Ian McNiff

Ian McNiff

Group Director of Schools

Ian McNiff is the Group Director of Schools at Athena Education. Ian has over 35 years of experience working for the government regulating bodies and schools within the Middle East as well as in the United Kingdom. He has been the Director of UK schools as well as one of the largest Catholic school groups in the UK. Ian has also worked in public office in the UK for various ministries, and he brings a vast amount of experience, knowledge, and passion for learning and teaching to the organization and its portfolio schools.

 

Dr. Tim Hughes

Group Director of School Improvement

Dr Tim Hughes is currently the Director of School Improvement at Athena Education, supporting developments across all our schools (English National & American curriculum). Prior to his current role, he was the Chief Education Officer for a group of Schools in Dubai and Sharjah and, before that, the Principal of Al Yasmina Academy in Abu Dhabi (a World’s top 10 benchmarking academy currently rated outstanding) and has been a senior leader in education for over 15 years. In the UK, he co-led a school from acceptable to outstanding, to accreditation as a National Teaching School, to its Investors in People Gold Award, Investors in Careers and to the Department for Education Leading Parent Partnership Award. He is an accredited Teaching and Learning consultant for Professor John Hattie, one of the world’s leading educational researchers, and has supported over 100 educational research projects over the past 20 years.
 
His first degree is in Chemistry and PhD is in Chemical Physics. His professional qualifications include that of Chartered Scientist, Chartered Chemist and Chartered Physicist and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Member of the Institute of Physics.  He gained a distinction in his teacher training qualification and holds the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship). 
 
His educational philosophy: Nothing is more important than your education, and the role staff and parents play in a child’s learning is pivotal. However, learning should not be solely about the grades, but about all those unforgettable experiences we have and the broader skills that children acquire to help them become leading, upstanding global citizens. It is our shared moral duty to ensure that “all children are able to shine and to achieve their goals
 

Dr. Tim Hughes
Jan Horn

Jan Horn

Group Head of Operations

Jan Horn leads and guides Athena Operations to achieve sustainable growth and development by ensuring efficiency, productivity and profitability. As a member of the Academic Board, Jan is responsible for the overall efficiency and performance of the group and to ensure all operations support an environment that optimize teaching and learning impact for each child. In consultation with the directors, senior managers and school leadership he develops strategic plans and works with the Principals to translate these into operational projects. Jan has a lifelong commitment towards education and people development, and has more than 25 years of experience in the education sector, more than half of this time in management positions ranging from junior to senior management level.

Dr. Gihan Fradi

Group Head of Curriculum & Assessment

Dr. Fradi is responsible for coordination and development of academic curriculums across all Athena Schools. Informing schools are meeting graduation requirements as well as conducting internal and external assessments. Ensuring various standards and curriculum are being met such as Grade Level Curriculum standards and the National Agenda Education Requirements. Dr. Fradi has been working within schools for the past ten years. She brings a vast amount of information in regards to curriculum development and assessment.

Dr. Gihan Fradi
Catherine O'Farrell

Catherine O'Farrell

Group Head of Inclusion

Catherine O’Farrell is the Group Head of Inclusion across all Athena schools. Catherine has been leading inclusion internationally from Ireland to Australia, spending 8 years in the UAE. She is regularly published in educational magazines and is a director on the Dubai Inclusion Network. Catherine is passionate about removing barriers to learning to ensure that every child can reach their full potential in an inclusive, caring environment.