Scholars International Academy



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

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

Senior Leadership Team

Mr. James Batts


MSc (Hons), BSc (Hons), PGCE,


A passionate educator and school leader, Mr. James Batts places the happiness and success of children at the heart of his professional practice. His drive to develop provision and ‘support children and young adults to be the best they can be’ through growing and enhancing global competency skills in this ever-changing world is truly admirable. His purpose in education is to develop a learning approach that recognizes that all learners have the potential to achieve the highest results and place emphasis on developing attitudes and characteristics. Excellence is what he hopes to drive at SIA.

Alongside SIA stakeholders, Mr. Batts works hard to continue the legacy of success that has already been established. He continues to build strong relationships with our parents, learners, and the extended community. In effect, he aspires to inspire the next generation of learners and create an environment where your children can thrive. In his own words,

There is no limit to what is achievable.

 – Mr. James Batts

Ms. Heather French

Phase Head of EYFS

Ms. Heather French worked around the world in International Schools for over 20 years. Before her role as Phase Head for EYFS at SIA, she was a classroom teacher, a subject coordinator, and the Head of British Curriculum in many Outstanding Primary Schools. She had the privilege to teach in countries such as Tunisia, Greece, Spain, and all around the UAE. 

She is also an inspired author, having written a series of books for primary children, and a motivated educator for providing hundreds of training for teachers and parents all around the world. Ms. French believes that children need opportunities to learn through play and ‘hands on’ active learning because it is only when children are happy, confident, and engaged that they can truly unlock their full potential. 

She also believes that every child is following their own individual Learning Pathway and as an educator, her purpose is to facilitate the very best journey possible for our children at SIA.

Mr. Daniel Mellor

Phase Head of Upper Primary School

For over 25 years, Mr. Daniel Mellor had the privilege to work in a wide range of schools within the U.K. and other parts of the world. He has successfully developed and led high performing teams in pursuit of improving outcomes for students while at the same time fostering a supportive working environment.

He holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E.) and a National Qualification for Headship (N.Q.P.H). Mr. Mellor believes in the importance of self-discipline, setting rigorous expectations, and creating a culture of success and achievement for staff and students alike. Excellence is what he hopes to drive at SIA.

Mr. Darren Frearson

Phase Head of Secondary School

Mr. Darren Frearson brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a school leader at SIA Secondary School. He holds a Bsc (Hons) in Mathematics, Maths and IT from the Nottingham Trent University. Before his role as the Phase Head of Secondary at SIA, he was in leadership positions in the U.K. and in Dubai.

He joins SIA from Uptown School where he was Senior Leader for Education Technology and has led ICT departments in schools in Dubai and the UK for the last 19 years. He is aware of the power of technology integrated into the full school experience to give our SIA students the tools they need to reach success.

Ms. Srishti Chopra

Head of Administration

With over 18 years of leading operations in the hospitality industry, Ms. Srishti Chopra’s focus is to provide a safe and enriching environment for all students and staff as the Head of Operations at SIA. For over 15 years, UAE has been her home. Another interesting fact is that she holds a bachelor’s degree in Alternative Medicine and Surgery.

Ms. Chopra believes in the importance of driving and leading a culture of high-quality service. She constantly works with our facility and safety teams to enhance the infrastructure and environment at SIA, thus providing a superior experience for our children, parents, and staff. From executing the movement from the Sharjah campus, her aim has always been to drive service culture at every step. She leads a great support service team that ensures the academic team has the right support to deliver outstanding education for our students.

Corporate Governance

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.

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.

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