December 8, 2020

Dear Elementary Families,

As we enter into the winter holidays we would like to thank you for your continued support of our school. When we look back on 2020 in years to come, it will be interesting to reflect on the actions and reactions that occurred throughout this year. As a school, we spent the year balancing academics, social-emotional learning, health and safety logistics and changing guidelines based on ever-evolving COVID-19 discoveries.

We are very proud of that, though this trimester was not without its hiccups, our staff was able to provide the continuity, connection and community necessary for our students to grow in their learning. This would not have been possible without the commitment of GEMS Education, our Superintendent Tammy Murphy, the Senior Leadership, IT, Facilities and most importantly our Teaching and Educational Assistant staff. 

As a school, we are also very proud that though 2020 was like no other. Our approach to learning, as defined by our Mission statement to “...create(s) and empower(s) leaders and independent thinkers with integrity, character, and drive”, challenged our staff and students to evolve and ensure our successes as a learning community. 2020 has been a year where we truly applied our future fluent and solution-focussed philosophy and I think as a community of students, parents and staff we have come together and done a wonderful job.

When we return on January 3, 2021 we look forward to continuing our learning journey and doing the very best for your children.

On behalf of the elementary leadership team of Nathalie, Tooshna, Noha and myself, Happy Holidays and see you next year!


Craig Cantlie

Executive Principal, Elementary

As we have shared previously, Ms. Botha is leaving Dubai American Academy. 

Ms. Botha has been the elementary secretary at Dubai American Academy since 2007 and has had an incredible impact on our school. When we speak about our school's Culture of Kindness, Ms. Botha is the shining example of what this looks like in action. She is always there to go above and beyond for our parents, staff and most importantly our students. She is a listening ear, someone who provides comfort when needed, gets things done and brightens our students' days with her smile and warmth. She will be sadly missed by everyone.

Please join us in thanking Ms. Botha for all she has done for our school and wishing her all the best as she heads off on new life adventures. We created a short video for her that we thought you might enjoy.


The DAA ES library team is hoping to fill our students’ holiday season with the joy of reading! If you’re looking for gifts for your eager readers, consider our holiday gift guide full of wonderful, engaging books that our students will love. Share photos of your readers reading over the holiday with the hashtag #DAAHolidayReads. We can’t wait to hear about all the books our Little Leopards dive into!

Festively fun photos!

Elementary Update from November 25th, 2020

A window into our world as a learning community.


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key contacts

Should your child(ren) need to be away from school due to illness or appointments, please contact our School Secretaries.

KG1 - Grade 2: Grace Ajib  g.ajib_daa@gemsedu.com /04 704 9705

Grades 3-5: Jessica Oppermann  j.oppermann_daa@gemsedu.com /04 704  9724

General Elementary Inquiries:  elementary_daa@gemsedu.com

Craig Cantlie 

Executive Principal of Elementary (K - Grade 5)c.cantlie_daa@gemsedu.com

Nathalie Salemeh   

Elementary Principal, Grades 4 and 5n.salameh_daa@gemsedu.com

Noha Bishara              

Assistant Elementary Principal, Grades 2 and 3n.bishara_daa@gemsedu.com

Tooshna Gandhi          

Assistant Elementary Principal, KG1, KG2 and Grade 1t.gandhi_daa@gemsedu.com