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Our Team

Central Team

Sarah Coote

Operations Director

Sarah’s specialist experience gained in her previous roles as Bursar and Company Secretary gives her the knowledge to fulfil the Operations Director role. Sarah is a qualified Company Secretary, was a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, and also holds a Certificate in Management through Henley College. She has worked in schools since 2009. The Operations Director role is to ensure the smooth transition of primary schools to Academy status and to assist with the overall governance and operation of each academy within Catalyst Academies Trust.

Sarah Lilley

Governance Manager

Sarah’s role as Governance Manager is to ensure excellent governance throughout the Trust and provide support to Trust schools. Sarah brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from her background in Business Administration within the private sector, which will complement her role within Catalyst Academies Trust. The Governance Manager role is to ensure that the schools within the Trust are compliant with statutory requirements, including websites and policies, and to provide clerking for all Trust schools.

Outreach Team

Tony Parfett

Tony recently assumed his role as CEO of the Trust, after 2 years as Headteacher at Quarry Hill Academy. During his time as Headteacher Quarry Hill Academy made great leaps in terms of pupil attainment and teaching quality, under his leadership the school has moved from Requires Improvement to Outstanding in just 2 years. He started his teaching career in 1999 specialising in EYFS and KS1. Tony recently focused his attention on the quality teaching in KS2, where he has over 14 years of experience to draw from. Tony gained the NPQH qualification which helped him develop knowledge around whole school leadership. He delivers courses for the National College including NPQML and NPQSL. He is currently working on the improvement of teaching through action research to raise attainment and progress. This approach was applied to rapidly improve standards in his own school and the outstanding practices developed are being shared throughout the Trust by mentoring and supporting of others to achieve the same successes. His recent appointment as a National Leader for Education further acknowledges the impact he has had not only in our Trust schools but also in schools and academies outside the partnership.

Rhys Latham

Rhys is Headteacher at Dilkes Academy and has been part of the team since 2005. Since joining Dilkes, and in his role as a trainer for National Science Learning Centre, his passion and drive to enthuse other individuals both teachers and children about Science, and make a difference to other schools in this curriculum area has shone through. Rhys has recently completed a Master’s in Education, whereby he recognises the importance of learning as a continuous journey. His role as Teaching School Lead has encouraged him to enthusiastically embrace outreach opportunities to other schools allowing him to spread excellent practice.

Sam Wakeling

Sam is Headteacher at Quarry Hill Academy. Sam's areas of expertise are in English and KS2. Sam has been an English leader and SLE for many years and has a Master’s degree in Education Management and an NPQH. Sam is the Deputy Head at Quarry Hill Academy and plays an active role in supporting other trust schools. As a leader, Sam has implemented many new successful initiatives, leading training sessions for teachers, students, NQTS, support staff and parents. Sam is an experienced practitioner who is passionate and dedicated in my work. Sam strives to inspire and enthuse children, to motivate them to become independent learners, to develop a life-long love of learning.

Our Directors

Tony Parfett

Chief Executive Officer

Tony recently assumed his role as CEO of the Trust, after 2 years as Headteacher at Quarry Hill Academy. During his time as Headteacher Quarry Hill Academy made great leaps in terms of pupil attainment and teaching quality, under his leadership the school has moved from Requires Improvement to Outstanding in just 2 years. He started his teaching career in 1999 specialising in EYFS and KS1. Tony recently focused his attention on the quality teaching in KS2, where he has over 14 years of experience to draw from. Tony gained the NPQH qualification which helped him develop knowledge around whole school leadership. He delivers courses for the National College including NPQML and NPQSL. He is currently working on the improvement of teaching through action research to raise attainment and progress. This approach was applied to rapidly improve standards in his own school and the outstanding practices developed are being shared throughout the Trust by mentoring and supporting of others to achieve the same successes. His recent appointment as a National Leader for Education further acknowledges the impact he has had not only in our Trust schools but also in schools and academies outside the partnership.

Lea Tyler

Director

Lea is currently Deputy Head in an Essex based school, with many years of experience in education. With a background of over 25 years’ experience as a Local Authority Governor, including Chair Governor of an outstanding school and Chair of a Shadow Governing Body. Lea is particularly interested in the development and aims of Catalyst Academies Trust.

Tim Drakes

Director

Tim has a background in the financial sector, holding numerous finance qualifications, including currently studying in his final year for a Law and Business with Accounting degree. His qualifications combined with his many years of experience in the legal field, bring a wealth of knowledge to Catalyst Academies Trust. Tim has a passion for voluntary work, with almost 10 years of practice in different communities, as well as being a Dilkes Academy Governor.

Keith Williams

Director

Keith has been a school governor for over 17 years, serving on various committees, including chair of finance committee and vice chair of the governing body of an outstanding school, dedicating his time and expertise to ensuring that staff receive the training and coaching they require. Keith brings many years of knowledge in project management and strategy planning to the Catalyst Board.

Darren Walters

Director

Darren has extensive experience in business planning and strategy organisation and, in addition, has served as a school governor for over 8 years including the role of Chair of Governors of an outstanding school. Darren has gained a Master’s degree in Automotive Systems Engineering, and used his experience and knowledge to assist with the creation of Multi Academy Trust. Darren has a close eye for detail, and is passionate about the role of professional development in maintaining outstanding leadership across the Trust.

Kevin Imbush

Director

Kevin has been in teaching since 1986 and has taught at a wide variety of schools in Inner London, Outer London, Essex, Southend and Thurrock. These have been a mixture of Roman Catholic, Church of England and community schools. Kevin has experience as a class teacher in all year groups from Y1 to Y6 and held responsibilities for most subjects at one time or another. Kevin has been at Somers Heath Primary School as Headteacher since 2010 during which time it has doubled in size. Kevin is passionate about raising aspirations in Thurrock and believes that the best education is one which enriches the whole child.

Mark Pettican

Director

Mark has worked across a number of industries including IT, Technology, Agriculture and Education. He has held numerous senior HR roles covering the UK, Europe and Globally. He specialises in Strategic HR and business, across all HR areas of operational HR and specialist areas such as Learning and Development, Talent and Organisational Development. In addition, Mark has also worked across Facilities management in a number of organisations.

Dan Foxwell-Jones

Director

Dan has been a school governor for 8 years and has been Chair of Governors for 5 years within Thurrock, recently joining the governing body of an outstanding school within Essex. Professionally Dan manages a successful national team of people within the retail construction industry, requiring strong communication skills, excellent time management and robust performance management - strengths he brings to the Board of Catalyst Academies Trust.

Donna Dalrymple

Director

Donna joins us bringing her extensive HR experience in the education and health sectors.  For the past three years she has held a senior HR role with a London-based Russell Group university and for 6 years held executive director posts within the further education sector.  In addition, Donna has over 15 years in HR management in the NHS.  Donna specialises in Employee Relations and Strategic HR Business Partnering - leading and supporting the creation and implementation of strategies for the attraction, retention, engagement and development of people. Donna is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

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