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Mr Michael Brinkley – Chair of Trust

Michael was appointed as Chair of the Trust in December 2022.  He was previously Chair of the Local Governing Body at Pineham Barns Primary School until 2021 when he joined the Trust Board.  He has previously sat on the finance and performance committees.

Michael is a Programme Director for a national rail infrastructure company specialising in business strategy and transformation.  Michael has a passion for pupil achievement and school performance and brings a wide range of skills and experience from a career in both large private and public sector organisations.  He is a member of the Institute of Directors.

Mr Paul Watson – Chief Executive Officer

Paul led Preston Hedge’s Primary School to outstanding in all areas in 2014 and has previously supported school improvement as an NLE.
As CEO he has led the establishment of the Preston Hedge’s Academy Trust and its growth between 2017 and 2021 from one to five schools, successfully bidding for two new primary schools in Northamptonshire.

He understands how to grow schools, shape teams and deliver high outcomes for children.

He currently works within the Challenge Partners, CEO Network and represents Northamptonshire within the Jubilee network of schools, who collaborate across the Midlands.

Dr Jane Murray – Vice Chair

Dr Jane Murray is currently Vice-Chair for the Trust, and she sits on the Performance Committee and supports the work of the Culture, Values and Wellbeing group. Jane has longstanding experience in governor, trustee and advisory roles for education and arts organisations, and she holds qualifications as a teacher and school leader.

Jane works as an Associate Professor in Education at the University of Northampton, where she has led Qualified Teacher Status and Education Master’s programmes, and currently co-leads the Centre for Education and Research. In that role, Jane combines teaching, research and consultancy, supervising PhD students, conducting research for schools, national and global organisations, and advising NGOs and governments on education matters. Jane has published extensively in the field of education and she is Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Early Years Education. Before working in higher education, Jane worked as a primary and early years teacher.

Mr Paul Dawes – Trustee

Paul was previously a Governor and Vice-Chair of Governors at Parklands Primary School and has seen first-hand the transition that the school has gone through since becoming part of the Trust and the significant benefits that this has provided to the education of the children at the school. He was subsequently appointed to the Trust board and is keen to play an active part in the running and future growth of the trust.  Paul is currently a Trustee sitting on the Finance Committee.

He is a Senior Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years’ experience providing advice to directors and senior managers, specialising in tax and investment planning. This background will enable him to provide guidance and opinion to ensure we make the best use of the resources available and he also sits on the finance committee.

Mr Carl Dillow – Trustee

Carl was initially appointed to be a governor at Preston Hedges Primary School in 2016 before becoming Chair of Governors in 2019 and then became a trustee in April 2021.  During this time, Carl also helped form the trust compliance committee in 2018, which he has chaired ever since.  Carl is currently a Trustee sitting on the ARC Committee

Carl was educated locally and has lived in the area with his young family since 2006.  He has always had a passion for science and technology, which has led him to work for a global IT outsourcing company as the Global Head of Solutions Architecture.  As well as being technology-focused, he has a diploma in leadership and management and loves to develop his team and bring out the best in them.

Mr Lee Gentry – Trustee

Lee was previously appointed as a Governor at Preston Hedges Primary School back in October 2008 and has since been part of the process of the school converting to an academy through to the multi-academy trust that it forms part of today.  Lee is currently a Trustee sitting on the ARC Committee.  He has previous experience working with the Special Educational Needs or SEN provision within Preston Hedges School prior to its conversion to an academy

Lee is a Chartered Civil Engineer, Chartered Structural Engineer and Party Wall Surveyor.  He is a director of a limited company offering building consultancy services, which is currently based in Northampton.

Mr David Hughes – Trustee

David volunteered as a Parent Governor at Preston Hedges Primary School around ten years ago, as both of his daughters enjoyed very positive starts to their education and he primarily wanted to give back some of his skills and energy to the school to help ensure that other children had a similar experience.  He is currently a Trustee sitting on the Finance Committee.

David is a Chartered Accountant and has had a variety of financial and commercial roles and experiences across Financial Services and the Automotive industry, including defining and implementing business strategy, and providing financial and operational consultancy.  In his current role he is responsible for overseeing the financial performance of a global network of independent business partners.

Mr David Nyamatore – Trustee

David has supported the Trust as a Governor since late 2017 when he joined the Finance, HR & Resources committee. Later in 2018 when the Trust created three Trustee committees David joined the Compliance committee which he continues to be a part of today. Following the creation of an Audit committee in 2019, David was later appointed as Chairman and Responsible Office for the ARC Committee to help drive the audit readiness agenda for PHAT.

Currently, David works as an Associate Solicitor at Dentons law firm. Prior to this David has gained valuable experience working in various commercial and governance roles within the financial services sector.

Mrs Sharon Smith – Trustee

Sharon is a Senior Lecturer in Early Years at The University of Northampton. She is a  registered nurse and health visitor with over twenty years of experience in family and community practice.  Sharon is currently an early year’s academic adviser for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)  ‘A Fit and Healthy Childhood’. She has had extensive experience in school governance at secondary and primary levels, including previous Chair of Governors at Preston Hedges for 7 years.  Sharon is currently a Trustee sitting on the ARC and Performance Committee

Mr Stevyn Andrew – Trustee

Stevyn’s current role see him led a wealth digital investment team, working on full end to end customer journeys. He is an experienced marketing manager, specialising in wealth retail banking, and focused on delivering a compelling and convenient customer journey, through which ever media the customer interacts with.

He has previously been a governor and Chair of Governors.

Mrs Sharanniya Balakrishnan

Sharanniya is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant and a first class graduate from Staffordshire University with a degree in Corporate Finance. She is currently the Head of Commercial Finance in a global cosmetics company with 14 years of financial management experience. Her current role includes implementing and leading the adoption of model driven frameworks for strategic goal setting, financial risk assessment and performance tracking. She has held various roles across finance functions, working with multiple markets and diverse cultures.  Sharanniya is currently a Trustee sitting on the ARC Committee and is Chair of the Finance committee.

Mrs Liz White – Trustee

Having a career in education spanning more than 20 years, Liz wants to ensure that all children who attend one of the schools in the Trust receive an outstanding education through a broad and balanced, fun and creative curriculum where all children achieve their very best.  She is a qualified teacher and spent ten years teaching in the primary sector before working as part of the school improvement team at the local authority for 11 years.

Liz is now self-employed and continues to work alongside school teachers and leaders across the country to support school improvement.  These skills and experience are beneficial to the Trust.   Liz is the Chair of the Performance Committee and is currently a Trustee sitting on the ARC Committee.  She was previously a Governor and the Chair of Governors at Parklands Primary and has also been a governor at two other schools in the past.


Wootton Hope Drive, Wootton Fields, Northampton, NN4 6BU