Chief Executive of GSM Middle East
Ron Packard Chairman
Ron Packard is the CEO and Founder of Pansophic Learning, a global technology based education company. Ron is a well known educator, entrepreneur and visionary as well as the author of the highly regarded and reviewed book Education Transformation. Ron was previously the long time CEO and Founder of K12 Inc. He oversaw the growth of K12 from just an idea to almost one billion in revenue, making it one of the largest education companies in the world. During his tenure, revenue compounded at near 80%. Before K12, Ron was the Vice President of Knowledge Universe and CEO of Knowledge Schools, one of the nation’s largest early childhood education companies. He was also instrumental in the successful investments in Learn Now, Children’s School USA, Leapfrog, TEC, and Children’s Discovery Center.
Ron also worked for McKinsey & Company and for Goldman Sachs in mergers and acquisitions. Ron has received the Education Industry Association’s James P. Boyle Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, as well as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the IT Services & Solutions category in Greater Washington. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business named him a Distinguished Alumni, and he also received an Outstanding Leadership Award from the United States Distance Learning Association. He sits on the Digital Learning Council.
Ron previously served on the Department of Defense’s Education Advisory Committee. Ron has been featured on nationwide radio and television shows and magazines, including Bloomberg TV, Forbes, and the Washington Post to name a few. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, both with honors.
Ralph Tabberer Vice Chairman
Ralph Tabberer is an expert educator with more than 35 years experience in the school sector, in higher education and in government. He was Director General of Schools in England between 2006 and 2009, a post where he was responsible to PM Tony Blair for the development and performance of 23,000 primary, secondary and special schools in the UK.
Ralph left the UK civil service in 2009 and moved to the Middle East to join the international private school operator, GEMS as COO, CEO and Chief of Schools. In 2012, after a highly successful period steering GEMS through the recession and preparing it for further growth, Ralph established the first of his own businesses.
Ralph is renowned as an education leader who is steeped in classroom practice. As a former teacher and researcher into how children study and learn, he has expertise in curriculum, pedagogy, student assessment, teacher development and the new technologies. As a former regulator of one of the world’s largest national systems, he is often in demand not only as a business leader but also as a governmental adviser; recently he has supported the UAE, Bahrain and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the last 2 years he has co-authored reports on low-cost schools in Africa and Asia, and on the expansion of international schooling globally. He is bringing some of the world’s leading schools to the GCC.
Ralph is a graduate of Cambridge University and a qualified teacher. In the New Years Honours list of 2009, Her Majesty The Queen invested Ralph as a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in recognition of his services to teacher training and to schools. He is a visiting professor at the Institute of Education, University College of London and an Honorary Professor at Warwick University.
Shaun Robison Chief Executive of GSM Middle East
Shaun Robison is an entrepreneurial, senior education leader who has extensive experience of the MENA education sector.Over the past 14 years, Shaun has delivered outstanding outcomes within the public and private sectors, across a range of international and local curricula.
With an established reputation for delivering results, both commercial and education, Shaun is a one of the MENA region’s most senior education leaders.
Shaun has worked with The Executive Council of Dubai, the Abu Dhabi Department of Knowledge, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, the UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Lusail City Real Estate Development Company in a range of contexts.
Shaun has successfully built BBD Education as a management consultancy across the region, delivering projects in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ahmedabad, Jakarta, Egypt, Doha, Riyadh, and Pakistan.
Shaun was previously Head of School Development at Sobha Investment, overseeing the openings of Hartland International School and North London Collegiate School, Dubai. Prior to this, Shaun worked as the Head of Teacher Training and School Improvement across public and private schools for a leading UK operator.
Shaun holds a PhD in Education from Newcastle University, and is a regular contributor to the Business Breakfast on Dubai Eye Radio.
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Project Officer
Director of Account Management
Silvia Contri Chief Operating OfficerOur Chief Operating Officer, Silvia Contri, brings over 15 years of experience in the Middle East education sector to GSM. She has demonstrated operational excellence and strategic leadership in previous roles and is responsible for overseeing our day-to-day operations.Silvia has extensive experience in Operations Management, Recruitment, and Business Development. She is a highly motivated individual who is recognised for her exceptional organisational and management skills and outstanding performance.
Susanne Graap Chief Project Officer
Susanne Graap has extensive experience as a project leader and process improvement specialist. Susanne previously worked for over 19 years in a large international company before shifting to the education sector. Susanne is brilliant in leading teams in a structured and open environment and she is practical and flexible in the application of project management and quality methods. Susanne has delivered a range of school start up projects for GSM and specializes in finding efficiencies for clients through meticulous planning and execution of our procurement strategy. Susanne has an in-depth knowledge of suppliers, prices and reliability in the UAE market for educational vendors. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Statistics from George Mason University, USA.
Jo Dorrell Director of Account ManagementAs GSM’s Director of Account Management, Jo brings 15 years of specialised experience within the Education sector. She excels in client management and ensures customer satisfaction across diverse schools. Jo’s experience spans roles in Recruitment, Operations, and Marketing and Admissions.
Director of Marketing
Head of School Improvement
Head of HR Strategy
Lee Serridge Director of Marketing
Lee oversees the group marketing activities, and marketing strategies, digital and social content, admissions processes and website designs. Lee has consistently produced results with a proven track record of delivering key projects on time, within budget, and through leading groups of individuals to team success. Lee has designed and developed digital strategies through collaborating closely with key stakeholders across multiple departments, utilising exceptional interpersonal, communication and team working skills.
Lee holds a BSc in Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation from the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
Trish Gregory Head of School Improvement
Trish Gregory works as GSM Head of School Improvement. Trish has worked across schools and nurseries within the UAE, leading them to exceptional inspection ratings, and demonstrable results.
Trish has considerable experience in the EYFS curriculum and in different US curricula, and she knows the development milestones that children should be achieving in order to transition through kindergarten to Grade 1.
Trish has been previously approved as a KHDA principal, and has worked with UNICEF to research the early years sector in Dubai with the KHDA.
Trish holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Southampton, UK, and is also an accredited Lead Practitioner with the University of Warwick.
Pamela Holland Head of HR Strategy
Pam has been a senior HR leader and change management consultant for over twenty five years across continents. She has successfully developed an integration strategy and implemented a change plan for the merger of TeleCity, with Redbus & Globix (market leader in managed data centres in Europe).Pam is an approved teacher at Manchester Business School and she has re-invented an NGO in Ghana working for Voluntary Service Overseas – where she provided strategic direction & appointed a new Board of Directors. Pam has managed critical elements of the Business Optimisation Programme at Littlewoods/Shop Direct – the largest IT integration project in Europe at the time, designing an improvement & incentive plan enabling savings to be made in excess of £100m.
Pam holds an MBA with Distinction from Manchester Business School, and an MSc. in Personnel Management, from the University of Aston in Birmingham. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (MCIPD) and a Master Practitioner in NLP (neuro-linguistic programming).
Head of Operations
Amit Kak Head of Operations
Amit Kak is GSM’s Head of Operations and has a track record of delivering exceptional results in customer satisfaction and operational efficiencies. Amit has been leading on all estate services such as security, maintenance, cleaning, front of house services, parental satisfaction, and COVID protocols.