James McDonald

Principal/CEO, Wesgreen International School – Sharjah

James McDonald joined GEMS Education in 2022 as Principal/CEO of Wesgreen International School – Sharjah. An accomplished leader of schools in the UK and internationally, James has extensive experience of raising standards across both primary and secondary sections, while creating a rich, productive, happy and successful environment for all members of the school community.

Prior to joining GEMS, James served three years as Principal of Maadi British International School (MBIS) in Cairo, Egypt, where he secured an ‘Outstanding’ judgement in all areas following the school’s British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection. MBIS is the only school in Egypt to have been awarded the highest grading in every area of the BSO inspection.

Since 2017, James has held the position of Vice Chairman, Director and Executive Committee Board member of Association of British Schools Overseas (AoBSO), where he is responsible for leading the Association’s development plan, establishing its terms of reference, and lobbying the UK Government on behalf of AoBSO members.

James also served as Whole School Executive Vice Principal of Doha British School in Qatar – another BSO ‘Outstanding’ school. In his three years with the school, student progress and results across all elements of Primary, (i)GCSE, A-level and IB Diploma improved year on year, culminating in DBS’ best ever results across all examination areas.

In the UK, where James began his career in education, James has held a number teaching and leadership positions in a variety of schools in England. He also spent four years serving as Assistant Head Teacher in an international school in Shanghai, China.

James holds a Bachelor degree in Design Technology from John Moores University, Liverpool, where he also gained his Qualified Teacher Status in Primary and Secondary Education. He also holds a Mechanical Engineering Higher National Diploma from University of Ulster Jordanstown in Northern Ireland, and a National Diploma in Engineering from Newry Institute of Technology in England.

James is a keen sports enthusiast and was an All-Ireland Gaelic Football Champion UUJ (1999/2000) as well as a three-time BUCS (British Universities and Colleges, Sports) medalist. He plays golf regularly and enjoys travel, cooking, reading, music and spending time with family.

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