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7 Questions on Leadership with Sherine Hassan

Name: Sherine Hassan

Title: Head of High School English Department

Organisation: Philadelphia Private School - Dubai

Sherine is an experienced lead evaluator. She has been working with the Council of International Schools (CIS) and New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC) for the past six years. She also has the experience of working with Cognia (AdvancED) as a self-study committee chair in a school she worked for.

She has been working on the curriculum and access to curriculum domains in most of the evaluation visits she conducted. Her experience participating in joint visits, familiarized her with different educational systems, curricular and framework. She has conducted CIS-IB synchronized visits multiple times, such as, Amman Baccalaureate in Jordan and Al Bassam International School in KSA and others in different parts of the world. She has also evaluated British system schools, such as, The Sultan's School in Oman, Al Bassam School in KSA, Hay Al Sherouk School in Oman, International Community School in Jordan and many others in India and Kazakhstan. She also conducted NEASC visits that focus on schools that adopt the American Curriculum in Turkey, Switzerland, and Spain. This is in addition to her work and teaching experience in American Schools.

Sherine has been a Middle and High School English Teacher in American schools in KSA, Kuwait and UAE. She was, also, the Academic Director and Curriculum Coordinator for two years in Manarat Al Madinah International Schools, KSA. She has worked as the Head of English in a Cambridge School in UAE and currently in the same position in an American school. Sherine is experienced in virtual education and has established an ESL program that focuses on integrating technology in teaching the English language for ESL students in her school in Kuwait.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Sherine's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?


Working in KSA, Kuwait and Dubai, you will be dealing with different nationalities. This means different cultures and different mindsets. For a leader, coming also with my own culture and mindset, this has always been a challenge.

Sometimes, you are, also, faced with resilience. People are not always happy with the change. They have been doing the same things for years, why should change for a new leader. It takes a lot of effort to convince them of the importance of your decisions.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

The first leadership role was when I was in KSA. I was a teacher in a school and the Academic VP resigned after two months. They opened it for anyone from the team and the principal encouraged me to step forward. I went through the interview process and I got the job.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I usually wake up at 5 am. I like to have a slow morning and to be in school as early as 6:30. I start by writing a daily to do list and start working on each item at a time. I can stay late in school but I try to make sure that I do not take any work home. In rare cases, I do work at home if needed. I usually sleep by 9 pm.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

I am always reminded that there are many ways of doing the same thing. My way is NOT the only right way.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The book is called "Lead". I was in a social event, that has nothing to do with education or leadership,and there were games. I won one of those games and the prize was the book. I took it home and forgot even to get it out of my handbag. Later on the weekend I saw it and started reading through it. Putting yourself in the shoe of those you lead is one main impact that I got from the book.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Be patient and do not take anything personally.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

When I decided to leave my previous job and informed my team of my decision. They have requested that I stay in touch and that I can be their mentor. They asked individually and not in front of each other.

I was confident then that if you do the right thing and you lead your team to develop their skills, they appreciate what you do and want more.

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