Board of Trustees

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A collaborative group committed to safeguarding the long-term strength of our school.

The American Community School of Abu Dhabi is governed by a parent-led Board of Trustees. The expertise and dedication of Board members ensures that ACS remains the American curriculum school of choice in Abu Dhabi and optimizes future opportunities for our students.

Board members sit on different committees and when needed, parents with specific skill sets or expertise are invited to join.

  • The Building Committee: Makes sure campus facilities serve the long-term needs of the school including the development of a new state-of-the-art campus on Saadiyat Island
  • The Finance Committee: Presents the annual budget to the board for approval and oversees our annual audit
  • The Governance Committee: Provides oversight of school policy and other governance matters
  • The Institutional Advancement Committee: Supports our fundraising efforts and helps us to advance a shared understanding of who we are as a school and the amazing work that we do
  • The Policy Committee: Reviews and audits the policies to guide the school’s operation

 

Primary Roles and Responsibilities

  • Ensure the long-term viability of the school through fiscal responsibility and strategic planning
  • Hire and evaluate a Superintendent who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school; provide Superintendent adequate support to ensure that ACS provides the best possible education for its students and remains an employer of choice for faculty and staff
  • Ensure optimal policies and sufficient facilities are in place to ensure a safe and productive environment for the ACS students, faculty and staff
  • Approve budget and provide financial oversight to ensure responsible fiscal management of the school

ACS Board of Trustees

MattAyoub

Matt Ayoub

Chair

Matt Ayoub

Matt grew up in Abu Dhabi, arriving in 1979 and graduating from ACS in 1994 as part of our second graduating class. He returned to Abu Dhabi in 2010 and currently has three children at ACS in Grades 3, 9 and 10, providing the Board with a unique perspective as an ACS Alumnus, parent, and long-time community member.

Matt is employed by Mubadala and currently serves as a member of the organization’s Human Capital leadership team with a specific focus on the intersection of people and business, as well as company culture and longer-term organization development. Prior to joining Mubadala, Matt worked in a range of roles in the life sciences and semiconductor industries, spending time in Europe, Asia, and North America, including San Diego, which his family considers home when not in Abu Dhabi.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University and an MBA from the University of San Diego, where he served as the President of the Graduate Business Students Association. When not working, Matt enjoys taking his family to remote parts of the world to explore unique cultures and ecosystems.

Serena Carnavale

Serena Carnavale

Vice Chair

Serena Carnavale

Serena has been an active member of the ACS Community since her children, Mattia, Paolo and Sofia, joined the school in August 2017. She served as a member of the Institutional Advancement Committee and as Chair of the Board Nominating Committee. 

Serena worked in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs London for 12 years. Her last position was in the Financial Sponsor Coverage Group, where her role was to advise private equity clients on M&A, financing, and equity transactions. As an investment banker, Serena had extensive business and management experience securing and executing a variety of large transactions and working directly with the leadership team on risk management, HR, and communication strategy.

While living in Brazil, Serena co-founded a children's organic and sustainable clothing company which started as a hobby and developed into a small business. 

Prior to their move to Abu Dhabi, Serena and her family lived in Italy, UK and Brazil.

Serena holds a Master Degree in Economics from Bocconi University, Milan. 

Philippe El Bacha

Philippe El Bacha

Treasurer

Philippe El Bacha

Philippe and his wife have lived in Abu Dhabi since 2006.  He is father of two daughters in ACS; his eldest, Nour, is in High School, and Nosha, in Middle School.  He went to school in Abu Dhabi for a good portion of his life and then moved to Canada to continue his studies and long-term career.  Like a lot of other people that grew up in the UAE, he found himself back to start a new career. He graduated from Concordia University with a BA of Commerce Major in Accountancy and holds a CPA designation. He is a Group Chief Financial Officer for First Emirates Group For Technology and Trading; a holding company for a group of companies in different industries.  Philippe is a selected trustee serving as the Treasurer.

Eric Hilgendorf

Eric Hilgendorf

Secretary
Salem Al Noaimi

Salem Al Noaimi

Member

Salem Al Noaimi

Salem is Chairman of SEHA - the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company - an independent public joint stock company that owns and operates all public hospitals and clinics across the emirate. He is also a board member of newly formed Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDHC), New York-listed AerCapHoldings NV, the world’s largest aircraft leasing company, and Nasdaq-listed oil and gas services firm National Energy Services Reunited Corp. (NESR).

Salem has extensive leadership experience in global investment and finance and has held various executive positions at high-profile entities such as Waha Capital, Dubai Islamic Bank, the UAE Central Bank, and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. 

He is a UAE National from Abu Dhabi and is now serving his seventh year on the Board. He and his wife have three children in Grades 10, 8 and 5. He holds a degree in Finance and International Business from Northeastern University in Boston, USA.

Omar Asfour

Omar Asfour

Member

Omar Asfour

Omar is a senior vice president of Project Management at ALDAR Properties. Prior to joining Aldar in 2008, Omar worked at Turner Construction in Boston. Throughout his career he has worked on construction projects in healthcare, education, residential communities and radio-TV stations. Omar is a graduate of Tufts University’s School of Engineering. He attended ACS Tunisia, ACS Athens and graduated from ACS Abu Dhabi. 

He has 3 children at ACS, Naia, Maysa and Jude. 

Nadia Bardawil

Nadia Bardawil

Member

Nadia Bardawil

Nadia is an English qualified lawyer with more than fifteen years’ experience working on the financing and construction of energy assets. Nadia has been in the UAE with her husband, Dan, for eight years. Their son, Saul, is in Grade 1.

Nadia spent twelve years at global law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP in its London and Abu Dhabi offices before joining Mubadala. For four years, Nadia was general counsel to Masdar (Mubadala’s renewable energy asset), and she recently returned to Mubadala as a senior legal advisor to its UAE Investments division. 

Nadia is passionate about diversity and inclusion and developed a bespoke program for Masdar during her time as general counsel. She has been a mentor for junior members of the businesses in which she has worked for many years. Nadia also is interested in health and fitness and established Capital Fitness, a personal training studio in Abu Dhabi designed to encourage women to take up strength and conditioning training, in 2018. 

Kirby Lindsey

Kirby Lindsey

Member

Kirby Lindsey

Kirby and his family joined ACS in August 2019 and have lived and worked in the region since 2003. Kirby and his wife, Melissa, have two children enrolled in the High School. 

Kirby is employed as VP Operations of Occidental Abu Dhabi Ltd., a subsidiary of Occidental Oil & Gas Corporation, an international oil and gas exploration and production company. Appointed to his current position in 2019, Kirby helps manage the company’s operated assets in Abu Dhabi, as well as support Occidental’s joint venture operations in the region.

Kirby holds a B.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering from Penn State University and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He has earned certifications as a Professional Engineer and a Project Management Professional.

Adib Mattar

Adib Mattar

Member

Adib Mattar

Adib is the Head of Private Equity for Mubadala Capital. Prior to joining Mubadala in 2008, Adib was an investment banker at Credit Suisse in New York. Adib graduated cum laude from the College of William & Mary in Virginia with a BA in International Relations and he received an MBA and Masters of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He is an ACS Abu Dhabi Alumni Class of 1995. Adib is also an Aspen Institute Fellow.

He has 4 children at ACS, Raya, Ramzi, Aya and Rakan.

Muhannad Qubbaj

Muhannad Qubbaj

Member

Muhannad Qubbaj

Muhannad is the Founding Partner of Olive Rock Partners, a private equity firm based in Abu Dhabi and focused on alternative investing in the GCC. Prior to that, he was a Senior Managing Director of Private Equity at Gulf Capital, an alternative asset manager in the Middle East. He led deal sourcing & origination for the Funds, deal screening and global fundraising activities, as well as the oversight and management of all investor relations. Before that, he was a Senior Principal at Investcorp International, where he was responsible for marketing and fundraising in the GCC and the UK, specializing in private equity, as well as a UK-based Senior Investment Advisor at Morgan Stanley and Investment Advisor at the Abdul Latif Jameel Group, one of the largest family investment offices in Saudi Arabia.

Muhannad holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with concentrations in creative writing and economics and has been an educational counselor for the university for over two decades. He is an Endeavour mentor and sits on several related advisory boards. Muhannad is also board member for the Middle Eastern chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum.

He has 2 ACS graduates, a daughter (‘18), and a son (‘21) and his youngest daughter is in Grade 2.   

Robin Solomon

Robin Solomon

U.S. Embassy Representative

Robin Solomon

Robin Solomon is an American diplomat specialized in public diplomacy, with experience in serving at US embassies and consulates in six countries. She has advanced American cultural, educational, and media relations in the US Foreign Service through assignments in Jerusalem, Moscow, Minsk, Bishkek, Adana, and now Abu Dhabi. 

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer, teaching English and supporting community organizations in Kazakhstan. Robin holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and also completed coursework at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and the University of Paris. She speaks Arabic, Russian, and French. 

Julie Thurston

Julie Thurston

Member

Julie Thurston

Julie Thurston and her family joined ACS when they moved to Abu Dhabi in 2017.  She and her husband Michael have two children, Wesley in High School and Claire in Middle School.  They first moved overseas in 2014 from Durham, North Carolina.

Julie has had an 18+ year career in Higher Education Facilities Administration, spanning a broad range of responsibilities from Facilities Engineering, Capital Planning, and Project Management.  She is currently employed by New York University of Abu Dhabi as the Director of Planning and Projects where she is responsible for all campus Space Planning and Management, Project Design, and Construction.   

Julie holds a B.Sc degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and a M.S. degree from Duke University.  She is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of California and is certified as a LEED AP.

Board Elections

Eight Trustees are elected for two-year terms by the ACS Parent Teacher Association. Three are selected to fill specific skill requirements. The President of the PTA, the Superintendent and a US Ambassador-appointed representative from the Embassy are non-voting members of the Board of Trustees.

2021-22 Information Sessions

September 28 | 6:30 p.m.

November 23 | 6:30 p.m.  |  Join the Meeting

March 1 | 6:30 p.m.

May 24 | 6:30 p.m.

To contact the Board, please send an email to boardadmin@acs.sch.ae

2021-22 Board Goals

Read our latest Board Goals