MEET AJYAL CENTER STAFF

AJYAL STAFF & LEADERSHIP

Raymond Damm

BS, MBA,
Chief Executive Officer

Raymond Damm has been working with ACCEL since March of 2016, starting as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Development Officer, and transitioning to the role of Chief Executive Officer in June of 2018. Ray holds a B.S. from The University of Virginia – Wise and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Having held executive positions in both the public and private sectors, Ray is driven to apply private sector best practices to sustainably address issues the public sector is driven to solve. This is especially true for underserved groups of individuals and those whose voice isn’t heard. He is motivated by ACCEL’s 300+ students and 100+ adults that overcome incredible obstacles each and every day. Outside of work, Ray is happiest spending time with family, making and repairing watches, playing golf and being in the mountains or on the beach

Gordon Comfort

Chief Operating Officer

Originally an English teacher in Utah and Arizona (Mesa Junior High School), Gordon and his family moved to Washington State where he served in administration for three high schools, ultimately becoming the principal of Richland High School.While principal, Gordon served on the board of directors for Goodwill Industries of Columbia where he then became the CEO. After his time at Goodwill, Gordon founded and operated a software development company with global sales and was also elected to the local school board. Most recently, Gordon has run his own consulting company and helped a family operated manufacturing company in Chandler.Gordon is fluent in English and Spanish, has a pending Ph.D. in business, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University.Gordon, his wife Carrie, and their five children live in Gilbert, AZ.

Phillip Tanner

PH.D, NCSP,
Executive Center Director

Phillip Tanner, Ph.D., NCSP is the Executive Center Director at the Ajyal Center for Comprehensive Education and Life Skills (ACCEL International). With excellent support from our skilled colleagues in Arizona and our outstanding partners at Aramco, Dr. Tanner lead the team through the establishment of the Ajyal Center in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in September of 2019. He continues to be astounded by the excellence of the staff within the center and is delighted about the culture of continuous growth and professional development. The Center has been open since September of 2019 and despite difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the center has continued to provide services to students and to flourish within community.

Dr. Tanner has over 20 years of experience in education and has had opportunities to work an Assistant Clinical Professor at Northern Arizona University, a Special Education Director, a School Psychologist and a School Counselor. His entire professional life has been dedicated to the support of students and communities. He is proud of the partnership with Aramco and his involvement in a very important mission to bring high quality educational, therapeutic and vocational services to students and adults in a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to service. It is so exciting to bring students and adults to a friendly and caring environment where there are so many opportunities for continuous growth.

Ezaldeen Alsalman

Consultant

Ezaldeen has been employed at ACCEL International in the early stages of its foundation aboard as a business development consultant and administrator. Having worked mostly in the areas of Business Management, Training & Development and Project Management for more than 12 years in various international corporations, he is very familiar with Performance Management, Learning and Development Skills. Ezaldeen is particularly experienced in the areas of strategic advice to operational and executive managers, developing company culture and mediating disputes. Ezaldeen served as chief spokesperson and representative for ACCEL International and built bridges with ministries, universities, and business leaders to enhance awareness of company initiatives. Ezaldeen earned his Master’s degree from Coventry University from the United Kingdom in Business Administration. He also has a wide knowledge of legal, marketing and sales strategies. Ezaldeen lives in Dhahran, KSA with his wife and their two children. When Ezaldeen is not working, he likes to read and learn new languages and cultures.

Mohammed Mekedam

Finance Manager

Mohammed is an experienced Finance Manager with 13 years of experience in many fields such industrial, service, health, and contracting. He is experienced in developing and improving accounting and finance systems, finance analysis, strategic planning, financial budgeting, cost Controlling, Sensitivity analysis, auditing, treasury accounting, and financial reporting. Mohammed has a bachelor’s degree, CMA certificate, strategic planning certificate, in addition to other experience certificates and training courses.

Sana Mahdi

Marketing and Communications Manager

Sana Mahdi has been working with international schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since 2009. She received her degree in Information Systems from Sana’a University in Yemen. Sana started supporting small schools to develop and become bigger in Riyadh. By defining the schools’ vision, mission and strategies. She organized and managed many special events and activities representing the schools. Sana is experienced in developing and improving of schools’ marketing plans and managing media and public relations. In her personal side, she is a great cook who enjoys creating her own fashion and unique world around her and doesn’t hesitate to live new challenges everyday. Sana has moved to The Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia because she is very excited to become a member of the ACCEL International Team!

Naif Alharbi

HR Coordinator

Naif has been working with Human Resources since 2016. He received his bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Yanbu University College in Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu. Naif is experienced in enforcing the labor law and to maintain the order in the organization. In addition, Naif certified in ERP Integrated Business Process with SAP. Naif began working with ACCEL in 2019 as a Human Resource Coordinator. Naif is interested in continuous developing of himself alongside the organization. Naif likes Reading, Meditation, and Racing.

Hiyam Ganadily

Female School Principal

Hiyam Ganadily has experience in education as a teacher, academic supervisor, vice principal and a school principal. One of her strengths is developing leaders from both students and teachers. She has worked closely with school administrators and teachers to create a dynamic, positive, and a collaborative environment. Empowered with a strong desire to maximize her impact on our students and the community, Hiyam pursued a path of educational leadership and became School Principal at ACCEL International in 2020.

Sultan Alamri

Male School Principal and Government Affairs Manager

Sultan Alamri joined ACCEL as School Manager & Government Affairs. He has great educational and administrative experience in private and international schools in developing disability programs and services.
He worked as a project manager on four university campuses with more than 200 staff members and more than 1000 students at Umm Al Qura University, Saudi Arabia for three years.

He also worked as a lecturer at the department of special education at the University of Umm Al-Qura Saudi Arabia in addition to his work as a special education supervisor and IEPs reviewer for several special education teachers in the public school in the Western Province in cooperation with the special education department at Umm Al-Qura University.

Moreover, he has an M.Ed master’s degree in Special Education from, Plymouth State University, United States, and a BA bachelor’s degree in special education from Taif University Saudi Arabia.

Asma Batool

Director of Inclusive Education and Transition Services

Batool completed her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology as her major area of specialization. Later she completed her Doctoral research in the Educational and Counselling Psychology-Human Development program from McGill University, Canada. Her research focuses on inclusive education emphasizing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a core instructional design model. Specifically, identifying how teachers in the private international schools of Saudi Arabia deal with the learner variability/learning differences and barriers to learning. She designed professional development workshops, teachers’ training programs, and e-learning courses to bridge gaps between teachers’ understandings and practices to promote inclusive education in general education classrooms. Her research interest includes parents’ transformation process while raising children with disabilities; and how UDL can facilitate and compliment non-traditional high-efficiency schools. She gained experience in working with the children with Autism spectrum, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Learning disabilities. Her knowledge in UDL, instructional designs, and inclusive education; clinical and educational psychology; human development; psychological evaluation, and multidisciplinary team management experience is applied in multiple ways at ACCEL. She has been serving as a Clinical Director and Educational Psychologist at ACCEL. By holding a leadership position in inclusive education Batool thrives to promote inclusive learning opportunities for children with diverse learning needs within the private and public educational organizations in the Kingdom.

Erica Nicol

Female Interim Program Manager

Erica Nicol has been working with children and adults with developmental disabilities since 2014. She received her degree in Special Education and Rehabilitation from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Erica began working at ACCEL in 2014 as a Special Education Teacher, then moved into the Mentor Teacher role supporting students and staff members at various ACCEL campuses across Arizona. Erica and her husband, who is also a special education teacher, moved to Saudi Arabia together to fill the position of Special Education Leads for the Female and Male Campuses. Erica has a strong interest in supporting teachers to create a classroom environment in which all students can reach their full potential. In addition, she supports teachers with adapting materials, curriculum, Individualized Education Plans which allow each student to accomplish their goals. Erica has been formally trained in TEACCH, which is an evidence-based academic program based out of North Carolina. The program supports students with highly visual and structured systems to help unique learners access the curriculum. In her personal life, Erica enjoys taking dance classes, hiking, and traveling to new places.

Jeffrey Nicol

Male Special Education Lead

Jeffrey Nicol is a special education teacher who is passionate about helping students achieve and grow to their full potential. Jeffrey received a Master of Education in Special Education from Arizona State University in 2012. He began his teaching career at ACCEL in Arizona in 2013. Since then he has taught in a variety of special education classrooms for 7 years in the private, charter, and public sector of the Arizona and California education system. Jeffrey has a wealth of experience and knowledge in working with students with different disabilities, developing individualized education programs, creating & adapting curriculum, and managing a team to support the classroom. In his personal life, Jeffrey enjoys fitness, hiking mountains, and traveling the world. He and his wife are very excited to be teaming up and joining the ACCEL International Team.

Nick Hodges

Male Program Manager

Mr. Nick” – as his students call him ­– grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and then attended Arizona State University for his undergraduate degree. After working with a few adults and children with special needs in their homes, and then providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy in a clinical setting, Mr. Nick attended St. Cloud State University to complete his Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) coursework. In 2012, Mr. Nick became one of the first BCaBAs in Arizona and has been working at ACCEL since that time. At ACCEL, Mr. Nick has worked closely with teachers and paraprofessionals to use ABA in their classrooms to increase skills and decrease problem behaviors. He also works closely with students as a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) trainer. In 2020, Mr. Nick completed his Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud State. When Mr. Nick is not acting as a behavior scientist, he spends time aquascaping the aquariums of his collection of nano shrimp.

AmalAlsaab

Enrollment Supervisor

AmalAlsaab is

Chris Hanudel

Clinical Director

Chris is a Clinical Director who addresses the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses, disabling conditions, or both. He seeks to improve or maintain an individual’s physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual function to enable full participation in life. Chris believes that every person is entitled to pursue the life they want to lead regardless of differences and is entitled to dignity and respect under all circumstances. He has successfully demonstrated the ability to develop, implement, and oversee innovative programming and events for individuals regardless of ability levels throughout his nearly two decades of human services experience with several well-known organizations such as ACCEL, The Ohio State University, Maricopa Integrated Health System, City of Scottsdale, and Special Olympics. Chris is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and holds a MA in Administration and Community Planning from Northern Arizona University and studied at The Ohio State University and the University of Toledo.

Dena Hafiz

Vocational Program Lead

Dena Hafiz received her B.S from the University of Massachusetts as a Sociology Major. Her academic interest is in the field of Medical Anthropology with a focus on cognitive and physical disabilities in children. She has a passion for creating opportunities for young adults with developmental disabilities acquire meaningful vocational skills to carry throughout their lives. This has led her to establish programs in the United States and Saudi Arabia offering both social and academic support to young adults with developmental delays navigate their lives through the University undergraduate level. She hopes to bring her knowledge and experience to the forefront by creating a one-of-a-kind Vocational Program at ACCEL International.By keeping students rooted in their own socio-cultural environments and engaged in community-led job placements, she believes she will build bridges of communication allowing young adults with disabilities to integrate into their communities to lead lives of integrity, independence, and dignity.

Meet Our BOD

ACCEL Board Of Directors

JOSEPH C. CATTANEO

OWNER, A & C PROPERTIES, INC.

CHARLES A. WANNER

RETIRED, GPW & ASSOCIATES

CHRISTOPHER L. DUNCAN

FARMER WOODS
GROUP

CAROLINE A. PRICHER

COMMUNITY MEMBER

JULIA KOLSRUD

ASSOCIATE, MAY, POTENZA,
BARAN & GILLESPIE, P.C.

SCOTT TAUBMAN

PRESIDENT, INNOVATIVE
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES

KEITH AND STEPHANIE FARMER

ACCEL PARENTS