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One of Dubai’s Longest Serving Teachers Retires After 34 Years at the Same School

One of Dubai’s Longest Serving Teachers Retires After 34 Years at the Same School

by David WestleyDecember 8, 2020

One of the UAE’s longest serving teachers is retiring after 34-years of working at the same school, and for six different principals.

Celine Ribeiro, 68, joined GEMS Modern Academy on the day the only Outstanding rated Indian curriculum school in the UAE opened. At the time, instead of the purpose built buildings it operates within today, classes took place in temporary portacabins.

Nargish Khambatta, Principal of the school, said that retiring Ms Ribeiro would leave a large hole in the school community.

“A teacher like Celine makes a difference to entire generations. Her quest for perfection, her optimism and her affection make her unique. She will always be remembered for the four pillars she lives by – faith, hope, love and charity – which inspire us daily.

We wish Celine well and will miss having her around. She is always first in at school and last to go home. She is known for this as ‘The Iron Lady of Modern’ or just our wonderful Ms. Ribeiro and always with the utmost respect and affection.”

Ms Ribeiro’s final week has been marked with tributes from around the world by former students and colleagues, who number in the thousands, as well as current staff and pupils at the school. Some 700 logged in for her final, virtual school assembly. Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), also joined the celebrations.

Ms Ribeiro started as a Grade 3 teacher and went on to become Head of Primary before being appointed Head of Policy and Compliance.

The Chairman and Founder of GEMS Education, Sunny Varkey, also paid his own tribute to Ms Ribeiro. He said:

“Celine … embodied the values of kindness, respect, empathy, helpfulness and compassion each and every day of her extraordinary career at GEMS Modern Academy”… I extend to her all my best wishes for an enjoyable, and very well-earned, long retirement.”

About The Author
David Westley
David is the co-founder and GM of Which Media, the owner of and

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