Members and Board of Directors

Board of Directors

John Alexander | ACMA, CGMA – Director Profile

John Alexander, a qualified Management Accountant, retired in 2015 after a successful career in senior financial and management roles across various businesses. His experience spans from smaller private companies to larger multinational corporations, including directorships at both Finance and Managing Director levels.

With his extensive professional expertise, John specialises in financial management, complemented by strong operational skills, making him a well-rounded and effective leader.

John is known for his assertiveness, adaptability, and exceptional interpersonal and man-management abilities. He has earned high regard as a change manager, adept at leading and navigating through organisational transformations.

Beyond his career, John holds several responsibilities, including trustee roles in four charitable trusts, chairing three of them. He actively serves as a School Governor, currently as Chair of the Finance & HR Committee, and previously chaired governing bodies and finance committees in three other schools. He also contributes significantly to various roles within the Church, including serving as treasurer for over 25 years. Moreover, he is a respected Independent Examiner for the accounts of multiple charities and churches.

Transferring these skills to the Academy Trust Board, John possesses confidence and a proven track record in finance management, business management, governance, organisational development, and knowledge of company legislation.

John’s strengths and skills align with the Trustee job description, enabling him to contribute effectively in various crucial areas. These include:
• Developing the Trust’s future strategic goals.

• Ensuring transparency, audit, governance, and accountability in the corporate and financial affairs of the Trust.

• Overseeing and contributing to the development and review of the Trust’s internal controls and audit regime.

• Providing strategic leadership and direction to the Trust, setting strategic priorities and contributing to key strategy documents.

• Ensuring compliance with the Trust’s funding agreements and the Academies Financial Handbook.

John Alexander’s expertise, leadership, and commitment make him an ideal Chair for the Academy Trust, bringing invaluable insights and direction to ensure the Trust’s success and continued growth.

Nicholas D. Thornton | Trustee

Nicholas D. Thornton is a dedicated and ambitious business leader with a proven track record of delivering sustainable business change. His extensive experience spans various industries, where he has showcased a diverse skill set in areas such as business development, project management, finance, commercial, and engineering.

Other areas of expertise that Nicholas brings to the table include:

• Leadership in the efficient delivery of engineering services.

• Design and implementation of significant organisational change.

• Driving operational efficiencies.

• Successfully managing and delivering business strategic objectives.

• Exceptional communication and stakeholder management across a large network of functional stakeholders.

• Preparing high-level communications for board-level discussions, conducting insightful business performance analysis, and summarising key findings.

• Expertise in project management.

Nicholas’ strengths align closely with the skills required for the role of a Trustee. He has a proven ability to manage business growth and enhance efficiency through central services. His independent scrutiny of financial planning and budgeting ensures sound financial management within the organisation. Furthermore, Nicholas excels in change management, enabling organisations to adapt and thrive in evolving environments. His project management acumen ensures successful implementation and delivery of key initiatives.

As a Trustee, Nicholas will prioritise areas such as business growth, change management, efficiency enhancement, project management, and the establishment of strategic partnerships. His strategic vision and leadership skills will be invaluable in guiding the Trust toward its goals.

With his commitment to driving positive change, Nicholas D. Thornton is poised to make a significant impact as a Trustee, contributing to the growth and success of the organisation. His well-rounded expertise and dedication to sustainable business practices make him an ideal candidate for this important role.

John Edwards

John Edwards, born in August 1955, is a seasoned education professional who brings a wealth of experience and passion to his role as a Trustee. With a successful career in education, including 25 years as a Headteacher in both mainstream and special schools, John has been instrumental in leading Queenscroft Community Special School to an Outstanding Ofsted judgement in 2012.

Throughout his career, John has been committed to providing the best possible education for children, spanning the age range from 4 to 19. He has navigated through significant changes in the education landscape, including the introduction of Local Management of Schools, National Curriculum, Ofsted inspections, and various SEND reviews. John’s experience has taught him that managing change is an ongoing process, and he is well-versed in evaluating decisions and developments with a key focus on how they will benefit the children in their school.

With a strong sense of community involvement, John is a trustee at his local Almshouses and also chairs the Tamworth Dementia Friendly Community. His dedication to serving the community is a testament to his values and commitment to making a positive impact on people’s lives.

Outside of his professional and community roles, John is a devoted family man, married with two grown-up children and three grandchildren. Additionally, he is an unwavering supporter of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, showcasing his perseverance and loyalty.

John’s extensive experience in education, coupled with his strong dedication to children’s welfare and community involvement, makes him an invaluable Trustee. His passion for continuous improvement and ensuring the best outcomes for children aligns perfectly with the Trust’s mission and vision. His contributions as a Trustee will undoubtedly support the growth and success of the Academy Trust, furthering its mission to provide exceptional educational opportunities for all students.

Amanda (Sam) Hughes

Amanda (Sam) Hughes brings a wealth of experience and expertise from her 36-year career at BT, where she held various management roles, culminating in senior management positions. Her proficiency in people, project, program, and change management has made her a seasoned leader in designing and implementing transformational change with a focus on stakeholder management and governance.

Over the years, Sam has led initiatives that resulted in substantial cost reductions and improved customer experiences, making a significant impact across various BT businesses. Her utilisation of Accelerated Implementation Methodology (AIM) demonstrates her commitment to achieving lasting results quickly while effectively managing stakeholders.

With extensive experience in people management, Sam has successfully led teams of all sizes in both direct and matrix management arrangements. Her innovative approach to restructuring the BT model for dealing with displaced employees led to a 68% improvement in results by centralising processes.

Beyond her role at BT, Sam has shouldered various responsibilities, showcasing her versatility and commitment to making a positive impact in the community. These include resolving grievance and disciplinary cases, recruitment of managers at all levels, succession planning, team development, and the strategic development and implementation of business strategies.

Sam’s passion for community engagement is evident in her leadership role in spearheading efforts to buy and run a community pub. Her dedication to fostering a community ethos has led her to become the chair of the board, ensuring the smooth functioning of the pub and promoting a sense of community belonging.

Regarding the transfer of her skills and knowledge to become a trustee, Sam feels most confident in business, governance, HR, organisational development, marketing, and public relations. Her strategic leadership abilities, coupled with a keen eye for governance and internal control, align perfectly with the Trustee job description. She is adept at developing and monitoring key objectives, conducting performance reviews, and facilitating continuous development.

As a Director, Amanda (Sam) Hughes brings invaluable experience and a passion for driving positive change. Her strong leadership capabilities, coupled with her dedication to community and organisational growth, make her a valuable asset to the Trust. Her contributions as a Director will undoubtedly support the achievement of the Trust’s goals and further enhance its success.

John Fitchett | FCIPS – Chair Profile

John Fitchett brings a wealth of expertise and experience to his role as a Director, having enjoyed a successful 34-year career at Rolls-Royce plc. Throughout his tenure, he held several senior management and executive roles, with a primary focus on leading strategic procurement and supplier management activities across various business sectors, including Civil Aerospace, Defence Aerospace, and Nuclear Propulsion.

In his last role, John was a pivotal member of the Executive Team for a £1 billion Supply Chain Unit, where he was accountable for an annual spend of £500 million. His impressive skills in developing and managing supply chains extended to emerging markets, particularly in south-east Asia.

John’s leadership extends beyond procurement and supply chain management. He has led transformational change projects across global teams, fostering significant year-on-year cost reduction and operational efficiency in working practices. His ability to navigate complex matrix organisations and cultural boundaries has been a key asset in driving success both within Rolls-Royce and its global supply chain.

Since 2008, John has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), reflecting his deep expertise and dedication to the profession.

Apart from his work in procurement, John has taken on various other responsibilities, such as medium and long-term strategic development and implementation, commercial and contract management, mentoring and coaching individuals at all career stages, recruitment, and performance management. His involvement in organisational development, process improvement, and cost and budget management further showcases his well-rounded skill set.

Outside of his professional endeavours, John is an active member of his local Lions Club, actively raising and distributing funds to support worthy causes in the community.

With his vast experience, strategic vision, and ability to lead and drive positive change, John Fitchett is a valuable asset as a director. His contributions will undoubtedly further the success and growth of the organisation, and his commitment to excellence will ensure a positive impact on its operations and stakeholders.

Directors Attendance

Meet our Members

Prakash Samani

Prakash Samani is a proud resident of Leek since 1972. He is happily married to Anila and together they have two grown-up boys, Sunil and Nikesh. Prakash spent his formative years in Uganda, where he completed his schooling before arriving in the UK in 1972 during the expulsion of Asians by Idi Amin.

In his professional journey, Prakash made significant contributions to various businesses. He worked at Ridgeway Potteries Ltd from 1972 to 1973 and then spent over three decades at Hill Brothers (Leek) Ltd, a newspaper publishing and printing company. Starting as an office junior, he worked his way through all departments and eventually became the Managing Director, making history as the first non-family Director. During his tenure, the company expanded, growing from 4 to 13 newspaper titles. In 2008, he retired from paid employment after establishing and leading Tudored Ltd, a successful print media company involved in publishing, advertising, marketing, graphic design, and printing.

Prakash’s service to the community is commendable. He has been involved in the magistracy since 1996, serving as a panel member for various courts in Leek, including Adult, Youth, Domestic Violence, and Family courts. He also holds the position of Deputy Chairman of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for Staffordshire. Prakash is further engaged in education as a Governor of three schools in Leek and as a STEM Ambassador, mentoring students.

A firm believer in giving back, Prakash is an active trustee of several charities, including Staffordshire Community Foundation (SCF), Age UK North Staffs, and Hindu Cultural Society (HCS). He is also deeply connected to the local community, being a member and past chair of the Leek and District Agricultural Show Society and the Stoke Gujarat Samaj, a gathering of Gujarati-speaking Asians for cultural, religious, social, and leisure activities.

Prakash’s involvement in the business sector includes mentoring for Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry and past chairmanship of the Minority Business Association. In his leisure time, he enjoys reading, traveling, and participating in sports like football, cricket, and badminton.

With his wealth of experience, dedication to community service, and passion for education and charity work, Prakash Samani brings invaluable insights and guidance as a Member of our Academy Trust. His diverse expertise and commitment to fostering collaboration and excellence make him an integral part of our governance structure.

Clive Lilley

Career Experience: Clive is a retired education professional with an illustrious career spanning over four decades. Prior to his retirement in 2010, he served as the Executive Headteacher of two highly successful special schools, Blackfriars and The Coppice, in Staffordshire. With 36 years of experience in special schools in Suffolk and Staffordshire, he led his school to achieve an outstanding rating in four consecutive Ofsted inspections, a testament to his leadership and dedication.

Passion for Special Schools: Clive holds a deep passion for special schools and believes in their innovative potential to cater to the unique needs of their pupils. He brings valuable skills in financial management and teaching and learning, including curriculum development and staff training. Clive’s particular interest lies in post-16 education for special needs students, and he envisions special schools as hubs for provision up to the age of 25.

Other Responsibilities: In addition to his career experience, Clive served as the Chair of Governors at the Meadows School for seven years, contributing to significant changes during a crucial period for the school. He is actively involved in voluntary community work through charitable and church organisations, devoting two days a week to these initiatives.

Strengths and Expertise: Clive’s strengths align closely with the transference of skills required for his role as a Trustee. He possesses valuable expertise in governance, HR and organisational development, financial management, and establishing strategic partnerships.

Priority Strengths for Trusteeship: Drawing from his career experience, Clive has a strong sense of strategic planning, ensuring that organisational goals are achieved while prioritising the best outcomes for all stakeholders. His knowledge of pupil outcomes and understanding of the importance of holding providers accountable makes him a valuable asset for the Trust. Moreover, his comprehensive understanding of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) bolsters the Trust’s commitment to inclusive education.

Team Player and Change Advocate: Throughout his career, Clive has thrived as part of a team, recognising the critical role teamwork plays in driving change and achieving success. He is eager to actively contribute to making the Manor Hall Trust a high-achieving and innovative organisation.

With Clive’s extensive experience, unwavering dedication, and commitment to the welfare of special needs students, he brings valuable perspectives and insights to the Trust’s governance, ensuring its continued growth and success.

John Glandfield

John Glandfield brings a wealth of experience and diverse expertise to his roles as a Trustee and community leader.

Professional Background: With a career spanning several decades, John started as a Family Solicitor in December 1970. Throughout his career, he gained extensive knowledge in defending and prosecuting cases in various Magistrates Courts. Additionally, John trained and qualified as a Family Mediator, further enhancing his skills in conflict resolution and people management.

Commitment to Education: John’s dedication to education led him to serve as a Governor of Windsor Park Middle School in Uttoxeter, where he eventually became the Chair. His contributions as a Governor were instrumental in supporting the growth and development of the school. Subsequently, he was invited to join the Governors of Loxley Hall, initially as Vice-Chairman and later as Chairman until the Governing Body became an independent body.

Community Involvement: In addition to his involvement in education, John has actively participated in various community organisations. He served as Treasurer of the local Scout District and later took on the role of Auditor. After retiring in February 2013, John assumed the position of Vice Chairman at Wilfred House Community Centre and became a Trustee of Kirk House Rest Home, both situated in Uttoxeter Town Centre. Furthermore, he was appointed Chairman of Balance Street Surgery (Doctors) Patient Participation Group and was seconded to the East Staffordshire Patient Participation Group, representing all Doctor’s Surgeries in the region.

Broadcasting and Journalism: John’s passion for sharing knowledge and advice extended to broadcasting, where he regularly contributed as the “Legal Eagle” on B.B.C. Radio Stoke, offering valuable legal insights to the audience. He also contributed a column to a local Free Newspaper, further sharing his expertise with the community.

In summary, John Glandfield’s career as a Family Solicitor, combined with his extensive involvement in education, community organisations, and media, showcases his commitment to serving people in various capacities. His experience in legal matters and his dedicated approach to community service make him a valuable and respected Trustee, contributing significantly to the success and growth of the organisation.

Simon Smith

Career: Simon Smith brings a wealth of experience from his 39-year career at Sun Chemical, a leading multinational in the printing industry with an impressive $7.5 billion in annual sales. Throughout his tenure, Simon held management positions in technical, manufacturing, commercial, and sales aspects of the business. Notably, as Business Director for UK packaging, he was responsible for strategic development, overseeing $40 million in sales, and providing technical support to customers across the UK and Ireland. As Commercial Director, Simon negotiated multi-site sales contracts, establishing strategic partnerships with major European key accounts. He also played a key role in implementing a centralised pricing strategy, enhancing profitability throughout the business. In his final role, Simon led a significant restructuring project, transitioning customers to distributor supply while maintaining sales and profitability.

Other Responsibilities: Simon’s expertise extends to staff training, recruitment, and mentoring across all levels of the organisation. He excels in driving sales and profitability in each sector he manages and is a strong advocate of quality systems, championing the 5S approach. Simon is adept at delivering impactful commercial presentations to senior management, sales, technical, and operational teams. He has spearheaded cost reduction and efficiency improvement programs for both his company and its customers, showcasing his strategic acumen. Additionally, Simon actively serves as Vice President of his local Lions Club, dedicating his time to fund-raising and supporting local charities and causes.

Transfer of Knowledge and Skills: With a profound understanding of business, organisation development, and strategic partnerships, Simon possesses a unique blend of expertise that aligns perfectly with the role of a Trustee.

Priority Strengths for Trusteeship: As a Trustee, Simon is committed to contributing to the development of the trust’s future strategic goals. He ensures that the trust establishes key objectives and effective management frameworks to deliver agreed-upon plans. Simon’s leadership and collaborative approach make him a valuable asset as he actively participates in relevant board committees and task groups. With a strong sense of shared responsibility and accountability, Simon works harmoniously with his fellow directors, providing supportive and constructive contributions to the team.

In conclusion, Simon Smith’s extensive career experience, combined with his passion for strategic development and collaboration, make him an exemplary candidate for the role of Trustee. His dedication to the success and growth of the trust ensures that he will play a crucial role in shaping its future and achieving its goals.

List of Pecuniary Interest

The following interests were declared by our Members and/or Directors during the 2022-2023 academic year.

NameName of Company or interestnature of interest
Amanda HughesBritish Telecommunications PlcShareholder
John EdwardsOsbornes Chartered ArchitectsOwner (son)
John FitchettDe Ferrers Multi-Academy TrustTrustee
Non-Executive Director
John AlexanderThe Ash HomesChair of Trustees
Carr HomesChair of Trustees
Condlyffe CharityChair of Trustees
The Hermione Warren TrustTrustee
Springfield School (Hollis) TrustTrustee
Beresford Memorial CE(A) First SchoolGovernor
Margaret Cheshire Adelaide Academy TrustTrustee