John Baker (Chair of Trustees)
Former Director at SSI UK and trustee of the Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation. John’s career has spanned 49 years in the steel industry, starting with Dorman Long in 1964, and remaining with the company under its changing ownership to British Steel Corporation, British Steel PLC, Corus and then Tata Steel. He held a number of management positions in the HR function, before taking up the appointment in 1990 as Personnel Manager, Teesside Works. In 1993 John was appointed as Manager, Employee Relations for the General Steels Division, being responsible for leading the management /TU negotiations at national level, He returned to Teesside as HR Director in 2006 remaining in that role until the mothballing of the Teesside Cast Products iron and steel making facility. John joined SSI UK as a Director in June 2011. He is also a trustee of the Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation, a major charity operating in the Teesside area.

Heather Ashton
Currently employed by Thirteen Group ltd, Heather was formerly the Director of Finance at Teesside University. Heather is a CIMA qualified Accountant and she also holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors. She was a Parent Governor at Prior Pursglove Sixth Form College, a Director on the North Eastern Universities Procurement Consortium and is an Independent Director on the Shadow Group Board for two Social Housing Providers in the North East (Housing Hartlepool and Tristar).

Adam Gaunt
The Reverend Adam Gaunt is currently the Rector of Loftus-in-Cleveland and Carlin How with Skinningrove. Father Adam is a successful governor at Whitecliffe Primary, one of the schools who wish to join the MAT. He is a strong and strategic board member. Since 2010 he has been Chairman of the Trust Board of a large MAT. Father Adam accepted an invitation to become a Trustee of the Academies Enterprise Trust in October 2014 and was elected Interim Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees in October 2015. Father Adam also serves his community in the village of Carlin How and as a Trustee of the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum in Skinningrove since 2010.

Graham Henderson
Former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Quality) and University Secretary at Teesside University.

Kevin Fletcher 
Kevin is a lawyer and has spent many years practising in Employment Law.

Chief Executive Officer

Linda Halbert
Previously Principal at Freebrough Academy, from taking up post in 2010 Linda led Freebrough Academy from being graded as RI to Good.

She has spent fourteen years as a Principal in two schools in challenging circumstances (formerly Principal at Norham Community Technology College, North Tyneside. School graded as good by Ofsted with outstanding features.

In addition to her role as CEO Linda is currently;

  • Providing system leadership as the chair of the Redcar & Cleveland EIP leading on improving standards in secondary schools across the Borough.
  • A member of Redcar and Cleveland 14-19 Learning Partnership.
  • Head Teacher representative for the Tees Valley for the Careers & Enterprise Company Head Teacher representative for the Tees Valley LEP.