Board of Trustees
The American School of Marrakech is one of two schools, along with the American School of Tangier, governed by the American School of Tangier Corporation, a United States non-profit corporation and an association registered in Morocco. AST and ASM are two of five schools recognized under the Bilateral Agreement signed by the US and Morocco.
Ambassador Edward Gabriel (Ret.)
Co-Chairman of the Board
Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel was the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco from November 1997 to March 2001, during which time a new U.S.-Morocco strategic relationship was launched on political, military and economic levels. In other positions during his career, he has convened multilateral policy forums involving national security, environmental, and trade and energy issues, and has been involved in matters of Russian and European nuclear non-proliferation. Currently, Ambassador Gabriel is President and CEO of The Gabriel Company, LLC, which represents American corporations and international entities on investment and policy strategies and projects.
Co-Chairman of the Board; Secretary
Larry Kardon has been a member of the board since 1979. He previously resided in Tangier, where he and his wife Susan opened the first Montessori School in North Africa and his two daughters attended the American School of Tangier. Mr. Kardon currently resides in Pennsylvania. He is involved in real estate sales, marketing, and investment as the owner of Realty Executives-West Chester and as managing partner of Nodrak Partners, LLP.
Vice Chairman of the Board
Madison Cox, a garden designer and author with offices in both New York City and Morocco, has worked extensively in North America, Europe and Morocco. He serves on a number of boards of foundations including as Vice President of the Fondation Pierre Bergé in Paris, Vice President of the Fondation Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, and as an Advisory Board Member of the Aangan Trust in Mumbai, India. Mr. Cox has been actively involved with the American School of Tangier and the American School of Marrakech for several years.
Stephen Guyer is the founder and co-founder of four companies in Morocco in the fields of trading, investment, construction, and solar energy. He is currently the President of Shaws Investment International. He has represented international NGOs in the field of youth education and employment and is on the Executive Board of the Moroccan American Commission for Education and Cultural Exchange and the Fulbright Commission. Settled in Rabat for the last 20 years, Mr. Guyer is dedicated to Morocco and its development.
Mr. Abete holds an MBA from Harvard University and has held several marketing-related positions in New York City, including the Chase Manhattan Bank. He moved to Paris in 1990, and to Marrakech in 2006, where he invested in La Maison Arabe and has taken an active interest in the community. Mr. Abete joined the AST board of directors in 2014.
Dr. Mohamed Aboufirass holds a Ph.D. from UC Davis in Civil Engineering and is the founder of RESING, a consulting firm involved in the management of water resources and the environment. He is also the Vice President of the International Association of Hydrogeology, in charge of the MENA region. Dr. Aboufirass has been an active member of the AST board for the past 15 years, and has been involved with ASM since its creation in 1995.
Ali Ben Abdeslam
Ali Ben Abdeslam is the General Counsel of OCP Group, a position he has held since 2009, and has over 20 years’ experience in corporate legal affairs. Mr. Ben Abdeslam holds two Masters in Law from the Universities of Paris X and Paris XI, as well as an LLM from Wayne State University in Michigan. Mr. Ben Abdeslam joined the board of AST in 2012.
Chairman, Audit Committee
Aziz Bidah’s background is in auditing and consulting services. He serves on the board of the Chartered Accountant body in Morocco as Chairman of the Professionals Training Committee, and acts as Partner in charge of Price Waterhouse Morocco. Mr. Bidah is vice president of AMCHAM-Morocco.
Chairman, Scholarship Committee
David J. Callard is a Senior Family Office Advisor at Eaton Vance Investment Counsel, a wealth management firm based in Boston, MA, and is also President of Wand Partners, a private equity firm based in New York City. He holds degrees from Princeton University and New York University School of Law. Mr. Callard has been a member of the board since 2005.
Jamie Creel is co-owner of Creel and Gow, a retail shop on the upper east side of Manhattan specializing in exotic, unique, and hard-to-find treasures. Based primarily in New York and Paris, he travels extensively, including to Morocco, and owns property in Tangier. Mr. Creel became involved in AST in the early 2000s through Joe McPhillips and has remained a fervent ambassador for the school ever since..
John Davison is the Director of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM). He is a former American diplomat, having served in Tunisia, Egypt, and India, among other countries, and a former Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. Mr. Davison was elected to the AST board of trustees in 2015.
Laila El Alaoui
Laila El Alaoui was Chief of Protocol at the US Embassy in Rabat for 10 years, after which she served as a diplomat at the Moroccan embassy in the US for 5 years. Her support for expanding educational opportunities in Morocco began during her career in the diplomatic field. Ms. El Alaoui has been a board member of AST since 2012.
Julianne Furman is the General Manager of Exco Automotive Solutions Europe and President of Tangier-based Polydesign Systems. She has lived and worked in Morocco for more than 20 years, serving in a management capacity for a number of Moroccan and American companies and associations involved in a variety of sectors. Ms. Furman was elected to the AST board of trustees in 2015.
Quito Fierro is the Secretary General of the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, one of the most visited sites in Morocco. He was a long-time friend of the late Joe McPhillips and AST. Mr. Fierro has been actively involved with the Marrakech school since its foundation in 1995.
Sean Gullette is an American writer, actor, and filmmaker. His feature film Traitors recently debuted at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. Mr. Gullette lives between New York and Tangier, Morocco, and in addition to his film work is the founder of the 212 Society, a US non-profit that supports cultural and educational projects in Morocco, including both The Cinematheque de Tanger and Darna.
Phil Jenkins has held top positions in marketing and sales for over 20 years and specializes in online marketing. He is currently the Owner of Search Engine Marketing, based partly out of Tangier. His children attend the AST school and he has been a member of the board since 2013.
Mohammed Kadrouch has a background in business management and since 2000 has held senior commercial positions at several international companies. He currently manages the Sabre Airline Solutions business for West and North Africa. Mr. Kadrouch joined the AST board in 2013 and his children attend the AST school.
David Knaus has been involved in the visual arts as both a patron and collector since the late 1980s. In late 2011 he became the Managing Director of the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts in Morocco. He was instrumental in forging the first of its kind private-public partnership between the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and the Museum to establish MMP+ at the historic 12th Century Badii Palace in Marrakech’s old medina. Mr. Knaus joined the AST board of directors in 2016.
Chairman, Tangier Committee
Mohammed Lamrani attended the American School of Tangier in the late 1960s and joined the board of trustees in 2011. He works in the maritime sector as Administration and Sales Director of FR Maroc SARL. He also has experience as a banker, consultant, and entrepreneur.
Chairman, Nominating and Governance Committee
Mr. Magagna has a long and distinguished career in overseas education. Through the support of two Fulbright grants, he began his overseas teaching career at The American School of Tangier. He subsequently became Headmaster there, and later moved on to become Headmaster at the Community School in Teheran and at Jakarta International School; he also served as Headmaster of Rutgers Preparatory School and La Jolla Country Day School in California. John is a past Director of the Near East/South Asia Council of International Schools (NESA), and The East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS). Mr. Magagna returned home from a very successful seven years as Headmaster of the Jakarta International School and founded his company, Search Associates, in 1990.
Ambassador Aziz Mekouar (Ret.)
Chairman, Finance Committee
Ambassador Aziz Mekouar served as the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United States from 2002-2011. He has also previously served as Morocco’s ambassador to Angola, Portugal, and Italy. He currently acts as an adviser to major Moroccan corporations and multinational companies. Ambassador Mekouar has been a member of the board since 2012.
Chairman, Marrakech Committee
Yahya Rouach is a self-taught artist and sculptor of international renown based in Marrakech, Morocco. His multicultural background has served as a main inspiration for his work, and his designs are featured in some of the most beautiful private residences in the world and the occasional public project like the Royal Mansour hotel in Marrakech. His sculptures are currently the focus of a special joint exhibition with Mehdi Qotbi at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Mr. Rouach has been actively involved with the American School of Marrakech since 2009 and joined the board in 2011.
Richard Schuhmann is currently the President of the Landing School of Boatbuilding and Yacht Design in Arundel Maine. Previously, as an engineering faculty member at Penn State, and then at MIT, he facilitated innovative design collaborations between his students and students in Rabat at L’Ecole Mohammadia d’ingénieurs and L’Ecole nationale de l’industrie et des mines respectively. Dr. Schuhmann was elected to the AST board of trustees in 2015.
Mohsine Sefrioui’s background is in mechanical engineering. He is the President of Medpaped, Maestro, and Cotamac, the Vice President of the Board of Banque Populaire in Tangier, and sits on the board of several organizations involved in industry and construction. As a firm believer in the American education system, several of his children have attended AST and he is a long-time supporter of the schools.
Elizabeth McPhillips Stringer, M.D., is a medical doctor specialized in field of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina Hospital. She previously spent 10 years in Zambia providing medical care and helping the Zambian government scale up public health programs. While in Zambia, her three children attended the American International School of Zambia, a school with many similarities to AST and ASM. Dr. Stringer has served as a member of the AST board of trustees since 2014.