Sean Areias, Head of School

Dr. Sean Areias is passionate about learning and leadership. He is particularly enthusiastic about preparing students to make a positive impact in our rapidly changing world and thriving in an unknown future. In recent years, he has dedicated efforts towards improving child safeguarding practices and enhancing teacher leadership opportunities in international schools.

Sean has been an educator for nearly three decades, the last twenty-two years in international schools in Mexico, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria. He is originally from California, USA where he started his education career as a primary school teacher assistant while studying at the university level. He was immediately hooked into the education field by seeing kids’ excitement for questioning and learning. Since then, he has held a variety of EC-12 teaching and administrative roles.

He possesses a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of San Diego, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (with an emphasis in Bilingual Education) also from the University of San Diego, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University.

Outside of school life, Sean dedicates most of his time to his family. He is joined by his wife, Imelda, an early childhood teacher, and his three children. They enjoy several pastimes together including outdoor activities, sports and traveling.


Roula H. Ismail, Head of Primary

Roula Haj Ismail spent her formative years in Australia and holds a BA in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Sydney, and a Masters in Philosophy from the American University of Beirut, where she began her teaching career. She is currently studying for her Doctor of Education (Ed.D) with Bath University. Roula Haj Ismail is a highly experienced and accomplished IB educator, with 20 years of involvement with good international schools in Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. She has worked as an IB PYP Coordinator for six years, and has been an IB workshop leader and team visitor for eight years.

She has presented sessions at IB and other educational conferences like NESA. Roula has a background in visual and performance art, which she brings to bear in her leadership and teaching. She has developed and performed art pieces and videos at art festivals in Europe, USA, and locally. Roula enjoys art, media literacy, music, and cross country skiing.


Helen Jeffery, Head of Middle School

Helen has been in international education for over 20 years – in Tokyo, Dar es Salaam, Cairo and Lusaka – and has been fortunate to combine two of her passions: teaching English and the IB MYP. Twenty years on, she continues to enjoy meeting the daily challenges of teaching MYP students of differing abilities, attitudes, cultures and socio-economic situations.

Helen is an IB workshop leader and a reviewer for the IB's Building Quality Curriculum service. Helen holds a Masters in Education (Merit) from the University of Bath; and PGCE (Distinction) from the Institute of Education, University of London.


Jim Heister, Head of High School

Jim Heister has a B.S. degree in Mathematics and an M.Ed degree in Leadership. In 2021, he completed the comprehensive Certificate in School Management and Leadership program through the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

His educational journey began as a classroom teacher. Following his desire and ability to lead others, he has held many roles such as Head of Department, Dean of Students, Mentor Teacher, Tech Integrationist, and STEM Program Co-Author. Additionally, he has been the Mentor Program Co-Author and Coordinator, Community Time Coordinator, Grade Level Leader, Internship Coordinator, and High School Deputy Principal.

Jim Heister is devoted to fair and accurate assessment that supports accurate data for teachers and ensures inclusive and equitable practices for learners. This is evidenced through his presentations at the Pearson Assessment Institute, the AASSA Educators conference, and the iNNOVATE Educators Conference. He has also led full-faculty professional development around Assessment For, Of, and As Learning for Escola Eleva in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Leadership & Culture for the New English Private School system here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He is a dynamic and mindful leader whose greatest strengths lie in adaptability, flexibility, collaboration, and relational trust-building. Through these, he promotes a culture of mutual accountability and distributed leadership.

He likes to maintain a healthy work-personal life balance. Outside of school, he enjoys reading, hiking, biking, SCUBA diving, and playing team sports. Also, he has coached American football, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball, and track & field.


Dounia Slaoui, Head of Administration & Human Resources

Dounia holds a Bachelor Degree in English literature from Ben M’sik University Casablanca, Morocco. Dounia started her career in Morocco while studying, as a teacher and translator then moved towards Administration career by choosing the Human Resources field where she strongly believes in relationship development and enjoys being amongst and working with all persons. Added to that she is also tri-lingual (Arabic, French & English) which helps within her role and works well with the diversity of our community. She has been working in ISL for the last 11 years where she grew and gained experience by working in different administrative departments. Dounia is Moroccan.