Gill is currently retired but prior to that ran her own translation agency and taught for 38 years in local secondary schools, originally as a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages and for 22 years as the sole Deputy Head Teacher at Selston. She has experience as leader of both academic and pastoral systems and during her career has been Course Director of European Studies, Child Protection Coordinator, Senco and Advocate for Looked After Children. She has organised and delivered whole school in-service training to Selston and other schools. Gill has also worked as an associate member of the local authority evaluating the provision of summer schools for Gifted and Talented, with local universities to coordinate the provision for trainee teachers and has been responsible for school finance.
She has experience in working with employers as part of careers provision in school and compiled portfolios resulting in the award of Investor in People and Career Mark. She has represented the school on local community groups (Safer Neighbourhood and Selston Forum). Additionally, as part of senior leadership, she has a vast experience of use of data, strategic planning, quality assurance, and performance management. She has held responsibility for premises and facilities management as well as Health and Safety and organised extensive refurbishment of parts of the school. Gill moved from leadership to governance on retirement, and was a Trustee for 4 Year, prior to being a Member.
Richard’s background in financial services stretches back over 30 years during which time he has held senior leadership roles in blue chip PLCs as well as mutual sector organisations. As part of the senior leadership team, Richard is currently Commercial Development Executive at Mansfield Building Society where he is responsible for delivering the sales and marketing strategy, and driving growth.
As Deputy Chair of the Mansfield Place Board Richard has also played his part in helping shape the district’s bid to secure £25m of Government funding to rejuvenate the town centre. Richard is a Parent Governor at St Johns C of E in Stapleford and currently resides in Sandiacre, Derbyshire, with his wife and family.
Paulo Karat is a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Law School. Paulo qualified as a solicitor in 1999, specialising in intellectual property and commercial contracts, working at Freeths LLP and Addleshaw Goddard LLP.
He left private practice to teach professional graduate courses at Nottingham Law School, whilst working part-time as a legal sector coach and in-house lawyer. He taught at NLS until leaving in 2011 to develop a start-up legal sector training software business. Having built his company to a point where it supplied over 40 of the Top 100 law firms in the UK, he had a stress-induced nervous breakdown. He returned to NLS in 2017, working part-time whilst retraining as a psychotherapist, mindfulness teacher and completing his MSc in Mindfulness Based Approaches to mental health and wellbeing at the Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice, Bangor University.
Paulo teaches mindfulness to students at Nottingham Trent University and, working closely with colleagues in the school of Psychology, researches the impact of wellbeing interventions on the student population.
Board of Trustees
Karen Potts, Chair of Trustees
Karen is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply (MCIPS) and a Director of a small business providing procurement and project management services. Karen has 25 years of procurement experience in the public and private sectors and an excellent understanding of EU Procurement Law. She worked for Royal Mail as Head of IT Procurement, Computer Sciences Corporation as Senior EMEA Supplier Manager and for six years as Senior Commercial Manager for the National College for Teaching and Leadership (previously NCSL), an Executive Agency of the DfE.
Karen has managed all elements of procurement including strategy formation, OJEU tender management, negotiation, development and management of contracts and supplier management. Category expertise include professional services, commissioned training services, IT products and services and outsourcing. Karen has expertise and experience of licensing products and commercialisation of intellectual property, due diligence to facilitate transition and transformation projects, development and audit of procurement policies and procedures and is a non-executive director for Gedling Homes. A committed school governor and chair of the business committee at Pilsley Primary School in Derbyshire for two years.
Alison is an experienced business leader and non-executive director in both commercial and charity organisations. She is currently Chair of the Mansfield Building Society where she has also chaired the Risk Committee. Alison is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and was previously Deputy Managing Director of Ikano Bank with responsibilities including finance, IT, change management, governance, compliance and HR. Alison is a committed supporter of education in the local area and alongside her role at the Two Counties Trust is currently the Vice Chair at an alternative provision school in Nottingham City. She has a long association with The Woodland Trust where she was a Trustee for many years.
Chris took voluntary early retirement from a 28-year career in Lloyds banking group in July 2016. He then pursued his long-held dream of setting up his own consultancy. After working with a number of blue chip clients for a year he was offered the chance to help to transform the newly formed Global Innovation team at Boots. The agreement allowed Chris to continue with his consultancy work and so began the latest chapter of his life.
Chris is highly motivated and experienced Change Professional with over 28 years proven track record in the design, development and delivery of a range of Programmes including Cultural Change, Strategic Transformation, IT, Digital and Regulatory Change, within Banking, Construction, Manufacturing Operations, Retail Networks, Financial Services, Insurance, Life, Pensions and Wealth management businesses.
He also has first class Business Analysis and problem-solving skills. Previously responsible for successfully leading and delivering IT / Automation programs with budgets of several million pounds. Chris has exceptional leadership skills, is a strong motivator and is passionate about staff development and innovation. Also, Chris is skilled at Root Cause Analysis and successfully identifying Quick Win solutions to sit along-side Strategic Change. Furthermore, he has experience with procuring and managing high value contracts and a range of contractors ensuring best value for money. Competent in the development and delivery of business plans, balancing score cards, KPIs and marketing, Chris is a valuable member of the board.
Ian is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Manager and Managing Director of MTM Products (I.S.P.P.) Ltd who are a manufacturer and supplier of bespoke labels, nameplates, graphic overlays, vinyl cut decals and emergency lighting signage. Ian is also a past President of East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and a Business Advisor with Young Enterprise. Ian represents the British Chambers of Commerce on Promoting Core Maths Senior Advisory Board. The aim is to introduce Core Maths as a new post 16 qualification which is very practical and relates to maths skills required for work, life and study.
Ian is an Employability Champion for D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and as such he is working to improve the employability skills of school students in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire by encouraging greater partnership working between schools, employers, local authorities and other stakeholders.
Shaun was appointed as a Trustee in December 2022 and has been a governor at Ashfield School since 2008. He served as a Governor at 2 local Primary Schools since 1997 until recently. He is a registered Social Worker with over 30 years’ experience in frontline and Management Children’s Safeguarding. He has also been a foster Carer since 1999. Concerned about the education of Children in Care, Shaun began tutoring his foster children after work and after several years decided to become formally qualified as a Teacher PGCE, QTLS. In 2013 he started a provision for Children in Care which has grown to become Pollyteach (now part of the Portland Charity Group). He is currently Assistant Principal at Portland College, Director and Designated Safeguarding Officer for Pollyteach and continues to teach STEM subjects (especially Physics and Astronomy).
Shaun is currently the Safeguarding Governor at Ashfield and the Safeguarding Trustee for the Trust.
Richard started his career as a secondary school teacher, before working for a local authority. He then joined the National College for School Leadership where he worked on their leadership development programmes. He transferred into the Department for Education in 2015 and currently works in the Department’s Schools Commercial Team, supporting schools and trusts to get the best value from their non-staff spend.
He was a staff governor at the start of his career and was a parent governor at his children’s primary school in Nottinghamshire, where he also served as Chair of Governors, and Chair of a collaboration group of the schools linked to his local secondary school trust. He has three children, two at university and one at 6th form college in Nottingham.
He was appointed to the Trust Board in March 2023 and is link trustee for Friesland School and a member of the Trust Finance Committee.