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Senior Leadership Team | Best British Nurseries in Dubai, UAE

Leadership Team


The Jumeirah International Nurseries is a diverse organisation made up of dynamic and caring leaders and teachers who seek to improve education through the establishment of innovative Nurseries that help children realise their potential.

We are able to deliver and accomplish our goals because of our team that brings teaching expertise from around the globe, innovative education programmes, operational excellence and continuous investment in staff training and development.

Leadership Team

Janet O’Keefe – Director of Operations, Fortes Education

Janet is an educator at heart whose career has spanned teaching positions in the classroom to headship posts. Her guiding principle as an educator has always been to provide students the means to achieve excellence and realise their full potential. Janet has held various senior leadership positions in reputed schools and has been instrumental in setting up Fortes Education's various Schools and Nurseries.

Janet works closely with the range of stakeholders (School Leaders, Teachers and Staff, as well as Students and Parents) at each school to craft and implement both school development and strategic plans. She works in concert with the Heads and Senior Management teams at each Fortes School to ensure high standards of student conduct and student academic achievement, as well as excellence in curriculum delivery, school administration, school governance and school operations. Janet graduated with a Bachelors in Education from Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland.

Katrina Mankani – Managing Director, Jumeirah International Nurseries

Katrina is responsible for strategic development, curriculum development, marketing, and human resources at the Jumeirah International Nurseries.

Katrina’s heart remains with young children which has led her to developing a career in early childhood education and childcare. Katrina found her calling in the classroom. She spent several years teaching in Jumeirah International Nursery and then moved to Regent International School, a leading British National Curriculum school, where she spearheaded the embedding of the Education in Human ValuesTM Programme across the school with a team of teachers. With her first love always being early childhood education, Katrina returned to JINS to pursue her first love, the education of young children.

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

Katrina graduated from Russia’s leading university, Moscow State University, with a Masters in Public Administration, and also holds a PGCE and CACHE Level 3 certifications from the UK.

Since 2016 Katrina also leads the Positive Education initiative across all Fortes Institutions to ensure that students of all ages develop their emotional intelligence."

Samina Khanyari – General Manager, Jumeirah International Nurseries

Samina’s core belief has been that ‘every child deserves the best start in life' which has guided her developing an accomplished career in early education. Samina is an educator par excellence who has a wealth of over 12 years in Early Years Education. Her strong leadership skills and remarkable determination supports the vision of the group.

Samina is an inspiring leader who manages a large team of senior leaders and teachers. She is responsible for strategy, educational standards and operations of the Jumeirah International Nurseries.

Samina has been at the forefront of developing JINS into one of the best Nursery brands in the U.A.E. She is extremely solution-focused and energetic in running the Academic and the Operations of the Nurseries for the group. She has a hands-on approach with children, parents and staff, motivating everyone to continuously deliver an outstanding education and the best childcare to the children. Through her passion, determination and strategic outlook not only does she strive for the very best for the families of JINS but works tirelessly within the group, to improve outcomes for the Early Years. Samina holds a Masters in Business Administration with the core focus on Management.

Sharon Ward - Nursery Manager, JINS Regent The Greens


“Together as a team we believe in the capable, competent and confident image of the child and that it is a teacher’s role to protect, respect and empower each young learner’s innate curiosity and inquiring nature. We intend to support an environment that cares for the holistic development of every child through strong principles of best practice in teaching.

The Nursery setting is brilliantly diverse and multicultural, a true reflection of Dubai. With this is mind, myself and the team are striving for a strong sense of community and belonging. The location of the nursery setting supports this perfectly, as it is positioned in a quiet corner of Regent International School in the heart of the Greens. This ultimately means that we are able to provide a very welcoming and nurturing place for families, and babies, toddlers and young children as they start out on a very enriched journey of early childhood education.”

Ms. Sharon has managed nurseries in Dubai since 2005 and before that three years in New Zealand. She values professional reflection and is passionate about continuous learning in child development and theory of play and learning. With many years’ experience, a Bachelor of Education specializing in Early Childhood Education and a thesis underway towards her Masters of Education, she is committed to providing quality early years’ provision for all children.

Laura Partanen - Nursery Manager, JINS Al Safa

LauraMrs Laura Partanen is the Nursery Manager at JINS, Al Safa Branch. She is proud to have devoted over 10 years to supporting children internationally, ensuring they achieve their fullest potential in each and every way. Laura understands that the learning journey of a child begins from birth, with parents as a child’s first teacher. It is her firm belief that the safe and secure partnership between home and school life is protected and nurtured.

The multi skilled Early Years experts at JINS Al Safa provide the very best in education for the precious start to our children’s Lifelong Learning Journey. By using Positive Education we ensure our children develop holistically in an expressive and affirming environment where conflict can be easily resolved.

JINS Al Safa is a multi-national hub of learning and development and we are fortunate and proud to call Dubai and the United Arab Emirates our home. We understand the importance of preparing our children with the skills that will equip them as future leaders in our ever developing world.

With seventeen years of opening our doors to the Little Learners, Curious Beginners, Inquisitive Adventurers, Confident Explorers and Active Discoverers we understand catering for each unique child’s every need and passion. Our impressive facility houses outside and inside educational spaces lovingly designed to promote active engagement and child led programmes of inquiry.

Laura has a UK Bachelor’s Degree in Education with extensive knowledge of the EYFS. She has led educational teams within the United Arab Emirates and in Finland and uses her outstanding knowledge and understanding of Educational Best Practice to ensure the EYFS Curriculum is delivered with excellence at Al Safa. Laura is British and Mummy to Sofia.

Poppy Loughran – Nursery Manager, JINS Downtown Dubai

Poppy Loughran

Poppy Loughran is the Nursery Manager of JINS, Downtown branch. She joined our team this year and brings with her over 9 years of Early Years’ experience. Poppy’s belief is that every child is unique and deserves the very best early years start in life. Teaching is a vocation and one that all of the JINS teams posses with a passion towards everything that they do.

It is important that children arrive at Nursery feeling safe, secure and loved and that you, the parents know this too. All our teachers are CACHE Level 3 minimum qualified with strong experience and passion towards their role as Early Years Practitioners.

With our bespoke approach to each individual child’s development goals, we believe that JINS offers an early years education that is second to none. We pride ourselves on strong parent partnerships and have a continued open door policy that allows you, our parents to have complete assurance and trust towards all within our settings.

Mrs. Loughran has qualified with her Level 3 and 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership in the Early Years. Mrs. Loughran has been Nursery Manager and Operations Manager for well-established Nurseries and has experience in both running and setting up new Nurseries within the UAE.

Stephanie Morrison – Nursery Manager, JINS Sunmarke JVT

Nicola Hayday

JINS Sunmarke JVT are proud to welcome families into our nursery. We pride ourselves on ensuring our families are part of a community that is giving their child the best possible start in life. We want every child in our care to feel loved, secure and happy.

The team at JINS Sunmarke JVT are passionate about the environments they create for the children having an understanding for creating learning environments that are engaging and inspiring. Each day as our children walk through the doors, we want them to feel a sense of wonder, a sense of belonging and to go a journey of discovery.

Our team is full of highly qualified, experienced and dedicated people who simply love to be with children. They are a driven and determined team who’s passion for early years comes alive every day. Their priority is on embedding practices that are focused around the holistic development of children, valving the individual child approach along the way. ​

The team at JINS Sunmarke JVT are led by Stephanie Morrison. Having managed nurseries across the globe she joins the team with in-depth early years pedagogical knowledge. She studied her Bachelor in Early Years Education in Ireland. Since then, she has been leading the way in Scotland, Sweden, Sydney and the UAE.

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