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Who's Who?

Andy Hunter

Andy Hunter

Andy was elected Chair of the SEAX Trust Board in October of 2018, having previously served as Vice-Chair. Andy has a long connection with Thriftwood School and is the father of an adult daughter with learning difficulties. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Leeds University, is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and an Associate of the Institute of Financial Services.

Andy is an experienced leader with a strong track record in managing multi-million pound businesses at MD level and currently runs his own management consultancy practice. Past roles include Head of Marketing in NatWest’s corporate bank, Head of Online Strategy for Royal Bank of Scotland, and Transaction Banking MD at VocaLink with responsibility for the Bacs and Faster Payments services. He was formerly a director of Bacs Ltd and a member of many banking industry committees.

Andy is also Vice Chair of governors at Mayflower School in Billericay. He is Chair of Basildon Borough Citizens Advice Bureau, a director of Essex Citizens Advice and Chair of Rotary's International Committee at County level

Sally Lockyer

Sally Lockyer

Sally is a former fast-track teacher and has worked in a number of secondary schools in the area. She has designed and implemented curriculum plans in her subject area from Key Stage 3 to A level and IB, as well as running extra-curricular activities in music. More recently she has gained deep and direct experience of implementing programmes of speech and language therapy, sensory integration therapy and physiotherapy. Sally has served as Chair of a local school’s Parent and Friends’ Association, leading a large committee of volunteers in significant fund-raising activities. Sally’s in-depth knowledge of the complex educational requirements of the SLCN child and the local availability of appropriate aspirational educational opportunities, led her to initiate and steer the Grove House School project. She now brings this wealth of experience and commitment to the school’s Local Academy Committee and the SEAX Board of Trustees.

Sally was elected Vice-Chair of the Trust Board in October 2018.

Tony Cox

Tony Cox

Tony’s professional background is in housing, health and social care.  He’s a Chartered Secretary with a background in organisational governance, a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and a member of the Chartered Institute of Management.

Tony has worked across central and local government in a variety of policy and strategic roles, he has commissioned services for Councils and Health Trusts,  been a Non Executive Director at a care and support provider and a NHS Primary Care Trust.   He is currently a Lay Member and Deputy Chair of an NHS  Clinical Commissioning Group and previously ran his own consultancy business.  

Tony really likes the way that the SEAX Trust is able to use the knowledge and expertise of the Local Academies to develop innovative new projects whilst delivering excellent services that enhance and develop young people. He is particularly interested in how young people are supported as they move towards an independent life. 

In his spare time Tony loves cycling and motorbiking.

Sally Coode-Bate

Sally Coode-Bate

Sally has been a governor at Kingswode Hoe School since 2009 and was elected as Chair of the Local Academy Committee in July 2017. Recently retired, Sally enjoyed a long and varied career involving a range of different industries, including broadcasting and publishing, oil exploration, farming and in the latter stages, the London insurance market.  Over the course of her career Sally gained experience in PR and marketing, media relations and journalism; editing a weekly newsletter on the London insurance market for a number of years. Finally, her involvement with schools began in 2008 when she assumed responsibility for the community relations programme of a major London insurance market. This involved setting up and running the firm's charitable foundation and developing a staff volunteering programme which included providing business mentors and reading and numbers partners for secondary and primary schools in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, as well as staff volunteers to work with pupils at a local special school. Sally's role also included recruiting school governors from among the firm's staff to work with schools UK-wide.

Steve Bennett

Steve Bennett

Steve has over 25 years’ senior international Human Resources management experience in the manufacturing, logistics, FMCG, entertainment, technology, and healthcare sectors, within PLC, private limited company, public sector, joint-venture, private equity backed, and not-for-profit organisations.  He now operates his own HR interim, project, and consultancy services company.

Steve is a director of a company that is establishing a global network of research, development, and training facilities that will service the offshore energy, subsea technology, and human space flight sectors.

He is also a Trustee of Ormiston Families, a charity that provides a range of support services for disadvantaged families and children across the East of England, and a Non-executive Director of Oaklea Montessori, a Community Interest Company that operates a number of pre-schools in north Essex.

Steve is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

Ruth Sturdy

Ruth Sturdy

Ms Sturdy is the Trust CEO, appointed by Members to the Trust Board. 

Ruth has many years’ experience in education including senior roles in schools, local authority and as the headteacher of a specialist provision. In that time she has always used her passion for equity and inclusion to challenge herself and others to find the best way to ensure that every young person achieves all that they can, both when they are at school and when they move on. A great education is every young person’s right, as should a life where young people are part of their communities, able to contribute and feel safe and secure for their future.

Ruth is a qualified teacher and has a B.Sc ( econ) from the University of Wales and an MA with a focus on education. Her career has always had a focus on SEND,she was a SENCO in three schools in her journey towards school/setting and now multi- school leadership. Her experience of leadership across a range of settings including mainstream and specialist provisions as well as at a wider local authority level means that she has a wealth and breadth of knowledge and skills to bring to the role of CEO of the SEAX Trust.

Ruth’s experience of governance includes primary, secondary and special schools and she is currently a governor at a special school in Essex which is not in the SEAX Trust.

Ruth’s vision for SEAX Trust is that it becomes a centre of expertise and a source of support for schools and academies both within and beyond the Trust. She believes that special schools have a responsibility to be part of the wider school community sharing their knowledge to support other schools and in so doing learning from them. Ruth is certain that it is through collaboration that we can ensure that every child has the right education to allow them to be successful citizens and to contribute to their own communities and wider society, irrespective of their abilities, needs or any labels they may have been given.

Cathryn Adams

Cathryn Adams

Cathryn was appointed to the Board of Trustees in October 2019. 

Cathryn has extensive experience working in Local Authorities and was a senior officer in Essex for a number of years. During that time, she held a number of roles and led on safeguarding in education as well as other services related to inclusion. Cathryn was the Virtual School Head between 2010- 2018 contributing to the journey to the outstanding judgement of Essex Children’s Services. During that period, she was part of the Essex team that worked as a DfE Improvement Partner working to help and support other authorities improve services to children. She is experienced in self-evaluation and performance improvement across a range of services.

Cathryn was a Board Member of the National Virtual School Heads Steering Group and alongside colleagues she contributed to the transition to become the National Association of Virtual School Heads (NAVSH) as a registered charity.

In 2018 Cathryn become an Independent Consultant working with Virtual Schools, schools and LA services in relation to improving services for vulnerable learners. She also provides consultancy services to schools and Multi-Academy Trusts improving the effectiveness safeguarding. Cathryn continues to work for Essex as a DfE approved Interim Executive Board (IEB) member and School Improvement Board (SIB) chair providing governance expertise in the specialisms of vulnerable learners and safeguarding, for schools in difficulty. Recently Cathryn has been trained to become a peer review manager for the NAVSH. In addition, Cathryn continues to provides training opportunities for schools.

Cathryn has an honours degree in Social Policy and Criminology and a Post Graduate Certificate in Local Government administration.

Olga Marunchak

Olga Marunchak

Olga was appointed in July 2020. 

Olga has an illustrious portfolio of building relationships, project management, and analysing risk for some of the biggest global financial institutions in Europe such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank. Her areas of specialisation include board & regulatory reporting, conduct risk management, employees engagement, regulatory requirement implementation and strategic transformations around people, processes and procedures. Working alongside Board Members and Directors of Global Financial Institutions has given her valuable insight in how to manage transformational projects and change cultures. Olga has built on this knowledge and used it to galvanise teams, and to implement strategic new policies in various areas of the banking sector, from fraud to conduct, to risk to audit.

Olga became an Independent Consultant and an Executive Leadership Coach in 2019 and currently runs her own management consultancy, helping organisations through transformational change and driving efficiency, effectiveness, and simplification. She also founded her own construction company specialising in commercial building work and domestic property development & design.

Olga is a fluent speaker of four languages (English, German, Russian and Ukrainian) and holds an interdisciplinary BA degree in Business, Law, Economics & Sociology and an honours BA degree in Architecture & Interior Design. She is passionate about helping young people from disadvantaged families and/or with disabilities achieving their career goals. Based on her own background, where she started without any financial support and worked her way up the success ladder, she believes that everyone has an unlimited potential to achieve their dreams.

Chris Woodman

Chris Woodman

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