Board of Governors
Mr. Najib Fayyad (Chairman)
Mr. Najib Fayyad has over 26 years’ global work experience serving in leadership roles including Chairman, CEO and Managing Director in the US, Europe and the MENA region. Najib is currently the Group CEO of National Holding Group and also serves as Board member at National Holding and its various entities and subsidiaries.
Mr. Fayyad worked across various sectors including financial advisory services and investment banking with large multinational companies, such as Arthur Andersen Global Corporate Finance, KPMG, and PriceWaterhouse. Mr. Fayyad has also held various executive management roles in investment banking, such as Managing Director and Head of Global Asset Management and Real Estate. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for a regulated investment and asset management company in Turkey. Most recently Mr. Fayyad has been appointed Board Member of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.
Mr. Fayyad brings hands-on experience and proven leadership skills along with extensive experience in formulating business strategies, executing business plans, mustering transformation programs, streamlining the decision-making process, all while focusing on the bottom line and long-term value creation.
During his time in Bahrain, he helped establish a successful investment bank where, as a founding shareholder, he spent 7 years in leadership positions in various parts of the institution. In advisory services, Mr. Fayyad served as lead advisor to a wide client base, structured a number of unique investment products, and managed various assignments, including PE investments, cross border M&A transactions, private placements, project finance, business valuations, financial advisory services, feasibility studies, and preparation and implementations of business plans and strategies.
Ms. Nilay Özral
Nilay Özral joined Bloom Education in January 2019 as CEO. Nilay is responsible for the development of Bloom Education’s prestigious, international schools and nursery portfolio, which includes Brighton College from the UK, Dwight School from New York, and the Singaporean nursery brand, MindChamps. She is also responsible for the management and operations of the Charter Schools awarded to Bloom Education by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Education.
Prior to joining Bloom Education, Nilay held the position of CEO of Aldar Academies from 2010, where she built their educational portfolio from 1,200 students to over 16,000 students during her 9-year tenure. Nilay transformed the organisation by creating a shared service model to support schools from an operational perspective allowing the schools to focus on academics, whilst realizing significant savings which were re-invested into improving the quality of education delivered at the schools. This approach resulted in school performance improvements recognised in the formal regulatory inspection reports with the first two schools in Abu Dhabi to receive Outstanding ratings. Nilay strategically drove the manager/operator model within Aldar Academies, resulting in ADNOC Schools entrusting the organization to fully operate their portfolio of schools in 2017, swiftly followed by piloting ADEK’s first charter school in 2018. She also led a successful re-branding initiative, changing the face of Aldar Academies from individual schools to a well-recognised and respected brand in Abu Dhabi.
In addition to overseeing Aldar Academies, during 2010 – 2013, Nilay successfully managed a number of Aldar's major assets, including several hotels, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Links Golf Club. Previously, Nilay spent 17 years in industry, holding senior executive roles at Procter & Gamble, the multinational consumer goods manufacturer, and as Strategic Planning and Business Development Director of Bunge, the global agri-business and food production company.
Nilay holds an MBA from the University of Manchester Business School and the University of Texas at Austin and has completed a number of executive management courses at Washington University, USA, and ESADE in Spain.
Mr. Saed Arekat
Saed Arekat is the Group Chief Financial Officer of Bloom Holding. He has extensive experience in the real estate investment and development and assets management as well as hospitality and education sectors. Saed has broad responsibilities including strategic and business planning, corporate finance, funding and treasury, financial planning and analysis, and financial reporting. In addition to leading the group procurements and IT functions.
Saed is a member of the Executive Committees, plays a pivotal role as a key member of the Executive Management Team of Bloom Holding, and has a leading role in all aspects of the development and execution of business strategies and transformation plans to ensure long-term sustainable growth and value creation for Bloom Holding Group.
Concurrently Saed is a board of governors’ member of Brighton College Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai in addition to Dwight Dubai school.
Prior to joining Bloom in 2007, Saed was an Executive Manager/Director at Ernst & Young Baghdad, Iraq and held different senior positions at Ernst & Young, Arthur Andersen and KPMG in Jordan and Palestine. Saed involvement in a variety of service lines and serving wide range of local and international customers, provided him with an extensive exposure across different industries globally.
Saed holds an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School. His vast professional experience has been endorsed with prestigious certificates he has attained such as the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) from USA. Further, Saed has recently completed the Oxford High Performance Leadership Programme and Oxford Real Estate Programme at the University of Oxford – Saïd Business School.
Mr. Stephen Spahn
Celebrating 50 years in education, Chancellor of Dwight School Stephen Spahn is the longest-serving school leader in New York City. He has been at Dwight since 1967, igniting the spark of genius in every child, mentoring generations of students, and educating them to become innovative global leaders. In recognition of his outstanding commitment to youth and leadership in the field of education, Chancellor Spahn received the prestigious Louis Hine Award for Distinguished Service in 2011. In addition, he and Dwight received a 2013 Blackboard Award with a Special Citation for Community and Citizenship, in recognition of the innovative East Harlem community partnership Chancellor Spahn forged with the 1199 Housing Corporation to create the Dwight School Athletic Center.
Chancellor Spahn was one of the founders of the Anglo-American International School, which joined forces with Dwight School in 1993. A pioneer in international education, he was a founding member of the Guild of International Baccalaureate Schools of the Northeast, served on the International Baccalaureate Board of Governors, and established Dwight’s first campus abroad in London in 1972. Today, as Chancellor of The Dwight Schools, he spearheads the education of over 2,000 students through a global network of IB World Schools in New York, London, Seoul, Shanghai, and Dubai.
Under Chancellor Spahn’s leadership, Dwight became the first school in the Americas to offer all four IB programs for students from preschool-grade 12; and was selected from nearly 3,700 IB World Schools as one of six original Open World Schools to pilot IB courses online. Today, through Dwight Global Online School, our campus in the cloud, Dwight offers the same personalized educational journey to students around the world. Also under Chancellor Spahn's leadership, Dwight launched Spark Tank, an incubator designed to nurture entrepreneurial, innovation, and leadership skills in students K-12.
As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, Chancellor Spahn was an All-American basketball player, member of Phi Beta Kappa, a Senior Fellow, and an intern at the United Nations under a 1926 Public Service Fellowship. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he attended Wadham College, Oxford University; and later completed coursework for a PhD at Columbia University, where he was an International Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Scholar.
Dr. Blake Spahn
As Vice Chancellor, Blake Spahn ’89 has oversight of all Dwight School operations, extending across the Main Campus, Riverside Campus, and the Dwight School Athletic Center. His strategic oversight ensures the efficient and effective management of all facilities, systems, and staff in support of Dwight's innovative world-class programs.
Dr. Spahn received his BA and MBA degrees from Columbia University, where he was Captain of their undefeated Men’s Tennis Ivy League championship team. He then went on to obtain Masters and Doctorate degrees in Comparative International Education from Oxford. Author of America and the International Baccalaureate, Dr. Spahn has taught English and philosophy in classrooms in the U.S., U.K., and Japan. In addition to founding Dwight’s Early Childhood Division, he has had oversight of our London campus for the past 20 years.
In 2000, Dr. Spahn co-founded BOOST (Building Opportunities on Student Talent), a non-profit designed to advance prospects for university students in Southern Africa, enabling them to contribute to their own countries’ development. Dr. Spahn was also able to enhance his global vision as a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, to which he was elected in 2005. He is very excited to have his wife, Maryll (Director of Admissions, K-6th), and children, Kyra ’23 and Ronin ’26, join him at Dwight.
Dr. Spahn was named a 2017 Distinguished Leader in Education at the 15th annual Education Update Outstanding Educators of the Year Awards Program.
Mr. Henning Fries
Henning Fries’ roots are in Germany and Luxembourg but his 25 years in global hospitality brought him all over Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America. He held various senior roles within hospitality related enterprises including Inter Continental, Mandarin Oriental, Fairmont and Starwood Hotels.
What initially drew him to hospitality was his people-focused outlook. Mr. Fries has a passion for working with people and developing individuals to reach their potential. It was this drive to make a real difference that drew him to education and the role of CEO for Education with Bloom Holdings in 2015. It was at Bloom where he first encountered Dwight as he helped establish the school in the UAE, along with Brighton College and MindChamps Nursery.
He has been married to his wife Deana for 26 years and they have 3 children – all of whom were educated in part in the UAE.
Governors may be contacted through the Clerk to the Governors using the registered office address; Dwight School Dubai, Al Barsha South, Dubai, UAE.