Board of Governors
The Board of Governors includes up to four members elected by parents and eight members elected from amongst Founder Companies. The Board also includes a Ministry of Education representative and the Dean of St Christopher’s Cathedral as well as up to two members who may be co-opted for their specialist knowledge and / or experience. Board Members receive absolutely no payment or tangible benefits for their work; membership is an act of voluntary service from which the School benefits greatly.
Founder Governor – Bank ABC
Brendon Hopkins is Group Chief Financial Officer, for Bank ABC (Arab Banking Corporation), where he has responsibility for finance, strategy, M&A, balance sheet management, taxation and investor relations. He moved to Bahrain in 2014 to join Bank ABC, and has more than 25 years previous experience in the financial services sector, including periods with Standard Chartered Bank, Deloitte and Guardian Royal Exchange. His previous senior roles at Standard Chartered Bank included Chief Executive Officer, Europe and Group Head, Strategy, Western Hemisphere. Brendon is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW), Chartered Tax Advisor (CIOT), and holds an MBA, Henley Management College and BSc (hons) Industrial Mathematics, University of Birmingham. He has been on the Board of Governors since 2017 including as the Honorary Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Sub-Committee, and is also a Board member on Banco ABC Brazil. Brendon is married to Sarah and they have three children thoroughly enjoying their time at St Chris – Madeleine, Emily and Frederick.
I have made Bahrain my home since 1995 and am the Chief Operating Officer for the Bio City Development Company. My wife, Sara, and I have two children who both attended St Christopher’s.Throughout my time in Bahrain I have taken an active role in the community. I have served on the Council for St Christopher’s Cathedral for over ten years and currently serve as Chairman. I also founded and run the Wheelathon which, in turn, supports a number of local charities, focusing particularly on children.I have attended a number of conferences of the British Schools in the Middle East and continue to work professionally with a number of international schools consultants, providing me with an invaluable insight to the latest trends within the global education market.
Mother of two girls attending St Christopher’s, Dina has served as parent governor since 2015. Dina is an active parent who volunteers in the classroom, and the school in general, with a keen interest in education, and a solid understanding of the data used to measure achievements. She was Global Head of Marketing and Communications of a global asset manager headquartered in New York. She held senior jobs in Bahrain as Vice President of Corporate Communications at Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company and the Bahrain Economic Development Board. Dina worked as a Senior Communications Advisor at the World Bank, in Washington, D.C and advised regional governments on development economics. She holds an MA in Public Communications from American University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Dina brings an honest and hard-working approach and will work with parents, the Board, school management, and teachers to ensure that the children are well-prepared for the future.
Stuart Summers MBE
Co-opted, Deputy British Ambassador
Ven Dr Bill Schwartz, OBE
Dean of St Christopher's Cathedral
Bill Schwartz was born in 1952 in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. In 1975 he received his BA degrees in English Literature and Philosophy from Tarkio College in Missouri. After university he supervised a programme for American University students studying Egyptian history, based in Alexandria Egypt until the summer of 1977.
In Cyprus he served with various Christian organisations advising/consulting in Literature distribution, use of Audio Visuals and eventually computers for teaching and administration in the Church. In 1993 Rev. Schwartz was ordained in the Anglican Church at All Hallows by the Tower in London. He served as administrator for the Anglican Bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf from 1989-1999 and travelled extensively in the region during that time. During 1999-2007 Rev. Schwartz served as Rector with the Canterbury Group in Saudi Arabia, and as a ‘moral officer’ for ARAMCO was involved in interactions with family members, survivors and other victims of terrorist activities.
From Autumn 2007 Bill pastored the Anglican congregations in Qatar until the end of 2014. During that time he supervised a project to build a Centre for worship that now accommodates 85 congregations of different language and denominational traditions. Roughly 15,000 people use the Centre on Fridays alone. He currently serves the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf as Archdeacon in Iraq and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula and now since the end of April 2019, also serves as the Dean of St Christopher’s Cathedral in Bahrain.
Bill was made an honorary Officer of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006. He is also an honorary Canon of St Christopher’s Cathedral, Bahrain, and holds a Doctorate in Ministry from Nashotah House Seminary in the USA. Rev. Schwartz is married to Edith and they have four grown children and two grand-daughters.
Ministry of Education
Currently, I am the head of Coordination and Follow–up in the Undersecretary for Education and Curricula Affairs office. I began my career as a teacher and then I was promoted to the position of a senior teacher. I have also worked as a specialist in the Directorate of Curricula for two years. Throughout my work in the field of education, I have taken an active role in multiple areas; one of which is “the School Improvement Program” as I have been assigned to lead a team working on “Leadership for Outcomes” project. Furthermore, I have been designated to take the responsibility of an acting director of the Primary and the Intermediate Directorates.
I have attended a number of conferences and seminars on different topics. I hold a Masters degree in Applied Linguistics and Language Studies, BA in English literature and a High Diploma in Education.
I am a British citizen and have lived and worked in Bahrain since 1999. I work for Bank ABC in its Specialised Finance team where we advise and arrange financing for infrastructure projects, aviation and shipping throughout the MENA region. I have over 25 years’ experience in banking and finance, a role which has taken me around the world and exposed me to many different industry sectors.
My wife Alessandra, who is South African, and I have two children at St Christopher’s both of whom started in Nursery. My daughter is in the Senior School whilst my son is in the Junior school.
I was elected as a Parent Governor in 2019 and have agreed to join the Finance Sub-Committee. I am passionate about education and am honoured to be able to work with the other Governors to ensure that St. Christopher’s has the resources to be a first class school for years to come.
I am a graduate of Durham University and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.
Founder Governor- YBA Kanoo
Maarten Geeraerts is the father of two children who were both born in Bahrain. His eldest daughter started Nursery School at St Christopher’s and thoroughly loves it. Maarten is the General Counsel & Company Secretary of Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo (Holdings) WLL, having been with the Group for the last 12 years. Maarten holds a Master’s degree in Law and a post graduate degree in taxation from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) as well as an MBA from the University of Strathclyde (Scotland). Maarten is a member of the GCC Board of Directors Institute and the Chairman of the Audit Committee of AXA Gulf BSC. Both Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo and St Christopher’s School are woven into the historic tapestry of Bahrain, a community to which Maarten is eager to give back through his commitment to the Board of Governors.
Founder Governor – BAPCO
Ali Al Baqali
Founder Governor – ALBA
Founder Governor-Gulf Air
Founder Governor – Trowers & Hamlins
I moved to Bahrain in 2005 to join the Bahrain office of Trowers & Hamlins, the international law firm, having previously worked in our London office for seven years. I am the International Managing Partner for the firm and the head of its International Real Estate team. I travel regularly, advising on projects and transactions in Oman, the UAE, the UK and elsewhere, as well as leading our advice on a great many development projects in Bahrain. speak at and attending conferences on behalf of my firm. I live with my wife Raabia and our three daughters in Janabiyah. All three of my daughters attend St Christopher’s School. My responsibilities on the Board of Governors include chairing the Board’s policy and constitutional sub-committee, along with bringing my property and development experience to discussions related to the School’s property and building arrangements.
Founder Governor – HSBC
I am a Bahraini and mother of three; Malak, Abdulla and Mariam, who all attend St Christopher’s. I served as a Board Member from 2009-2010, and 2013 to date.
I nominated myself to the Board to contribute to the School’s governance and to extend support to a highly reputed school which is committed towards promoting education in Bahrain. I am privileged to be part of such a progressive school which has played a key role in the development of local economy and society.
I am currently working at HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd Bahrain as Country Head of Human Resource. Prior to joining HSBC, I worked as a Counsellor at Bahrain Bayan School, providing personal, academic, and career counselling to high school students. My part time experiences include freelance writing with Gulf Daily News, marketing research, in addition to working at RBS fund management and Alba’s accounting department.
I hold an MBA from the University of Bahrain (distinction) and BA in Business & Information Management (distinction) from Glasgow Caledonian University.
Founder Governor – Investcorp
Babak Sultani is the Real Estate Specialist at Investcorp, a world-leading manager of alternative investments for select individuals and institutions. Before joining Investcorp in 2008, Babak was in charge of real estate and corporate finance activities at Addax Bank. Prior to this, he was the Head of Marketing at Bahrain Financial Harbour and was part of the real estate investment team at Taib Bank. Babak has been a part of the real estate industry for over 18 years.
Babak holds a BBA and an MSc, both in accounting and both from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Babak is the father of two girls who are currently attending St Christopher’s School.
Contact the Board
Communications to the Board of Governors should be in writing and can be addressed as follows:
- Secretary to the Board of Governors
- St Christopher’s School
- PO Box 32052
- Isa Town
- Kingdom of Bahrain
via The Principal’s Office, Saar Campus
Last Updated: 04 September 2019