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Central Team

Amanda Nicholson OBE – Chief Executive Officer

Amanda Nicholson OBE – Chief Executive Officer

As a Headteacher I have led my schools through successive outstanding Ofsted inspections. I took Oakwood Academy through academy conversion in 2012, then opened a 6th Form College and Primary Department. Oakwood Academy was also a National Teaching School and I was the NLE for several years. We have supported schools and teachers across our region and helped bring through the next generation of teachers. I was an Ofsted Inspector between 2018-2019 until I became the CEO of Kings Academy Trust and Executive Principal of Oakwood Academy.

Kassia Academy was re-brokered into our trust in 2020 and we opened a 19-25 provision called the Excel Hub for young adults with disabilities. We applied to the DfE for a Free School and Acorn Academy is due to open in September 2024.

I have worked in education for over 27 years and have worked in a wide variety of settings, across all ages and all abilities. I am committed to ensuring that all young people get the best education possible and we give children the start in life they deserve. I was privileged to be named in the Queens new year’s honours list in 2021 for services to education. It is an honour to serve the most vulnerable children in areas of significant deprivation.

David Donnelly – Chief Operating Officer/Estates Manager

David Donnelly – Chief Operating Officer/Estates Manager

I have worked in special education for over 20 years. Although I have had many different roles within schools, my specialism is in the pastoral care of children and young people and working teachers to support and engage with pupils with complex learning difficulties and disabilities.

Over this time, I have developed and maintained provision within schools to support pupils’ social, emotional, behavioural and mental health needs and put in place, facilities and alternative education programmes for children with complex needs which has enabled these pupils to fully engage in learning and school life.

My current role as COO, involves with closely with the head teachers of the schools within Trust on all operational matters, including, HR, Health & Safety, Project Management, Site Management and ICT.

Jonathan Poole – Chief Finance Officer

Jonathan Poole – Chief Finance Officer

I joined Kings Academy Trust as CFO in the summer of 2021, bringing with me a wealth of experience in education finance garnered over a twenty-five year career.

There are several highlights in my background that I believe it is useful to share. I spent the first part of my career providing financial support services to the Grant-Maintained sector (in many ways a precursor to Academies and Multi-Academy Trusts), and I later went on to manage the support services division of this company.

I was then appointed as the Business Manager, and later Finance Director, of a prestigious north-west school (a state sector grammar consistently ranked in the top 10 schools nationally) before being a key part of the team that led the process to convert to Academy status, create a Multi-Academy Trust, and manage the incorporation of a further eight schools into the Trust.

A highlight in the later part of my career has been an 18-month period working as a freelance consultant to open a new school in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The school had a particular remit for improving the quality of Saudi girls’ education, which has historically lagged behind boys’ education, and I was proud that the school opened on time, within budget and effected positive social change.

I am delighted to have joined Kings’ Academy Trust, and I believe the ethos of the Trust echoes my own. I hope that my role in the organisation can help in some small way to improve the outcomes of the young people we serve.

Michelle Navin – Director of Safeguarding

Michelle Navin – Director of Safeguarding

I have worked for Oakwood Academy since 2010 and held many positions within this time. I started as a 1.1 worker progressing to Teaching assistant, learning mentor, lead learning mentor and inclusion manager/ Deputy safeguarding lead. I am also the staff governor, representing both staff and pupil voice to all governing bodies.

More recently, alongside my role as Inclusion Manager I have taken up the position of the Director of Trust Safeguarding, working for Kings Academy Trust, overseeing the safeguarding practices and procedures for all trust schools working in collaboration with them to ensure outstanding practice throughout.

From the moment I began my career at Oakwood, I realised my passion for supporting the most vulnerable young people in the community, being an advocate for them and their families to ensure their safety and inclusion, not just within an education environment but for their future lives.

Amanda Ellis – Director of Education

Amanda Ellis – Director of Education

I have dedicated the past 21 years of my career to working in SEND education. I began my journey as a Teaching Assistant in a mainstream high school, where I developed a passion for supporting students with diverse learning needs.

After qualifying as a teacher, I transitioned into special education, a field I have now been immersed in for 18 years. My roles have spanned both pastoral care and quality of education, allowing me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted needs of SEND students.

For six years, I served as Deputy Head, where I honed my leadership skills and contributed to strategic planning and the overall improvement of educational outcomes for our students. Additionally, I have worked as a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE), providing school-to-school support specifically focused on SEND. This role has allowed me to collaborate with various educational settings, sharing best practices and driving improvements in SEND provision.

I am also a trained NASEN SEND Reviewer, which qualifies me to conduct thorough SEND reviews across different educational institutions. I have completed these reviews in multiple settings, helping schools enhance their SEND support. 

Furthermore, I have delivered SEND support CPD sessions to mainstream schools, equipping colleagues with the knowledge and skills needed to support SEND students in their classrooms effectively.

In my current role, I serve as the Director of Education for Kings Academy Trust, responsible for the quality of education across all our schools. Our Trust is blended, encompassing special, alternative provisions, and mainstream schools. This position allows me to oversee and enhance the educational experiences and outcomes for a diverse range of students.

John Proctor – Director of Data/ICT

John Proctor – Director of Data/ICT

I have worked in education for over 30 years and have had a varied career working in a variety of settings; schools, colleges, training providers and local authorities.

I am a former senior leader of a large mainstream high school in Wigan and have been Data and Exams Manager at Oakwood Academy since 2016. The move into SEND provision is something that I had always looked for and I am delighted to now have a Trust-wide role and be working with colleagues in the other establishments.

I am passionate about making a difference for all young people but especially for those who need that extra help to succeed.

Lindsay Regan – Executive Headteacher

Lindsay Regan – Executive Headteacher

Lindsay graduated from Salford University with a degree in Visual Arts before qualifying as a Teacher of Art from MMU in 2006. Lindsay enjoyed 10 years of teaching Art as an Assistant Headteacher in a Secondary Mainstream School in Rochdale before relocating and joining the team at Kassia in 2016. Lindsay is passionate about working with the most vulnerable children and strives to improve their life chances through therapeutic care and inclusive education.

Miriam Newman- HR and Compliance Officer

Miriam Newman- HR and Compliance Officer

I graduated from the University of Wales Aberystwyth with a BSc (Hons), followed by a PGCE. I have gained over fourteen years of experience in education and teaching as a class teacher and tam leader with various age groups and different types of schools, both in the UK and abroad.

Besides achieving educational and teaching targets, I have been involved with planning, budgeting, coordinating and organising a wide array of activities encompassing everything from small meetings to whole school events. I have also had responsibility for writing complex detailed subject and school policies shared with SLT, governors and parents. I joined The Kings Academy Trust family officially in 2021.

Roshna Kakkat- Finance Officer

Roshna Kakkat- Finance Officer

I joined Kings Academy Trust in December 2022 as Trust Finance Assistant following the completion of my Masters in International Business. My journey in Finance and Administration began in 2018, concurrently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Additionally, I’ve achieved milestones in the ACCA with the completion of a few papers. I am proud to be contributing to a team dedicated to shaping a brighter future for the next generation.