Meet our Team
Yvonne Brown - Chief Executive Officer, Leading Learners
Yvonne has worked in the education sector for over 30 years, in six local authorities. She has 19 years' experience of successful headship including executive headship across three schools. She was instrumental in setting up Leading Learners.
Before taking up the post of CEO, she was Headteacher at Tyldesley Primary School and led it to an outstanding Ofsted judgement in 2010. She has a proven track record of improving primary schools across the North West and West Yorkshire and her expertise include: Curriculum design and its assessment; school improvement planning; creating a positive school culture; developing teams; and coaching and mentoring. Yvonne is passionate about improving the life chances of children and is keen to work with schools serving the most disadvantaged areas.
David Harrison - Executive Headteacher, Leading Learners
David joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, as Deputy Headteacher in 2015. He became the Headteacher the following year and successfully navigated the school from “Requires Improvement” to “Good” in three years.
David is now Executive Headteacher within the Trust and supports the development of school leadership teams, as well as playing a central role, under the guidance of the CEO, in developing Trust systems, processes and strategy. David has a proven track record of developing staff teams to ensure that children get access to the opportunities, knowledge and skills to succeed. He is passionate about strategic school improvement and strongly advocates for a school improvement approach that places excellent outcomes alongside inclusivity.
Liam Knowles FCCA - Director of Finance & Operations
Liam joined the Trust in June 2020 having spent the previous eleven years working for large, complex housing groups with social, charitable and commercial entities. Before obtaining his first Finance Director position at the age of 32, Liam fulfilled a diverse number of financial disciplines and acquired skills in technical accounting, business partnering, internal audit and project management.
Liam is an advocate of continual professional development and has a track record of producing high-performing teams through his commitment to coach others to reach their full potential.
Sonia Green - Head of Finance and Operations
Sonia has worked at Worth Valley Primary School since September 2008 and has been with Leading Learners since the start of their journey as a Multi Academy Trust. She has recently taken on a new role within the organisation as Head of Finance and Operations. With the qualifications, training and knowledge Sonia has gained over the past 12 years, she is looking forward using this to help develop staff across the Trust School’s.
Emma Metcalfe - Trust Assistant Principal
(SEND, inclusion, safeguarding, external agencies and families)
Emma initially joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2010. She has worked in multiple teaching and leadership roles, gaining considerable experience and strength in the fields of SEND and Safeguarding.
As an experienced SENDCO and DSL, Emma’s driving motivation is to ensure that the most vulnerable children in our schools get the very best that Leading Learners has to offer. Whilst being the designated teacher for Children Looked After, Emma oversaw the largest number of CLA’s of any primary school in Bradford. She is passionate about Attachment Awareness and Trauma Informed practice and is accredited as a national lead in this field. Emma works closely with external professionals and families and is committed to the development of SENDCO's, inclusion leads, safeguarding leads and wider staff teams, to ensure that the most vulnerable children in schools get the support, opportunity and best practice that they deserve.
Sarah Keinhorst - Trust Lead Practitioner
(Teaching and Learning)
Sarah joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2014 when she completed the Teach First training programme. Sarah is an experienced teacher who has taught across the primary age range in a number of schools, consistently demonstrating high expectations and outstanding practice. Sarah is passionate about tackling educational and social inequality and engages regularly with the Teach First ambassador community in order to share innovative and exciting education initiatives. Sarah is committed to supporting new teachers to raise the quality of teaching and learning so that all children can benefit from a high-quality education.
Ceinwen Lodge - Headteacher, Worth Valley Primary School
Ceinwen joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2007. She taught and led across the school, specialising in Key Stage 2 before becoming Assistant Principal. The Trust promoted Ceinwen to become Headteacher of Worth Valley Primary School in September 2018 and she successfully navigated the school from “Requires Improvement” to “Good”.
Ceinwen has ambitious plans for the school and is determined to lead it to become the outstanding school she knows it should be. She is passionate about providing children with a rich, diverse and high-quality education, driven by excellent quality first teaching. Ceinwen believes in children as individuals and that the key to success is harnessing the individual child's interests, passions and strengths. She has transformed the community perception of Worth Valley by working together, in partnership, to ensure the importance of education is understood by the whole school community.
Gary Stott - Headteacher, Reevy Hill Primary School
Gary joined Reevy Hill, part of Leading Learners, as the Deputy Headteacher in January 2016. He initially led on teaching and learning across the school while teaching in Year 6, before taking on the strategic leadership of the school's curriculum offer and becoming the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Gary was a key part of the senior leadership team that drove the school from “Requires Improvement” to “Good” in three years.
Gary took over the Headship at Reevy Hill in June 2020. He values forming positive working relationships with Trust senior leaders and Governors, as well as the school staff team, children and parents/carers in order to improve outcomes for children. Gary is passionate about providing children with opportunities to become proud of who they are and to be the best they can be through their experiences at Reevy Hill.
Kirsty Porter - Headteacher, Woodside Academy
Kirsty joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2009 and has worked across multiple teaching and leadership roles during her time with the Trust. Kirsty's expertise is most prevalent in her leadership of teaching and learning. Her proven track record of success in teaching and leadership across all phases, combined with her passion for developing highly effective staff teams, has led her to be the Headteacher of Woodside Academy as part of the Leading Learners family.
Kirsty is passionate about improving outcomes through ensuring excellence in quality first teaching, behaviours for learning and offering highly effective support for the vulnerable and those with additional needs. Kirsty is a keen advocate of the power of early reading in order to improve life chances for children during their education and beyond.
Mick McKenna – Headteacher – Tyldesley Primary School
Mick joined Tyldesley Primary School, part of Leading Learners, in 2011. He has a long track record of school improvement, supporting a number of schools to transform their fortunes. Most recently, as Headteacher at Reevy Hill Primary School, he led the school to its first ever “Good” Ofsted rating and was named Headteacher of the Year in the Bradford Teaching Awards in recognition of his efforts.
Mick believes that being part of a Trust really makes the difference to school improvement, bringing more than just a partnership between schools: It means that improvements are long term and senior leaders really invest in each other and the schools they work with. In 2020, Mick was proud to return to Tyldesley Primary School as Headteacher, in order to help the school to fulfil its true potential.
Laura Brogan - Trust Phonics Champion
Laura joined Reevy Hill, part of Leading Learners, in September 2018. She has taught across Key Stage 1 and led across school, specialising in Phonics and Early Reading. Laura initially implemented and championed a new Phonics scheme at Reevy Hill which resulted in an increase in Phonics attainment, with children making accelerated progress. Laura now leads Phonics across the Trust and is passionate about supporting leaders by building inspiration and helping colleagues overcome challenges. Above all, Laura aims to improve outcomes so that all children develop a love of reading and have the skills to become successful readers.
Sophie Heightley - Trust Geography Champion
Sophie joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2017. Sophie has taught across school, leading on Geography, English in KS2 and is the UKS2 phase leader. The Trust appointed Sophie as Geography Curriculum Champion after achieving the Bronze Geography Mark for Woodside in 2020. Sophie is committed to improving the quality and consistency of teaching and learning across the Trust. As part of her role, Sophie has supported teachers with planning and professional development so that the children have a high-quality curriculum that inspires curiosity, fascination and a general love of learning.
Jenny Simms - Research Champion
Jenny joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners in 2019. Jenny is an experienced teacher who has taught across school. Jenny leads Science and has taken on the role of Staff Mental Health leader to promote positivity and reduce stress amongst staff. Jenny qualified as a Mental Health First Aider to support her work. Jenny has a keen interest in educational research; having introduced and led Building Learning Power at her previous school, as well as Talk for Writing which are both research driven strategies. Jenny secured a position as one of only a handful of Research Champions for Bradford. This means she will be doing research in her own class and across school to help improve teaching and learning for all children. Jenny looks forward to ensuring that her research proves interesting and useful across all schools in Leading Learners.
Ana Priestley - Trust Foreign Languages Champion
Ana joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2011. Ana started working at Worth Valley Primary, also part of Leading Learners, in 2018. Ana is an experienced teacher who has taught Foreign Languages across the Secondary (KS3 and KS4) and Primary (KS1 and KS2) age range. She has worked in a number of schools, constantly demonstrating high expectations and outstanding practice. Ana is passionate about languages. As a native Spanish speaker, she is committed to supporting new and experience primary teachers to raise the quality of teaching languages so that all children can benefit from a high standard of education. Ana believes that we are living in an increasingly globalised world and that it is very important to awaken children's interests in other people and cultures, beside the cognitive advantages that learning a foreign language brings.