ACS Annual Report 2021-22

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Empowering Students to Shape the Future Since 1972

ACS Forever Remembers UAE Ruler

The American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS) joined the UAE in mourning the passing of the late HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Under his leadership, the UAE witnessed accelerated development in a number of areas, propelling the nation to become what it is today.

His generosity to the nation and to our school will long be remembered. Just as his father before him (the late Sheikh Zayed, the first ruler of the UAE) had generously gifted land to ACS to build the first American school in Abu Dhabi in 1972, HH Sheikh Khalifa granted additional land to double the size of our existing campus in 1999. More than 2 decades later, the Sheikh Khalifa Elementary School Building stands as a reminder of the incredible philanthropy of this legendary leader. With education being an important part of his visionary plans and a true friend of education, HH Sheikh Khalifa played an integral role in the history of our school.

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Former President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi SHEIKH KHALIFA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BUILDING
CONTENTS Who We Are 4 ACS By the Numbers 5 Message from the Board Chair 6 Message from the Superintendent 7 Celebrating a Culture of Giving 8 ACS Mission in Action 13 Student Achievement 15 Class of 2022 Impact 16 Alumni Shaping the Future 18 2021-22 Financial Report 19

49 Years of Excellence in Education


Established in 1972, the American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS) is a non-profit, U.S. accredited college preparatory school serving a culturally diverse student body of students between the ages of 4 to 18. Building on a legacy of nearly 50 years of excellence, ACS empowers students to shape and define their futures by providing a balanced learning program in academics, the arts, athletics and service learning.


Empowering all students to define and shape their futures for learning, service and global citizenship.


A compassionate, student-centered community of learners engages, prepares and inspires.




Compassion Integrity


Collaborative team members

Responsible individuals

Self-directed learners

Global citizens

4 | American Community School of Abu Dhabi WHO WE ARE

63% Faculty with Advanced Degrees

85% Faculty with 10+ Years Experience

Annual Report 2021-22 | 5 ACS BY THE NUMBERS 9 : 1 Student to Faculty Ratio 91 2022 Graduates 64 National Honor Society Students 19,537 Reach 46,968 Reach 134 Teachers 100+ Course Offerings 12 Volunteer Trustees 2,100+ Alumni 712 Families 1,153 STUDENTS 510 261 382 Elementary Middle High 2021-2022 TOTAL ENROLLMENT ● 54% US ● 10% Canada ● 4% UAE National Citizens ● 32% Other Countries 67 Nationalities of Students
3 U.S. National Merit Scholar Finalists

MATT AYOUB ‘94 Board Chair

A Year to Remember


In a nonprofit independent school like ACS, the all-volunteer Board of Trustees ensures the long-term viability of the school through prudent fiscal governance and strategic planning by working in partnership with the Superintendent. This ensures ACS continues to serve and fulfill the school’s mission to empower future generations of ACS students.

Honored to serve the ACS community as trustees for the 2021-2022 school year:

Matt Ayoub ‘94, Chair

Serena Carnevale, Vice Chair

Philippe El Bacha, Treasurer

Eric Hilgendorf, Secretary

Salem Al Noaimi

Omar Asfour ‘96

Nadia Bardawil

Kirby Lindsey

Adib Mattar ‘95

Muhannad Qubbaj

Robin Solomon, US Embassy Rep

Julie Thurston

As I review another remarkable year in our school’s history, and we look ahead to turning 50, I am filled with a sense of gratitude for the progress we have made and the challenges we have overcome as an institution.

Our mission to empower students to define their futures for learning, service and global citizenship has never been more important, and I am pleased to report we have made great strides in progressing the strategic plan that enables that.

Launched in 2019, our plan outlines four priorities – each grounded in the school’s vision, mission and core values. We took a huge step forward in November when we celebrated the groundbreaking of what will be one of the most innovative and inspiring facilities in K-12 education globally. Standing alongside Abu Dhabi and US government officials, strategic partners, alumni and school leadership – this was a significant milestone in our journey.

Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” I could not be prouder of ACS’s navigation of the COVID19 pandemic. We did not retreat into a bunker and wait it out. We did not cut back on people or programs. Rather we executed an ambitious strategy to transform our institution and exit this crisis stronger than ever. Our new Saadiyat campus, envisioned together as one community and built with the support of Abu Dhabi, continues firmly on its path to completion in the 2023-24 school year. ACS will have the facility it deserves and the foundation to grow as a globally leading institution.

Beyond the walls, our valued leadership team, led by Monique Flickinger, continued

to make thoughtful investments in leading faculty and innovative curriculum that underpin our strategic plan. This included the development of academic pathways in areas we see as critical to the future of work and the sustainability of our planet. Importantly, these programs allow us to continue building relationships with the broader Abu Dhabi community, connecting academia with industry and providing even more opportunities for our students and faculty to grow. As a non-profit institution, these external partnerships, including generous donations of funds, resources and time continue to prove integral to our pursuit of excellence and our strategy to further differentiate ACS.

Finally, we welcomed the return of so many of the programs, activities and interactions that define ACS. From our students and parents to our teachers, staff and friends, your collective contributions have been invaluable. My deepest gratitude goes out to all staff and all volunteers I have had the pleasure of working with during the past year. Our core values of integrity, compassion, curiosity and courage have shined throughout this journey. We never could have expected COVID, but we rallied together, emerging stronger with a future that is brighter than ever.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the leadership of ACS, you have our commitment to keep taking steps forward to ensuring ACS achieves its full potential.

With heartfelt gratitude,

6 | American Community School of Abu Dhabi MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD CHAIR
EXPLORE OUR NEW CAMPUS Scan to learn more about our new campus.

Transformative Change

Four years in, I remain humbled and inspired by our incredible ACS community. As I think about the 2021-22 school year, I am awestruck by our school’s ability to adapt to whatever comes our way. This year was marked by transformative change, including the gradual relaxation of COVID restrictions, the regional shift to half-day Fridays and Saturday/Sunday weekends and the naming of new UAE President HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Despite the seemingly never ending shifts and changes, our community grew, remained flexible and adapted. This is a moment to pause and reflect on why, how and what we were able to accomplish, prioritizing what was truly important, and time after time staying true to our core values. To say I am proud of our students, faculty, staff and families is an understatement.

continued to guide us, helping us to make decisions that furthered our mission and elevated the elements of four pillars where we could thrive as a school: Academics, Athletics, Service Learning and the Arts.

Our students excelled in ways we could not have imagined. Even after two years, with no outside valuation from external assessments such as IB, ACT, SAT and MAP, we saw little to no academic loss. We even celebrated three National Merit Scholars this year, a first for ACS and the region. These achievements are due to the commitment from our students, and the flexibility and determination of the teachers and parents that supported learning at home.

We also made great progress in our commitment to enhance our Arabic language program across all grade levels. We welcomed Dr. Hanadi Dayyeh, our new Director of Arabic, who is passionate about elevating Arabic at ACS and ensuring our students have the tools they need to be successful in learning Arabic at ACS.

And a landmark event defining the year was a groundbreaking ceremony of our new campus on Saadiyat with the help of key stakeholders and our cornerstone corporate partners. The need for a new campus has been a long-standing strategic priority, driven by the desire to provide students and faculty with an inspiring 21st century environment for teaching and learning. This milestone brought to life something that so many of our community members have worked toward, and I’m tremendously enthusiastic for what’s to come for ACS.



Dr. Victor Guthrie

Assistant Superintendent

Amy Greene

High School Principal

Karl Poulin

Middle School Principal

Heather Collins

Elementary School Principal

Dr. Jennifer Ricks

Director of Curriculum and Professional Learning

Kenny Macaulay

Athletic and Activities Director

Bobbi Donison Charles

High School Assistant Principal

Jonathan Diaz

IB Diploma Programme Coordinator

Rob Desormeau

Middle School Assistant Principal

Dr. Ann Peterson

Elementary School Assistant


Christina Devitt

Director of Learning Innovation and eLearning

During this year our region was transformed as the UAE welcomed the world’s fair Expo 2020. Our students shared in the learning and innovation that was happening during this remarkable event in many ways, including our High School students producing a Model United Nations Summit live at the Expo that featured ACS alumni who joined virtually from across the globe. I had the honor to attend, along with the regional CEO of Accenture, who generously supported the event.

2021-22 was also a big year for ACS. Throughout the year, our strategic plan

We have evolved and proved rapid change is possible and can happen instantly when required. I am thankful for the support of our Board of Trustees, families, staff and especially to our students who consistently rose to the occasion and gave of themselves to ensure our school’s success.

I am truly excited for what the future holds for our students, for our community and for our school.


Waheeda Al Tamimi

Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

Mahmoud Bafagih

Director of Government Relations

Yvette L. Campbell

Director of Institutional Advancement

Zoltan Karaszy

Director of Finance

Manoj Kunnenoth

Facilities Manager

Jodi Lefort

Director of Admissions

Marise Philip-Jayendran

Director of Human Resources

Joni Wills

Director of Communications


Celebrating a Culture of Giving

The 2021-2022 academic year at ACS was marked by remarkable generosity within our community. Our dedicated PTA and Viper Club volunteers orchestrated community-building events like International Day and the New Family Welcome, fostering unity. The tireless efforts of our volunteer trustees furthered our mission, while contributions to the ACS Excellence Fund ensured that our students had access to transformative experiences. Returning to campus as a united community, we witnessed a surge in charitable support, an indicator of a strong culture of giving and a reflection of who we are as a school.


Our first-ever ACS Giving Day on May 19, 2022, exceeded our expectations. The goal was to increase participation and encourage new donations to the ACS Excellence Fund. Our community celebrated with popsicles for everyone.

• 150% increase in participation



Leveraging our cornerstone partners’ expertise and financial support, ACS is advancing the UAE’s strategic priorities for education and innovation and equipping students across the region with the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly complex and competitive world. Their investment is providing invaluable support for students today and will continue to have a sustained impact on our community for years to come. Their leadership support of our new campus has been transformational.

• More than 100 donations

• 47% new donors

• Nearly AED 200K in 24 hours

8 | American Community School of Abu Dhabi


Propelled by nearly 50 years of institutional knowledge and an unwavering commitment to excellence, ACS is building a new state-of-the-art campus on Saadiyat Island. With early leadership support and generosity from a handful of families, corporations, alumni and friends who care deeply about the future of ACS, we are making strategic investments in our people and our programs to transform education for generations of future ACS students to come and to greatly enhance ACS ahead of its move to our new campus.


In November 2021, ACS hosted a special ceremony to break ground on its new, six-hectare campus. In attendance were His Excellency Khaldoon Al Mubarak, ACS alumnus, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority and Chief Executive Officer of Mubadala; Her Excellency Sara Awad Issa Musallam, Chairperson of the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK); Sean Murphy, Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy Abu Dhabi; and other key stakeholders including Abu Dhabi and US government officials, strategic partners, ACS Board members, alumni and leaders of the school.



In 2021-2022, the generosity of our entire ACS Community provided more than AED 2.8 million in contributions to our school allowing us to take ACS to the next level in a way that is not possible with tuition alone. With the generous support of our community, even in a year of continuing COVID restrictions, ACS continued to thrive with exciting opportunities for our school:

• A student-produced MUN Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai

• A new engineering pathway in rocketry for Grades K-12

• New ES Innovation Lab supplies

• Innovative and pioneering teacher training for Arabic educators

• 50% more Global Online Academy (GOA) courses for HS students, including Neuroscience and Cyber Security

• The first-ever Elementary School Art Exhibition

“The UAE & Me” including 3 visiting artists

• Supplied essentials for members of our community through the Compassion Fund

• Robotics table enhancement in MS Tech for our students to extend their learning in programming and robotics

• Iftar for ACS campus workers sponsored by Barclays

• Welcomed visiting Literature Advocate and Author John Schu to celebrate a love of reading with our students


Led by teachers Erik White and Adam Cross, 12 students launched the new Rocketry Club at ACS. Supported by charitable contributions to the Excellence Fund, the teachers attended a week-long training in Texas to advance their subject matter knowledge and prepare for the club’s upcoming activities. Students first built a paper rocket (Generation Zero Build). The compressed air launcher was a success on the students’ first launch attempts. We had many learning opportunities, and the students are looking forward to refining their designs and conducting more launches. Our next mission: Prepare our students for the launch of a real rocket in Texas in 2023 with other schools in the U.S.!

10 | American Community School of Abu Dhabi CELEBRATING A CULTURE OF GIVING


On February 25, 2022, the ACS Model United Nations (MUN) students organized an online conference with the theme of Peace and Justice - Goal #16 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The event was generously sponsored and hosted by Accenture at their lounge at the Dubai Expo 2020, Al Wasl dome!

Three ACS alumni, Tegene Kirubel ‘08, Nour Haidar ‘11 and Albert Gunnison ‘16, participated virtually as guest speakers sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Alexandre Bres, COO at Accenture Middle East, welcomed the attendees and students.


In observance of Ramadan on April 22, 2022, a group of 19 ACS students and 20 employees from our esteemed Corporate Partner Barclays united in a meaningful endeavor. Together, they distributed more than 700 meals to the dedicated construction workers at our new campus site on Saadiyat Island. The Ramadan Iftar initiative not only brought joy to the hearts of our exceptional workers but also left a lasting impression on our ACS students, instilling within them the virtues of compassion, understanding and collaboration. This momentous occasion marked the students’ inaugural visit to the new campus, providing them with a remarkable opportunity to contribute and express their gratitude in the spirit of Ramadan. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Barclays for their invaluable support in making this significant initiative possible.


275 Donations (21% increase over 2021) 100% Board Participation

Nearly 50% Staff Participation

AED 2.8 million in Total Contributions


■ 66% Parents

■ 25% Staff

■ 4% Alumni

■ 3% Students

■ 2% Other (Corporations, Former Parents, Friends)

Annual Report 2021-22 | 11 CELEBRATING A CULTURE OF GIVING

Thank you!

We are grateful to the following for their leadership support of our new campus and vision for the future:


Anonymous (3)


Azeem & Ayesha Akhtar


Mutasem Dajani & Muna Hindi

Gautam Datta & Jodi Lefort

GOLD (AED 50,000+)


Nabyl Al Maskari Hase ‘91 & Najla Faisal Al Awadhi

Nasser Al Nowais & Nadine Kaaki

Gautam Datta & Jodi Lefort*

Brad & Caroline Heming

Luca Molinari & Serena Carnevale


Villiers & Louise Terblanche

SILVER (AED 25,000+)


Abdul Rahman Balfaqeeh & Meriem Marrouni

Mutasem Dajani & Muna Hindi

John & Anissa Lickrish

Lockheed Martin

Mujeeb Qazi & Maria Ansari

Muhannad Qubbaj & Roulana Jarrar

Leon & Leslie Shivamber

BRONZE (AED 10,000+)

Anonymous (2)

Faiz Ahmad & Mahnaz Karim

Ahmed Al Ahmadi’11

Ahmed Almahmoud & Huda Alsabbagh

Matt Ayoub’94 & Cecy Ayoub

Nadim Koteich & Diana Nasrallah

Kirby & Melissa Lindsey

Raymond Makhoul & Lizeth Maalouf

Marwan Naaman & Rana Sidawi Naaman

Northrop Grumman

Kamran Sadiq & Bushra Kamran

Banna Sado & Ghada Kozak

Hadi Sha & Suzan Terzian

PEARL (AED 5,000+)

Anonymous (2)

Zahi Abu Hamze & Diana Rafeh

Rami & Haya Abulaila

Mohamed Hussam Akasha & Rania Abaza

Azeem & Ayesha Akhtar

Ahmed Alameri & Muna Aldhaheri

Mubarak Alnakhi & Mazoon Albwardy

Keunsang Cho & Kyounghee Lee

Mahmoud Elgizawy & Safa Ghamrawy

Daniel Feldman & Nadia Bardawil

Nabeel Hassan & Elena Asadova

Turner & Allison Herbert

Jeremy & Haly Johnson

Mick & Mia McColgan*

Okab Sakr & Nadine Fallah

Bernardo & Luciana Sampaio

Robin Solomon & Erlan Ibrayev

Brad & Caroline Heming

Nadim Koteich & Diana Nasralleh

John & Anissa Lickrish

Raymond Makhoul & Lizeth Maalouf

Luca Molinari & Serena Carnevale

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP


Mujeeb Qazi & Maria Ansari

Muhannad Qubbaj & Roulana Jarrar

Raytheon Emirates Ltd

Villiers & Louise Terblanche


Michael & Julie Thurston

The Zamzam Family

JADE (AED 2,500+)

Ahmed & Sallama Al-Sayegh

Omar ‘96 & Raya Asfour

Yvette Campbell*

James & Maria Cowell

Massimo Cristaldi & Milena Crepaldi

Chris Rose & Christina Devitt*

Philippe El Bacha & Nujoud Zuriekat

Thomas Ettinghausen & Burul Kukeshova

Brad & Monique Flickinger*

Victor & Amber Guthrie*

John & Carolyn Hackworth

Yacoub Nuseibeh & Alexandra Jaar

Gordon & Nada Prouty

Andreas Roth & Eva Bilz

Andrew & Joni Wills*

FRIEND (up to AED 2,500)

Ernest & Rachel Abelson

Phil & Averi Abraham*

Wael Abu-Adas & Maysa Tamimi

Amer Aidi & Lana Nassar

Yousri Al Amir & Hanadi Dayyeh*

Lulwa A. (Grade 4)

Khalifa A. (Grade 6)

Yousef A. (Grade KG2)

Waheeda Al Tamimi*

Abdulla Mohamed Abdulwahed

Almaainah & Aida Almanoubi

Ibrahim Ben Jemia

Mark & Kristina Amores-Hudson*

Sherif & Poe Anis

Rhoda Aquino*

Ernesto Ramos & Mercedes Avila*

Akram Ayoub & Suha Naffa*

Sarah B. (Grade 4)

Jun Sang Bae & Minjung Kwak

Rajanish Balakrishnan & Deepthi Jayarajan*

Rachel & Scott Baldwin*

Anton Bawab & Dana Kassissieh

Scott & Erica Benton

Paul & Beth Bernards

Richmond & Roseline Boaitey*

Jonathan Bosch & Katmerka

Kurtovic Bosch

Leslie Bosch

Nathan Bowling & Hope Teague-Bowling*

Thomas & Nora Brannan*

Kevin & Jamoie Bridges

Matthew & Jerita Burreson

Taylor C. (Grade 12)

Cristina Calera*

Pietro Calugi & Eva Piazzolla

Pietro Cerrone & Ewa Fiuk-Cerrone

Jason & Bobbi Charles*

Ghassan Chehade & Anthi Manola*

Kevin & Heather Collins*

Christophe & Kim Cottin*

William & Casey D’Entremont

Jucarlo & Cora Dagdagan

Jordan Davis & Katy Hawkins*

Joshua & Amy Davis

Leonisa Dayang*

Nazim Dbichi

Jose Luis Del Prim Marcen & Parisa Habibi

Jennifer Derby*

Robert Desormeau & Amy Mulvihill*

Jonathan & Hanny Diaz*

Amira El Gawly

Sherry El-Gawly

Paul & Katherine Evans

Hisham & Gaby Fadel*

Mohammad Irfan Fazili & Kubra Mubashshir

Davide Felugo & Chiara

Maria Marongiu

Lisa Ficek

Matthew & Kate Gallery

Daniel & Elizabeth Garbutt

Ma’an Ghannam & Tamara Alkhateeb*

Elena Marina & Emilian

Marcel Gheorghiu

Indranil Ghosh & Mahasweta Ghoshroy

Andrew & Robyn Gibson*

Neil Griffiths & Ann Peterson*

Bill & Kimberley Harris*

Alexander Harrison & Mary


Ashton Hawke*

Sandra Hay*

Eric & Angelyn Hilgendorf

Francis Ik Sing Ho & Rosaline

Chek Tang Ting

Joan Hugo*

Wassim Jabbour & Nadine Abdou

Neil Jones & Sarah Mavrinac

Belal & Laurie Joundeya*

Tariq Kantis & Liliane Hamed

Kenneth Kim & Hae Jeon

Fethi & Lara Kirdar

Manoj Kunnanoth & Seema Alakkat*

Joon Ho Lee & Yoon Hee Lee

Nicola Lener & Giovanna Mastandrea

Dana Louis*

Wei Luo & Yan Zeng

Sarah M. (Grade 4)

Francesco M. (Grade 4)

Sofia M. (Grade 4)

Paolo M. (Grade 8)

Assem & Mona Mawlawi*

Christina McDade*

Kristian Mogensen & Trine Ljungstrom*

Anthony & Lane Mohr

Noureldin Mostafa & Robin Gabriel*

Tony & Jenna Murray*

Bernard Nasr & Doris Elia

Françoise Nedellec*

Suhail Nelliyullathil & Ayisha Kalluveettil*

Christopher Neurinski & Rana Kobeisi*

Ramon Palau Ginesta & Lisa Carse

Maria Pereira*

Bo Petersen & Lone Wennestad*

Georg & Ulrike Petroianu

Robert Pfeiffer & Amy Greene*

Karl Poulin & Sabine Luckhardt*

Melisa Pubil*

Mariya R. (Grade 4)

Madhvi Rana*

Brent Raven & Lisa Paterson*

Jennifer Ricks*

Trond Håvard Glomnes Rudi & Anne Glomnes Rudi

Jean Rueckert*

Atheel Sahel*

Saeb Salam & Shirine Solh

Abdou Salloum & Nadia Tabarani

Kelly & Jeanette Scholl

Pieter Schoorel & Heather Sullivan

Sandra Sfeirova*

Mohammed Shehadeh & Manal Fraiwat-Shehadeh

George Shubeita & Hala Ouzon

Ali Mustapha Skhiri & Monia Kamzi

Antonis Slicher & Kalli Kontozoglou*

Thomas & Miharu Stafford

Anderson & Adi Stanciole

Matthew Stiger

Hendrie Sukendro & Magdalena Dartono

Aigul & Baglan Sultanbek

Peter Syrenne & Tara Bradford*

Fadia Terzian*

Mark & Alina Thomer

Darleen Todd*

Jeremy & Amy Trescott

Nicolas Turrin & Marie-Josee Caron

William & Erin Watts

Erik White & Priscilla Bade-White*

Qun Xu

Kyusung Yang & Hyeyoun Jung

Hadif Zamzam

Sharon & Roy Zentner

Faculty & Staff

12 | American Community School of Abu Dhabi CELEBRATING A CULTURE OF GIVING
Includes in-kind and cash contributions. * Indicates

ACS Mission in Action

The 2021-22 school year brought out the very best in our school. Teachers and students alike discovered how significant change can create opportunities to push themselves to grow beyond measure. As a school, we found new ways to extend learning, find performing spaces beyond our campus and reach new scholarly heights.

2nd Annual Arabic Summer Camp: Bakir Mohammad & Jamila Sinno, members of our Arabic faculty, spent the early part of their summer creating an incredible Arabic Summer Camp experience for 30 Elementary School students, focusing on enhancing their Arabic speaking skills while engaging in fun activities and handson experiences. Grade 11 students, Miriam and Noor, interned as camp counselors, helping the campers to build tents and desert terrariums, explore desert weather patterns and act as scientists using the UAE’s Circular Irrigation System.

Virtual After School Program: High School students from the ACS National Honor Society adapted to the limitations of COVID by offering fun and creative virtual after school activities to inspire and engage our Elementary students.

ACS Middle and High School Choirs invited to Perform at Emirates Palace & Saadiyat Jumeirah at their annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies and holiday festivities. It was a wonderful opportunity for our young musicians to perform again and in such a beautiful setting for family, friends and the whole community.

ACS Hosts Jr NBA Inaugural Season: The NBA’s official youth basketball program with more than 450 middle school student athletes from 30 Abu Dhabi schools, comprising 20 boys’ teams and 10 girls’ teams. NBA superstars and legends like Clyde Drexler, Tony Parker, Robert Horry and Paul Pierce all made appearances in support of the program. On May 28, ACS athletes achieved a double triumph, with the San Antonio Spurs girls’ team and Portland Trail Blazers boys’ team securing the championship titles. The Jr. NBA is the result of a pioneering partnership between the NBA and the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi.

The Exciting Return of Live Performances: Middle School and High School students took to the stage and behind the scenes for two in-person performances, 10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse and A Kidsummer Night’s Dream.

Annual Report 2021-22 | 13

The Grade 5 Sustainable Business Fair gave students the opportunity to share their business plans for achieving economic growth and decent work for all workers. The fair showcased their work enabling them to share their advocacy and solutions with fellow students, staff and parents.

Developing a Globally Leading Arabic program takes strong leadership. Meet Dr. Hanadi Dayyeh, our new Director of Arabic Programs who joined our team in August 2021. Dr. Hanadi is a specialist in Arabic language and linguistics and has taught Arabic to native and non-native speakers for more than 14 years. She led and audited Arabic programs in International and American schools in 7 countries and has trained Arabic language teachers at international conferences and private schools.

UAE & Me

First-Ever Elementary School Art Exhibition “UAE & Me”, in honor of the UAE’s 50th year, highlighting our students’ connections to the UAE and their communities. The exhibition featured the work of three exceptional visiting artists, Tariq “Rick” Sharif, Rabab Tantawy and Hanneke Reinalda-Poot, who worked with Grade 3, 4 and 5 students and art teacher, Scott Baldwin, to create this extraordinary exhibition and offer the students a rare opportunity to learn from and collaborate with these amazing artists.

1 National Merit Scholarship Winner and 2 Finalists: Taylor Campbell (winner), Madhav Ajaymohan and Sharif Hassen were named finalists for the 2022 U.S. National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among 15,000 finalists worldwide. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation selected 7,500 scholarship winners from the finalists. Congratulations to these remarkable students.


Student involvement in their school community is crucial for fostering a positive and compassionate society. By actively participating in activities, clubs and events, students cultivate a sense of belonging, pride and personal development. Through volunteering, students gain essential skills in leadership, teamwork and social responsibility. Notable community engagements led by our students this year:

• More than 100 High School students led after-school programs for younger students in various subjects.

• A mental health awareness club hosted workshops and conversations for students.

• More than 100 students volunteered for community events like Fall Festival and 50th Anniversary celebration.

• More than 60 Elementary students joined the Roots & Shoots program and campaigned against single use plastic.

• Students showed appreciation to 65 ACS security & cleaning staff with personalized gifts and donations during the holidays.

14 | American Community School of Abu Dhabi


Grades 2-9

MAP assessments are computer adaptive achievement tests that help ACS personalize learning for every student. Assessments support growth and skill mastery to help students reach their fullest potential. In the 2021-2022 school year, ACS returned to traditional in-person MAP testing in the Fall 2021 and found no significant decline in student learning. Approximately 60% of our students score in the top 25% in both Reading and Math. Below are MAP results for ACS as compared to the North East South Asia Council (NESA).


Grades 11-12

ACS offers a challenging standards-based American curriculum Pre-K - Grade 12. All students work toward earning a High School Diploma. In Grades 11 and 12, students can choose to enroll in the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP), Advanced Placement (AP) courses and/or ACS High School courses.

Total Points Earned by ACS Candidates

■ 40-45 points

■ 35-39 points

■ 30-34 points

■ 25-29 points

• 88% of ACS IB students score above the world average of 30.91

• Nearly 20% of ACS IB students obtained 40-45 points (90% increase over 2021 and 38% higher than the world average)

2022 Advanced Placement (AP)

Annual Report 2021-22 | 15 STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT ACS WORLD • Number in brackets indicates the number of ACS students who sat the exam • AP scores with fewer than 10 students are not reported. Computer Science Principles [38] 4.1 2.9 US History [33] 3.1 2.6 Comparative Government & Politics [28] 3.5 3.1 English Literature and Composition [26] 3.5 3.3 English Language and Composition [25] 2.9 2.8 US Government & Politics [15] 3.6 2.6 Computer Science A [14] 4.3 3.2 Statistics [11] 2.6 2.8 Calculus AB [10] 2.9 2.9
World 1051 ACS 1275
2022 International Baccalaureate DP World 5.1 ACS 5.5 Average Diploma Grade World 85% ACS 97% Diploma Pass Rate Highest Score (achieved by less than 0.5%) Out of 45 ACS 43
Average Total Points Earned World 31 ACS 35
Note: Fall 2021 / NESA = North East South Asia Council MAP Results - Math MAP Results - Reading

ACS Class of 2022 Recognition & Accolades

91 graduates from 46 countries

US$5.7M in scholarships

86% of graduates accepted into their Top 3 universities



Allegheny College

American University (3)

Appalachian State University

Architectural Association School of Architecture

Arizona State University (2)

Auburn University

Augustana College

Bard College

Barnard College

Baruch College of the CUNY

Baylor University (2)

Belmont University

Bennett College

Bentley University

Berklee College of Music

Birmingham-Southern College

Boston College

Boston University (3)

Brandeis University

Brigham Young University (2)

Brigham Young University, Idaho

Brown University

Bryn Mawr College

Bucknell University

California College of the Arts

California Lutheran University

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

California State University, Long Beach

California State University, Monterey Bay

Carnegie Mellon University

Carroll College

Case Western Reserve University

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Champlain College

Chapman University (3)

Cleveland College of Art and Design

Cleveland State University

Coastal Carolina University

College of New Jersey

College of William & Mary (2)

Colorado School of Mines

Colorado State University

Columbia College Chicago

Columbia University (3)

Cooper Union

Cornell University

Cuesta College

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

CUNY Hunter College

Dartmouth College

DePaul University

DigiPen Institute of Technology

Drexel University

Duke University

East Carolina University

Eckerd College

Elmhurst College

Elon University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott

Emerson College

Emory University (2)

Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts

Everett Community College

Florida Atlantic University

Florida International University

Florida State University

Fordham University (2)

Franklin and Marshall College

George Mason University

George Washington University (5)

Georgetown University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Grand Canyon University

Hamilton College

Harvey Mudd College

Hawaii Pacific University

High Point University

Hofstra University

Hollins University

Hope College

Hunter College of the CUNY

Illinois Institute of Technology (2)

Illinois State University

Indiana Institute of Technology

Indiana University at Bloomington

Iowa State University

Ithaca College

James Madison University

Jefferson University

John Carroll University

Johnson C. Smith University

Keiser University - Ft. Lauderdale

Kent State University

Lake Forest College

Lamar University

Lee University

Leeward Community College

Longwood University

Louisiana State University

Loyola Marymount University (2)

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Maryland

Loyola University New Orleans

Lynn University

Macalester College

Manhattan College

Marist College

Marquette University

Maryland Institute College of Art

Marymount Manhattan College

Marymount University

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Michigan State University

Middle Georgia State University

Middle Tennessee State University

Monmouth University

Montana State University

Montgomery College

Mount Holyoke College

New Jersey Institute of Technology

New York University (10)

Nichols College

North Carolina Central University

North Carolina State University (2)

Northeastern University (9)

Northern Arizona University

Northern Virginia Community College

Norwich University

Nova Southeastern University

Occidental College

Ohio State University

Ohio University

Oregon State University

Pace University

Pennsylvania State University (4)

Pepperdine University

Pomona College

Portland State University

Pratt Institute

Principia College

Purchase College, SUNY

Purdue University (3)

Reed College

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rhode Island School of Design

Rice University

Ringling College of Art & Design

Rochester Institute of Technology

Roger Williams University

Rollins College

Rutgers University, New Brunswick (2)

Saint Louis University

Salve Regina University

Sam Houston State University

San Diego State University

San Francisco State University

San Jose State University

Santa Clara University

Savannah College of Art and Design (5)

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

School of Visual Arts

Scripps College

Seattle University

Seneca College

Seton Hall University

Shenandoah University

Skidmore College

Smith College

Southeast Missouri State University

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Southern Methodist University

St. John’s University

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

St. Olaf College (2)

Stanford University

Stevens Institute of Technology

Stony Brook University

Suffolk University

SUNY, New Paltz

Susquehanna University

Sweet Briar College

Syracuse University

Temple University

Texas A&M University (3)

Texas Christian University

Texas State University

Texas Tech University

Texas Woman’s University

The New School – All Divisions

Towson University

Trinity College

Trinity University

Tufts University

Tulane University

Union College

United States Military Academy

United States Naval Academy

University of Arizona (2)

University at Buffalo, SUNY

University of California, Berkeley (6)

University of California, Davis (3)

University of California, Irvine

University of California, Los Angeles (4)

University of California, Merced

University of California, Riverside

University of California, San Diego (3)

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of California, Santa Cruz

University of Central Florida

University of Chicago

University of Cincinnati

University of Colorado, Boulder

University of Connecticut

University of Dayton (2)

University of Delaware

University of Denver

University of Evansville

University of Florida

University of Hawaii

University of Houston

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (4)

University of Iowa

University of Kentucky

University of La Verne

University of Maine

University of Mary Washington

University of Maryland, College Park (2)

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Massachusetts, Boston

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

University of Miami

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (3)

University of Michigan, Dearborn

University of Michigan, Flint

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

University of Minnesota, Duluth

University of Minnesota, Morris

University of Missouri, Columbia

University of New Hampshire at Durham


University of North Carolina

at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina

at Greensboro

University of North Carolina

at Wilmington

University of North Dakota

University of Northern Colorado

University of Oklahoma

University of Oregon

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh

University of Portland

University of Richmond

University of Rochester

University of San Diego

University of San Francisco

University of South Florida

University of Southern California (2)

University of Tampa

University of Tennessee

University of Texas, Austin (3)

University of Texas, Dallas

University of Texas, San Antonio

University of Tulsa

University of Utah

University of Vermont

University of Virginia

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin

Utah Valley University

Valparaiso University

Vassar College

Virginia Commonwealth

University Virginia Tech (2)

Virginia Western Community College

Wake Forest University (2)

Washington State University

Washington University, St. Louis

Webster University

Wellesley College (3)

Wesley College

Wesleyan University

West Texas A&M University

West Virginia University


The graduating class of 2022 faced unprecedented challenges that disrupted their high school experience. Despite the setbacks, they demonstrated remarkable adaptability, developing the essential skills needed to navigate through constantly evolving circumstances. Instead of dwelling on the activities, sports and events they missed, this exceptional class dedicated themselves to serving others and making substantial contributions to their community. These young individuals transformed into activists, problem solvers, teachers, learners and exemplary leaders. The valuable abilities acquired during their time at ACS will undoubtedly shape their future endeavors. Take a glimpse at the remarkable impact the class of 2022 had within the ACS community, and in some cases, even across the globe:

• Founding a technology club that partnered with a local NGO to send hundreds of devices to refugees

• Creating an organization to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging

• Advocating for the importance of openly talking about mental health

• Teaching coding online to students in Indonesia

• Partnering with local NGOs to donate medical supplies

• Beginning a tradition called the Gifting Project to give back to our workers during the winter holidays

• Undergoing extensive training to tutor refugee peers around the world

• Building a community website to further encourage and support literacy

• Voluntarily organizing after-school activities for Elementary and Middle School students

Western Washington University

Wheaton College IL

Woodbury University

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Yale University

Xavier University


Alberta College of Art and Design

Bishop’s University

Brock University

Capilano University

Carleton University (2)

Concordia University (8)

Dalhousie University

Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Grande Prairie Regional College

Lakehead University

Laurentian University

McGill University (2)

McMaster University (3)

Mount Allison University

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

Ontario Tech University

Queen’s University

Ryerson University

Saint Mary’s University

Sheridan College Institution of Technology

Simon Fraser University

St. Francis Xavier University

Thompson Rivers University

University of Alberta

University of British Columbia (4)

University of Calgary (3)

University of Guelph (3)

University of New Brunswick

University of Ottawa

University of Toronto (14)

University of Victoria

University of Waterloo

Vancouver Film School

Vancouver Island University

Western University (4)

Wilfrid Laurier University

York University


Abertay University

Anglia Ruskin University

Arts University Bournemouth

Bournemouth University

Birkbeck, University of London

Brunel University London City University of London

Coventry University

Durham University

Edinburgh Napier University

Goldsmiths, University of London

Hult International Business School, London

King’s College London (2)

Kingston University

Lancaster University

London School of Economics and Political Science

Loughborough University

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester University

Met Film School

Newcastle University

Nottingham College

Queen Mary University of London (2)

Ravensbourne University

Richmond, The American International University in London

Royal College of Surgeons

Royal Holloway, University of London

SOAS, University of London

Ulster University

University College London (2)

University of Aberdeen

University of Birmingham

University of Bristol

University of Buckingham

University of Central Lancashire

University of Dundee

University of East Anglia

University of Edinburgh

University of Exeter

University of Glasgow

University of Huddersfield

University of Kent

University of Leeds

University of Liverpool

University of Manchester

University of Nottingham

University of Sheffield

University of St. Andrews

University of Surrey

University of Sussex

University of Warwick

University of Westminster

University of York

University of the Arts London


American College of Greece

American University of Paris

American University of Rome

Amsterdam University College

BI Norwegian Business School, Norway

CEU San Pablo, Spain

College Universitaire de Sciences Po, France

Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne

Erasmus Universiteit

Rotterdam, Netherlands (7)

Erasmus University College, Netherlands (2)

ESADE Business School

EU Business School, Geneva

Florence Institute of Design

International, Italy

Fontys University of Applied Sciences

Franklin University, Switzerland

Hague University of Applied Sciences

Hanzehogeschool Groningen, Netherlands

IE University, Madrid Campus, Spain (2)

Jyvaskyla University Applied Sciences, Finland

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Maastricht University

Medical University of Gdansk

Mikkeli University Applied Sciences

National University of Ireland, Galway

NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences

NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences

Nord University

Paracelsus Private Medical University

Paris College of Art, France

Ramon Llull University

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Ireland (2)

Saint Louis University, Madrid, Spain

Saxion University of Applied Sciences


University, France

Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

Tilburg University

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Universita Bocconi, Italy

Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands

Universiteit Maastricht, Netherlands

Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands

University College Utrecht, Netherlands

University of Amsterdam (3)

University of Groningen, Netherlands

University of Liège

University of Limerick, Ireland

Universidad Navarra, Spain

University of Nicosia

University of Tartu, Estonia

University of Twente, Netherlands

University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Brussels

Webster University, Geneva

Zuyd University Applied Sciences, Finland


Abu Dhabi University, UAE

American University in Dubai

American University of Beirut, Lebanon

American University of Sharjah, UAE (6)

Heriot-Watt University, Dubai

Gulf Medical University

Lebanese American University, Lebanon

Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences

New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE (6)

RAK Medical and Health Sciences University

Royal College of Surgeons, Bahrain

Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi

University of Balamand, Lebanon

Zayed University, UAE


De La Salle University, Philippines

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality & Tourism

NYU Shanghai

University of Hong Kong

Savannah College of Art and Design, Hong Kong

Yale-NUS College, Singapore


Listed = Acceptances

Bold Type = Matriculation

( ) = Number of Students


50% US 21% Canada 7% Europe 7% UAE 15% Gap Year/Military Service/Other MATRICULATION
The Class of 2022 has made their mark in ways that will long be remembered. Congratulations!!

ACS Alumni Power Couple

Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer of Mubadala, and one of 12 students in the first graduating class of ACS in 1993 is featured in the 100 Most Powerful Arabs 2022, published by Gulf Business. The annual list celebrates influential leaders who are shaping and driving growth in the region. Nadia Sehweil, ACS alum from the class of 1997, is co-founder of Bodytree Wellness Studio, Abu Dhabi’s original and longest running home of wellness, and Nectar Bites Café. Married in 2007, Nadia and Khaldoon’s three children currently attend the school. These two alums are true examples of ACS’s mission to empower students to shape the future.

UAE 50th Year Campaign Featuring Matt Ayoub ‘94

ACS alumnus Matt Ayoub, Chair of our Board of Trustees, was honored as part of the UAE Embassy’s “50 Years 50 Faces” campaign. This campaign celebrates the genuine and meaningful relations between Emiratis and Americans throughout the past 50 years. Matt’s selection recognizes his dedication to education, his advocacy for our ACS community and his commitment to our school’s future.

His feature highlights the pivotal role ACS played in his life, our shared history with the UAE and the US, and the exciting future ahead as we transition to our new Saadiyat campus.

2022 Graduation SpeakerHaif Zamzam ‘04

ACS welcomed Haif Zamzam, a distinguished alumna from the class of 2004, as this year’s inspiring commencement speaker. Haif, alongside her three siblings who are also ACS graduates, exemplifies dedication and ambition. She holds the distinction of being the first Emirati to graduate with an MBA from INSEAD. It was a privilege to have Haif address our graduates, imparting wisdom on preserving passion and finding empowerment in their chosen paths.

The Zamzam family has long been influential supporters of our ACS community. In 2016, Haif and her family established the Haitham Zamzam Al Hammadi International Medal of Friendship Award in honor of her brother Haitham, who served on the ACS Board of Trustees. This prestigious award is presented annually to a Grade 11 student who embodies our school’s values of scholarship, community and character.

18 | American Community School of Abu Dhabi ALUMNI SHAPING THE FUTURE
Watch the Video

2021-2022 Our Finances

The American Community School of Abu Dhabi is a nonprofit, 501.c.3 organization registered in the United States and incorporated in the United Arab Emirates. ACS is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees, responsible for ensuring the School’s long-term sustainability through fiscal responsibility and strategic planning. Current parents, faculty and staff are members of the ACS Association and participate in its governance by electing the Board of Trustees.

The Board is responsible for approving the annual budget and providing active oversight to ensure responsible fiscal management of the School. They also ensure the School’s finances are audited annually. KPMG were ACS’ auditors from 2011 to 2019.

In May 2020, the ACS Board first engaged Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct the School’s 2019-2020 audit. EY again performed the audit on the 2021-2022 school year finances. As always, ACS received an unqualified Audit Opinion. We are pleased to report that ACS ended the 2021-2022 school year in a strong, fiscally prudent position.


● 95.22% Tuition & Fees

● 1.64% Priority Seating Amortization

● 2.73% Contributions

● 0.41% Other


● 79.77% Staff (Salaries & Benefits)

● 7.18% Materials & Activities

● 4.62% Depreciation

● 3.70% Other & Admin

● 4.74% Plant Operations

The Operating Budget

The American Community School’s finances are stable, and continuity of operations is assured. The financial results for fiscal year 2021-2022 are in alignment with the twin objectives of maintaining a disciplined budget while supporting and strengthening our academic and extracurricular programs, and safeguarding the longterm financial stability of the school.

Enrollment and enrollment-related revenue are the primary drivers of ACS’s operations. In the 2021-2022 school year, the school’s enrollment rebounded to pre-COVID levels. Year over year, ACS saw an increase of roughly 5% of its student population.

As a non-profit school, ACS reinvests all of our income into the school, recognizing that teachers have the single most significant impact on learning. This school year, 80% of the tuition income was allocated to salaries and benefits while maintaining a student-teacher ratio of 9 students to 1 teacher schoolwide.

Another critically important way we support student success is by tailoring the school environment to best support learning and growth. The 2021-2022 fiscal year saw the audacious and inspiring groundbreaking of our new ACS campus on Saadiyat Island. Cash reserves from previous Capital Fee revenue facilitated the continued work on the project.

Recognizing Our Finance Committee

The Finance Committee of the Board, aided by the school’s leadership, uses a framework for long-term financial management and forecasting. ACS would like to thank the Finance Committee members for their expertise, advice and support. Members included: Philippe El Bacha (Treasurer), Matt Ayoub ‘94 (Chair), Monique Flickinger (Superintendent), Victor Guthrie (Assistant Superintendent), Zoltan Karaszy (Director of Finance), Omar Asfour ‘96, Kirby Lindsey, Adib Mattar ‘95 and Muhannad Qubbaj.

Annual Report 2021-22 | 19 2021-22 FINANCIAL REPORT

AMERICAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL OF ABU DHABI P.O. Box 42114, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. +971 2 681 5115


AAIE Association for the Advancement of International Education

AISH Academy of International School Heads

ASCA American School Counselor Association

ASCD Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

GOA Global Online Academy

IACAC International Association for College Admission Counseling

IBO International Baccalaureate Organization

MESAC Middle East South Asia Conference

MSA Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

NACAC National Association for College Admission Counseling

NESA Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools

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