Al Salam Executive Committee

Salam Education is a school operator responsible for managing Salam Nursery, ASPS and ASCS.

As a family, we have operated our schools with an ‘education first’ priority and this stems from our identity and commitment as educators.

The executive management team at Al Salam are responsible for the executive function as the key decision makers for the group, as well as for the provision and management of shared services to the schools. As such, the strategy and the performance of the schools - in all respects are - under the purview of the executive committee.

In order to support capacity at this level, the executive members have identified non-executive members to support, advise and participate in key decision making. As a group, the executive committee operate as a governing board to achieve the following objectives:

  1. to help the school set and drive its vision, mission, and strategy

  2. To provide support, challenge and resources to promote the schools mission

  3. to scrutinize the school’s performance and hold the school to account

  4. to act as a critical friend to the school’s leadership, by providing constructive advice and support. The EC’s constant concern is for the questions: ‘is the school good enough?’ and ‘is the school meeting its promises?’


Sue Johnston - Founder and Chairwoman

Executive member

Mrs Sue Johnston is the CEO and Founder of Al Salam Private School and Nursery and has been in the field of education for over 38 years. She and her late husband established the school after beginning as a small Nursery in Deira. She has nurtured the growth of the school to its current state, offering quality education for over 1200 students from Nursery to Year 13. In doing so she has continued to develop and promote the beliefs of ‘a good education for all children’ and ‘every child is special’. Her name and reputation has been a major driver of a successful opening and growth in both ASCS and ASPS.

She has been in Dubai for over 33 years as a teacher, leader and entrepreneur and continues to be deeply involved at all levels of the schools and nursery.

SJ Governance Priorities:

  • SEND/Inclusion

  • Child Protection and Safeguarding

  • Teaching and Learning and Community

Taher Gharib - Director
Executive member

Taher Gharib is the Director at Salam Education and Chair of the Executive Committee. He is responsible for overseeing the performance and wider academic and strategic direction of the schools. He was born and grew up in the United Arab Emirates and returned to the UAE after obtaining his Undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Behaviour from Canada and an MSc in Developmental Neuroscience from Kings College London.

He began working at Al Salam in 2011 and continued on to be awarded an M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Zayed University and is also a graduate of the Stanford LEAD programme.

TG Governance Priorities:

  • Strategic planning and partnerships

  • Teaching, Learning, Curriculum and Assessment

  • Business and Administration

Ahmed Hamdi - Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer
Executive member

Ahmed is the CFO/COO at Salam Education and is responsible for the Financial and operational management and strategic business leadership of the group and schools. His background as a result-driven CFO, with solid financial and commercial acumen, extensive experience in Financial Services and Real Estate.

His experience and capability in applying internal controls and generating in-depth reporting mechanism that facilitates executive decision-making. Ahmed has an interest and focus on unifying organization and staff objectives and is passionate about developing people, team building, and creating new leaders. He has a proven track record in negotiating and executing complex deals in different domains that achieved remarkable results.

AH Governance Priorities:

  • Finance, Strategy and Operations

  • Legal matters

  • Infrastructure

Ayman Gharib - Head of Facility and Operations
Executive member

Having a background in specialist vehicle mechanics and Degree in Animation as well as a number of courses in facilities and building management, Ayman Gharib has experience in a number of fields from creating custom vehicles to service management.

He joined Al Salam School in 2013 as Facilities Co ordinator, managing the maintenance, health and safety and services as well as development and improvement of the school premises.

In 2015 he took over the role of Operations Manager, taking on a supervisory role to the Security and Transport departments of the school,improving processes and procedures used in the smooth operation of the day to day requirements of the building.

AG Governance Priorities:

  • Operations and facilities

  • Safety and safeguarding

Ralph Tabberer - Education Strategy Advisor

Education Specialist

Ralph is an alumni of Plymouth College after which he attended Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, gaining a MA in Economics, Social and Political Science. In addition, he gained a PGCE from Brunel University.

Ralph was a teacher and completed 10 years’ of research study into how children learn before joining the Civil Service. A highly successful career led to his appointment in 2000, as Chief Executive of the TTA (Teacher Training Agency), which became the TDA (Training and Development Agency for Schools), and was the UK’s most senior official for schools under the Blair Government. In 2009, he came to the Middle East as Chief Schools Officer and Chief Operating Officer for GEMS Education.

After 4 years in charge of their schools, he set up his own companies in the UK and UAE that provide governments, investors and operators with financial, planning, educational and marketing support for their schools. and is a visiting professor at Warwick University and University College London.

Ralph has been associated with Al Salam since 2016 where he was part of the core inspiration to open ASCS and supported the strategic and operational stages for its launch in 2019.

RT Governance Priorities:

  • Strategy and Leadership develoment

  • Educational standards and excellence

Wael Nafii - Specialist Strategy Advisor

Community Leader and School Parent

Wael is a Y Combinator alumnus and serial entrepreneur who has co-founded startups in the Silicon Valley and the Middle East.

He was one of the early employees of Careem and held roles including VP of Product Development and was Careem's MD of Platforms, leading Careem's vision to become a Super App company. Wael has built technology products used by tens of millions of users worldwide, featured in publications such as TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, Engadget, and many others. He is has been advisor to many VCs and startups in the region and is passionate about building tech capacity and fostering entrepreneurship in the MENA region.

Currently, Wael is now a Partner at Raed Ventures where he works with founders to create and scale breakthrough companies in the MENA region.

WN Governance Priorities:

  • Technology, data and Communications

  • Digital strategy and data management

  • Tech investment and smooth operation of systems

Margi Kulsoom - Specialist Inclusion advisor

Community Leader and Education specialist

Margi takes up her position on the Board of Governors of Al Salam, with a wide range of educational and special educational experience behind her, both as a Speech and Language Therapist internationally, and as a Governor of the Walthamstow School for Girls in London for five years.

In Dubai, she provides weekly consultancy in Al Salam school, in which she observes and advises on a range of pupils about whom there are concerns.

Margi has worked in Ethiopia and China for short periods. Prior to that, in Pakistan, working with a group of local people and parents, she set up two special schools in NWFP, Pakistan. She also became Special Advisor to the Pakistan Federal Government on Special Education, providing national training for professionals working with children with special needs. Children with disabilities previously hidden away and a symbol of shame, started to be accepted in Pakistan society.

In London, during more than 20 years as a UK qualified Speech and Language Therapy Manager, she achieved significant improvements in four London Speech and Language Therapy services.

Margi has worked alongside Education colleagues closely throughout her career, pushing forward the philosophy of including children with special needs in mainstream schools. She believes strongly in the benefits of a joint approach to meeting the child’s needs, 24/7, to maximise the practice opportunities and to learn and train parents, teachers assistants and other professionals, especially through hands-on informal working.

MK Governance Priorities:

  • SEND / Inclusion and Provision for Emiratis Areas

  • Wellbeing

  • Policy and accountability

Manav Someddar- Specialist Finance Advisor

Financial leader and school parent

Manav is a Senior Wealth Manager with Wehbe Financial Services. He is a double postgraduate with Masters in business administration from University of Liverpool, United Kingdom and Masters in Management studies from university of Mumbai, India.

Manav has over 12 years of versatile experience in the Banking & Investment domain. He is primarily responsible for designing and managing customized wealth management solutions for clients, both on an Advisory and Discretionary basis.

Having initially majored in the field of Bio-chemistry, he found his calling in Entrepreneurship and created a cosmetic brand called “B’atude”, which boasts a premium organic skin care range. He was directly involved in brand creation, product development, supply chain and global sales and marketing. The brand is currently present in 3 countries and expanding rapidly.

Manav is a proud father of two and parent at Al Salam School. He serves on the board of governors representing the financial committee.

MS Governance Priorities:

  • Finance and devolved budget

  • Tax and Insurance