Steve Ward, Director (Chair)
I have been a Governor at Irthlingborough Junior School for many years and I am also a Director/Member of Huxlow Science College where I was Chair for 19 years. Before retiring, I was an Electrical Distribution Engineer.
I am a DfE designated National Leader of Governance Advocate NLGA and through this I have supported many Local Authority governance support teams, Governing Bodies and Multi Academy Trust Boards.
I first became a parent governor when my two daughters attended school and this fueled my passion to continue supporting the education of all our children. Through my experience in primary and secondary education together with my engineering background I strive to contribute to the vision and driving principles of the Trust.
Mark Plant, Director (Vice Chair)
I have been married for 40 years and I have two grown up children: a son who is married and living in Canada and a daughter who has just started drama school in London.
I am passionate about giving children every opportunity to be children and the chance to fulfill their individual and unique potential. I have been a parent governor of a primary school until my children moved on and I currently help run an outdoor club for a small junior school where we give the children a range of outdoor experiences including bush craft, den building, tree climbing and most importantly let them run.
I am an independent management consultant and business adviser specialising in working with early stage growing organisations.
Joanne Sanchez-Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Accounting Officer, Executive Headteacher
It's been my pleasure to be Executive Headteacher and Chief Executive Officer of the Trust since September 2016.
It's fantastic to be able to work with so many committed and talented staff across our schools, so that our children can get the very best education and experiences.
I have a very wide range of experiences working in education over the past 30 years: I have worked in eight different schools in the UK and the US and taught every age group from Reception to sixth form. I have been headteacher of 2 schools, worked as a local authority school improvement partner and as an independent education consultant, and have the privilege of visiting schools on inspection. I have been a school governor in three schools before joining the Trust.
Paul Bedwell, Director
I grew up in this county, am married and now live in Rushden with my wife, a Teaching Assistant, and my teenage daughter.
I became a Director to support the education of our next generation. I have worked voluntarily to develop the confidence and life skills of young people for many years, as an Expedition Leader for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and World Challenge; as a youth mentor for the Tall Ships Youth Trust; as a trustee for The Challenger Trust; and as an Advisory Group member for a local government Outdoor Education Centre.
I work in Human Resources, Learning and Development and Change in corporate organisations, advising Chief Executives and senior leadership teams on strategy, people and change issues. I have led improvement projects in public and private sector organisations, big and small, and hold qualifications in business mentoring, project management and a Masters degree in Organisational Development and Change.
Liz Carr-Archer, Director
I qualified as a teacher in 1978, teaching Secondary children from 11 to 18 years old in Bedfordshire. I spent 3 years working for SIMS Ltd (now Capita) training School and Local Authority staff. I was a stay at home mum from 1992 to 2004, returning to work in education where I held a number of leadership roles. I am married with two children in their twenties.
I was delighted to accept the invitation to join the Board of Directors and joined the Trust in April 2015 as we set out on our journey.
I became a governor at the village school my children attended in 1996 and I have been the Chair at that school since 1997. I have held posts on two other governing bodies in that time. I was accredited as a National Leader of Governance by the National College for School Leadership in January 2012.
Sandy Hoyland, Director
I have spent more than 30 years in financial services and I’m currently a senior manager for Lloyds Banking Group, working in investment governance and with a background in financial services Risk and Regulatory Compliance.
I was also a parent governor during the early 90's when my three children were in primary school.
Jan Marshall - Director
I have been the Head Teacher of Irthlingborough Nursery and Infant School since 2012 and have worked at the school since 2002.
I believe in delivering the best education for all our children locally. By working closely together as part of our Trust, we are achieving this through being “Stronger together”.
Working closely with the other schools in the Trust is enabling us all us to deliver an engaging and relevant curriculum for the children, ensuring they reach their potential and are ready for the world beyond school at every stage.
Abhijit Pani, Director
I joined the Trust as a Director in September 2017.
I am passionate about education to the point that I have two masters degrees from the University of Oxford and am currently contemplating a third. My favourite place on earth is a library. If I ever retire from the corporate sector you would find me teaching mathematics to young children. I have volunteered for the United Nations, Greenpeace and Red Cross.
I am an experienced Business Change and Strategy professional. I specialise in working with Tier 1 banks advising them on successfully running large scale transformational programmes. I also have a keen interest in working with technology start-ups both in the UK and overseas.
Penny Reading, Director
I work part time as a Registered General Nurse. I am married to Anthony, who is a Master Mariner, and have three grown up boys. Anthony and I spend our time travelling the country in our MG when time allows.
I am the Diocese of Peterborough representative on the Board of Directors which is a great honour. I have been involved with the Church of England for many years and am a regular worshipper at St. Mary’s Higham Ferrers.
I became a governor of Irthlingborough Nursery and Infant School about 15 years ago and I am now the Chair of Governors. As Vice Chair, I was responsible for Safeguarding and Special Educational Needs. I have also taken on these responsibilities as a Director. I thoroughly enjoy my roles within both the Local Governing Body and the Board of Directors.
Dave Stuttle, Director
After a long and varied working life, I retired in December 2014. I live with my partner Sally and our rescue dog, Buzz, in Rushden and have 2 adult sons who live in Suffolk.
I attend St. Marys The Virgin Parish Church in Rushden, where I have been on the PCC since April 2003, Deanery and Diocesan Synods since September 2006, and the Board of Education since January 2007. I am also a Churchwarden at St. Mary's, Higham Ferrers.
I have management experience in the catering industry and in Adult Education. I have over 30 years experience of active voluntary and community work including being Chair of Governors of a primary school, and more recently Vice Chair of Governors at Rushden Community College. In addition, I am an active Trustee of The Elizabeth Groome Music Charity.
Contact the Directors:
If you would like to contact the Board of Directors, please email:
Committee Terms of Reference:
- Board of Directors Terms of Reference
- Directors Committee - Learning Outcomes
- Directors Committee - Learning Provision
- Directors Committee - Finance & Personnel
- Directors Committee - Health, Safety & Premises
- School Local Governing Bodies
Please look at the Director Committee page to see the membership of each committee.
Terms of Office & Register of Interests: