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Our Team

Our team at Jumeirah International Nurseries is made up of experienced Early Years professionals who bring teaching excellence from across the globe, and who are passionately dedicated to each and every child we care for.

Our Heads of Early Years and their dynamic teams of highly qualified practitioners – work together to develop an innovative, enriched and balanced curriculum.

Shakuntala-Mankani-1Mrs. Shakuntala Mankani

Mrs. Mankani is the Founder of Jumeriah International Nurseries (JINS) and has also been instrumental in setting up Fortes Education’s various schools.

An educator at heart, Mrs. Mankani’s career has spanned teaching positions in the classroom to headship posts. Her guiding principle as an educator has always been to provide children the means to achieve excellence and to realise their full potential. Mrs. Mankani’s wealth of experience has enabled JINS to provide practical solutions to the challenges of delivering, assessing, monitoring, and evaluating early years’ curricula in all our Centres.

Mrs. Mankani works closely with a range of stakeholders (Nursery Managers, Early Years Educators & Practitioners, as well as children and parents) at each nursery and school to craft and implement both development and strategic plans. Mrs. Mankani ensures high standards of student conduct and academic achievement, as well as excellence in curriculum delivery, administration, governance and operations.

Read more about Mrs. Mankani’s inspiring life and work in this Gulf News interview here.

Mrs. Katrina Mankani
Director of Positive Education & Innovation, Managing Director Jumeirah International Nurseries

Katrina Mankani is the Managing Director of Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS) and is responsible for strategic, marketing, and human resources development at JINS.

Mrs. Katrina Mankani’s heart remains with young children, which led her to develop a career in early childhood education and childcare. Mrs. Katrina Mankani found her calling in the classroom, spending several years teaching in JINS before moving to Regent International School – a leading British National Curriculum school – where she spearheaded the embedding of the Education in Human Values programme across the school with a team of teachers. With her first love always being early childhood education, Mrs. Katrina Mankani then returned to JINS to pursue her first love.

Mrs. Katrina Mankani is a committed educationist with over a decade of teaching experience. She brings passion, innovation and an indefatigable spirit to developing JINS, as well as an intellectually deep fascination of how the minds of young children develop.

Mrs. Katrina Mankani graduated from Russia’s leading university, Moscow State University, with a Master’s in Public Administration, and also holds a PGCE and CACHE Level 3 certifications from the UK. She also has a Masters of Education in Leadership from Columbia University.

Since 2016 Mrs. Katrina Mankani has also led the Positive Education initiative across all Fortes Institutions to ensure that students of all ages develop their emotional intelligence.

Read Katrina’s ‘Inspiring Women in Education’ interview with Which School Advisor here.

Samina-1Mrs. Samina Khanyari
General Manager

Samina Khanyari is the General Manager at Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS).

Mrs. Khanyari’s core belief is that “every child deserves the best start in life”, which has helped guide her into developing an accomplished career in early years education. Mrs. Khanyari is an educator par excellence who has a wealth of over 19 years in Early Years Education. Her strong leadership skills and remarkable determination supports the vision of the group.

Mrs. Khanyari is an inspiring leader who is extremely solution-focused and energetic in running the academic and operations of the nurseries for the group. She manages a large team of senior leaders and teachers. Working with international educators across the Fortes group. Mrs. Khanyari ensures that our understanding of early childhood education is continually connected to the most up-to-date research and thinking worldwide.

Mrs. Khanyari has been at the forefront of developing JINS into one of the best nursery brands across the U.A.E. She has a hands-on approach with children, parents and staff, motivating everyone to continuously deliver an outstanding education and the very best childcare to the children. Through her passion, determination and strategic outlook not only does Mrs. Khanyari strive for the very best for the families of JINS, but she works tirelessly within the group to improve the outcomes for the Early Years.

Mrs. Khanyari holds a double master’s degree; One in Educational Leadership (MSc EdL) from the University of Leicester UK and the other in Business Administration (MBA) with the core focus on Management.

Read Samina’s expert advice on school-readiness in a Which School Advisor feature here.

Mrs. Carol Oliveira
Head of Curriculum

Carol Oliveira is the Head of Curriculum at JINS.

With over 17 years of experience working within the education sector in Dubai and overseas, Mrs. Oliveira is passionate about providing young children with high-quality early education and care. She advocates that the Early Years are one of the most important stages in a child’s development and she is committed to working in partnership with parents to ensure that each child receives the support they need, from an early age, to reach their full potential.

In addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies, Mrs. Oliveira has completed her CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator and CACHE Level 5 Diploma in Childcare Leadership. Her diverse cultural background and experience living in different parts of the world – including the UK, Italy, Brazil, and Vietnam – have enhanced her ability to support children and parents from various cultures and backgrounds too.

She is committed to creating a learning environment where all families feel welcome and valued.

Mrs. Michelle Williams
Head of Early Years at JINS Regent The Greens

Michelle Williams is the Head of Early Years at JINS Regent The Greens. 

Mrs. Williams has over 8 years experience in Dubai within the education sector and has recently joined the Jumeirah International Nurseries team. 

She has a CACHE Level 3 in Early Years and a CACHE Level 5 in Leadership.  

She has always been intrigued by how young minds work, and how to set the foundation of a young child’s future. The health and mental wellbeing of children has always been a passion of hers, hence she works hard to assure children are given the environment, care and tools they require to help them blossom, grow, gain confidence and life long skills they can carry with them on their next education journey.  

Mrs. Williams is very family orientated and cherishes time spent with her daughter and husband,  however in her free time she enjoys, meditation, yoga, art, music and walking.  

She is excited for the new journey ahead and looks forward to meeting all of the parents and wonderful children in the near future.  

Ms. Jedine Hitzeroth
Head of Early Years at JINS Al Safa

Jedine Hitzeroth is our Head of Early Years at JINS Al Safa.

Ms. Hitzeroth has been in Dubai for over 21 years and has had a passion for children and developing them according to their needs and interests. She started her journey by studying child psychology and special education needs.  

With a desire to work with children in their own school environment she continued to complete CACHE 3 which led her to work as a special educational needs teacher and teacher in main stream schools. Working hard to develop herself professionally her desire to be the best teacher she can be did not stop there. Jedine has another passion, leading and developing teachers to be the best they can be and completed the CACHE level 5 in Leadership, however she did not stop there and continued to study further and qualified as a trainer, assessor and IQA of all CACHE teaching and leadership qualifications and moved on to training and development of young adults, teachers and staff.

Jedine helped to spearhead and run a training center in Dubai for the last sx years and has joined us at JINS Al Safa in 2022 where she is working with both her desires, children and teachers. We are excited to have her onboard.  

Jedine shares the same values as us and believes that each child is unique and the role of their environment and partnership with parents is key and she is always looking for ideas and ways to improve the child’s environment, experience and learning. 

In her spare time Jedine enjoys camping and walking her dog.  

Nami-Final-21Mrs. Namrata Nayar
Head of Early Years at JINS Downtown

Namrata Nayar is Head of Early Years at JINS Downtown.

Mrs. Nayar has over 19 years of experience in Early Years education and has been part of the JINS Family for 10 years. Mrs. Nayar has a Bachelors’s and Master’s Degree (M.A) in International Politics and a Degree in Education (B Ed).

Teaching is her passion and true calling. Mrs. Nayar is a big believer in the power of Nurseries – as they lay the best foundations for each child, allowing them to have every opportunity to meet their potential in life. She also advocates the need for a strong partnership between the home and the nursery environment.

Mrs. Nayar opines that the focus in early education should be on providing a stimulating and motivating environment for the children, where safety is paramount. Her goal is to make sure that the learning and working environment is extremely positive, where her team knows what the children and their families need, and where their needs are met.

Mrs. Nayar’s motto is, “Challenging to achieve”, which is brought to life every single day in the classroom.

Mrs. Philippa Wallace
Head of Early Years at JINS Sunmarke JVT

Philippa Wallace is the Head of Early Years at Jumeirah International Nursery, JVT.

Mrs. Wallace has over 17 years experience with Early Years Education and has been part of the Fortes Education Leadership team as well as a Curriculum Coordinator for 7 years.

She has a CACHE Level 3 in Early Years and a CACHE Level 5 in Leadership and uses her in-depth knowledge and understanding of Educational Best Practice to ensure the Curriculum is delivered with excellence. Teaching has always been a strong passion of hers and she lives by the quote, ‘Tell me and I forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.’ – Benjamin Franklin

She loves watching children grow holistically in experiential environments and believes that building strong partnerships with parents is an essential part of a child’s learning journey.

Mrs. Wallace is a keen singer, dancer, and reader and enjoys spending her free time with her three wonderful children.

Mrs. Amira Salem
Head of Early Years at JINS Ghoroob, Mirdif

Amira Salem is the Head of Early Years at Jumeirah International Nursery, Ghoroob, Mirdif.

Mrs. Salem has over 13 years work experience in Early Years education, locally and internationally.

She has a Bachelors Degree in English Litrerature, a Master’s degree in TESOL, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

Mrs Salem has been in Dubai for 10 wonderful years with her two beautiful girls who are her inspiration. Working with children has always motivated her and she thrives in providing them with a positive learning environment and opportunities that enable children to become independent and confident global citizens.

In her free time she enjoys being in nature, visiting the beach, and camping/ hiking with her family. She is also a fan of attending ballet shows, reading and travelling.

She is looking forward to meeting new children and their parents and starting an exciting journey together – full of adventures, learning and fun.

Ms Jade Penketh
Head of Early Years at JINS Villanova

Jade Penketh is the Head of Early Years at Jumeirah International Nursery, Villanova.

Ms Jade  has over  16 years of successful nursery experience in UK and  Dubai in the Early Years sector. Ms Jade has been consistently recognised for her excellent performance and contributions to the success of the Early Years management in all her previous works. Ms. Jade has the Level 5 certification in Leadership and Management of Child and Young People and the Level 3 in Health and Social Care.

Ms Jade is passionate about partnership and collaborative working with parents and the development of her staff team to ensure that each child has the best quality of education throughout their journey at JINS.

She believes that each child should be given endless opportunities to learn and grow through sensory and physical play. Ms Jades places great emphasis on the learning and development of each individual child and supports her team to ensure each child’s individual learning experience is unquie. Her approach to management is to ensure parents are listened to and communicated with as they play a vital part in their child’s development. Together, she strives to support parents with their child’s development at home as well as the nursery setting.

Ms. Jade has an open door policy at the nursery and is available to meet with parents at any time for questions, support and advice.

Ms. Jade prioritises and places emphasis on the continuous professional development of her entire staff team to ensure they are updated regularly regarding any curriculum updates or changes to ensure they have all the tools nessecary when educating your little ones.

She is excited to be part of your child’s individual learning journey and welcomes all parents to come and take a look at the child focused environment of her nursery setting and to get an opportunity to meet her experienced team in VIllanova.

Mrs. Poppy Loughran
Head of Early Years at JINS Ibn Battuta

Poppy Loughran is the Head of Early Years at JINS Ibn Battuta.

Poppy brings with her over 16 years of Early Years’ Experience within both the UK and in Dubai. Poppy has been with Jumeirah International Nurseries for 5 years and has over 9 years of Leadership and Management experience within Dubai. Poppy has qualified with her CACHE Level 3 & Level 5 in Leadership and Management in early years.

Poppy is a strong believer in providing every child with outstanding early years education, that promotes awe and wonder in each child. One of the reasons Poppy is extremely passionate towards early years is because not one day is the same. Every child will bring excitement, joy and happiness to the nursery, and being able to work within early years is a wonderful privilege.

Mrs. Laura Partanen
Head of Early Years at JINS JBR

Laura Partanen is the Head of Early Years at JINS JBR.

Mrs. Partanen is proud to have devoted over 14 years to supporting children internationally, ensuring that they achieve their fullest potential in each and every way. Mrs. Partanen understands that the learning journey of a child begins from birth, with parents as a child’s first teacher.

Mrs. Partanen has a Bachelor’s degree in Education with extensive knowledge of the EYFS. She has led educational teams within the UAE and in Finland and uses her outstanding knowledge and understanding of educational best practice to ensure that the EYFS Curriculum is delivered with excellence.

Ms. Yasmin Elsayed
Head of Early Years at JINS Palm Jumeirah

Yasmin Elsayed is the Head of Early Years at JINS Palm Jumeirah.

Yasmin started her early years education career in the United States of America before continuing her Primary Years Degree in Egypt where she later taught under the Montessori system.  

Yasmin gained her Diploma for the Early Years Foundation Stage in the United Kingdom and has over 6 years’ experience of working in Early Childhood Centres in Dubai where she enhanced her teaching and leadership qualifications through a CACHE 5. Her ‘Leadership for Children and Young People Services’ training covered key aspects of the learning, wellbeing, and development of a child during the Early Years and the role of an Early Years Educator during this important stage in life.  

Having the privilege of being a teacher, Yasmin can honestly say that this is the most incredible experience and career. Working with two different approaches (Montessori and the Reggio Emilia philosophy) as a teacher opened her eyes to the amazing world of young children. 

Yasmin has a love of Lebanese food, and healthy smoothies. She likes to keep fit with bootcamp training and her favourite book is called Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg.  

She is delighted to be part of the Palm Jumeirah team and looks forward to the new academic year.