Trust Staff (Central team)
Mrs Annie Wiles - Chief Executive Officer
Annie trained as a primary teacher in the 1980s and has since taught in a range of community and church schools in the UK, Germany and Cyprus before settling in Kent. She has taught the full age range from 3-18 and TEFL. She was a Headteacher for 10 years. During this time she became a Director of Shepway Teaching School, one of the first cohort of Teaching Schools, with responsibility for leading Initial Teacher Training. She was also an LLE before being seconded to the Diocese of Canterbury part-time during the final 18 months of Headship. Initially, this was to oversee school improvement for the 103 church schools across the Diocese but the role changed to become one of developing the Multi-Academy Trust. Annie was appointed as full-time CEO of the Trust in September 2015.
Ms Marian Scally - CFO and Finance & Business Director
Marian was our first appointment and joined the trust in November 2014. Marian has over twenty years’ experience of finance and business within education at both primary and secondary level. She was involved in the strategic implementation of academy status in her previous role and was seconded to the Kent Catholic Schools’ Partnership as Interim Business Director to help set up the infrastructure of their multi-academy trust. Marian was a School Business Manager Advocate for the National College for four years and supported schools and individuals across the South East of England. She has spoken at national conferences and delivered training sessions in financial matters to aspirant school leaders and business managers. She became a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) in 2012 and continues to support individual leaders and schools in their business and financial needs, particularly exploring different models of financial sustainability and staffing structures.
Mr Nicholas Morgan - Head of Governance and Estates
Nick Morgan joined us on 1st September 2017 as Head of Governance and Estates. A familiar face to many members of our Local Governing Bodies Nick has been involved in supporting governors and governing bodies for both the Diocese of Canterbury and Kent County Council. He comes with a decade of experience supporting Governing Bodies in understanding their roles and duties and guiding Multi Academy Trusts to better understand their lines of accountability. Nick applied for the role because of his involvement in the early days of the Trust and recognising what opportunities are available by being part of a MAT. He is IOSH trained in School Health and Safety and runs various forums for site staff and governors.
Mrs Lorna Priddle - Advisor to the Board
As an Executive Headteacher in Kent, Lorna’s ability to transform failing schools into higher performers is proven by results: from special measures to requires improvement with leadership graded as good in 16 months (Archbishop Courtenay C.E. Primary School) from Notice to improve too good in two years (St Michaels C.E .Junior School) from cause for concern to outstanding in 4 years (St Michaels C.E. Infant School). In January 2014 her Infant school gained its third outstanding OFSTED in seven years.
Lorna achieved these results by having high expectations, mentoring and coaching staff to become good and outstanding classroom practitioners, having a passion and vision for excellence in education and growing leaders to enable sustainability throughout three schools that she has led. For example, four senior leaders from her former schools have gone onto headships and head of school in Kent schools.
As a National Leader of Education from 2008-2015, she collaborated with schools across Kent Sussex and Surrey to improve standards of achievement and attainment. Classroom practitioners, Headteachers, and LA officers came to observe outstanding practice across the three schools but especially Key Stage one. She was also commissioned through the National College to go and support schools to improve standards. She supported leadership and management and teaching and learning in several schools over a period of 7 years. This required a high level of competence in interpreting data, the ability to hold challenging conversations with leaders in vulnerable schools, to conduct work scrutiny and lesson observations and be able to change a culture in a school to one of positivity and success.
Lorna has met with the DFE to discuss how to raise standards across the country and met with a previous Secretary of State, Michael Gove, regarding educational policy. In 2012, she completed the Pacific Institute Investment in Excellence facilitator training programme. This was an initiative by Kent to deliver a world-class programme for coaching and mentoring leaders in education. She successfully completed the programme and was able to put this into practice in training sessions across four schools in Kent.
St Michael’s C.E. Schools Federation has been recognised nationally and internationally in a historic publication on the history of Parliament (2015). This book has been distributed to all members of the United Nations, UK and overseas embassies and Members of Parliament. This recognised the performance of the St Michaels C.E. Schools Federation and the role it played in leading by using the teachings of hope, faith and charity. St Michael’s was one of only 25 schools chosen to appear in this prestigious publication. It recognised excellence in education and the impact the school’s ethos and culture had on the community.
As a School Improvement Partner for the Aquila she provide professional challenge and support for schools. She acts as a critical and professional friend to our schools, helping leadership teams to evaluate school performance, identify priorities for improvement and plan for effective change.
Mr Chris Clarke - Educational Psychologist
Since completing his degree is psychology at the University of East London Chris has worked in education in various roles for the last 15 years. Chris started off as a special educational needs teaching assistant in a specialist provision attached to a mainstream school working his way towards the graduate teacher training programme. However, research and the application of psychology were at the heart of what Chris wanted to do. When he left teaching, Chris worked on two large scale research projects: researching the outcomes of all children accessing Tier 2 and 3 child mental health services and investigating the impact of the Leuven Scales on children’s development in Kent. After completing these research projects Chris was then successful in applying for the doctorate in Child, Adolescent and Educational Psychology at the Institute of Eduction, which is now part of University College London. Chris’ thesis investigated the outcomes of mental health strategies in children with autism, a topic Chris still retains a passion in. To date, Chris’ interest in research have resulted in publication in internationally respected journals such as the International Journal of Psychopharmacology and the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Chris has also published in professional journals such as the Journal of Educational Psychology in Practice.
Chris’ career then took him to work for Kent County Council where he worked as an educational psychologist for nearly nine years. During that time Chris became a member of the county crisis coordinator team working with and supporting schools who had experienced sudden or traumatic events. When Chris worked for Kent he was based in Ashford and built up a strong reputation as someone who was passionate about the inclusion of all children in schools, working closely with the local health teams and specialist teaching and learning services, with whom he still retains an excellent working partnership, to build on inclusive practices in the area. In September 2018, Chris joined the Aquila team and with works with the SENDCos, class teachers and head teachers to support inclusive practice throughout the Trust and beyond. Chris has developed a SENCo Forum within the Trust which aims to support collaborative working, supervision and training with the Trust.
Miss Sarah Idowu - Assistant Educational Psychologist
Sarah Idowu will be an Assistant Educational Psychologist at the trust from September 2021.
Since completing her undergraduate in Psychology and postgraduate in Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies, Sarah has continued to gain extensive experience professionally.
These various roles include, a Special Educational Needs Learning Support Assistant, Children’s Residential Support Worker, Youth Support Worker and most recently as a Welfare officer in Girls’ Secondary.
Sarah has been able to support Children and Young People (CYPs) over the years and gained insight into an array of social factors that are of impact, such as their relationship with families, reduction of physical functioning on mental health and the impact of social isolation due to the pandemic. Taking a holistic, person-centred approach further ignites Sarah’s passion for encouraging collaboration and innovation when uplifting marginalised voices.
Additionally, Sarah values the importance of anti-oppressive, person-centred practices and the removal of barriers for CYPs. She continues to implore learning, development and application when expanding awareness.
Thus, for The Psychologists 2020 ‘Voices in Psychology’ competition, the question proposed ‘What are the barriers to our profession and how can we remove them?’ and she was able to achieve runner-up with a thought-provoking piece that underpinned themes of inclusion, gender, race, equality and diversity. The need to advocate and aspire for equality and inclusivity within EP services is essential. Therefore, being a part of such a great trust which nurture, enriches and collaborates effectively, will equip and enable great education for all.
Mrs Tracey Howard - Senior Administrator & DPO
Tracey joined the Trust in February 2017. Tracey has had a career in administration and secretarial support spanning more than 30 years and has worked in a variety of highly pressurised environments where outstanding skills in organisation and time management have been essential in ensuring that deadlines and objectives are met. Prior to joining the trust she created and worked as the office manager for Shepway Teaching School Alliance for 5 years. In 2018 Tracey was appointed as the DPO for the Trust overseeing 14 schools.
Mrs Naomi Jackman - Payroll Manager
Naomi joined the trust in March 2016. Before working in education, she gained wide financial experience in various roles supporting finance operations in the private sector. She developed significant experience over 8 years in a variety of school settings. Just prior to joining the Trust team she was employed by Kennington CE Junior Academy as a Bursar supporting their financial and business management. Her experience and skills in understanding Academy finances at the front line, particularly during the transitional period of becoming a member of Aquila, has added significant strength to the team. She now supports all of our Academies with a multitude of business and finance matters.
Mrs Kerry Spendiff - Trust Finance Integration Manager
Kerry started her career in Barclays Bank progressing through all roles ending in securities and investments. She moved onto a sales role within a large manufacturing company supporting aerospace and defence clients across the country. After starting a family she decided to find a career compatible with family life and found herself in Reculver Primary school, eventually playing a key role in the transfer to academy status on 1 July 2015. Kerry advanced to the role of School Business Manager and in 2018 gained her Level 4 Diploma in School Business Management which has further enhanced her skills and knowledge. Kerry joined the Central Team in September 2021 to assist the Trust in the implementation, development and training on the new finance system, along with offering support to the CFO on a daily basis.
Mrs Lorraine Bondzie-Mensah - Business & Finance Administrator
Lorraine was appointed to the Trust in May 2017, she is AAT qualified and provides business and financial services support for 4 schools within the Trust.
Miss Daisy Cousins - Apprentice Finance & Administration Assistant
Daisy joined Aquila in April 2019 to complete a business administration apprenticeship. She used the experience to learn about working environments and adapting to the needs of the central teams varied workload. Since then Daisy has completed her business administration apprenticeship and has started completing an AAT apprenticeship. From this Daisy has started to help support the Aquila Finance team by providing services for one of the schools.
Mr Ian Young - Payroll & Finance Assistant
Ian has had extensive experience working in the education sector both as a qualified secondary teacher of Mathematics and working within the finance operations for both an independent school and a state school. Prior to this, Ian ran a successful children’s holiday camp for seven years
Ian joined Aquila in November 2020 as a Payroll and Finance Assistant and currently provides financial support for one of our schools and supports payroll for the wider trust. Ian is currently completing an AAT Level 4 apprenticeship which he will complete in July 2022.
Mrs Sandra Morgan - HR Manager
After a career as a bilingual secretary in the legal and paper trade sectors, Sandra changed direction in 2001 and moved into education working at All Saints’ Primary School which later amalgamated and became Archbishop Courtenay Primary School in 2005. She worked initially as a Teaching Assistant for 4 years before moving into the school office. Sandra played a key role in the transfer of Archbishop Courtenay Primary School to academy status when it became the first school to join Aquila on 1 September 2014. At this point Sandra moved into the role of School Business Manager and worked closely with Marian Scally to develop administrative and finance procedures to support other schools as they joined Aquila. In 2016 Sandra gained her Level 4 Diploma in School Business Management which has further enhanced her skills and knowledge. Sandra joined the Central Team in October 2018 where she works as HR Manager one day per week overseeing HR practices across Aquila.
Mrs Deborah Stryzyk - Local Governance Professional
Deborah has worked in various areas of the education sector during her entire career. She began working with governing boards in 2004 in the role of a Clerk. Deborah completed the Level 3 BTEC professional qualification in Clerking in 2006/7. From 2009 to 2011, Deborah worked with Kent County Council and Hampshire County Council as an assessor for its Professional Clerking Accreditation; she also had input in developing the training module.
Over the years Deborah has mentored new Clerks, continued to undertake numerous training modules to keep abreast of the constant changes in the education and governance landscape and she has continued to work with several academies and schools.
Mrs Lynette Higgs - Trust Governance Professional
Lynette joined the trust in March 2021. Having worked within the Education Sector for over 15 years, Lynette is an experienced Data Manager and Clerk having supported many LA Schools and Academy Trusts throughout the County
Mrs Kerry French - Local Governance Professional
Kerry joined the Trust in February 2021. Kerry had an extensive career in Sales and Purchasing within the Publishing and Print industry, and holds many industry related qualifications including CIPs accreditation. After leaving full time employment following the arrival of her youngest daughter, Kerry joined St Georges Primary School as Clerk in December 2018. She is currently studying for the NGA Development for Clerks qualification, and also works for a local Charitable Trust.