Emma Shanahan

Principal Aspen Heights British School

Emma was appointed as the Founding Principal of Aspen Heights British school in July 2017. She has worked in education for almost twenty-five years, starting as a primary school teacher in London, UK. A graduate of the University of Durham, Emma considers herself a lifelong learner, being awarded a National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) in 2013 and receiving a MA (ed) (distinction) from Liverpool Hope University in 2016.  She has held strategic leadership roles in high performing schools both in the UK and internationally, with significant Middle-East regional experience. The impact of Emma’s leadership has been externally validated with her previous school being graded ‘outstanding’ in every category in the UAE inspection framework in 2015-16. She is experienced in establishing and facilitating processes for continuous evaluation and improvement, exemplified by the successful launch of two brand-new schools, and transitioning an established school to an expanded campus.

Emma’s philosophy of education is centred around building positive relationships, innovative and creative teaching to ensure all children make impressive progress, and community learning and engagement. One of her proudest achievements is seeing previously disengaged families attending school assemblies, family workshops, and supporting their children’s learning.

Emma lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband Steve, and their three teenage sons. In addition to yoga, boxing and Pilates, she is a reluctant scuba diver, having taken up the challenge to learn alongside her sons. Emma prefers to spend any spare time crocheting and reading from the side-lines whilst watching her sons play rugby.

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