Fortes Education is spearheaded by an inspired Board of Directors and Executive Leadership Team committed to bringing the best global practices in education to the Fortes schools.
Mrs. Mankani is the founder of Fortes Education. She founded the organization over 40 years ago on a belief that for children to truly flourish in life, they needed a strong foundation in values, character and wellbeing. Fortes has held true to this belief with its schools today considered global leaders in Positive Education.
Veena co-founded Fortes Education with Mrs. Mankani. What started as a small school has today grown into a 900 strong enterprise with more schools on the horizon. Veena and Mrs. Mankani were the early architects of the Education in Human Values Programme that has today grown into an entire educational philosophy of Positive Education that develops in every child a strong foundation in values, character and wellbeing.
Sanjay Mankani is the driving force behind Fortes Education, setting the vision and developing teams to achieve it.
Inspired to make impact a positive impact on society at scale, he chose to quit Wall Street and dedicate his life to education to help young children realise their potential and dreams.
Earlier, Sanjay spent 10 years in New York working in investment banking at Lazard Freres & Co. before getting involved in education.
He brings extensive experience in leadership and management, besides finance and risk management ensuring Fortes Education achieves steady and sustained growth.
Sanjay holds a double degree in Finance and Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business. In his free time, Sanjay is a patron of the arts and enjoys yoga and spending time with his family.
Ajay Mankani brings 25 years of experience in building teams, developing talent, and driving innovation to create sustainable organisations.
He oversees all aspects of the organisation including growth, strategy, innovation at the schools, project management, technology management, and marketing.
Ajay is also a board member of Fortes Holdings, a conglomerate involved in education, property development, engineering, construction, transport services, technology, and investments.
He earned his degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in the US. Apart from his professional pursuits, Ajay is an avid stock investor, art collector, fitness enthusiast, and philanthropist.
A committed educationist, Katrina Mankani is a firm believer, practitioner, and implementer of Positive Education in the UAE. Her strategic involvement in Fortes Education for the past 14 years has facilitated fellow educators to create an environment where students’ wellbeing and character development are valued as their academic achievements.
Her initiatives at spearheading Positive Education and innovation at Fortes has resulted in the schools being held as an example for others to follow in this sphere.
She firmly believes in the maxim that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.
Led by curiosity and powered by love and gratitude, Katrina continues to make Fortes Education a place where children are prepared to become compassionate, empathetic and ethical global citizens.
Katrina is a seasoned speaker at various international and national summits on matters of education and more. A graduate from Teachers College, Columbia University with an M.Ed. in Private School Leadership, she also holds a PGCE from Sunderland University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Moscow State University.
Devika Mankani is the Divisional Head / MD of Mid-market Schools that includes Regent International Schools, and Chief Positive Psychologist at Fortes Education and a licensed Psychologist at The Hundred Wellness Centre. She is also the co-founder of Chearful, an online mental health platform that connects mental health practitioners with patients.
Trained in the Humanistic Model of Psychotherapy with a specialisation in Marriage & Family therapy, Devika adopts a strengths-based approach with the children and adults she works with. With the humanistic model, the focus is on a client’s self-efficacy and self-actualisation which act as central themes in their journey. In her 15 years of practice as a therapist, Devika has stayed abreast with the best research in the field which she translates in her healing sessions with clients.
Dr. Neil Hopkin leads the Academic Leadership Team at Fortes Education, where he is responsible for the overall strategic development of the schools’ academic performance, the development and implementation of new initiatives and innovations, operations, and curriculum development, alongside staff professional development, student, and family happiness.
A global leader in education, Neil has advised three successive UK Government Education Secretaries of State, was instrumental in the Cambridge Primary Review, the first major landmark research in UK primary education for 40 years and was one of the first UK Principals to be designated a National Leader of Education. He was instrumental in the UK’s Digital Innovation and Home Access government projects throughout the 2000s, was an adviser to the Primary Teach First programme, and was the academic adviser to the UK Deputy Prime Minister’s Review of Early Education.
David has 14 years of experience in education and has led outstanding departments during his time in Dubai.
He is an accomplished and innovative leader who is enthusiastic about early childhood education and has an interest in making the curriculum exciting, challenging, and personalised for the children at Regent International School.
Paul Kelly became Head of Secondary at Sunmarke School in January 2021 having previously been Head of Secondary at the British International School Shanghai, Puxi. Before being Head of Secondary at BISS, Paul held several other posts linked to both academic performance and pastoral support during his 10 years in Shanghai. Paul has a passion for working with people, believing that the development of both students and staff is vital if we are going to make the world a better place.
Paul describes himself as a lifelong learner, having completed his undergraduate degree in Sports and Science. He then completed his M.Ed at Cambridge University and has been heavily involved in leading the learning of students and staff in every school he has worked. Paul still enjoys taking part in sports and can often be found supporting sports teams at Sunmarke.
Andrea Higgins is an accomplished educational leader with over 20 years of experience in primary and secondary schools. She has been associated with Fortes in various leadership roles since 2014. Since assuming the role of Head of the Primary School in 2020, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence in education, with a focus on staff development and high standards to benefit every child.
Throughout her career, Andrea has established herself as a visible leader with a keen understanding of the importance of collaboration and teamwork. Her passion for staff development has been a cornerstone of her success, as she recognises that a well-supported team is essential for delivering the best possible outcomes for students.
In addition to a degree from Trinity College, Dublin and PGCE from Queen’s University, Belfast, Andrea also gained her NPQH from UCL. Her dedication to creating a culture of continuous improvement has inspired her team to strive for excellence in all areas of their work, resulting in a positive impact on the school community as a whole.
Steve has been teaching for 23 years and has been a member of the Senior Leadership team at each of his schools for the past 15 years. During this time, his core strengths have been in data analysis and assessment, embedding the use of technology to support progress in learning and improving the quality of teaching and learning through staff development using a coaching model. Steve has experience in schools ranging from small rural primary schools, to inner-city schools serving deprived areas, and most recently the opening of the Secondary department at Regent International School.
Samina’s core belief that ‘every child deserves the best start in life’ has guided her in developing an accomplished career in early education.
Samina is an educator and leader par excellence who has a wealth of over 17 years in Early Years Education. Her strong leadership skills and remarkable determination supports the vision of Jumeirah International Nurseries. Samina has been at the forefront of developing JINS into one of the best Nursery brands in the UAE.
Samina is an inspiring leader who manages a team of 120+ early years practitioners. She is responsible for the educational standards and operations of Jumeirah International Nurseries.
Samina holds a Masters in Educational leadership (UK) and Masters in Business Administration.
Pratik is a core member of Fortes’ C-suite supporting the board in strategic and capital deployment decisions.
Pratik brings rigorous financial discipline, risk control protocols, and workflow excellence to Fortes’ operations. With over 20 years of experience, Pratik is a CFA Chartered Holder and has extensive experience across multiple industries.
Rachel is part of the C-suite of Fortes and Fortes Holdings and manages a large HR team spread across each business unit of Fortes.
She is responsible for HR strategy in developing and nurturing talent; compensation and benefits; HR policy formulation; and budgets.
Sumeet is a core member of Fortes’ C-suite. He is a seasoned sales and marketing professional with over 20 years of experience across multiple industries and brands.
At Fortes, he oversees marketing strategy and also leads the admissions, sales and marketing teams and customer service team ensuring Fortes delivers an outstanding experience to children and parents across all schools.
Shiju leads a team working closely with architects, interior designers, and the construction teams in realising the vision of each school project.
With deep experience in architecture and interior design, as well as fit-out and construction, Shiju brings a rare understanding of design and function to ensure Fortes develops outstanding school buildings and facilities.
Rahul is a Supply Chain and a six Sigma professional and Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, UK. He brings over 25 years of experience across diverse industries.
He oversees central procurement, a team of purchasers, category management, strategic sourcing, and all commercial contracts.
Manoj is a senior results-driven professional with 20 years of experience in FM. He spearheads the entire FM operation and asset management, ensuring the highest compliance, quality and safety standards are met.
He ensures each school receives 24×7 fulfillment of their maintenance requests and complete satisfaction.
Sheeraz is a senior leader and leads an innovative IT team to manage the technology requirements at Fortes.
He has a wealth of over 15 years experience working for large organizations across strategic level initiatives and time-bound projects.
He has deep experience in Business Process Analysis, Requirement Gathering, Architecture Design, Programming & Development, Implementation, and Integration.
As Legal Counsel at Fortes, Shreya brings a wealth of experience in legal and contractual matters and common and civil law across multiple jurisdictions.