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Who's Who

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Lee Mason-Ellis - CEO

Lee Mason-Ellis commenced at Stewart Fleming Primary School in 2008 as the Head Teacher.  At the time the school was in Special Measures but has since been graded as Outstanding in all categories by Ofsted.

Lee has been fundamental in the development of The Pioneer Academy which was started with the prime objective of raising educational achievement for children and ensuring the highest standard of care and guidance.  Under Lee’s direction, The Pioneer Academy has developed a cluster of successful schools in Croydon, Bexley, Bromley, Kent, Surrey and Brighton.


Anne Slade - Chief Operating Officer

Anne Slade has extensive knowledge of the corporate and operational support functions of schools, having worked in this area of expertise for over ten years.

Anne started working with The Pioneer Academy in 2013 when they supported a school outside of the Trust.  Her role as Chief Operating Officer encompasses strategically ensuring the most effective use of resources in the support of the learning objectives over all the schools, and the Multi Academy Trust.


Tim Rome - Director of Educational Strategy

Tim Rome has considerable leadership experience as a Head Teacher in a number of primary schools. As a consultant and interim Executive Head Teacher, he has been commissioned by local authorities and trusts to provide leadership, school improvement advice and to  support Head Teachers in schools, many in challenging circumstances. Tim has specific interests in English, mathematics, the early years and in leadership and management and has been an Ofsted inspector for a number of years.


Vicky Marsh - Regional Director

Vicky Marsh has worked in Education for the past 23 years, having worked across three different local authorities in a number of leadership roles including Headship and Executive Headship of a small Multi Academy Trust. This enables her to bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to The Pioneer Academy in order to support our schools in their school improvement journey so that all children receive a good or better education in an inclusive school system. 


Louise Lynch - Regional Director

Lou Lynch has been an Executive Head Teacher, a leader of school improvement in Bexley, and a Deputy Regional Director for one of the largest MATs in the country, with a track record of raising standards with a relentless focus on enabling all children to access outstanding educational provision, regardless of background or specific barriers to education. During her time in education, she has worked for 4 London Local authorities and led a school in Medway from requires improvement to good in two years.  This enables her to bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to The Pioneer Academy in supporting us in our drive in providing all children with an outstanding school experience.

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Sarah Hunter - Regional Director

Sarah Hunter has been part of The Pioneer Academy since its inception at Stewart Fleming.  Since then she has been Head at three of our schools and is currently Head at Broadmead Primary School in Croydon.  Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge from three London boroughs to support schools to be the best that they can be.


Nicola Crockatt - Regional Director

Nicola has been part of The Pioneer Academy since it's inception at Stewart Fleming Primary School. She was Head of School there when it received it's outstanding in July 2016 and then moved to another Bromley school, Red Hill Primary in Chislehurst since September 2017. Seconded to be Regional Director of the Bromley schools in the The Pioneer Academy, Nicola will work with Head Teachers on school improvement and maintaining high standards. She is also Co-Chair of the Bromley Primary Heads and Special Schools forum in Bromley.

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Ian McManus - Head of Assessment

Ian McManus became the Head of Assessment having previously led assessment as Acting Deputy Head at Belvedere Junior School. He joined the Academy as a Year 6 Teacher at Belvedere Junior School in 2013.

At a time of great change in primary assessment, a key part of Ian’s role is to ensure a consistent approach is taken across the Education Trust, enabling teachers to make accurate judgements meaning they can fully support every child in achieving their potential.

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Rebecca Hipkins - Head of Staff Development

Rebecca Hipkins has been an outstanding classroom practitioner for over 20 years.  Rebecca joined The Pioneer Academy in 2015 as a Senior Leader, working in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and Head Teachers to improve teaching and learning across The Pioneer Academy schools.

In her role as Head of Staff Development, Rebecca facilitates exceptional training programmes across the academy trust.  Working in partnership with the OLEVI Alliance, the International Centre for Leadership in Teaching and Learning, Rebecca ensures that all staff in The Pioneer Academy access outstanding coaching and professional development, including bespoke NQT training, leadership programmes and the Power of Coaching.

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Katie Day - Head of Teacher Development - KS2

Katie Day is an experienced primary practitioner who has had impact and taught across all year groups within a variety of roles and settings: classroom based; subject/aspect leader positions; Deputy Head and Head of Academy.  Instilling passion, enthusiasm and love for learning, Katie believes, should be at the heart of any role within primary education. Developing the sense of wonder and curiosity within a child, Katie would expect to be at the forefront of any successful teaching practitioner’s mind. She is driven and committed to improving the quality of teaching and learning and works closely with Head Teachers and senior leaders to provide support and training across Key Stage Two.


Heather Bonner - Head of Teacher Development - KS1

Since joining The Pioneer Academy in 2010 as an NQT, Heather Bonner has worked as a class teacher, as a Deputy Head and as a phonics specialist teacher. She is passionate about teaching phonics and has successfully led schools in delivering high quality phonics teaching to pupils.

In her role as a Head of Teacher Development, Heather works closely with Head Teachers and other senior leaders to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools in KS1. She also facilitates training programmes across the academy, providing CPD for recently qualified teachers as well as a range of OLEVI programmes including the Creative Teacher Programme and Outstanding Teacher Programme for more experienced members of staff.


Sarah Dench - Head of Teacher Development - EYFS

With over 15 years’ experience of teaching EYFS Sarah Dench has worked as a Class Teacher, Early Years Leader and Assistant Head in variety of different schools across South London. She is passionate about Early Years and works across the academy supporting Head Teachers, Senior Leaders and Classroom Teachers to provide the very best teaching and learning for our youngest children.


Natalie Conway - Head of SEND

Natalie Conway joined The Pioneer Academy in September 2021 as Head of SEND. Natalie been a SENCo in multiple schools and, most recently, spent 8 years at Woodcote Primary where SEND practice has been regarded as Outstanding by Ofsted.   Natalie has provided support for SEND to a number of schools in various boroughs and has been the lead SENCo for the south cluster of schools in the borough of Croydon. She is passionate about providing the best outcomes possible for all children and families with SEND and supporting schools, their Headteachers and SENCOs, to do the same. 


Yemi Odemo - Head of Behaviour

Yemi has worked as a teacher for over 15 years. Her vast experience has supported those with 'social, emotional, and behaviour difficulties. Over the years, her expertise and modelling have helped to support colleges in assisting vulnerable pupils. She has always focused on understanding the perspective the pupils are operating within, not only them but also their families. Building relationships with the parents and stakeholders have been significant. Yemi has worked within the Trust for over four years, promoting a safe, happy environment and collaborating with colleagues to make a difference in each child's life.​

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Carole Hitchens - Head of Nurture & Educational Support Staff

Carole Hitchens joined the Academy as a support staff leader in one of our schools in 2013.

She works in partnership with our Head Teachers and other senior members of the Academy to ensure that support staff are effectively trained and deployed to deliver high quality teaching and learning support to our children.  Working as part of The Pioneer Academy Inclusion team, Carole also supports leaders to embed whole school approaches to SEMH, including the development of Nurture Groups.


Chris Money-Chappelle - Head of IT Support

Chris Money-Chappelle has worked in education for 12 years in various roles progressing into his preferred field involving Information Technology.

Chris relishes the continual challenge of taking The Pioneer Academy forward as the Head of IT Support.


Kinza Tahir - Senior IT Technician

Kinza Tahir graduated with a BScHons in Computer Science, She has been working in the IT industry for over 10 years. Initially specialising in CRM Software, she moved away from this specialty so that she could expand her skills and help more people. This is the first time she has worked in a school environment.

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Anita Dowdell - Administrative & IT Officer

Anita Dowdell has worked in education for over 25 years starting in a Nursery school and moving up to teach IT in a Primary School. ​Whilst in the role Anita always helped the external IT company whenever they were on site to further her knowledge of IT.

Anita is the Administrative & IT Officer working alongside the IT Department in supporting The Pioneer Academy.


Gheorghita Onosa - IT Technician

Gheorghita, known at George, is from Romania.  He has lived in the UK for two years and joined TPA in March 2022.  In Romania, he completed a programming degree and uses his skills to support staff and children at TPA.

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Sam Golding - Chief Finance Officer

Sam Golding is an experienced School Business Manager.  She started working with The Pioneer Academy when her school joined the Trust in September 2018.  In her role as Chief Finance Officer, Sam works alongside the Chief Operating Officer to ensure the financial sustainability and development of Multi-Academy Trust.

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Sukhi Dhesi - Bank Reconciliation Manager

Sukhi Dhesi started working at The Pioneer Academy as a School Business Manager before moving to the central team as the Bank Reconciliation Manager where she supports the Chief Finance Officer.

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Emma Thompson - Head of HR

Emma Thompson joined The Pioneer Academy in September 2020 and has over 15 years’ experience of working in Education.  She is skilled in Talent Management, Labour Relations, Personnel Management and Employee Engagement.  Emma joined the Trust from working within Further Education and holds a Post Graduate Diploma focused in Psychology from the University of Westminster.


Simon Frampton - Head of Estates

Simon Frampton joined The Pioneer Academy in September 2020.

Previously working as a Commercial & Projects manager in the Landscape Management & Construction sector, he has many years’ experience in working closely with site teams and contractors and using his experience to lead projects from idea through to fruition.


Kevin O'Neill - Senior Groundsman

Kevin O’Neill joined The Pioneer Academy in November 2020 as a Groundsman and is now the Senior Groundsman.  He ensures all the grounds across our sites are maintained, including grass cutting, hedge and shrub trimming, installing sports markings, general site tidying, leaf clearing, weed treatment, tree and shrub planting and ad hoc requirements to assist the Academy. 


Charlie Tidy - Groundsman

Charlie joined The Pioneer Academy in March 2022 as a Groundsman. Working closely with the rest of the Grounds Maintenance Team, he ensures that all TPA school sites are maintained to a high standard.

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Samantha Warwick - Executive Team Assistant

Sam Warwick joined The Pioneer Academy in June 2022 as Excecutive Assistant.  She has nearly 20 years experience in corporate organisations, as well as the NHS.  Sam provides administrative assistance to the CEO and COO.


Carly-Louise Roostan - Executive Assistant for Recruitment

Carly joined the The Pioneer Academy in 2022 as an Executive Recruitment Assistant and is based in our Central Team. She has over 20 years experience in Administration roles within a corporate environment and in her role as Executive Recruitment Assistant, she deals with short term supply cover and also assists with long term recruitment requirements.  


Lorrayne Sanders - Central Business Manager

Lorrayne Sanders is an experienced School Business Manager and has worked in an educational setting since 2013 and joined The Pioneer in March 2022.

In her role as Central Business Manager she supports five schools in Bexley and Kent.

She believes passionately that every child should have the same opportunity to make the most of their abilities and succeed in life and believes that education plays a vital role in this aspiration.


Leonie Freeman - Central Finance Manager

Leonie Freeman joined TPA in June 2022 and has worked in different finance roles within the education sector since 2015.  In her role as Central Finance Manager she supports five schools in Bexley and Kent.


Remi Oni - Central Finance Manager

Remi Oni joined TPA in September 22 having worked within the education sector since 2017.  She previously graduated with a BScHons in Accounting and Financial Management, and in her role as Central Finance Manager, she supports two schools in Croydon.


Leanna Peek - Central Finance Assistant

Leanna recently joined TPA in February 2022 as Central Finance Assistant based in the central team.

Leanna has over 10 years’ experience in different banking and finance roles.  In her role as finance assistant her role is to support the finance procedures for a number of different schools within the Trust.

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Toni Harris - Central Cleaner

Toni has worked at Stewart Fleming Primary School as a Lunchtime Supervisor since September 2008. She has always enjoyed working with the children at lunchtimes; for the last few years she has worked with Year 6. A majority of them enjoy football so she plays twice a week on the MUGA (Multi Use Games Area).

Recently Toni has also taken on the important role of ensuring the central offices are kept clean.


Jo Lakey - Head of Governance

Jo Lakey joined The Pioneer Academy in November 2017 as Director of Education.  She is now a consultant that leads on governance within the Trust.

Between 2003 - 2017, Jo Lakey worked alongside senior leaders and governors on school improvement matters; working as a seconded Head Teacher in Kent and then as Bexley’s Head of School Improvement.  As an Ofsted lead inspector, Jo has led school self-review visits and self-evaluation surgeries.

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