Our Governors

Our Governors are very proud of the heritage of the School; it has been at the heart of the community in Abu Dhabi since it was founded in 1968 and is built on land generously donated by the founding president of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The Board of Governors works to high standards to ensure that the school is at its best. In our latest UK inspection report under the UK Government’s Standards for British Schools Overseas (BSO), carried out in November 2015 the School was rated ‘Good with many outstanding features’.

The British School Al Khubairat, unlike the vast majority of independent and private schools locally, is a not-for-profit school, which means that every dirham we receive is reinvested in the School for the benefit of our students.

Governor Bios

Debby Burton Shaw - Chair of Governors

Debby was appointed as a governor by His Excellency the British Ambassador in 2013 and elected as Chair in June 2016. Debby has been living in Abu Dhabi since 2004 and before moving to Abu Dhabi, Debby and her family lived in Spain. She is married to Fergus and has two children, one now a past-pupil and one who currently attends BSAK. Debby is a UK qualified solicitor and has a Masters of Law from University College London. She is a Managing Associate at Trowers & Hamlins, a City of London based international law firm. Prior to becoming Chair, Debby had been the Hon. Secretary to the Board and Convener of the Personnel Committee. She is a member of the Education and Finance & Premises Committees.


Julie Richards MBE - Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors

Having joined the Board in October 2003 as a parent-elected governor and now as a governor appointed to the Board by His Excellency the British Ambassador, Julie was Chair for ten years from 2004-2014.Julie has a Masters degree in Education Management and is currently studying for a Doctorate in Education. She has worked in education for 30 years as a teacher and manager in the UK, Europe and Middle East. She has taught at the Higher Colleges of Technology for 18 years and is currently teaching English as a Foreign Language. She is married to Clive, a civil engineer, and has two children, one now a past-pupil and one currently at BSAK. On the Board, Julie is a member of the Personnel Committee.

Richard Oliver MA, MBA, FCSI, ACIB

Richard was appointed to the Board by His Excellency the British Ambassador in October 2006. He became Regional CEO for the Gulf and Africa for National Bank of Abu Dhabi in December 2014. Prior to this he was Vice-Chairman, Banking for HSBC and held a variety of board positions for HSBC affiliates and subsidiaries. He is Chairman of the British Centres for Business Overseas Limited in the UK. He is a retained Advisor to a number of UAE and UK entities. He is a Masters graduate of Oxford University in PPE and holds a Finance MBA from City University. He has lived in the UAE since 1995 and in Abu Dhabi since 2002. Married since 1991, Richard and his wife Jenny have had three children at the School. He is also a Member of the UAE UK Business Council. His main interests outside family and British interests in the UAE are history, sport and economics. On the BSAK Board, Richard has held the post of Hon. Treasurer since 2009 and he is the Convener of the Finance and Premises Committee and a Member of the Executive Committee.

HE Younis Haji Al Khoori

Younis was appointed to the Board by His Excellency the British Ambassador in May 2015. He is the Under Secretary of the UAE Ministry of Finance.  One of his key roles is to supervise the implementation of the new zero-based federal budgeting process. He is also responsible for financial performance monitoring, treasury and budget management, and business development. Prior to that, Younis was the IT Director of the Financial Managements Systems of the Department of Finance Abu Dhabi, where he worked on Oracle ERP implementations, and Financial Management and Accounting System projects. Before joining the Ministry, he worked as an engineer with ADNOC. He majored in Computer Engineering at Boston University, with a Masters Degree in Engineering Management from North Eastern University.  Younis currently serves on the Boards of UAE Central Bank, General Pension and Social Security Authority and the Arab Monetary Fund. Younis has 4 children at the school in Y3, Y6, Y9 and Y12 and is a member of the Finance & Premises Committee.

Vilja Wheatcroft

Vilja joined the board as Parent Elected Governor in November 2013. She is married with two boys in Y7 and Y12. Vilja has been living in Abu Dhabi for 17 years, having worked in federal higher education institutions since arriving in 2000. A graduate from Winchester (BA hons) and Warwick (MA dist.) Universities in the UK and having specialised linguistics, Vilja has had a wide experience in implementing educational policy at post-secondary level. For many years she worked in educational publishing in the UK, specifically for Scholastic Publications, working on materials for the then new National Curriculum. During her tenure, Vilja hopes to be able to share her wide knowledge and experience, as Convener of the Personnel Committee and as a member of the Educational Committee. 

Russell Williams

Russell joined the Board as a parent-elected Governor in November 2011. He is married to Rochelle and they have one child at the school, in Y7. Russell and his family have been in Abu Dhabi since 2011 and prior to this Russell spent time working in Hong Kong, teaching at Hong Kong Baptist University and serving as a parent-elected Board member for the English Schools Foundation. Russell has a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Indiana University and currently works in the Graduate Studies and Research Division at HCT. On the Board, Russell is Convener of the Education Committee.

Sean Magee

Sean Magee joined the Board as a parent-elected governor in November 2014 , was appointed as Honorary Secretary in November 2016 and is a member of the Finance & Premises Committee. Sean is a Real Estate lawyer and has practiced in the City of London, Qatar and the UAE, currently holding the in-house position of Senior Legal Counsel at twofour54. Sean has been resident in Abu Dhabi since July 2009 and is married with two children, both of whom are current BSAK students. Sean's interests include following the football, reading and cinema, time permitting!

Reema Traynor

Reema Traynor joined the Board as a parent-elected Governor in November 2014.  She moved from the UK to Abu Dhabi in 2009 with her husband Paul and their two daughters, Yasmin and Orlagh.  Reema graduated from San Diego University with a BA in Political Science and Film and later undertook her postgraduate studies at City University London completing a diploma in law and the United Kingdom Solicitors law exams.  She is a qualified lawyer in the United Kingdom and is currently the Legal Director and Companies Registrar at the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi/Twofour54. On the Board, Reema is a member of Personnel Committee.

Stephanie Al-Qaq

Stephanie was appointed to the Board as the Ambassador’s Representative in October 2016 and is a member of the Education Committee.  She is Deputy Head of Mission to British Embassy in Abu Dhabi having joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 2002 after working for several corporate, non-governmental and governmental organisations, including Reuters, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the House of Commons and the Department for International Development working in various countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas.  On joining the FCO, she served as Political Officer on Iraq from 2003-2004 and Assistant Private Secretary for the Minister for the Middle East, Counter Terrorism and Consular from 2004-2006. She has served in Brazil as Political Counsellor and Mexico as Minister Counsellor for Political, Economic, Consular and Corporate affairs. Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.  She is married to Dr. Kareem Richard Al-Qaq, a political scientist, and they have three children, Naseem, Alexandra and Zakaria.

Angus MacKinnon

 Angus MacKinnon joined the Board as a parent-elected governor in November 2016 and is a  member of the Finance & Premises and Education Committees. As Head of the Organizational  PMO, Angus has lead teams of program managers responsible for delivering different types of  strategic business change projects (people, process, system and  fitouts). He has worked in  both established and start-up companies in UK and UAE in various management roles, provided  logistics for a British-based medical NGO in Darfur, Sudan and tsunami-affected Sri Lanka and  volunteered for Raleigh International in Chile. Having graduated with BA in History, he has been  resident in UAE since April 2006 and in Abu Dhabi since March 2008. Angus is married with  two girls, one of whom is old enough to be a BSAK student. Angus enjoys films, travel and  makes occasional attempts to get fit! 

Simon Moorhouse

Simon joined the Board as a parent-elected Governor in December 2016 and is a member of the Finance & Premises and Education Committees.  He is married to Natasha and their children George (Y4) and Isabel (Y2) joined BSAK from Brighton College in 2016. Simon and family have lived in Abu Dhabi since 2014 and previously Hong Kong, the Russian Federation, Macau and the U.K. Simon is a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He  is  experienced in the development and delivery of major building and infrastructure projects  such  as the New British Embassy in Moscow, the Venetian Resort in Macau, the Hong Kong  Science  Park and utility provision and road construction in Ghana, West Africa, to name a  few. Outside of work Simon enjoys cycling, kayaking and following current affairs. He also enjoys foreign travel and wildlife.

Adam Boukadida

Adam was co-opted onto the Finance & Premises Committee in January 2017. Adam, his wife Francesca and son Leo have lived in Abu Dhabi for 5 years. He is currently the Deputy Group Treasurer at Etihad Aviation Group, responsible for corporate treasury, financial risk management and insurance. Prior to joining Etihad, Adam was the Senior Vice President and Group Head of Global Market Operations at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Adam’s UK experience includes several years at Tesco and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Adam is a qualified Treasurer and Banker and holds an executive MBA. Outside of work Adam is an active member of the Middle East Association of Treasurers and a passionate football and rugby fan.