Ruth Sanderson brings a wealth of international experience and a passion for education to her role as Principal at The British School of Amsterdam (BSA). With a career spanning almost three decades, Ruth’s journey in education has taken her across continents, from the United Kingdom to Brunei, Malaysia, South Korea, Qatar, and now The Netherlands. Ruth’s diverse professional experience encompasses various roles, including Chemistry teacher, tutor, timetable coordinator, Head of Key Stage, Assistant Principal, and Senior Vice Principal. This extensive experience has equipped her with invaluable insights into school management, team-building, collaborative leadership, and strategic planning. Driven by a deep commitment to school improvement, Ruth was drawn to The BSA by its ethos and vibrant community spirit. She saw an opportunity to leverage her skills and experience to contribute to the growth and development of the school, enriching the learning experience for both pupils and staff. Ruth holds a BSc in Food Science (University of Leeds), a PGCE in Chemistry (University of Leeds), and an MBA in International Education (Keele University).
Outside of her professional pursuits, Ruth is the proud mother of two twenty-something adults and enjoys playing games of all types with them. Together, they bond over exploring new destinations, delving into history, and seeking out adventure. With her dedication, people skills, and unwavering passion for education, Ruth is committed to fostering a supportive and enriching learning environment at The BSA.
Always approachable and attentive, Ruth is available to listen and support the school community in their journey of growth and success.
Bas van Haver
Bas van Haver became a member of The BSA in 2019, initially contributing to the Havenstraat building project before assuming the role of Bursar on the Management Board. As Bursar, Bas oversees the operational functions of the school and spearheads risk management, compliance, and community engagement, leveraging his Dutch nationality to foster relations with local stakeholders. Prior to his tenure at The BSA, Bas accumulated diverse experience in financial, operational, and leadership positions across international companies outside the realm of education. His professional journey spans the events industry with notable stints at Reed Exhibitions, Royal Jaarbeurs, and VNU Exhibitions Asia, as well as the consumer goods sector with engagements at Orangina-Schweppes and Obrigado Bahia, both in The Netherlands and China. Bas holds a master’s degree in business economics from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a post-master’s degree in Finance & Control (RC) from UvA – Amsterdam Business School.
In his leisure time, Bas delights in partaking in sports and other activities with his young family of three.
Claudia van der Laar-Newson
Head of Early Years
Originally from the UK, Claudia van de Laar trained in Brighton and lived and worked in Bristol before relocating to the Netherlands. This year marks her 29th year of service at the British School of Amsterdam. Claudia has worked in a variety of educational roles at the British School but it is within the Early Years Section (EYS) where her passion truly resides.
The British School serves not only as a professional hub but also as a vibrant social community, fostering enduring friendships among its members. Claudia considers working with families from across the globe one of the most fulfilling aspects of her position.
Head of Junior School
Melanie Fidge joined The BSA as Head of Junior School in August 2023. Melanie brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise, particularly in fostering a nurturing and stimulating environment for young learners. She has a proven track record of leadership, a deep commitment to academic excellence, and a genuine passion for supporting the holistic development of each child. After graduating from Cambridge University with a first-class degree in Modern Languages, Melanie began her working life in the voluntary sector leading corporate fundraising teams at VSO and Save the Children. She then completed her teacher training (with a Primary/MFL specialism) at Goldsmiths University and spent her formative teaching years in London. Melanie developed her teaching and leadership experience working at international schools in Thailand and the UAE before returning to the UK to work in both state and prep school. She has now brought her breadth of knowledge and experience to The BSA.
Head of Senior School
Nicola Meikle has worked in education for over 20 years and has been a senior leader in both UK and British international schools for over a decade. She has a BEd degree and is currently completing her MA in Educational Leadership and Management with the University of Bath. Nicola relocated to The Netherlands with her family, joining The BSA in September 2024 as the Head of Senior School. She has worked internationally for over 10 years and has lived in the UK, Japan, and the Middle East working in schools across both Primary and Senior sections and before joining The BSA as Head of Seniors, was Vice Principal – Teaching & Learning at a leading British International school. She also works within the COBIS community supporting schools as a Lead Improvement Partner.
Nicola has two children who also attend The BSA.
Judy Bakker, a certified chartered accountant, assumed the role of Finance Manager at The BSA on 1 May 2022. With a wealth of experience spanning over 25 years, she boasts expertise in various facets of general and financial management. Judy’s career highlights include serving as the General Manager at Bouchard Finlayson (a renowned wine farm in South Africa), Head of Finance at Abagold Ltd (based in South Africa), and spearheading the Deloitte Sport, Media, and Entertainment division in South Africa for a tenure of 5 years. Additionally, she has contributed her financial acumen as the Finance Manager at M-Net, a premium broadcaster listed in South Africa.
During her leisure hours, Judy indulges her passion for art, specifically illustration and design. Additionally, she savours foreign travel experiences with her husband and children, embracing the opportunity to explore diverse cultures and destinations.
Head of Admissions and Marketing
Lindsay Bellis assumed the role of Head of Admissions and Marketing at The BSA on 1 June 2023. With a rich professional background spanning 25 years across educational, retail, and industrial domains, Lindsay brings a wealth of expertise to her position. Notably, her recent roles include serving as the Director of Admissions and Marketing at other prestigious institutions such as Wellington College Hangzhou, Dulwich College Shanghai in China, and Terra Nova Prep School in Cheshire, UK.
Throughout her career, Lindsay has demonstrated proficiency in developing and executing marketing strategies and campaigns. Her collaborative approach extends across various educational settings, from nursery to sixth-form, catering to children aged 2-18 years. In her capacity, Lindsay spearheads key functions including brand development, digital marketing, content creation, public relations, and event management.
During her free time, Lindsay finds pleasure in skiing, horse riding, exploring foreign destinations, and sharing meals with her friends and family.
Femke Boelen has a master’s degree in law from the University of Amsterdam and holds a post HBO degree in Human Resources. With over two decades of experience in Human Resources across diverse sectors such as the airline industry, Fin Tech, and Scale-up companies, she embarked on her journey as the Human Resource Manager at the British School of Amsterdam in 2021.
Her tenure at the school, amidst its rapid expansion and evolution, further developed her passion for international education.
Beyond her professional pursuits, Femke has also left her mark in the realm of sports as a member of the Dutch Olympic Rowing team, clinching both golden and bronze medals at the world championships. Even in her leisure hours, she remains tethered to the waters, coaching the next generation as a high-performance coach. Apart from rowing, Femke finds joy in skiing, tennis, and exploring enchanting destinations alongside her friends and family.
Head of Technology
Introducing Zee Mirza: a dynamic and innovative leader within the realm of educational technology. His journey commenced in August 2023 as the Head of Technology at The BSA. With an extensive background spanning nearly two decades in Educational IT, Zee has traversed a diverse array of roles, from nurturing individual establishments to strategically steering Academy Trusts through IT transitions.
His approach is not just about technology; it’s about revolutionising learning and operational environments with a blend of knowledge and innovative ideas. Zee’s visionary contributions have earned numerous accolades for school innovation and hard work for delivering outstanding customer service which reflects his dedication to shaping the future of education. His passion for blending technology with learning makes him not just a leader but a innovator in the educational landscape.
Beyond his professional endeavours, Zee harbours a profound passion for technology, AI, and home automation, embracing their ever-evolving nature. Equally significant to him is the cherished time spent with friends and family, savouring the moments they share together.
Five years ago, Rosanna Russo stepped into the position of Operations Manager at The BSA. With a rich background spanning 18 years in school business management and 15 years in corporate administration, Rosanna brings a formidable blend of expertise to her role. Holding a specialised certification from the National College of School Leadership in the UK, she has honed her skills through diverse experiences in prominent organisations across South Africa, including The Board of Executors, Marriott Property Group, NBS Bank, and Gestetner.
Beyond her professional endeavours, Rosanna finds joy in music and sports.