Senior Executive Team

José Garrigos Montoro, Legal Coordinator, IES

Jose GarrigosJose 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.


Mark Redsell, Academic Director, IES

Mark RedsellMark was privately educated in England and studied Archaeology in Nottingham University. He holds a teaching certificate and a Master’s in Educational Leadership & Management. He has over 25 years of educational management: from Leading the Middle East’s largest University in Saudi Arabia to Operations manager in a US company in the United Arab Emirates, Corporate Sales in Spain and Head master of a British Boarding School in England for many years. Under his leadership this school increased the student body by 40% and the academic performance by 12% . His knowledge of the commercial world combined with his experience of the academic sector has lead to success in many institutions.
In his words his commercial acumen and academic knowledge are ’two fingers of the same hand ready to extend into business’.
He hopes that together with the collaboration of the heads of IES schools to lead the company further into academic success.


Kathryn Korcz, Headmistress, Grantham Preparatory School

Kathryn Korcz
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.


Sarah-Jane Green, Principal, Udine International School, Italy.

Sarah-Jane Green
Originally from Bristol in England, Mrs. Sarah-Jane Green started her working life in banking, working in a UK high street bank for over nine years. However, she decided to retrain as a teacher, graduating from Exeter University in the UK with a Bachelor of Arts in Education (Honours). Her first teaching post was in a lovely school in the heart of the Cotswolds in the middle of England. An opportunity then presented itself for her to teach in an International School in Moscow, Russia and so began her international teaching career, which has now spanned over sixteen years.

She has had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, often with children who have English as their second language, and with various curricula, including the IPC and the IB PYP. She has experience of working with children across a range of ages, from 3 years old to 17 years old. Since becoming part of the senior leadership team in schools she has also obtained her Master of Arts in Education from the Open University.
Mrs. Green believes that children, when nurtured and inspired, have the potential to do amazing things. She loves to see children having the opportunity to shine, whether it is through the arts, on the sports field or in the classroom.

Along with her passion for education, she has a love for travel and is a genuine globetrotter, enjoying the experience of new cultures and, with her husband Spencer, is excited to have the opportunity to explore the diverse and beautiful country of Italy.


Gabriella Gidró, Head Teacher, SEK Budapest International School.

Gabriella GidroGabriella 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.


Katharine Knott, Principal, Ljubljana International School, Slovenia

Katharine Knott
From a teaching family, Katharine Knott was invited to take the Headship at Ljubljana International School in November 2017. Prior to that she spent 4 years at St John’s as Head of the Early Years Department and a member of the SLT.

Katharine has had a varied and interesting career which has included independent, state and international schools in UK, Istanbul, Amman and Ankara. She has taught all primary ages and briefly lower secondary. Katharine enjoys teaching the varied subjects and topics covered in a primary classroom, with particular skills in the teaching of reading and phonics. She has also coached handball, with one student ending up on TeamGB! She has a B.Ed. (Hist) from University of the West of England.

Katharine has a range of interests including ceramics, drawing and photography and enjoys exploring technology for learning such as green screen, stop motion films and web based design apps.


Grant Ruskovich, Principal, Hout Bay International School

Grant RuskovichBorn 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.


Andre Swart, Principal, Helderberg International School, South Africa

Andrew SwartAndre hails from KwaZulu-Natal in the Eastern part of South Africa. Having obtained his teaching diploma at Durban Teachers Training College in 1989, he started his teaching career in 1990.

Towards the end of 1997, he was offered the position of Deputy Principal at John Mackenzie School in Francistown, Botswana and in January 1998, made the big move up north. During the next 9 years, he gained valuable experience working in an international environment and working at a school which catered for primary and high school students.

The Board of Governors appointed Andre as the Principal in 2004, following the retirement of the previous principal. During this time, he studied further and was awarded a BEd Honours Degree in Education Management from the University of Johannesburg.

Due to personal reasons, he left Botswana at the end of 2006, and moved to the Southern Cape region, in order to be closer to his children. Since 2007, he has been at Milkwood Primary School, situated in the picturesque town of Mossel Bay.

Andre and his wife, Sue, enjoy the outdoors, hiking, photography, theatre, running and experiencing new things. He has two children, Damon (22) and Katie (17). He also has two step-daughters, Paige (21) and Leah (19). His love for children is at the forefront of all his decisions and building good relationships with students, teachers and parents is paramount. He believes that the academic curriculum is but one aspect of building a well-rounded adult.


Edna Carolissen, Principal, Blouberg International School, South Africa

Edna Carolissen
She graduated at CPUT, completing a four- year teaching qualification in languages and specialized commerce subjects for high school. In the early stages of her career she worked as a Tax administrator for a well-known financial service provider. In the year 2000 she was promoted to line manager for Sanlam’s accounts department and later the suspense accounts department. She also completed a qualification in management at the International institute of General Management through Stellenbosch university.

In 2005, she returned to the education sector and served on several governing bodies as vice chairperson and later chairperson. She also served as a member of the examination regulator committees for the Education department.

In 2012 she accepted a teaching position at Blouberg International school and was promoted to Cambridge examinations officer in 2013, academic head in 2016 and then headmistress in 2017. She was also one of two only South African teachers who qualified as a Cambridge examiner in 2013.

Outside of school, she is a community leader with the interest of woman and children at heart. She is also a keen writer and has several published articles regarding single parenting. She believes in vision and purpose and has a passion for seeing staff and students grow holistically.


Yamile Zeidan-Francese, Head, Boca Prep International School, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

Yamile Zeidan-Francese

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).


Mike Burguess, Head, St. John’s International School

mike_small-1Mike 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_smallYamila Yadira Acosta Santamaría studied a degree in Spanish at the University of Panama, entering the teaching career. From very young she has participated and leaded out cultural groups related to literature and the creation of literary works for youth and children. She makes her teaching career since 1993 at the Instituto Celestin Freinet as a teacher of Spanish to groups of elementary and junior high. During these years she led students to occupy top spots in literary creation in the national competition of children’s story, achieving the first place in the Ruta Quetzal Argentaria youth essay contest.

Decides to study direction and supervision of schools in the year 2003 and for this time is designated general coordinator at the Instituto Celestín Freinet Freinet, two years later became the academic headmistress until July of the year 2005.

In August of 2005 she leads out as the academic headmistress at The Panama Preparatory School from its beginning, creating her own methodology and leading a group of creative teachers who work on activities making the difference at all moment.

With the opening of The Panama Preparatory School she fulfilled one of her greatest ideals and that was to create a school where children learn, develop their personality, but moreover, a place where they may be happy.

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