The Strategic Board of Trustees is responsible for, and oversees, the management and administration of the Trust and the academies run by the Trust. The Strategic Board consists of the following:
Michael Tait (Chair, re-appointed 23 September 2020)
Mike is an international chairman with 23 years’ experience in building or turning around private equity backed companies. Mike has worked with many leading names in private equity such as 3i, Electra Europe, Sovereign Capital, Advent International and Milestone Capital, and banks such as RBS, Hambros and Investec.
Most recently, Mike was chairman of 23.5 Degrees, the leading UK Starbucks franchise network where he presided over a period of considerable growth to 40 stores and Drive-Thrus and the achievement of considerable growth in revenues and profits.
Christina Kenna (CEO and Trustee, appointed 1 April 2013)
Christina is the CEO and Accounting Officer of the HEART Education Trust. With over 25 years’ experience in education and 18 years at senior leadership level in primary and middle schools, Christina is also an ex Ofsted Inspector, a Local Leader of Education (NCSL accredited) and a Pupil Premium Reviewer. Christina founded the Trust and project-managed the academy conversion of the Trust’s sponsor academy.
During her time as headteacher of the Trust’s sponsor academy (Heartsease Primary Academy), Christina took the school from “well below” to “at and above” National floor targets in less than five years, with the school being recognised as within the top 20% in the country for securing improvement for deprived pupils (2013). Christina led the school through three successful Ofsted Inspections, with judgements of ‘Good’ and ‘Good with Outstanding Features’ and finally outstanding in 2016. She led and managed the amalgamation of 3 separate schools into an all through primary/nursery and a PFI new build. She also increased number of pupils on roll from under-subscribed to over-subscribed.
Christina holds a B.ed (Hons) Degree, NPQH and Professional Qualification for School Inspection (PQSI). Her strengths lie in school improvement, change management and training future leaders. Christina has been a Magistrate (Justice of the Peace) for the West Suffolk Bench. She has a post graduate certificate in Professional Writing and was previously a member of several operatic societies.
Laura Myles (Trustee, appointed 6 March 2017)
Laura currently works at a HE/FE College in Norwich. She has previously worked at a high school in Norwich and with the associated feeder schools, this included working with groups of Senior Leaders, Governors and specialist staff. She has experience of working with schools in disadvantaged areas, including those with higher than the national average for SEN and Pupil Premium. Laura has experience of organising large events, educational visits and enrichment for pupils. Laura has been a member of the Local Governing Body and Local Advisory Board for Heartsease Primary Academy since January 2015, and more recently she has held the role of Chair of the Triad 1 Local Advisory Board across Heartsease and Lingwood Primary Academy.
Tim Payne (Trustee, appointed 12 June 2017)
Tim is an experienced Marketing Executive with over 30 years’ international experience in the IT Industry. Recognised as one of the top B2B marketers in Europe. Valued as an open, highly analytical, innovative leader with a successful record of marketing, business development and M&A experience gained with over 30 acquisitions. Success evidenced by having managed annual budgets ($70m that delivered and $5.1bn of marketing pipeline).
With an in-depth technical knowledge of driving the Digital Transformation of marketing in EMEA, Tim successfully changed market perception of Cloud solutions to that of a leader; launched cutting-edge Channel Marketing programs rated highly by Analyst firm IDC; established EMEA Social Media strategy & global execution Hub and launched employee & partner advocacy programs reaching millions of contacts per week.
John Crofts (Trustee, appointed 24 July 2019)
Jo Knowlden (Trustee, appointed 7 April 2020 and appointed Vice Chair on 16 December 2020)
Jo is now semi retired but has a background in business administration, finance and banking. She has previously worked as Chief Financial Officer for a Multi-Academy Trust in Norfolk. Other roles include Finance Manager for a local arts based charity, Business Manager for both a Middle and High school and a period of self employed private practice. She has experience in Finance, Health and Safety and HR.
Frances is a fully qualified Chartered Management Accountant with over 15 years public sector experience including the NHS and Children’s Services. She currently works for Adult Social Care at Norfolk County Council.
Frances has gained varied experience and skills, with a specific knowledge in maintaining the Schools’ funding model for distribution of funds to schools and Academies in line with the Department of Education’s framework.
She has two small children and lives in the Lingwood area. She and her family love what Norfolk has to offer and spend much of their free time walking in the beautiful countryside, playing on the beaches and experiencing occasional camping trips.
Julie is an Education Consultant. She has been headteacher of a primary school and has held senior management positions as an Associate General Adviser, Primary Strategy Consultant Leader and School Workforce Adviser. She has specific expertise in Primary Curriculum and Early Years. Julie served as a Her Majesty’s Inspector for 12 years retiring from this role on 31 December 2019. She spent eight of these years on Ofsted’s central training team. Julie has trained over 200 HMI, and over 2000 Ofsted Inspectors. She continues to inspect schools as an Ofsted Inspector.
Hazel is the Trust’s Company Secretary and Chief Operating Officer. Educated at Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge, Hazel spent over three years working at the forefront of academy conversion, at one of the top law firms in the sector. Her background means that she has an in-depth knowledge of the obligations that the Trust faces as an academy, a charitable trust, a company and an educational provider. Prior to her legal role in the academy sector, Hazel gained experience in business development and turnaround, having worked in a leading UK bank where she managed a portfolio of commercial clients in financial distress. Hazel was a director of the Trust for six months, until she stepped down from the Strategic Board to accept her role as the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer.
In the past 12 months the following Trustees have resigned from the Strategic Board:
- J Steward (resigned 16 August 2020)
- D Tibble (resigned 23 September 2020)
- J Bell (removed 23 September 2020)
- J Morse (resigned 9 November 2020)
- J McAtear (removed 13 January 2020)