Meet Our Board of Trustees

Joe Spencer - Chair of Trustees, Member of Finance, Resource and Audit Committee and Performance and Remuneration Committee

I have been very fortunate in life to be the first in my family to go to university. I graduated as an Electrical Engineer and then developed a successful career.  When I look back on my journey, I can pick out a few critical things without which my journey would have been very different. The first is receiving a good education; the second is the opportunity to take part in new activities through schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh award; and thirdly the support of dedicated teachers. These three things gave me self-confidence, a belief in myself that I could do anything and succeed, and resilience to face difficult challenges.

I joined the Trust to support the academies so that all pupils are given opportunities to receive an excellent education, that they are confident and resilient in what they do in life and they believe in themselves irrespective of their background. 

Mike Aldred - Member of the Performance and Remuneration Committee

I have twenty-five years of leadership experience in human resources (HR), remuneration and performance management.  I am a founding Partner of 3XO, an advisory firm dedicated to supporting boards to design and deliver their people strategies.  Before this, I was an HR Director with Standard Chartered Bank. I started my professional career as an HR advisor with PwC, before moving to Barclays where I held various HR leadership roles.  I have a doctorate in Mathematics from Queen’s University, Belfast, and am a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and an Associate of the Pensions Management Institute. 

Supporting quality education is a real passion for me. Alongside board work with Great Schools Trust, I am the Chair of the School Teachers’ Review Body. This is the independent body responsible for making recommendations on teachers’ pay in England.

Nick Meikle - Member of Finance, Resource and Audit Committee

I am a specialist in Technology and Business Change, with 30 years of experience primarily in Financial Services. I have also served on the Executive Management team of several organisations.

In my formative years, my prospects were transformed through access to a fantastic education.  I am passionate that all children and young adults should have the same opportunity to reach their full potential, and I’m proud to be able to support Great Schools Trust in its mission, serving on the Board and the Finance Committee.

Mike Ireland - Chair of King's Warrington LAC

I am a well-respected anti-fraud and anti-money laundering professional consultant with over 25 years of experience in fraud investigation, data analysis, referral optimisation, research, policy creation and management within various sectors including telecommunications, banking, insurance, financial services and the public sector.

Since 2016 I have been a governor at the highly successful King’s Leadership Academy Warrington, and the Chair of the Local Academy Council since 2019 providing challenge and support to the school influencing strategy and direction through engagements and investigations in several areas such as special educational needs and/or disabilities and pupil premium.

I have a keen interest in helping those within the school and Trust with special education needs and/or disabilities to achieve as well as their peers. I have three children, one of which is autistic and another who is autistic and with ADHD, both attending King's Leadership Academy Warrington.

Joanne Hornby - Chair of King's Bolton LAC

I have been the LAC Chair for King's Leadership Academy Bolton for three years, alongside my main job as Academic Operations Lead for Initial Teacher Training at the University of Bolton and my work in regional quality assurance.

I am a qualified teacher and have experience in teaching and leadership in secondary, further, and higher education.  I am in the final year of my PhD and hold a Senior Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy.  Volunteering with Great Schools Trust enables me to provide guidance and support to best promote the Trust’s ‘Aspire’ ethos, resulting in excellent outcomes for its pupils.

Garry Lee - Member of Finance, Resource and Audit Committee

I have spent over 25 years working in the data, marketing and technology spaces, many of them running and selling those businesses. In 2020, I changed direction and founded a niche business strategy agency that helps SMEs. We work directly with owners and start-up founders. I currently own two agencies and sit on the board of two start-up businesses.

This gave me time to join Great Schools Trust. I chose Great Schools Trust because I’m aligned with their values and believe in the aim of bringing great education to some of the less privileged areas of the North West.

John Rigby - Chair of King's Hawthornes LAC

I was born and grew up in North Liverpool, attending St. Swithin’s Primary School and St. Edward’s College. I then went to Manchester University for a BSc in Biochemistry, followed by an MSc at Cardiff University and my PGCE at what is now Hope University. I taught in several different schools and 6th form colleges across the North West and spent the last 8 years of my career as a Headteacher and Executive Headteacher.

Now retired, I am delighted to still be able to continue to contribute to education through my role as LAC chair at King’s Leadership Academy Hawthornes and as Trustee with Great Schools Trust.

Jane Stiller

I am Chief Marketing Officer for ITV with experience across consumer goods, retail and broadcast industries specialising in strategy, leadership development and digital transformation.  In addition to ITV, I have worked for household names such as Marks & Spencer, Innocent Drinks and Mars.

I have been a trustee at Great Schools Trust since 2020 and I was motivated to work with the Great Schools Trust as am passionate about building confident and resilient leaders of the future.

Elliot Sharrard-Williams

I've always had an active interest in community capacity building and the development of young people. I’m currently a senior Police Officer and lead the policing response to a large county. This gives me a unique insight into partnership working, community development and governance across the public sector. 

Alongside policing I have served for nearly 10 years as Commanding Officer of a large area of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets providing me with valuable insight and understanding of the personal development of young people through the cadet forces programme. This coupled with my senior role in leading the development of the Police Cadet programme has given me a broad knowledge of the cadet programmes at a strategic and operational level. I am a great advocate of personal development through cadet service and welcome the opportunity to support the development of the current Trust offer.

I was drawn to Great Schools Trust by its focus on academic excellence and character education and recognise the importance of both elements in building well-rounded and high-achieving young people.