Our team

Athena Schools Trust believes in collaboration for excellence.

Our team fulfils vital specific functions that work together to ensure we are ‘better together’.

Members

AST Members

Our Members are the conscience of our trust, ensuring that we all remain true to our aims and objectives. They are able to hear viewpoints from any member of Athena Schools Trust and they hold the trustees to account for the strategic operation of the Trust. They appoint the trustees and have the power to remove the trustees if necessary. They appoint our auditors and meet twice a year. Members do not sit on any other committees.

 

Fiona Boulton

Fiona has been Headmistress at Guildford High since September 2002.  Prior to that she was Deputy Head at Guildford High for 5 years.

Fiona grew up in Guildford where she was a pupil at Boxgrove Primary School.  At age 11 she was offered a place at Guildford County School, which was then a Grammar School.  Before she could take up the place her family moved to Kent, where she attended the local Comprehensive school.   She is keen to finally be involved with Guildford County School.

Guildford High is a member of United Learning, it is a Teaching School and Fiona is a National Leader of Education.  She firmly believes that schools working in collaboration are stronger than schools working in isolation and is very supportive of the idea of the Trust.  She hopes to bring some of her experience of cross school work to the table. 

Catherine Cobley

Catherine Cobley has lived in Pirbright for many years and has held a number of roles in local government and education.

Currently Catherine is a governor of the Royal Grammar School.  She has previously held the following roles:

  • Chairman and governor of Pirbright Primary School
  • Member of the local council of Guildford High School
  • Non-Executive Director of West Surrey Health Authority, and Guildford and Waverley Primary Care Trust
  • Guildford Borough Councillor, representing Pirbright
  • Mayor of Guildford 1995 – 6.
Donald Hirsch

Ex-parent, Former Vice Chair at GCS

Director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy

Donald is a former journalist and international policy consultant, who was Poverty Adviser to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for the ten years prior to joining CRSP in 2008.  

He played a central role in establishing A Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom, using CRSP's ongoing research methodology showing what incomes households need for an acceptable standard of living as agreed by members of the public.  He now leads that programme and associated projects studying income.  He also plays a prominent national role in commenting on the adequacy of the public welfare system, and on poverty trends.

Paul Martin

Paul is a Chartered Accountant who qualified in 1982. He runs a local accountancy practice -  CMB Partnership Limited in Guildford - with two fellow directors. CMB provide a full range of accountancy, audit and taxation services to both individuals and businesses.

Paul was appointed a governor at Guildford County School (GCS) in 2001. He became Chair of Finance a few years later and oversaw the financial turnaround of GCS from a huge deficit to a positive financial position. He also served for four years as Chair of Governors, prior to the appointment of the current Chair, Janette Owen. In addition, he played a significant role in the successful transfer of GCS from a Foundation School to an Academy in 2013. He continued as a governor until 2014.

After a break from being a governor Paul is keen to offer his experience to assist in the creation of the Multi-Academy Trust.

Stephen Ravenscroft

Stephen is a Partner at law firm Stone King, who have offices around the UK.  He leads the Education Team and has specialised in charity and not-for-profit law since qualifying as a solicitor in 1997.

Stephen has been involved in the academies programme since its inception back in the early 2000s, initially advising on the “type 1” failing school projects. He has acted on the conversion to academy status of over 170 maintained schools of all types, including community, faith and alternative provision schools.

Stephen has been instrumental in developing some of the larger multi academy trusts. This experience of building Trusts from small entities to quite complex and sizeable organisations has given him insight into the legal issues and the organisational and strategic challenges which may lie ahead.

Stephen’s particular expertise surrounds governance structures of multi academy trusts, drawing on his charity law background. This experience includes a detailed understanding of the relationships between academy trusts and their trading subsidiaries. He has particular experience in dealing with the establishment of academies within the faith sector and has acted on a significant number of conversions within Surrey.

Stephen is recognised as a leader in both education and charity law by Chambers and Legal 500. He has recently stepped down as a member of the Executive Committee of the Charity Law Association having served on the committee for 9 years. He is a governor of two schools and sits on an Academy Strategic Board for a Catholic Diocese.

AST Trustees

AST is governed by a board of trustees. The board of trustees provides a strategic overview of the running of the trust, support the executive team and ensures that all schools in the MAT are well-governed. AST believes that trustees should be appointed for their professional, educational and governance skills. All trustees have the interests of every member school at their heart. 

 

Andi Scanlan

AScanlonAndi is currently Chair for the Board of Trustees

Andi has lived in the Stoughton area of Guildford for over 20 years. He is married with three boys of secondary-school age.

Andi has worked for British Airways for over 20 years. He currently works in the airline’s Business Transformation team as a Process Effectiveness Manager, managing a team which helps all areas of the airline improve the way they do things whilst being sensitive to the impact these changes have on both colleagues and customers.

Andi has been a governor at Stoughton Infant School since 2007 and has been Chair of Governors since 2010. He was initially a member of the Children & Learning Committee but in recent years has been a member of the Finance & Resources committee, the Strategy Committee and the Head Teacher’s Performance Management committee.

 

Trevor Grant

Trevor GrantTrevor is currently the Vice Chair for the Board of Trustees

He has spent the last 20 years, launching and growing businesses in the recruitment sector. He currently runs two businesses supporting global hotel groups recruiting executive talent.

With two children of secondary-school age, he first engaged with school governance as a parent governor with Northmead Junior School. He became Chair of Governors in 2013 and worked closely with the school leadership to successfully move Northmead from an OFSTED rating of “Requires Improvement” to “Good”.

His experience of raising school standards combined with a background of highly collaborative working across multiple operations, whilst setting and achieving ambitious goals, will be a valuable asset to the Athena MAT.

 

Jack Mayhew

Jack MayhewJack Mayhew is the founding Executive Headteacher of Athena Schools Trust and brings significant experience of school leadership from both the secondary and primary sector. A teacher for more than 20 years, involved in school leadership for over half that time and a head, of one description or another, for almost 8 years, across three different schools, he is pleased to form Athena with like-minded individuals and schools seeking a new collaborative multi-academy trust model.

Jack has experience of school leadership in a variety of contexts and varying educational stages. He has experience of forming a multi-academy trust team before joining Guildford County – a school he led to outstanding Ofsted status in 2017.

The formation of the Athena Schools Trust in 2018 is part of a shared vision for education which believes we are ‘better together’. The best way to face the challenges facing schools in the current climate is through collaboration, honesty and high expectations.

 

Kathy Ashford

K AshfordKathy Ashford served on the Governing Body of Guildford County School for many years, latterly as Vice Chair of Governors. This was a period of significant change, covering the initial bid for Specialist Status in Music, the conversion to Academy Status, several Ofsted inspections and the recruitment of a Headteacher. Throughout her time as a Governor, Kathy was employed as manager of a local confederation of schools, and she remains in this role to this day.

Earlier in her career, Kathy worked in the Communications sector, notably as Director of Communications at the University of Surrey. She also has experience in change management and is a published children’s author. Kathy is a registered psychotherapist, currently working both in private practice and within a university setting.

 

Jon Coles

J ColesJon Coles is Chief Executive of United Learning, a group of 60 independent schools and academies established 130 years ago.

Prior to this, he spent four years on the Board of the Department for Education as Director General for Schools and then for Education Standards.

A qualified secondary teacher, Jon also wrote various Green and White Papers, took the 2002 Education Act through Parliament and was responsible for implementing the 1997 infant class size pledge.

 

Andrew Isherwood

Andrew was an officer in the Royal Navy and then re-trained as an accountant with a global Pharma company. He subsequently worked as a Director of an international consultancy firm advising banks, investment banks and other financial services companies on transforming their operational performance.

With two children attending local schools, Andrew is passionate about enabling young people from across the area to achieve their potential. Most recently, he was Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for the Guildford College Group where standards improvement was critical and achieved.

In his spare time, Andrew coaches juniors at Guildford Rowing Club.

 

Campbell Livingston

Campbell LivingstonCampbell Livingston has over 20 years' experience in the sport, media, charity and education sectors. For over a decade he was Director of Active Surrey, the county's lead agency for physical activity, and responsible for Board and staff development, major funding applications and writing and implementing county-wide, multi-partner strategies. He also has extensive event management experience at both local and international sports competitions. Campbell has recently joined Halow, a local charity supporting young people with disabilities, as Director of Business Services.

Campbell has lived in Stoughton for 13 years and was a parent governor at two of the Athena schools for almost five years. This included chairing Stoughton's Children & Learning Committee and representing Northmead on the Joint Governors' Council.

 

Chetan Modi

Chetan ModiChetan Modi has had a highly diverse career, spanning roles and geographies. He was most recently a Managing Director at Moody's Investors Service, where he ran the European leveraged finance team, opened the company's India office, and was also in the leadership team for a global business transformation of the group's global structure, processes and IT.

He has also worked as a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey; in oil exploration in Africa and the Middle East with Halliburton; and in the power industry - doing trading and international business development (mostly in Latin America) - with PowerGen. Chetan also spent a number of years working on global project finance deals, with PowerGen, Rolls Royce and Moody's.

Chetan also volunteers as an event first-aider with the St John Ambulance.

 

Susie Smillie

SSmillieSusie is a founding member of the Athenas Schools Trust. She has been a school governor for 11 years and was Chair of governors for Shalford Infant School for the last 4 years. She has lived in Guildford for 27 years and has a daughter currently studying for her A levels.

Susie has worked for British Airways for 32 years in Inflight Customer Experience. In her time off she also coaches synchronised swimming and is a Swim England official performing Chief recorder duties at synchronised swimming competitions nationally.

 

Michael Uzielli

M UzielliMichael Uzielli is the Group Chief Financial Officer of Cognita Ltd, an international network of 71 schools with over 43,000 children in eight countries.  His previous roles include Chief Financial Officer of Heathrow Airport and Finance Director of British Gas.    

Michael qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Touche Ross and has a Modern Languages degree from Cambridge. 

He lives in Guildford and has three children, one of whom is a current pupil at Guildford County.  In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf and keeping fit.

 

Suzanna Woodhouse

Suzanna has lived in Pirbright for 15 years and has three school-aged children.  Before joining the Board of Trustees, Suzanna was a governor at Pirbright Village Primary School where she served two terms of office between 2009 and 2018.  During her time as a governor at Pirbright, Suzanna's roles included Chair of the Children & Learning Committee and Vice-Chair.  

Suzanna is a practising lawyer specialising in Real Estate.  She currently works in the City but has also worked in the local area where she gained experience of advising schools on development projects and land issues.

Joint Governors' Council

joint governors' council (JGC) is made up of two representatives from each member school ensuring that the voices of local governors are heard as they communicate with the Trust and the Headteachers’ group. The JGC's key role is to ensure that the knowledge and requirements of individual schools are fairly represented in the MAT.

 

Sarah Hardcastle (Chair)

Sarah has been a governor at Shalford Infant School since 2015.  She has been part of theGoverning Body Learning and Pupil Welfare Committee and Finance and Resources Committee and is now Chair of Governors.  She works as a producer at the BBC.

 

Paul Croft

Paul lives in the Stoughton area of Guildford with his wife and two young daughters, one of whom attends Northmead Junior School where he has been a governor since 2017. He works for a global advisory, broking and solutions company as a software engineer where he leads a small team tasked with protecting company revenues through software licensing enforcement. His interest in child development and education is the result of his daughters' participation in the education system and his wife's learnings as part of her psychology degree.

 

Julia Douetil

Julia retired at the end of 2016 as Director of the International Literacy Centre at University College London Institute of Education, after almost 40 years as a teacher and teacher educator.  For 25 of those years Julia was the national leader of Reading Recovery, a programme for young children who find reading and writing difficult. 

Julia lives in Pirbright where she is very involved in the local community as editor of the church and village newsletter, church bell tower captain and a member of the community Gospel Choir.  Julia feels very honoured to be a governor for Pirbright Village Primary school and hope that she makes a worthwhile contribution to the life and success of the school. It is a joy and a pleasure to be a part of the school, especially working with our delightful children and inspirational teachers.

 

Rob Edwards

Rob Edwards has been a governor at Stoughton Infant School since September 2017, where his eldest son is currently a pupil. Rob works in the Retirement Life Insurance Industry and is a qualified Actuary. This experience helps Rob to focus on school finances to ensure schools are equipped to provide the best education for their children given the resources available.

 

Mark Grimmett

Mark Grimmett is a mathematics teacher at Guildford County School, having taught there for nearly four years. He has been a staff governor since September 2018 and has recently joined the JGC. Prior to teaching, Mark worked for an international investment bank for four years, gaining experience within quality assurance and governance. Currently studying for a MA Education in Leading Innovation and Change, Mark feels it is important to always challenge yourself and continually strive for improvement. It is for this reason that he also leads the Duke of Edinburgh's Award to provide additional learning opportunities for students of all abilities.

 

Jennifer Obaditch

Jennifer Obaditch has worked in the education sector for 17 year, joining the profession from a career in IT and telecoms. She has wide ranging experience of teaching, management and leadership in the secondary and FE sector. She currently works for an examinations board where she is Head of Curriculum for a number of qualifications. She is a trust appointed governor and Vice Chair at Guildford County School, sitting on the Strategy and Planning committee and the Learning and Achievement committee. She also Chairs of the Athena Schools Trust Joint Governors' Council.

 

Henrietta Stock

Henrietta is vice-chair at Shalford Infant School where she has been a parent governor since 2015. She works as an energy engineer in the water industry and has three children of primary school age.

AST Heads

AST puts the education of young people first, driven by the headteachers’ group, comprised of the head teachers, or head of school, from member schools. The group drives the school improvement and academic strategies of the MAT: monitoring standards and ensuring optimum collaboration between schools to enhance education and best practice in school management. 

 

Debbie Brown

I am very proud to be Head teacher at Northmead Junior School where I have worked for many years. I am passionate about providing exciting and challenging learning opportunities for all as I believe all children have the right to learn and achieve, to the best of their ability in a safe and happy environment. Northmead is an inclusive, nurturing school where every child is valued as a unique individual.

 

Sarah Carrington

Sarah is in her second year of headship at Stoughton Infants and is thoroughly enjoying leading this wonderful school.  Before this, Sarah was a Deputy Headteacher of a large primary school in Woking, where she worked for 15 years.  Whilst there she took on many roles which included: Assistant Head for key stage 2, SENCO and Inclusion Lead, Specialist Leader of Education (providing support for other schools) and before she left she was seconded twice as an interim headteacher to provide leadership support for schools in times of challenge. 

 

Gavin Dutton

I have been the headteacher at Pirbright Village Primary School since 2015 and have been a teacher in Surrey for over 15 years, having taught across the foundation stage, Key Stage 1 & Key Stage 2. During my previous leadership roles, I worked alongside other schools as a Specialist Leader of Education where I supported teaching and learning in a variety of settings to drive improvement. Currently, I find myself in a privileged position working alongside the Pupil Premium Champions across all of the Athena Trust primary schools which gives me the opportunity to see learning across the MAT. I am passionate about creative learning and ensuring that pupils have an exciting and engaging curriculum. I think that a child’s time at primary school is one of the most important and formative parts of their life and that they should be given the chance to explore who they are and what is important to them as well as build the foundations for being life long learners who contribute fully to society.

 

Michelle Dutton

Michelle Dutton has been the Headteacher at Shalford Infant School for the last six years. During her 20+ years in teaching, she has worked across all key stages within the Primary phase in Surrey schools.  She is passionately inclusive and has always sought to develop creativity and excitement for learning in all children, whatever their starting points or needs.   She is very grateful to work with talented, dedicated, hard-working and supportive staff, governors, parents and of course children.  Working with other schools is a privilege and a great way to keep a bigger perspective on education.

 

Steve Smith

Qualifying as a Geography teacher in 2001, Steve spent eight years honing his craft in the classroom.  During this time, he gained a Masters degree in Educational Leadership.  Steve has led on teacher induction, careers education and served as a governor of two secondary schools.  He has also led and delivered all three levels of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and has a passion for learning outside the classroom.  In 2009 he began a new role as Head of Geography, then married his wife in 2010, before moving into the first of two Assistant Headships in 2011.  The first of his three children arrived in 2013 (the others appearing in 2015 and 2017), when he also began his NPQH.  His Deputy Headship of Guildford County School started in 2014 and he successfully completed his NPQH in 2015.  Four enjoyable years at County followed and he was delighted to be appointed Head of School at County in May of 2018, where he continues to happily serve today.

AST Executive Team

Our executive team supports headteachers and schools deliver an excellent standard of education across the whole trust.

Through partnership, systems leadership and shared accountability, the team establish the Trust's ways of working; implementing systems and structures which benefit children’s education, deliver smooth financial operation and improve school performance by investing in training and mentoring school staff.

 

Jack Mayhew

Jack MayhewJack Mayhew is the founding Executive Headteacher of Athena Schools Trust and brings significant experience of school leadership from both the secondary and primary sector. A teacher for more than 20 years, involved in school leadership for over half that time and a head, of one description or another, for almost 8 years, across three different schools, he is pleased to form Athena with like-minded individuals and schools seeking a new collaborative multi-academy trust model.

Jack has experience of school leadership in a variety of contexts and varying educational stages. He has experience of forming a multi-academy trust team before joining Guildford County – a school he led to outstanding Ofsted status in 2017.

The formation of the Athena Schools Trust in 2018 is part of a shared vision for education which believes we are ‘better together’. The best way to face the challenges facing schools in the current climate is through collaboration, honesty and high expectations.

 

Patrick Overy

Patrick OveryPatrick is the Operations Director for Athena Schools Trust. Patrick was previously School Business Manager for Guildford County School and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Trust from previous roles, including as an Operations Manager within the electronics industry and, as a volunteer, as the vice-chair of a national youth organisation. Patrick trained as a Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineer.

Patrick is an accredited School Resource Management Advisor and provides support to schools on behalf of the Department for Education to assist them in making the most effective possible use of resources.

Patrick’s role is to ensure that the Trust provides effective support to our schools, enabling them to offer the best possible learning experiences for children and young people.

 

Jane Abbott

Jane AbbottJane has been supporting Athena Schools Trust since September 2019 as the Secondary School Improvement Adviser. Prior to this, Jane was Headteacher at Woking High School, a post she held for 13 years. She was also appointed as an NLE in 2017.

Jane has considerable experience in secondary school education, having been a teacher for 38 years and having held senior leadership positions for 23 years.

Jane is committed to school improvement at every level and to supporting school leaders. She has a passion for curriculum design and development and her motivation is to instill a belief into students, staff and whole school communities that they can all be exceptional.

 

Sarah Allen

Sarah AllenSarah is a qualified accountant who joined the trust as Finance Officer following four and a half years as School Business Manager at Shalford Infant School. Prior to this she worked as a Financial Controller and has over 15 years of commercial finance experience gained in the private sector.

Sarah believes great financial management can help the trust deliver the best outcomes for its children.

 

Nicky Evans

N EvansNicky joined Guildford County School in October 2002 as a part-time Office Assistant.  In October 2005 she was appointed PA to the Headteacher encompassing the Admissions Officer role.  Nicky is now the point of contact within Athena for all admissions and exclusions queries.

She has worked for Jack Mayhew since September 2013 and is supporting him in his Executive Headteacher position.

 

Sarah Mackenzie

S MackenzieSarah is a qualified HR professional who joined Guildford County School in April 2015, following work as School Business Manager at Queen Eleanor’s Junior School for six years.

Prior to this she worked as a Personnel Manager at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital for over ten years.

 

Carol Pearce

Carol PearceCarol has been supporting Athena Schools Trust since  September 2018, adding a wealth of educational leadership experience to the team.  Her passion is to support school leaders, including governors, to be the best they can be; continually improving the provision they offer their children so that they thrive.

Carol’s experience includes being a teacher across the entire age range (Nursery through to Secondary), Headteacher, Service Leader for Education Standards within a local authority, School Improvement Partner, a National Leader of Governance, a Trainer delivering National School Leadership Programmes and a Trainer in Neuro Linguistic Programming.

 

Dee Stevens

Dee StevensDee joins Athena as the Compliance Officer bringing skills she has acquired from her technical background in software development and business analysis, providing computerised solutions to clients' business requirements and from her extensive experience in ongoing customer support and business development.  

School Business Managers

An operations group, headed by the AST’s finance director, is comprised of the business managers and bursars of the member schools, plus appropriate co-opted professionals. Its responsibilities include ensuring that all schools are financially viable, examining and progressing synergies across the MAT and ensuring services, such as HR and payroll, are effectively run and monitored.

 

Patrick Overy 

Patrick is the Operations Director for Athena Schools Trust.  Patrick was previously School Business Manager for Guildford County School for three and a half years.  Coming from an Operations Manager role in the private sector Patrick brings a wealth of knowledge to the Trust.

 

Mark Cheesman

Mark is the SBM at Guildford County School.

 

Lauraine Banks

Lauraine joined Shalford Infant School as School Business Manager in May 2019. She is a qualified accountant with a variety of business experience including several media sector companies and management consultants. She is also the treasurer of her local residents' association.

 

Helana Muller

Helana joined Pirbright Village Primary School in April 2018 as School Business Manager. She previously worked for the Xavier Catholic Education Trust at St Anne's Catholic Primary School. She took a career break to look after her two children who both attended Pirbright Village Primary School. She lives locally and has always been involved in the school and community, most notably as Treasurer of the PTA and local tennis club and as a School Governor. She is a qualified accountant with previous corporate experience as a Financial Controller in a number of various industries ranging from Online Gaming, Manufacturing and Hospitality.

 

Marion Parish 

Marion has worked within Stoughton Infant School since 2005 as a School Business Manager and completed her Certificate of School Business Management in 2007.  Previously she worked within the banking and finance sector at Citicorp, and as a PA to two Directors in a local building firm.  She lives locally and both her grown children attended Stoughton, Northmead and Guildford County Schools.

 

Deborah Cole 

Deborah is the School Business Manager at Northmead Junior School.