Senior Executive


Dr Deborah Priest, Principal

Doctor of Philosophy, Masters in Education (majoring in Leadership and Management) - Queensland University of Technology, Bachelor of Science (Education), (double major in Mathematics) - Diploma Financial Services

Dr Deborah Priest, from Brisbane, Australia, is excited to join the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) at a time when it is maturing, growing and moving to the next level of its service to the Australian and international student community.

Dr Priest was most recently the Head of Moreton Bay College, Australia. She also held the position of Head of Senior School at Somerville House and Head of Education Studies in Bond University. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Education Degree from Queensland University of Technology majoring in Leadership and Management. Dr Priest is a strategic yet pragmatic, warm hearted yet disciplined and directional leader of successful teams of educational professionals. She is noted for her high level of energy, credibility and capacity that comes from a depth and breadth of professional experience managing schools with multimillion dollar budgets over many years. She approaches her leadership roles through a focus on and understanding of financial, human resource, risk and facilities management ensuring the commercial sustainability and good standing of the organization.

She is focused on developing strong working relationships within and outside of the school community to enhance learning opportunities for students, reviewing the current teaching and learning practices and how they meet the needs of 21st century learners and developing a Master Plan for the school to ensure the best facilities are available for current and future students.

Mr Graeme Naftel, Head of Junior School

Masters in Education (Monash University), Graduate Diploma in Education (Monash University), Bachelor of Teaching Primary (University of Technology Sydney)

Graeme joined the AISM team in 2013. His experience in Australia includes teaching students from 5-12 years of age as a classroom teacher and an IT specialist, and running a Junior School boarding house for eight to eleven year old boys. His leadership experience includes Deputy Head and Curriculum Coordinator at Newington College, Lindfield, and Head of Primary at Bishop Druitt College, Coffs Harbour, the largest independent school in regional NSW. Graeme loves all sports, but particularly enjoys football, golf, and running. He has a strong interest in pastoral care and believes respect, manners and giving of your best at all times is non negotiable.

Mr Ivan McLean, Head of Middle and Senior Schools

Masters in Science, Bachelor of Science, Diploma in Education, Diploma in Management

Ivan has been an educator for more than 20 years. In this time he has worked in boarding and day schools in Perth, Western Australia. He was previously Head of Mathematics, then Learning Technologies Manager, then Head of Middle Years at Hale School and for nine years the Associate Principal Senior School at Peter Moyes Anglican Community School.

He has the belief that an Australian education leads to a competitive advantage for students, whilst grounding them in fair and strong values. He seeks for every student to aim for their personal best in an earnest and responsible manner. Ivan has a strong passion for holistic learning and believes that students should be well-rounded, global citizens. Above all, he aims to help nurture students and staff to nurture their own areas of strength and interest.

Ivan's studies have focused on the use of ICT in education, particularly but not limited to STEM subjects, and also strategic planning and management issues. He is particularly interested in developing leadership amongst his staff and students. 

Ivan is also keen to play golf at Kuala Lumpur's wonderful golf courses if the opportunity and time arises!

Mrs Kathryn Sutherland, Deputy Head of Middle and Senior School

Bachelor of Science, Diploma in Modern Languages, Post Graduate Diploma in Arts, Masters of Contemporary Asian Analysis, Bachelor of Education (Primary & Secondary)

Kathryn completed a Bachelor of Science, Diploma in Modern Languages (Indonesian), Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Indonesian) and a Master of Contemporary Asian Analysis at The University of Melbourne between 1994 and 2004. During this period, Kathryn also co-owned and co-managed a small business in Melbourne for five years. She then worked as a volunteer in East Timor for 12 months with government and non government organisations, including World Vision East Timor, to complete her Masters. This experience supporting disadvantaged youth to access educational opportunities led to her decision to formally enter the world of education, and Kathryn completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary and Secondary) at Deakin University.

Kathryn commenced teaching at Kormilda College in 2007, an International Baccalaureate and Australian Curriculum school in Darwin, Australia. She held various middle and senior management positions encompassing both curriculum and wellbeing over seven years at Kormilda College, culminating in the position of Deputy Principal Academic. Prior to joining AISM in 2015, Kathryn was the Manager of Non-Government Schools at the Northern Territory Department of Education.

Kathryn is passionate about education and working with staff to create the conditions in which all students can thrive through engagement in meaningful holistic learning experiences.

Mrs Kerry Smith, Deputy Head of Junior School

Master of Education, Diploma of Education (Queensland University of Technology)

Prior to joining AISM, Kerry was Deputy Head Academic at Newton Preparatory School, London, UK, where she worked for 11 years. In her career in Australia and the UK, Kerry has been High Ability Coordinator, Head of Drama, Head of English and has thoroughly relished being a teacher of English in secondary schools. She believes that the cornerstones of educational excellence are curiosity, creativity and perseverance and these attributes need to be nurtured by skilled and inspirational teachers.

Ms Kylie Booker, Director of Curriculum and Innovation

Masters in Gifted Education, Bachelors of Education, Master Courses (Programming for Students with Special Needs, ICT)

Kylie has more than 20 years experience including leadership positions in New York and Adelaide. She has a Masters in Gifted Education and is currently completing a Doctorate in Leadership and Management at Flinders University, Australia. She won the prestigious National Australian Teachers Award for Excellence in Gifted Education (2008) and the National Award for Innovation in Technology and Engineering (2009). She loves travelling, spending quality time with her family and friends, and tennis.