Sophia High School

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Meet Sophia High School's Education Leadership Team

Sophia High School Approach

Meet Sophia's Executive Leadership Team

Melissa McBride, David McCarthy, and Vanessa Temple are inspirational school leaders who have supported thousands of students and their families with their educational journeys in leading independent schools in the UK and International British curriculum schools in the Middle East and Asia.

Melissa Sophia High Co-founder and CEO

Melissa McBride

Founder / CEO Sophia
Chair of Sophia High School

As Co Founder and CEO of Sophia, Melissa is responsible for the vision, growth and strategic leadership and partnerships at Sophia. Following 16 years of teaching and leadership experience as A former Headteacher, Education Director and project advisor to the Group CEO of A major global Schools Group, Melissa brings a wealth of educational expertise to the team.

Founding three outstanding schools in three countries, U.K., Dubai and Qatar, Melissa brings both entrepreneurial drive and a progressive vision for the future of education to the launch of Sophia High.

A mom of four, Melissa is passionate about creating high quality learning opportunities for children and inspiring the next generation of students as they grow from the learners of today to the leaders of tomorrow

David Sophia High Director of Education

David McCarthy

Director of Education

As Director of Education, David holds responsibility for the educational vision and quality of education at Sophia High.

As the strategic lead for the Education Team, David heads up teacher recruitment, curriculum development and academic learning and quality assurance at Sophia High. David leads the Sophia High Team and works alongside families seeking school placement and support.

In his long-standing career in Education, David has been teacher, Head of Year, Head of House, Head of Department, Director of Studies, Deputy Headmaster and Head of a senior school.

Vanessa Temple Sophia High Leadership Team

Vanessa Louise Temple

Director of EYFS and New Projects

Vanessa is a UK qualified, seasoned educator and leader with over 30 years’ experience in a range of international school settings. With a focus on school start-ups, developing online and hybrid learning programmes and the development of curriculum and CPD, Vanessa has worked in Asia and the Middle East for a range of leading education groups.

With over 1500 students attending a full year of her Early Years Online programme, the knowledge gained through this experience gives a unique perspective into meeting the needs of students, families and education providers as we move towards a truly global classroom.

Jennifer Sophia High Assistant Head Teacher

Jennifer Callaway

Assistant Headteacher

Jennifer is a highly qualified primary school teacher and Assistant Headteacher at Sophia High School with over eleven years of teaching experience. Her experience in the UK, Canada, and the USA has been in both private, independent and public schools. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Bachelor of Education (BEd) in Canada through the University of Calgary. She has also completed a Master’s degree (MEd) in education focusing on educational technology. She has experience teaching students aged 8-13 in physical classrooms and various online school environments. Jennifer has experience as a lead teacher and mentor teacher where she has led staff training and developed curriculum planning and teaching initiatives. She has taught a wide range of subjects including core subjects, as well as RE, Art and French. Jennifer continuously works on her own professional development and is a certified Google educator.

Jennifer’s teaching style can be described as student-focused. She places emphasis on delivering engaging and creative lessons, wherein students can cultivate their love of learning. Jennifer enjoys getting to know her students and what their interests are, in order to key into their driving motivations while learning. She also enjoys teaching them to the best of her ability, and building a positive rapport with each of her students and families. Her kindness, calm demeanour, and passion for education are characteristics which she tries to instil with her students. She focuses on student progress and, equally, enjoyment.

Holly McKenna

Holly McKenna

Assistant Head
Head of Science + Maths

Holly has been teaching for over 20 years and a senior leader for 10 years in both UK secondary schools and international schools in southern Spain. After graduating with a First-Class Honours degree in Biological Sciences, she worked in the pharmaceutical industry before studying for a PGCE at the University of Durham. Holly has worked in various roles throughout her career to date including Head of Department, Head of Year, Assistant Principal, Head of Upper School (11-18) and Head of Data and Academic Assessment (EYFS-18) for an international school group. Additionally, Holly has worked closely with OFSTED in the UK and has been a NABSS (National Association of British Schools in Spain) inspector for the last four years, as well as working as an examiner for GCSE exam boards and a mentor for trainee teachers. She has led both Primary and Secondary professional development, including sessions on differentiation, assessment, target setting, feedback, child protection, pace and challenge, student mentoring and PSHE/Global Citizenship.

Holly is passionate about a personalised approach to education and ensures students are in a positive and confident mindset to embrace learning. Her teaching is interactive, varied and relevant, placing great emphasis on contextualised themes, current affairs and Global Citizenship. She enjoys getting to know her students and their families and creates a classroom environment built on key values of respect, kindness and inclusivity, whilst developing resilient independent students. Her enthusiasm permeates throughout her teaching, leaving no stone unturned to support academic progress and personal development of young people.