Senior Executive Team
Andrew McEwen, Chairman, IES
Completed initial Teacher Training at the University of Wales and studied for his Post-graduate Diploma in Education Management at the University of Leicester. Holds an M.A. in Organisation, Planning and Management in Education from the University of Reading.
Has 25 years experience in Education management – including 6 years as a Deputy Head and 16 years as a Head in a number of world class schools in the U.K., U.S.A. and Central and South America-many of which are leading International Baccalaureate institutions.
Additionally, Andrew has been a Consultant to a number of International School Projects in Europe, the U.S. and South America as well as advising a number of education ministries on school based topics.
This wide experience in private, independent education has focused on the development of world standard curricula and a variety of value-added services designed to enhance all-round pupil performance.
José Garrigos Montoro, Legal Coordinator, IES
Jose Garrigós Montoro has a degree in Law awarded in 1995 by the Fundación Universitaria CEU San Pablo (Valencia, Spain). He worked in Madrid in the international law firm García Montoro & Associates and in GM Corp. Consulting.
He has specialized in international law and has fifteen years of experience in the field of private education in a number of world class schools in thirteen countries in Europe, U.S.A., Central and South America and South Africa. His field of expertise and experience in education enable him to identify common issues and difficulties and to support our IES schools on the whole range of legal and strategic issues facing individual schools and the IES company as a whole. The range of legal support and advice covers, mainly, governance and risk management, due diligence and acquisitions procedures, education employment, child protection, health and safety, corporate and real estate, among others.
Kathryn Korcz, Headmistress, Grantham Preparatory School
She spent the early part of her career training to become an accountant, and worked on the preparation and audit of company accounts. This later facilitated working as a part- time book keeper for a number of local companies while raising her own family.
Once her eldest child started school, she began teaching different age groups within the primary years and this renewed her previous interest in and passion for education.
After working within the maintained sector, she joined Grantham Preparatory School as a full time class teacher in 1997 before being promoted to Deputy Headmistress and then Headmistress in 2004. As a teaching head, she has successfully led the school through several inspections overseeing the school’s development in the foundation stage, sport, music and drama.
In 2008 she was appointed as a local authority governor at a local outstanding secondary school. She chairs its Welfare Committee and supports the governing body as a member of the Steering Committee.
Gabriella Gidró, Head Teacher, SEK Budapest International School.
Gabriella Gidró attended the Faculty of Arts of ELTE University in Budapest graduating with a double major in English and Spanish Language and Literature in 1987.During her university career in 1984 she studied Spanish with a scholarship at the José Martí University of Havana, Cuba. She started working as an English and Spanish teacher in the Károlyi Mihály Hungarian-Spanish Bilingual School and in 1992 she was appointed the Deputy Head. In 1994 she won a research grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education to carry out linguistic studies in the Scientific Research Centre (Centro de Investigaciones Científicas) in Madrid.
Since 1997 she has been working as the Head of the SEK Budapest International School. She gives Spanish A1 and B courses in the IB DP and is working for the IBO as an examiner and authorization visit member.
She regularly serves as a member and president of the Matura Examination Boards in Spanish language.
She has published Paso Doble Spanish course book for beginners, a Sin pelos en la lengua Spanish interactive CD, and the Palabras, palabras Vocabulary Guide for the Spanish Matura Exam Since 2003 she has been a Board member of the International Schools Association, where she currently serves as Treasurer.
Andrew Norris, Principal, Blouberg International School, Cape Town, South Africa
Born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Andrew Norris spent his schooling at St. Henry’s Marist Brothers from Class One until he matriculated. His grounding in independent schooling afforded him the opportunity to study further and he completed his Teaching Diploma from the University of Natal, majoring in Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, at the Edgewood campus in Durban. His teaching career began at George Campbell Technical High School which was followed by two years at Parkview Primary in Johannesburg, eight years at Morula School in Selebi Phikwe, Botswana where he was promoted to Deputy Headmaster. He then joined Enjabulweni Primary in Swaziland as Primary School Headmaster for four years. The last seven years prior to joining Blouberg International, Andrew was the Principal at Wembley College in Greytown. Andrew is passionate about his sport and was privileged to be selected to represent the National Botswana Cricket Team. He played most of the traditional South African sports at school and uses the knowledge gained playing them to coach and motivate his school teams. His love for the outdoors stems from his time spent in Botswana and he draws from the experiences he had in the wild to motivate and encourage as well as to highlight ‘life lessons’.
Outside of school he is a family man and spends his time with his wife and two sons skiing, wakeboarding, surfing, fishing, motorcycling and camping, always looking for new outdoor activities to pursue.
Grant Ruskovich, Principal, Hout Bay International School
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Gauteng, Grant obtained his qualifications at the old Johannesburg College of Education (JCE) and Randse Afrikaanse University (RAU) now known as the University of Johannesburg.
After teaching at his alma mater before moving to Taiwan for 8 years, Grant had the opportunity to build and run the Secondary School section of an International School. Embracing all forms of technology, the school went on to become one of the first 1:1 laptop schools in Taiwan. Returning in 2008, Grant was appointed the Director of Student Affairs at Hout Bay and has enjoyed teaching History at the IGCSE and IB levels before being promoted to the Vice Principal and then Principal in 2014.
Besides having a wide range of interests, one of his passions is fostering a love of the arts in school. From Art, to music, to drama – watching a student push themselves beyond what they initially believed they can achieve is something that is truly remarkable to behold. Subscribing to the belief that ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’ Grant believes that the Hout Bay is a school where the possibilities are endless if you dare to dream.
Yamile Zeidan-Francese, Head, Boca Prep International School, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Mrs. Francese has been an integral part of the Boca Prep school community for almost two decades- serving as a teacher, IB trained Educator and Coordinator, educational leader, Curriculum Coordinator and a pioneer in the development of the International Baccalaureate program at the school. She graduated summa cum laude from Lynn University, earning her B.A. in Elementary Education, B.A in Pre-Primary Education and is currently completing her Master of Arts in Education/Administration and Supervision (MAEd/ADM).
As a member of the faculty since 1998, Yamile has taught all grades from Pre-k through 12th. While teaching, she also held administrative roles as the Head of Upper School, Academic Coordinator for Language & Literature and World Languages, and IB & MYP Coordinator. Widely recognized for her vision, energy, and strong leadership, Yamile was invited to serve as the Assistant Head of School in 2012, then the Head of School in January 2017. An educational innovator, under Yamile’s leadership new academic initiatives and successful strategic plans were implemented: faculty development, IB curriculum development, IB program development (PYP, MYP, and DP), strategic planning, advancement and admission, crisis management, building planning, parent communications and student life.
Yamile is a member in several national, regional, and local education associations including the National Council of Teachers of English (NTCE), National Middle School Association (NMSA), Kappa Delta Pi- International Educational Honor Society, National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
Garth Kitching, Head, Helderberg International School, South Africa
Garth Kitching was born in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He schooled at Harding Government School and Port Shepstone High School where he matriculated in 1982. He continued his education at Edgewood College of Education and completed a Higher Diploma in Education. After completing two years of military service in the South African Defense Force, he began his teaching career at Clarence Road Primary in Durban and after a year, moved to Drakensview Primary in Estcourt for six years where he was appointed at a Head of Department. During this time, he studied further and was awarded a Higher Diploma in Education from the Natal College of Education. Looking to gain international experience, Garth took up a position with DEBSWANA (De Beers-Botswana) in Botswana and lived on the Orapa diamond mine and taught and led as a Head of Department at Livingstone House School from 1996-1999. During his time at Orapa, he started reading for a Master’s Degree in Education through the University of Bath, in the United Kingdom.
He returned to South Africa in 1999 and worked in the primary and high schools at Harriston in Harrismith while completed his degree. He graduated in 2000. He returned to Botswana as the Deputy Headteacher of Northside School in Gaborone, an International Baccalaureate (IB)World School that is also accredited by the Council of International Schools in 2001. Garth was responsible for the quality of teaching and learning and all external authorisation processes to ensure excellence of curriculum design and implementation and consistency of quality in all areas of a school. He is an appointed International Baccalaureate consultant, curriculum workshop leader and accreditor for the International Baccalaureate Organisation and is used as an accreditation team member for the Council of International Schools. He is passionate about education, enjoys living a philosophy of global-citizenship through the implementation of an international curriculum and working in schools to prepare children for the diverse challenges of the 21st Century.
Garth has been married to his wife Debbie for 27 years and has two daughters, Lisa and Natalie. He leads a balanced life. He is a published author, a recognised artist who specialises in painting landscapes and an actor/singer. He is also a keen fisherman and enjoys mountain biking and long cycles rides on his classic Spanish BH (Beistegui Hermanos) road bike. Music, films, photography, literature and live theatre are all interests that he enjoys with family and friends.
Mike Burguess, Head, St. John’s International School
Mike Burgess was appointed as Head in 2015 but joined the school as Deputy Head in 2010 following a spell at Sidmouth College, where he was Director of Inclusion and SENCO. Prior to that, Mike taught Mathematics, Business Studies and Humanities to A level in a number of schools.
Educated at The King’s School, Ottery St Mary, he took a couple of years ‘out’ travelling prior to completing a BA (Hons) in Geography and Economics at The University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Following a successful career in banking, Mike retired at 37 to run his farm and a number of small business enterprises.
When he became the sole carer for three children, Mike relocated to rural France for 3 years to enable his children to experience an education in an alien environment. He now renovates property as a commercial hobby and plays most sports (increasingly badly)!
Yamila Yadira Acosta Santamaría, Head, Panama Preparatory International School
Yamila Yadira Acosta Santamaría estudió Licenciatura en Español en la Universidad de Panamá, por lo que ingresa a la carrera docente. Desde muy joven participa y lidera grupos culturales, relacionados con la literatura y la creación literaria juvenil e infantil. Hace carrera docente desde 1993 en el Instituto Celestín Freinet como profesora de español para grupos de primaria y pre media. Durante estos años llevó a sus estudiantes a ocupar primeros lugares en creación literaria en el concurso nacional de cuento infantil y a ocupar el primer lugar en el concurso de ensayo juvenil de la Ruta Quetzal Argentaria.
Decide estudiar Dirección y supervisión de centros escolares en el año 2003 y para esta época es designada coordinadora general en el Instituto Celestín Freinet, dos años más tarde es nombrada Directora Académica hasta julio del año 2005.
En agosto del 2005 asume la Dirección General en The Panama Preparatory School desde su apertura, creando su base metodológica y liderando a un equipo de docentes creativos, emprendedores y que impulsan cada una de las actividades haciendo la diferencia en cada momento.
Con la apertura de The Panama Preparatory School se cumple uno de sus mayores ideales y era crear una escuela donde los niños aprendieran mucho, desarrollaran su personalidad, pero ante todo un lugar donde ellos fueran felices.