Dubai English Speaking School
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Senior Leadership Team

Catherine Dando was appointed DESS Headteacher in September 2014. Having gained a First Class Honours degree in Education at Brighton University, Catherine has developed a highly experienced career in education, with nearly 30 years spent in primary education in the UK as a Class Teacher, Literacy Leader, Deputy Headteacher and Headteacher. For two years, she was seconded to Brighton University where she lectured in Early Literacy to teaching students. Since gaining her NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) in 2010, Catherine has led a very successful team as a Primary Headteacher in Worthing, UK.

A strong believer in working collaboratively with other schools, Catherine was also chosen to represent her region on the Heads Executive where she was able to have a real impact on leading change in schools. She is passionate about creating irresistible learning opportunities and empowering children to become independent and lifelong learners. A mother of three grown up children herself, she is looking forward to welcoming new pupils and parents to DESS for the new academic year.

Tony has been at DESS since 2007 and joined the Senior Leadership Team in 2014. 

After graduating from the University of London, Tony spent time working as a financial planner before taking time out to travel. He then returned to University in East Anglia where he completed his PGCE (QTS) in Primary Education. Tony then returned home to teach in Guernsey. During his 6 years in Guernsey, Tony taught across KS2 and was Head of P.E. 

Upon moving to Dubai, Tony started at DESS in Year 5 and has since taken on several different roles; Subject Leader, Year Leader, Phase Leader, Assistant Headteacher and now Deputy Headteacher, as well as teaching in different year groups. During his time at DESS, Tony has also qualified as an ILM Level 3 Workplace Coach and completed his NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship). 

This year, his main responsibilities include Health and Safety, Professional Development, Training and Appraisal as well as overseeing Upper KS2, Islamic, PE and Technology. 

Outside of work Tony can often be seen running the streets of Dubai as he attempts to stay fit enough to keep up with his two young boys. 

Rebecca joined DESS in September 2015 as Assistant Headteacher.

After graduating with a BA (QTS) in Primary Education from Canterbury Christ Church University, Rebecca completed her first year of teaching in Kent before moving home to Cornwall. During her 5 years in Cornwall, she taught from Foundation Stage to Year 4, was a Subject Coordinator, Year Group Leader, and served as a Teacher Governor before being asked to work as P.E Advisor.

Moving to Dubai in 2008, and after her initial year here, Rebecca worked as an Advisory Teacher in Al Ain before taking up the position of Year Group Leader at JESS for 4 years.

This year, her main responsibilities include leading Home Learning, Learning Environments, Sustainability, as well as overseeing Languages and Year 3 and 4.

Outside of work Rebecca relaxes with her dogs and invests her time volunteering for a local animal charity.

Ruth joined DESS in September 2016 as a Year Leader and has been part of the Senior Leadership team since 2017.

After gaining a PGCE in Swansea Metropolitan University, Ruth moved to Bristol to begin her teaching career. During her time in Bristol, she taught across Years 2 – Year 6 and joined the school leadership team as a SENDCo. She also worked with the local authority providing support for other schools in relation to behavior management.

In 2014, Ruth moved to Mombasa, Kenya where she took on the role of Deputy Headteacher. During this time, she introduced the National Curriculum 2014, as well as new reporting and assessment procedures to the school.

This year, Ruth’s main responsibilities include leading on the School Curriculum and Inclusion, as well as overseeing KS1 and Science.

Outside of work, Ruth enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, paddle boarding and exploring the world.


Liz joined DESS in 2008 as Foundation Stage 2 Year Leader. With the opening of FS1 in 2014, she moved into the role of Phase Leader for Foundation Stage. In 2019, Liz joined the Senior Leadership Team as Assistant Headteacher.

After graduating from Plymouth University in 1999 with a BEd honours degree, Liz taught in Devon for 4 years before moving to a Senior Leadership role in a village school in Leicestershire.

In 2005, Liz moved to Ras Al Khaimah to begin a new role as Year 1 Teacher and Year Leader. In her 3 years at RAKESS, she taught both the British and IB curriculums.

This year, Liz’s main responsibilities will be Assessment and Reporting, The National Agenda, The Coaching Program and overseeing Foundation Stage.

In her spare time Liz enjoys reading and keeping fit.