The effective governance of our schools is vital to their continued success. As such, we have a range of experienced and pro-active Trustees who know our schools well and champion for them to be leading schools within their communities. Please click on each Trustee’s name for their Register of Business Interests.
Stuart Crowther – Chair of the Board
Stuart was born in 1945 to a mining family in the South Yorkshire coalfield. After working for the National Coal Board for several years, Stuart attended university at the London School of Economics, graduating in 1970. Following Ph.D. research at the University of Leeds, Stuart taught Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology at several universities until retirement in 2008. Stuart also served as Justice of the Peace and Judge of the Family Court for 20 years until 2015. Voluntary activities since retirement: Educational: – Governor, St George’s Church of England Academy, Darlington (2005-2016) Chair of Governors, Mt Pleasant Primary School, Darlington (2009 – ) Governor, Hurworth Primary, Darlington (2011 – 2015) Chair of Board of Trustees, Lingfield Education Trust, Darlington (2014 – ) Others: – Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board, HMP Kirklevington, Yarm (2008 – 2015) Councillor, Middleton St George Parish Council, (2004 – 2011) Councillor, Low Dinsdale Parish Council, (2015)
Graham Fitzgerald – Vice Chair of the Board
Graham is a chartered accountant and a partner in Teesside-based accountancy firm Azets LLP, where he works closely with over 40 academy trusts across the north east as well as a wide variety of commercial organisations. He was Chair of Governors at Hurworth Primary before being appointed as a Trustee of the board at its inception. Graham is chair of the finance committee, where he brings his experience of academy finance and audit to the trust. He has a young daughter and in his spare time enjoys following cricket, supporting Middlesbrough FC and getting as much value as possible from his National Trust membership.
Kathleen Whitmore – Chair of Curriculum and Standards Committee
Kathleen Whitmore had been a Governor at Heathfield Primary School for a number of years before joining the MAT Board in 2014. She taught in a local Secondary School for many years and has now retired. She has a keen interest in the development of curriculum standards and pupil welfare and to this end is chair of these committees both at LGB and MAT Board level. Recruitment of staff is high on her list of priorities and she has enjoyed short-listing and interviewing many people for posts both teaching and non teaching in Heathfield Primary and latterly for Senior Staff at MAT Board level. Her commitment and enthusiasm is appreciated by the staff and fellow governors who know her, and she will continue to challenge and support the work of Lingfield Education Trust for the foreseeable future.
John is a retired father of one who is an ex local authority employee of 26 years. John has lived in Darlington all his life and has a vast knowledge of the town. John also used to be health and safety rep for Unison. He has been involved in several building projects which he enjoyed very much and has a keen eye for detail on paper and in productivity. John was a Primary School Governor for many years having a particular focus for health and safety and looked after children. John also enjoys helping on school trips. He enjoys challenging, questioning and supporting as a Trustee on the MAT board and is a founder member of Lingfield Education Trust.
Allison McKay is Chief Executive of The Forum Music Centre in Darlington – After moving from the North at a young age, Allison gained employment within a chain of Salons in central London and was promoted to Artistic Director before she reached 30yrs of age. The next decade saw Allison work around the World in artistic direction and presenting for major advertising campaigns in TV and media. In 2008 she registered a Community Interest Company- Humantics, who’s purpose has been to save the Forum Music Centre in Darlington from closure. Allison and the dedicated team at the Forum have since developed it into a sustainable Social Enterprise and more recently the company has converted to a Community Benefit Society.”
Rita has over 25 years’ experience of working at a senior management level in the public, private and voluntary sector; the last 5 as Chief Executive of Tees Valley Rural Action. The majority of Rita’s career has been working in the rural areas of North Yorkshire and has worked at a grass roots level with community and voluntary organisations assisting them with capacity building, governance and project development. Rita has extensive experience in strategic business development, organisational management, programme development and business mentoring. Rita is a member of the Institution of Economic Development and the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs. Rita is also a volunteer Trustee/Director for Serenity Social and Therapeutic Horticulture based in Darlington and of Blueboxt Productions Ltd based in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.