data to inform and drive enhanced learner outcomes.

As your new Principal, it is important to me that everyone who steps through our doors at SIA is excited to be here and determined to support our growth over the months and years ahead. A positive approach and attitude is key as this will enable us to meet the challenges of academic excellence in a supportive and nurturing environment. You will find me to be a visible and engaged leader and I am certainly looking forward to getting to know the school community.

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.

Mr. Daniel Mellor
Phase Head of Upper Primary School
B.A. P.G.C.E. N.P.Q.H.

It is a huge honour to have been selected to be the next Head of Primary at SIA.

I worked in a wide range of schools within the U.K. and other parts of the world over the past 25 years. I am proud to have successfully developed and led high performing teams in pursuit of improving outcomes for students while at the same time fostering a supportive working environment. I firmly believe in the importance of self-discipline, setting rigorous expectations and creating a culture of success and achievement, for staff and students alike.

I am passionate about what we do in education and in providing every member of the SIA community with the best opportunities to succeed, in school and beyond, academically or otherwise. In this increasingly complex and rapidly changing world, our responsibility, as educators, has never been greater. Therefore, providing an environment where students are supported, consistently challenged, given the opportunity to experience failure just as much as success and develop true resilience is critical. It is crucial that everyone reflects upon what they have done and strives to be the best they can be. The development of these critical skills is paramount in creating successful learning journeys for all.

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. Srishti Chopra
Head of Administration

With over 18 years of leading operations in the hospitality industry, my focus is to provide a safe and enriching environment for the children and staff of Scholar’s International Academy and to support academic excellence in the classroom.

I do believe that every child is here to learn and grow so leading a great support service team ensures that the academic team has the right support to deliver great lessons and outstanding education for the children to develop themselves into the ladies and gentlemen of tomorrow.

From executing the movement from the Sharjah campus my main aim is to drive service culture at every step. We are constantly working with our facility and health and safety teams to enhance the infrastructure and environment thus providing a superior experience for our children, parents, and staff.

This is my 17th year in the Middle East out of which Dubai has been home for 15 years. Another interesting fact-I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Alternative Medicine and Surgery.


Recognized among the premier international schools in Sharjah. For admissions information contact us at 06 519 7000 or click here.


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