The world is challenged through multiple crises, all at the same time. The visible crisis of decreased quality of life, low happiness index, and lack of awareness regarding it are as horrifying as they sound. This lack of awareness among people regarding their issues causes them to fall prey to numerous difficulties. Hence, the only way to get out of them is ‘awareness,’ and the best possible solution is education.
Education has formed the pillars of society and led to revolutions, but on the contrary, lack of education has destroyed people. Some of the best examples of this can be found in our history. As a change bearer, education is not of importance but a necessity.
However, many people are deprived of this necessity worldwide for various reasons. This deprivation has led them into the slumber of regression. With the help of a few light-bearers, the effort to wake from this slumber is constantly seen. These torchbearers of education have struggled and induced the courage of resistance and persistence within others, inspiring people to move in the direction of education.
One of the nations walking down the path of education is the UAE, a nation with one of the highest literacy rates in the world. UAE has given the world many leaders, and in its continuous pursuit of giving educational importance is Dr Lara Nabil Abdallah, School Executive Principal of Dubai Modern Education School. A person with strong determination and thirst for knowledge, Dr. Abdallah
An Inspiring Journey and Career
Dr Lara Nabil Abdallah began her career after receiving her bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics-Statistics at the Lebanese University in 2004; later, she joined Marjoyoun National College in Lebanon as a teacher in Mathematics. She continued her studies in Dubai and the Middle East region after being inspired by the visionary and innovative leadership of the rulers of the UAE. Earning her Ph.D. degree, she published her research papers in international journals.
Dr Abdallah served as the Head of the Mathematics Department, Education Consultant, Academic Manager, Curriculum Specialist, Education Trainer, Adjunct Professor, and School Executive Principal, gaining experience in the education field for 18 years. Apart from these positions, she also has authored five Mathematics textbooks for K-12.
She is an active member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), National Council of Science Teachers (NSTA), and National Council of English Teachers (NCTE).
Recognized as one of the “10 Most Empowering Educators in the Middle East,” she is also a NEASC ACE-approved visitor and enjoys the privilege of visiting schools for the ACE Pathway on behalf of the NEASC Commission on International Education. Along with this, she handles her website, reaching out to the global community.
Having assumed various roles in the fast-paced and ever-evolving education field, she has developed strong determination, grit, resilience, and discipline, which she believes pushes her beyond her capabilities. Her Mathematical background has sharpened her senses of logical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
As a detail-oriented person, she likes to challenge herself to find the best solutions as quickly as possible. She says, “One of the values I passionately believe in is “walking the talk,” which means setting an example, enabling others, motivating ambition, and changing the company through creative, data-driven methods.”
She avails herself of all the learning opportunities, enhancing her abundant knowledge.
Dr Abdallah describes herself as ‘tenacious’ while people rightly address her as a woman creating waves.
Drops to the Ocean
Dr Abdallah had been working hard to upgrade and innovate the academic and operational programs following the school’s vision. Understanding the real purpose of education she wants the learners to become holistic individuals and active contributors to the global community. In view with that she has established a comprehensive and rigorous academic programs backed by data and modern-day technology to choose the course of action and maintain the highest education standard.
Utilizing her eighteen years of experience as an educator and a school leader, she strives to provide innovative and transformative leadership, laying down a firm and sustainable structure in the areas of organizational management, curriculum design, teaching and learning, assessment, and student achievement.
As a certified professional trainer, she has contributed greatly to empowering the teachers and school leaders through needs-driven professional development programs that ensured optimum professional growth opportunities, enhanced diversity, and improved student learning for all members of the school community.
Heading and Organization
Dubai Modern Education School is a private co-educational institution in the Al Mizhar community catering to the provision of quality education for students from Dubai and the surrounding Emirates.
DMES offers two academic curricula to its students on one campus. The US School and MOE school offers California State Standards Curriculum and UAE Ministry of Education approved curriculum respectively.
Moreover, the founders of DMES have always strived for providing high-quality and sustainable education. Strengthening the base of the young minds by equipping them with required skilled, knowledge, and moral values to complete their learning arc and allowing them to be the leading contributors of the global society.
Stating the school’s vision, Lara Abdallah says, “Empower learners to contribute to the global community through innovation, exploration and citizenship.”
In line with the institution’s vision and mission, they strived to reach even greater heights to reach the global market and later achieve global success through pursuing international recognition. DMES has been granted authorization from the College Board to offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses and examinations for high school students.
Under Dr Abdallah’s professional leadership and the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, DMES has been granted the NEASC Accreditation Status for the US Curriculum School in December 2021 –a highly-coveted international accreditation for American curriculum schools in Dubai.
Walking Through Dark
Dr Abdallah knows that clashes in values and principles are bound to happen with people coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. She firmly believes in upholding professional and ethical values in everything she does. No matter how difficult and challenging a situation becomes, she never settles for producing haphazard work for the sake of compliance. She tries to set up an example by working on the ground with staff, delivering training sessions, and empowering people to perform at the highest standard.
While talking about the hardships, she says, “One of the hardships that I have encountered is promoting the principle of ‘quality over quantity,’ in a fast-paced work environment. Taking on this challenge as a leader, I always make sure to provide the needed guidance and support to ensure unity and consistency of practice across the organization.”
Setting the Alarm for Tomorrow
As an advocate of reading for lifelong learning, Dr Abdallah constantly seeks new opportunities to continue her professional growth and development as an educational leader. She has high expectations and strives to reach them through hard work and perseverance. She believes in taking care of health and wellbeing by pursuing an active lifestyle to have an equal work-life balance.
Dr Abdallah envisions herself as an educator who makes a difference in the lives of students in their pursuit of knowledge and success. To inspire students in pursuing their future careers, she always ensures that they are provided with authentic learning opportunities and experiences to hone their innate skills and capabilities. Student engagement and involvement in school are strengthened through inquiry, research, and real-world learning, enabling them to become career and future ready.
Engaging With Students
Students are continuously encouraged and motivated to become engaged in their learning through self-paced learning and enrichment opportunities through the usage of digital learning platforms and age-appropriate physical resources to ensure that all students become self-directed learners.
Opportunities for student-led discussions, dialogues, and debates on global problems are provided where they analyze real-life situations and propose real-world solutions. Varied activities and programs, including project-based learning, clubs, and weekly extra-curricular activities, provide exposure that enables students to become critical and creative thinkers, communicators, and innovators.
Words for Buds
Addressing her students and the youngsters of the world, Dr Abdallah says, “As we live in an interconnected world, I would like all students around the world to know that I am extremely proud of you – whomever you are and wherever you are. Amidst the global pandemic, you have risen to the challenge of pursuing your educational journey with courage and diligence.”
She quotes John Wooden, saying, “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
She urges students to cast away self-doubts and face the world with full confidence and pride while wishing them to be brave and passionate in exploring new paths, facing challenges and pursuing dreams, one step at a time.
She says, “Be brave and pursue your goals and aspirations while making a difference in the lives of others.”
The Next Turn
As an educational leader, Dr Abdallah humbly acknowledges the long journey ahead and the milestones that she wishes to accomplish. To her, the roles she assumed to date are meaningful and important, as she knows that she has created a life-changing impact on the students’ lives in their educational journey.
She looks forward to pursuing another doctorate in education, widening her professional network locally and globally through international conferences, and engaging in all available professional development training and courses for her career advancement.
She aims to be a part of national and international advisory groups leading educational reformation through revisiting educational policies, programs, and structure in the area of curriculum, teaching and learning, and assessment. She also plans to launch her website with educational service providers to expand the reach of her professional development training materials and Mathematics textbooks.
Under the guidance and leadership of Dr Abdallah, Dubai Modern Education School has been consistently moving forward toward “living” the school’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values in which she seeks her pride.
“We shall continue to uphold ‘excellence’ and ‘high expectations in our academic programs & services; promote a school culture of ‘respect, tolerance, leadership & responsibility’ through outstanding ‘leadership’ and ‘commitment’ in service of our learners and the wider community,” she says while taking about her future goals regarding the school.