UAE - Health & Education
Director General, Emirates National School (ENS)
Dr. Shawn L. Dilly is the Director General of Emirates National School (ENS). Prior to starting with ENS in July of 2021, Dilly spent over 20 years working in education in the US. Those years included serving as the superintendent of Mineral County Schools for five years. Dilly also served during his career as a Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction, Facilities Director, Transportation Director, Career & Technical Director, Administrative Director at a Multi-County Career & Technical Center, Principal, Asst. Principal, Health Science Technology Academy (HSTA) Teacher, Cross Country Coach, Track Coach, and Art Teacher over his 20-plus years in public education. Dilly also managed and supported over USD30 million in school renovations and construction during his tenure along with successfully soliciting for over USD500,000 in educational grants and donations. Dilly also achieved a designation of an Innovation Zone in 2011 and received the APEX Award (recognizing innovative partnerships between school districts and community colleges) for the 2017-18 school year. Dilly achieved, in 2021, his PhD in education, specializing in leadership, policy, and change in education from Walden University. Dilly was also engaged in a several organizations and affiliations. He was a member of the Greater Cumberland Committee (economic development partnership for Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia), the District Consortium for Economic Development, West Virginia (WV) Association of School Administrators, American Association of School Administrators, WV Association of School Human Resource Officers, and a member of the Mineral County Chamber of Commerce. Dilly has previously served on the WV Home Builders Foundation and the WV School Leader Research Alliance. Dilly was also appointed to the Board of Governors for Eastern WV Community and Technical College in 2018.
What does sustainability in education mean for you and ENS?
Sustainability has many different parameters associated with it. But to discuss operational aspects, we would look at ways that our organization can sustain itself and meet various demands to ensure that resources are available. We also look at the energy consumption side, and are exploring potential improvements. Actually, we have some projects to reduce our overall energy consumption rates at one of our campuses. We then hope to take what we learn there and apply it to other campuses including any new ones in the future. We intend to employ technology to help introduce energy consumption benefits and monitoring to our students to teach about energy sustainability. But I think sustainability extends beyond the operational side. Everything we do in life can be managed and sustained for the long term. So, as we explore the organization’s current readiness for tomorrow, I have been doing so by considering my past work. We have been talking about the different influences that impact our students, as sustainability is one of the significant issues or factors for their future. One of the terms I am using is future ready competencies. Sustainability is one of those elements that has to be a part of this conversation.
How do you assess the requirements of future leaders and incorporate them at the school?
That is one of the things I have been doing from a global perspective for a long time. Over the past decade, I have been trying to sift through literature, business and industry articles, and conversations with business and industry leaders. Trying to sift out the transferable skill sets that transcend occupations, because many occupations require specific skill sets, knowledge, and information. We hope to integrate the components of human skills, soft skills and emotional and social intelligence increasingly into our programs among other competencies. Some of these steps are already being taken at ENS. The other challenge on the technology front is the consumption and production to obtain and evaluate authentic, good quality information. We know misinformation is rife and it is all the more important to distinguish it from accurate information.
What should be the long-term expectations for child education?
That is a great question. Our goal is to produce future leaders. I believe ensuring concepts like the future-ready competencies is important. We have to ensure that students walk out with skills and knowledge that will equip them to become the leaders for tomorrow. That is where I have introduced the future-ready competencies as an initial part of that conversation to ensure kids hone such abilities. We will have lots of conversations with our instructional staff about how to develop and reach these instructional goals. We have to balance the accountability side of our compliance with realistic considerations to ensure that our students become prepared for the realities of the society they are entering. Essentially, “We are in the people business.” Being in the people business makes this a process. Even many of the future-ready competencies are based on projections through 2030. Over the next four or five years, new technology could emerge to completely transform these competencies . We need to have a process in place that allows us to adapt models and prepare for the new challenges before us. Education was not developed to pass a test or just for college entry. It was developed to make sure kids are prepared for society. Part of this work is us realigning and reassessing that initial goal of education as our primary focus.
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