Our People

Our Trustees, staff and associates are all credible School and MAT Leaders that have personal and organisational expertise, and are passionate about raising standards in education.


Saeed Atcha MBE DL

Chair of Trustees

I am the CEO of Youth Leads UK, an MBE recipient, and a Deputy Lieutenant in Greater Manchester. My commitment to youth empowerment extends through my roles as a trustee for various charities, including Generation, Education & Employers, and Migrant Leaders. With a journey marked by overcoming adversity, I continue to champion education and collaboration, making decisions in the corridors of power. As a former Social Mobility Commissioner for the DFE I have experience of working with schools and MATs and I welcome the opportunity to Chair Inspiring Leaders. 

Andy Burns (OBE)

Founding Trustee

I have been Principal of The Redhill Academy since 2004, an NLE since 2009 and am currently Executive Principal of The Redhill Trust.
I believe that school leadership is all about leading the extended team of staff towards a clearly defined core purpose of raising student achievement. Everything else must be peripheral to this. Yet to accomplish this goal, our future leaders will need a complex range of skills including clear communication, decision making, emotional intelligence and trust-building. I am confident that the Inspiring Leaders programmes will deliver these skills and more to participants.

Chris Wheatley (OBE)

Founding Trustee

I am Chief Executive of the Flying High Trust, having previously been headteacher of Cotgrave Candleby Lane School for over ten years and an NLE. I am also the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside representative on the Teaching School Council, coordinating the collaborative school led system.
I personally believe that effective school leadership is the single most important factor to achieving a successful school. I am determined to ensure that Inspiring Leaders create talented school leadership for the future. School leadership is safe in our hands.

Paul Stone

Founding Trustee

I am currently CEO of Discovery Trust, containing 15 schools in Leicestershire. Prior to this, I was a Headteacher for 16 years in two small rural primaries and lastly Kibworth CE Primary School. I believe developing high-quality leaders is essential for schools and trusts to move forward and ultimately for children to reach their potential. 

Mark Mallender

Strategic Partner Trustee

I am the CEO of Djanogly Learning Trust which is home to a family of schools across Nottingham and Derbyshire. Prior to this I was involved in the creation of a Multi Academy Trust across Derby City and Derbyshire and later became the CEO, growing the Trust to 30+ schools including the opening of a brand-new secondary school as part of the wave thirteen free school programme. Prior to my Chief Exec roles, I was a Headteacher of two different schools over a period of ten years and then a Senior School Improvement Officer for a Local Authority. Through Inspiring Leaders we can ensure that our existing leaders are well supported, and future leaders are spotted, nurtured and developed to enable children and young people across our region to flourish.



Sian Hampton

Strategic Partner Trustee

I am currently CEO of Archway Learning Trust and have over 25 years’ experience working in schools in the East Midlands region. I have been active in school leadership for almost 15 years and is a designated National Leader of Education. I’ve overseen the development of Bluecoat Academy from one school to ten schools, including a brand new primary school. In less than three years a sponsored school in the Multi Academy Trust  moved from Special Measures to Good and there are plans for further growth.


Liz Anderson


I am the former CEO of Djanogly Learning Trust, a multi-academy trust based across Nottingham and Derbyshire. A former headteacher and NLE, my mantra is “we always put children first” and all decisions at every level are filtered through this belief. It is my passion to make a difference and ensure that all children get the same opportunities to succeed at a high level.  I now operate as an educational consultant sharing my expertise with school and MAT Leaders in the region.

Julie Rosborough


I am the MBA Portfolio Lead at Nottingham Trent University. The Executive MBA is underpinned by the Senior Leadership Masters Degree Apprenticeship and supported by the Chartered Management Institute, much of my time is spent managing those partnerships. During my 11 year academic career, I have designed, recruited students, delivered and assessed courses at Masters level. 

Sarah Lorking


I have worked as a finance professional for over 20 years and led numerous teams in various organisations. I have spent most of my career working in the NHS and Healthcare, and more recently in the Education sector and charities sector. I am passionate about leadership development, especially those working in MAT central teams and know how important all staff are in making a difference to children’s lives.


Sam Strickland


I am the Principal of a large all-through school and has helped to guide its GCSE results from the bottom 20% nationally to the top 20% and A Level outcomes to the top 5% nationally.  I served as an Associate Principal, with GCSE and A Level results under my tenure receiving commendation from the DFE, Nick Gibb and the SSAT. I organise of ResearchED Northampton am the  author of Education Exposed, Education Exposed 2, The Behaviour Manual and They Don’t Behave for Me. I have had my educational resources and research published and I regularly deliver courses and keynotes nationally, serving as a lead facilitator for a variety of NPQs.



Central Team

James Brown

Managing Director

I have worked in the schools and MATs sector since 2007 working in a range of contexts across the region. I am passionate about children getting the best possible start in life and the role that teachers and leaders play in making this a reality.

Prior to joining Inspiring Leaders, I was a Teaching School Director and Deputy CEO at Discovery Trust and established the Inspiring Leaders Teacher Training (SCITT) in 2014.

I use the experiences I have gained in these roles to ensure Inspiring Leaders is a well led organisation, helping us to become the partnership of choice in the region for aspirant teachers and MAT leaders.

Ben Jordan

Operations Manager

I have responsibility for the operational management of Inspiring Leaders which includes a wide range of duties including communications, marketing, financial management and importantly supporting our partners and colleagues. I have worked in the education sector for 10 years and am a qualified teacher, project manager and coach. I  am a passionate learner and read extensively about leadership and innovation which helps me to shape my work and the work of Inspiring Leaders.

Dirk Smith

SCITT Director

I am passionate about the outcomes and lives of children. I believe that my role overseeing our teacher training programme provides me with the best platform to have the greatest impact. I strive to ensure that our programme is innovative and sector leading, with a structure of quality assurance that secures the best standard of provision for our trainee teachers.


Associate Leaders

Our Associate Leaders support key pieces of work we undertake and add valuable expertise and capacity to Inspiring Leaders.

Richard Pierpoint

Regional Director, Redhill Academy Trust

I bring an experienced and successful open minded view on school improvement with a deep rooted belief in a culture of no excuses.

Juliet Clark

Trust Director for EYFS, Redhill Academy Trust

As an Early Years specialist I have been delivering training in this area for the Local authority, Redhill Trust and have designed my own training and am also delivering the NPQEYL.


Michelle Walshe

Chief Corporate Services Officer, Archway Learning Trust

With 20+ years of experience in the education sector I have a wide range of experience in leading highly professional services to our academies.

Carl Pattison

Strategic Lead for the Flying High English Hub, Flying High Partnership

With numerous years of primary teaching experience and headship behind me, I am able to offer whole school support and a deep understanding of the challenges schools face and I specialise in literacy and reading development.

Steve Orton

Chief Finance & Operations Officer, Discovery Trust

With over 10 years of experience of working within the sector, I have vast experience of financial and operational management and leadership for schools and MATs.

Paul Goodman

Deputy CEO, Flying High Partnership

I am very fortunate to be involved in growing a MAT from a single school to a partnership of 33, which has provided valuable insight on the opportunities and pitfalls to consider when growing a MAT.

Liz Anderson

Leadership Consultant

As a former MAT CEO and NLE, I have extensive experience of organisational leadership, MAT growth and leading significant school improvement. I believe that every community deserves a school they can be proud of.

Graeme Robins

Education Consultant and Leadership Coach

As former Director of Programmes with Inspiring Leaders, I have vast experience of designing and delivering leadership and coaching training for schools and MATs.

Chris Bruce

Deputy Trust Leader, Discovery Trust

As Deputy CEO of Discovery Trust, I lead specialised and SEND provision across 17 schools, spearheading successful collaborations, driving impactful improvements, and fostering inclusivity.