Meet the Team
Gabbitas Education is one of the most esteemed and respected educational consultancies in the world. Meet the team in the Middle East who can provide un-biased and expert advice on your school and university search requirements.
Fiona McKenzie – Director
Fiona, educated at Rugby School and St Andrew’s University, is the Head of our Middle East office.
Her experience of working in leading independent schools such as Rugby School and Milton Abbey, overseas in South Africa and Australia and her background as an educationalist enables her to offer you an expert school placement service.
In addition, her knowledge of university applications allows her to deliver un-biased and tailored careers advice and guidance for your child.
Fiona understands parents’ concerns and worries having educated her own four children in some of the most prestigious independent schools and universities.
Fiona regularly contributes as an expert voice in the media. You can find links to her recent articles and radio broadcasts below:
Fiona discusses how to prepare for University with Tim Elliott
Fiona discusses A Level results with Tim Elliott
Featuring articles by Fiona on global learning (page 27) and the IB versus A-Level debate (page 48).
Fiona shares her top tips when teaching in the UAE (page 25) and highlights the benefits of summer camps (page 92).
Fiona discussing how to ensure young people make the right university choice (page 62) and sheds lights on educational acronyms (page 82).
Sophie Oakes – Consultant
Sophie has a wide knowledge of mainstream and alternative education systems and is particularly interested in new developmental approaches to education.
Sophie has extensive experience of researching schools, academic standards and of matching children to the right learning environment.
She possesses a comprehensive knowledge of Nursery and Junior Schools in Dubai and Prep Schools in the UK.
Sophie has two children who have both been educated in the UK and Dubai.
Sophie regularly writes for leading publications on nursery and primary topics. Her most recent articles can be found below:
Sophie gives her advice on making the right school choice for your child (page 32).
Read Sophie’s review of Dubai’s famous ski park.
Sophie addresses the debate as to whether school or nursery is the best place for a child of three (page 33).
Shelly Man – Office Manager
Shelly will respond to your enquiries and direct these to the most appropriate consultant.
You will communicate with Shelly frequently as she will correspond with institutions, complete registrations and arrange visits on your behalf.
Her established relationships with admissions teams across the globe ensure a seamless experience with Gabbitas.
Shelly is a graduate from the University of Birmingham.
Sara Boomsma – Business Development & Marketing Manager
After graduating from the University of Cambridge, Sara joined Optimus Education in London. There she headed up the Conferences team and developed her in-depth knowledge of the UK education sector.
Joining Gabbitas Middle East in 2017, she brings a strong background in market research and is passionate about improving outcomes for children and young people.
Having attended schools in Dubai and the Netherlands before settling in the UK, Sara brings first-hand experience of what it is like attending schools abroad.
You can find Sara on twitter at @saraboomsma.