Mahmoud Bafagih,Director of ACS Government Relations, has been a member of the ACS community for 18 years. Originally from Mombasa, Kenya, Mahmoud has lived in the U.A.E. for 25 years. Mahmoud loves watching, playing and coaching soccer. He is the proud coach of the ACS Under-14 Boys Soccer Team!

Manoj Kunnenoth, Facilities Manager, has been with the ACS family since 1991. He has witnessed each and every change that was brought to the school campus since then. He is originally from Kerala, a small state in India. His wife Seema is the art assistant in MS & HS at ACS and they have two boys, Manas 18, and Abhijay 5. When he has free time he spends it playing cricket and watching movies.

Zoltan Karaszy, Director of Operations Health and Safety, is from Budapest, Hungary. He earned his degrees (DMS and MBA) with the Oxford Brookes University. Zoltan has worked as the Director of Finances and Operations at the American International School in Budapest during the past 24 years, while their new campus was built. Zoltan is joined, in Abu Dhabi, by his wife, Klara, who works as a Teacher Assistant in the Elementary School. They have three adult daughters, Kriszta, Lilla and Ida (still in college), none of them are in Abu Dhabi. Zoltan and Klara enjoy performing arts, music, singing, reading, jogging, bicycling, skiing and being outdoors with friends in their free time.

Waheeda Al Tamimi, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, has been with ACS as it's grown from a small school with 550 students to the full IB institution it is now. Her institutional knowledge helps guide the Administration every day and her smile is infectious. Originally from Yemen, Waheeda has been living in Abu Dhabi for many years. She has a married son and recently became a proud grandmother.


Robin Heslip, Superintendent, has held leadership and teaching positions in Croatia, Argentina, Malaysia, Morocco, Zaire and the United States for the past 35 years. Dr. Heslip holds a Masters degree in Professional Development and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. She taught nine years in Wisconsin before moving overseas 26 years ago. Robin has been actively involved in student learning and assessment, professional development, curriculum development, strategic planning and accreditation processes in all of the schools at which she has worked. In her free time, Robin enjoys shopping, riding her bicycle and walking her dogs, Ricky and Lucy!

Edward Wexler, HS Principal, has been an educator for the past seventeen years in diverse contexts in the US and abroad, working in both public and private international schools. After completing graduate study at UC Berkeley, and teaching in the Bay Area of California, Eddie served as high school principal of Lincoln School in Kathmandu, Nepal for two years and of Academia Cotopaxi in Quito, Ecuador, for five years. He joined the ACS staff in August of 2013, along with his wife, Jenny Zenick, who will teach in the middle school. They spend most of their free time playing with their children, hiking, and reading.

Mike Emborsky, Middle School Principal, is originally from western New York, but has lived and worked abroad for nearly twenty years. Mike went to Siena College, in Albany, New York, where he majored in English Education, and he later earned a Masters degree in English Education from SUNY Albany. Mike has worked as an elementary, middle and high school teacher in New York, Nagoya, Vienna, Rabat, and Dubai. Mike earned a second Masters degree in Educational Administration from Niagara University and is working on a doctoral degree from Lehigh University. Mike has worked as a principal in Quito and Dakar. Mike, and his wife, Lisa, love to travel with their two children, Michael and Margret, and Mike enjoys reading, running and being outdoors in his free time.

Jonathan Johnson, ES Principal, joined the ACS staff in 2013 after 14 happy years working in international schools in Colombia, most recently as ES Principal in Colegio Panamericano. Jonathan has an MA from Buffalo College of SUNY, and in 2013 Jonathan received his Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. Jonathan is joined in Abu Dhabi by his wife, Evelyn, and sons Connor and Brady.

Katie Koenig, ES Assistant Principal, joined the ACS community in August 2015. She grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. Katie swam competitively while completing her Bachelors Degree in Education at the University of Iowa. Katie caught the international education 'bug' while completing her student teaching in Philip Island, Australia. She has enjoyed teaching and leading in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Most recently, in Saudi Arabia, she organized the opening of a new, early-childhood learning facility and led the teaching team. She holds a Masters Degree in Education and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. Outside of school, you can most definitely catch her telling stories of travel, great restaurants, exciting local activities, and last but not least a 'tail' or two about her pets, Guapo the Magnificent and Mr. Tiddlywinks.

Lisa Emborsky, Director of Curriculum, has been an educator for over twenty-five years, including eighteen years in international schools, including posts in Europe, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. Throughout her career in education, she has had the honor of teaching and learning with a wide range of students and teachers from preschool to high school. She has served as a classroom teacher, a K-12 learning specialist, an instructional facilitator, and a curriculum coordinator. She has earned a Masters of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction from Teacher's College, Columbia University, and a Masters of Inclusive Special Needs from Niagara University. When not at school, she enjoys family activities with her husband, Mike, and two children, Michael and Margret, as well as swimming, music, and cooking.

Kenny Macaulay, Athletic and Activities Director, Nationality = Scottish Kenny graduated from Nottingham University in UK and has further qualifications in educational leadership. He has worked in international education for the past 30 years in Vienna, Brussels, London, Cairo and Frankfurt. He has taught physical education and now is an athletic director/school administrator. He is passionate about sports and enjoys playing golf, rowing, tennis and swimming. Kenny is a former soccer player with semi-professional experience in the Wiener Liga with Essling FC, Austria and played Division-1 Amateur with Royal Brussels British FC in Belgium. He brings his playing and coaching experience to ACS by coaching the Varsity Boys. Kenny is married to Alex, the Aquatics Director at ACS and they have two children, Henrietta (13) and Joanne (9).

Dr. Victor Guthrie, theDirector of Technology at ACS, has over 17 years of experience in Educational Technology. He has managed and led the Educational Technology and Information Services departments in seven different educational institutions, including two organizations with enrollment greater than 35,000 students. Most recently, Dr. Guthrie was the Chief Technology Officer for the Laguna Beach Unified School District in Laguna Beach, California. He held that position for eight years before joining ACS in the fall of 2013.

Dr. Guthrie holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, a Master of Business Administration in International Business, and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership in Transformational Change. Dr. Guthrie and his wife Amber enjoy cooking, traveling, camping, hiking, and off-roading. They are both lifelong learners, and are constantly pursuing educational enrichment.

Administrative Staff

Penny Lopez, Director of Admissions,was raised as a third culture kid to British parents. She was born in Canada and lived in the US, Australia, Malaysia and Japan. With her husband and two daughters she has lived in the US, Qatar and now, happily, the UAE. Penny graduated from the International School of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and went on to study at Tufts University in Boston. When not at work, Penny loves to practice yoga, exercise, travel, read and spend time with family and friends.

Marise Philip-Jayendran, Director of Human Resources,comes from Toronto, Ontario. She was educated in Canada and is specialized in human resources management. Marise has lived in South Korea, China and South Africa. She and her husband Jay are the proud parents of Kaitlin and Celina who love ACS! They enjoy traveling all over the world and experiencing new adventures.

Deann Hays, Director of Finance, joined ACS in December 2012 as the Director of Finance. Originally from Colorado, Deann and her family have lived in South Korea and Belgium before moving to Abu Dhabi in August 2012. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two boys.

Valerie Radford Cox, Director of Institutional Advancement and Marketing, is another global nomad, having made her home in the U.K., Germany, France, Turkey, Uganda, Mauritius, The Philippines, various American states and now the exciting city of Abu Dhabi. Her goal as Director of Institutional Advancement is to let the world know all about the amazing community that is ACS. She lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband Bill. Their daughter Allegra, a graduate of ACS, is currently a university student in Southern California. They also have two older sons who join them on their adventures when they can. When not being chased by hippos, swimming with whale sharks or biking the Loire the family loves to gather around their piles of books and read.