Executive Leadership Team
To view the BEST Operational Structure click here.
DR ALAN LEE - Chief Executive Officer
BEST - Chief Executive Officer
Alan Lee is an educationalist. He is the Chief Executive Officer of BEST, a National Leader of Education, former Lead Ofsted Inspector, academic and public speaker. As both an Executive Principal and Headteacher he has led schools, across all phases to outstanding status, securing numerous awards and exceptional year-on-year outcomes. As leader of both a National Support School and Teaching School he has successfully delivered school improvement projects across the South East.
Alan’s doctoral thesis on Distributed Leadership, was the BELMAS Thesis of Year Runner-Up in 2009; he has published a number of papers in different journals (see Boundary Spanners, NCSL: 2010); and, he is remains the only non-US recipient of the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award (UCEA, 2009). Alan has visited, studied and presented papers to a range of audiences in some of the highest performing jurisdictions in the world, including: Singapore, New South Wales and Massachusetts.
NICK MARTIN - Samuel Whitbread Academy
Principal - Samuel Whitbread Academy
Nick joined Samuel Whitbread as Vice Principal in 2013 and became Head of School a year later. He took up the role of Principal in September 2016 after the departure of the previous Principal, Mr Rob Robson, who had been Principal for 10 years. Previous to that he worked as Deputy Headteacher at Harlington Academy for 5 years. He has also worked for the National College of School Leadership and for the Local Authority as a School Improvement Advisor. His aim is for Samuel Whitbread Academy to be a school which offers students an exceptional curriculum and extracurricular experience, with outstanding academic results for all.
IAN EVASON - Etonbury Academy
Principal - Etonbury Academy
Ian Evason completed his degree in Physical Education and History at DMU in 1998. He completed his NPQH in 2008.
Before Ian began to pursue a career in Education he spent some time playing and coaching football in the USA, living in Texas and visiting 37 of the states during this time. Ian has represented both England and Great Britain at football during his time at University.
Ian became a Head of department during his NQT year and swiftly moved into Senior Leadership taking responsibility for whole school behaviour in the first instance.
This is Ian’s third headship. His first headship resulted in moving a school from special measures to good in 18 months and his second one resulted in a successful amalgamation of two schools which led to the school’s first ever ‘good’ judgement in its history. Ian has been part of OFSTED inspection teams, supported other schools and he is a Local Leader of Education.
Ian is an avid Liverpool FC fan and enjoys playing golf when he gets the time.
SAM FARMER - Robert Bloomfield Academy
Principal - Robert Bloomfield Academy
Sam was appointed Principal of Robert Bloomfield Academy at the start of September 2018. He has previously worked as a senior leader in a variety of schools across Bedford Borough’s Middle and Secondary sectors. In his most recent role before joining Bloomfield, he was instrumental in the school receiving Ofsted Outstanding judgements for Leadership and Management in both 2013 and 2015. Sam has led others on many areas in the curriculum, Pupil Premium and Behaviour. As an English and music teacher, he has a ultimate passion for the performing arts curriculum and will endeavour to put Robert Bloomfield on the map for Arts and Drama – wherever possible!
Outside the world of Bedfordshire, Sam spent 12 summers working and latterly running a New York residential special needs summer camp for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Special needs provision in education remains a huge passion for Sam.
PAM JONES - St Christopher's Academy
Principal - St Christopher's Academy
Pam has worked in the Primary sector for almost three decades. Her career has been focused predominately in urban schools and she is passionate about equality of opportunity for all children. Pam has a background in school improvement having worked as an educational consultant both for the DfE and the local authority. Pam is enthusiastic about developing new talent and has worked for a SCITT both as a tutor to trainee teachers and for a teaching school, as a middle and senior leader coach. Pam took over St Christopher’s Academy in 2013 to manage the school’s transition from lower to primary status. The school continues to grow successfully and is now very proud to be the first primary school to join the Trust.
DEBBIE RANDALL - Gravenhurst and Langford Academies
Principal - Gravenhurst and Langford Academies
Having been Headteacher at Moggerhanger Lower for three years Debbie became Principal at Langford Village academy and Gravenhurst Lower in September 2017.
Debbie enjoyed management roles in Insurance as an Underwriter before taking advantage of a career break with her two children to revert to her first love of teaching and qualify as a Primary School Teacher in 1987. She began her teaching career at a multicultural school in Bedford before moving to Russell Lower School, Ampthill in 2000. She enjoyed nearly fourteen successful years at Russell Lower becoming Head of Key Stage 1 and Early Years before rising to Senior Teacher with Deputy Head responsibilities.
Debbie has high expectations and is determined to further develop the excellent work of staff and governors at both schools and continue to ensure they work closely together for the benefit of each other and the children.
Wrap around care, the involvement of parents and working with the wider community feature highly in Debbie’s priorities. She is totally committed though inclusion and interaction to providing the children of both schools with an outstanding enjoyable and memorable educational experience.
THOMAS CLARKE - Gothic Mede Academy
Principal - Gothic Mede Academy
Thomas became the Principal of Gothic Mede Academy in September 2016 having been Vice Principal for three years. Thomas could not have wished for a better first opportunity to lead a school, as the previous Principal and Thomas had worked hard together to improve the provision that they make for the children of Arlesey and this is a pathway that the staff and Thomas have continued along.
Thomas’ personal journey started as a learning support assistant in a special school which inspired him to train as a teacher. After qualifying Thomas led PE in a lower school, became special educational needs coordinator then moved to Gothic Mede as Vice Principal in 2013.
Thomas’ background in special educational needs, as well as striving to adopt a growth mindset, has led him to have high expectations for all children and a belief that all children can progress and achieve across the curriculum. Thomas firmly believes that the challenge and support that being part of a multi academy trust brings is a huge benefit to the staff, and consequently children, of Gothic Mede Academy.
Cheryl Johnson - Lawnside academy
Cheryl began her teaching career in 1994 after four years studying for a BEd. (Hons) degree in West Sussex. She completed her NPQH in 2006. Cheryl has been a Head Teacher since 2005, initially in Luton, and also in Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. All of Cheryl’s headships have been in either Infant or Lower Schools and early education continues to be her passion – the EYFS is most crucial in every child’s development, and during these years most basic skills and attitudes to learning and socialising are established. As the name suggests, it lays many of the foundations which the later key stages in our school build upon.
Cheryl was appointed as Head Teacher of Lawnside Lower School in January 2018 and is now Principal of Lawnside Academy; the school becoming part of BEST in January 2019. In Cheryl’s third headship, in 2017, in Milton Keynes, she led the school to a ‘Good’ OFSTED outcome, moving its overall effectiveness from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’.
Outside of teaching, Cheryl is a keen photographer and loves to travel and see new places. Among her most memorable holiday experiences have been a safari in the Masai Mara in Kenya, walking along the iconic Great Wall of China and seeing the pandas, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and photographing polar bears in Churchill, Canada.
Heather Hudson – BEST Nurseries LTD
Managing Director – BEST Nurseries LTD
Heather has a substantial career specialising in early years education and care. She is tireless in her resolve to raise the standards, expectations and recognition of this rapidly developing and significant area of education.
Having worked in early years settings at all levels since 1983, Heather took the post of Nursery Manager at Samuel Whitbread Community College (now Samuel Whitbread Academy) in 2006. She has worked closely with the senior team to provide the nursery with a bespoke building as well as developing the practice to an exceptional level, achieving Ofsted judgements of ‘Outstanding’ in 2012 and again in 2016. The uncompromising levels of excellence that Heather strives to achieve for all children is further evidenced by BEST Nurseries wraparound care for school age children at Langford Village Academy that was also awarded a judgement of ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted at its last inspection.
Heather continues to work in partnership with senior management of BEST Schools to further support and develop early years education and care across the Trust.