Ruth Burke: A Genius’ Quest to Enlighten Many
Ruth Burke | Director | Deira International School [ Education Magazine ]

Education is the only way of knowledge escalation and the primary source of education are schools. A school becomes the second home to students where they are taught about life, technological skills, arts, sports, and everything beneficial for their holistic development. No matter how external factors influence conventional education, the one thing that is constant is the need for a teacher or an educator. Teachers have magic within them, they dedicate their lives to students and seek to prepare graduates who demonstrate characteristics like, self-esteem, academic excellence, the celebration of cultural diversity, critical thinking and social and environmental responsibilities. Ruth Burke, the Director of Deira International School is one such influencer and educational leader who is zealous about serving her students. The quote, “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It is never about the role – always about the goal” defines Ruth as a leader.

A Seasoned Educator Driven with Passion

As the saying goes, ‘everyone on earth has a purpose to serve’, Ruth was lucky in this matter for it did not take much time for her to find her passion, goal, and mission. Surprisingly, Ruth Burke knew that she wanted to be a teacher on her first day at the school. “My Career started early by the age of 4! I had decided I wanted to be a teacher on my own, first day at school,” she recalls. Graduating from Trinity College with a distinction in Education aged 20 and armed with Masters’ in Education Leadership from Bath University UK, Ruth is inspiring teachers to do great things.

This veteran educator started her career as a primary teacher. She believes that the schools she has taught at or lead have helped shape her journey. Recognized as the outstanding schools JESS and GEMS Wellington International School, Ruth feels privileged to have led these schools for nine long years. A lifelong learner, she values the professional and personal life lessons that she learnt along the way. “Inner city Dublin school, faith schools, rural schools, Dubai schools, and most recently Deira International School have offered me great opportunity to grow and develop whilst positively influencing school community development and student achievement,” she adds further.

Envisaging Value-based Education  

Ruth believes that education should be grounded and delivered through an inclusive and a holistic approach. Students should be given a free hand to gain opportunities and develop across all areas of the curriculum with a significant emphasis on character-building and developing skills beyond academics. With a relentless drive to improve education in schools, Ruth Burke incessantly works to advance the lives of students, teachers, alongside improving the educational fraternity itself. She believes that having a strong support system can help students achieve great things. Observing and witnessing the progress of students in surpassing their targets and achieving more than they ever thought gives Ruth a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. Along with other educational leaders in Dubai, Ruth Burke too is contributing highly to the National Agenda; raising support systems to promote wellbeing and reading.

Working dedicatedly to improve the school’s environment and achieve its mission, Ruth has taken steps to involve parents as partners into school affairs. This strategy of hers has not only helped the schools (the ones she has directed) in attaining worldwide recognitions but has also encouraged global leaders to initiate changes in their schools. Being an international school, opportunities abound and hence, it is the duty and responsibility of a leader to choose the path that helps the schools achieve their mission. Benefiting from the hands-on experience that Ruth has gained after working in different schools, she carries forward the lessons and implements new techniques in schools.

According to her, the school’s development should be a common goal and even the stakeholders of the school should work towards achieving it. High expectations and a zero tolerance approach to complacency are contagious; a culture of shared buy-in to school goals and ambition for all will motivate the key players within schools. Always referring decisions back to learning and the student-centred wins or benefits will motivate and excite staffs, prompting them to go the extra mile.

About Deira International School

Deira International School’s primary goal is to provide a world of opportunities for all its students. Owned and operated as a not-for-profit school by Al Futtaim Education Foundation, this school was environed to create an outstanding, multi-cultural learning community, which empowers students to reach their potential, become life-long learners and responsible global citizens. This academically inclusive school recognizes and nurtures the uniqueness of every child. Blending the rigor of the National Curriculum for England and the IB Global Curriculum, top-class facilities and resources along with highly skilled teachers, this prestigious school creates an exclusive learning environment in which every child is encouraged to define their own success and motivated to excel. The school’s relentless focus on providing high-quality learning opportunities along with student well-being underpinning its entire decision making makes for a student-focused and positive learning environment.

Aiming at Student Employment and Employability, the school utilizes the extensive network of Al-Futtaim and creates opportunities that promote the professional development of students. It equips students with portable, transferable skills for the future and post higher education. Deira International School’s multi-cultural community of learners integrates both local and international cultures. Academically inclusive, students are challenged and effectively supported to meet their learning goals. This school also ensures that students master the Arabic language through targeted teaching effectively integrated with technology. This traditional world-class educational platform and the not-for-profit school have a proud history in educational achievement with IB results consistently higher than the world average.

Sketching the Future Ahead

The educational scenario in Dubai is fast-paced. Schools offering high-quality and value-based education with many price-points and curriculum types are sprouting everywhere. Hence, the range of options available to parents in the selection of a school for their children has become extensive. Thus, agile and innovate teamwork and exceptional commitment from stakeholders can further improve the educational world.

Deira International School is a phenomenal school; with every ingredient in place to further build and elevate the school’s reputation as a high performing British and IB school with strong academic outcomes and a commitment to the complete development of a child. The finest facilities, which are second to none, a parent body immensely supportive along with hands-on and expert staff of Deira International School collectively work to achieve the school’s vision. With all that in place, the future is bright and its ambition, along with the endless support from The Board, will ensure that Deira International School in Festival City is recognized as a leading international school worldwide.

Words of Wisdom

When asked about the most ‘prospering career options’, Ruth Burke says that a career or job that is driven by passion and joy is a gift. Job satisfaction is one such thing that one should strive for. For her, witnessing student’s development into a sense of wellbeing, surpassing their targets and achieving more than they ever thought brings extraordinary job satisfaction and pleasure. ‘No one said the staircase to success is easy.’ A reputation unmatched like Ruth’s took more than 20 years and an undying passion to come into limelight. Her continuous endeavour to make a difference shows that one does not stop working just because they have achieved something, instead benefit from it and initiate bigger changes. The inspirational journey of Ruth is a lesson to everyone. “Follow your dream, work hard to realize your ambition, stay connected with loved ones, laugh lot and read!” are the wise words of Ruth Burke to all the ambitious people out there. No matter what profession one chooses, opportunities always come knocking on the door and the only way to achieve what one has aimed, is to accept the challenges and embrace the opportunities. However, all of these matters only when the right choice is made; the choice that benefits the majority and the decisions that Ruth Burke took not only initiated change in the educational industry, it always benefitted her students.

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