Leadership team

Our Chief Executive and senior leadership team is responsible for the operational management and leadership of the charity. Our Board of Trustees, many of whom have personal experience of education, oversees our work.

Chief Executive and Directors 

Sinéad Mc Brearty, Chief Executive

Sinéad Mc Brearty is CEO at Education Support, the mental health and wellbeing charity for the education workforce across the UK.  She advocates for a systemic approach to wellbeing for the education workforce, attending to the individual, the workplace and the wider policy environment. 

Sinéad began her career at KPMG before moving to leadership roles in the not-for-profit sector. She has worked as an organisational development consultant and a lecturer and has been a trustee at a number of charities including Kaleidoscope Trust and Groundswell.  She is a currently a governor of a south London primary school.

Paul Lismore, Director of Resources

Paul is a qualified Accountant who has worked across the commercial and not for profit sectors. He has worked in the charity sector for almost 20 years, 15 of which have been as a director managing the finance and broader resources functions. Prior to joining Ed Support Paul led the Resources function at Contact, a disability charity in Old street, helping steer the organisation through a period of significant change.

Outside work Paul is keen reader and likes getting away to visit European cities.

Faye McGuinness, Director of Programmes

Faye is responsible for the development of our services and programmes. Prior to joining Education Support Faye's role was Head of Workplace Wellbeing Programmes at the mental health charity Mind, where she led on the development of Workplace Wellbeing programmes including the Mentally Healthy Universities Programme. Faye was responsible for the development and running of the Mental Health at Work website, launching the Our Frontline campaign in response to Coronavirus and leading Mind’s response to the Stevenson-Farmer review of mental health and employers ‘Thriving at Work’. Faye feels incredibly passionate about supporting better workplace mental health and making an impact across the education sector.

Faye is a huge fan of live music and can be usually found dancing in a field, singing badly! When not enjoying music Faye volunteers for the Young Women’s Trust, supporting young women to gain employment by providing support with writing CVs and job applications.

Our Board of Trustees govern our activities. They meet on a quarterly basis to review progress against key objectives.

The Board makes all strategic decisions and delegates responsibility for the operational management and leadership of the charity to the Chief Executive supported by the Leadership Team.

Financial procedures set the financial limits for decision making at varying and appropriate levels from Board level downwards. Trustees are heavily involved in strategic business planning with the annual Business Plan requiring Board approval.

The Board of Trustees organises itself into committees in order to explore particular areas in more depth and report back and make recommendations to the Board as a whole.

We have 13 Trustees in place:

Board of Trustees

Sean Hanson (Chair)

Sean has spent over 30 years working for, and with, UK public sector organisations. The first half of his career was spent in local government working in finance-related roles at London Borough of Camden and Fareham Borough Council. Sean has also worked in the private sector focusing on public/private partnerships and business development. In 2016, Sean joined Local Partnerships from Serco where he was Managing Director of Citizen Services, UK.

At Local Partnerships, Sean has concentrated on the development of a broader range of strategic propositions, focused entirely on efficiency for the public sector in England and Wales. As well as providing executive leadership to the organisation, Sean sits on a range of Boards as an independent advisor and is involved in a number of programmes where he specialises in commercial negotiations, public/private partnerships, assurance, reorganisation and shared services.

Alongside his experience of central and local government, Sean brings a wealth of knowledge across the public sector, including local government, education, and health. He mentors and advises senior colleagues in other public sector organisations and is a former Chair of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) in North Bedfordshire where he now retains a role as a Member. He holds IRRV (Hons) and CIPFA qualifications and is a CIPFA Fellow.

Emma Hollis

Emma is Executive Director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), which promotes high-quality schools-led programmes of training, education and professional development of teachers. Emma was appointed in 2017 having previously been a Trustee at NASBTT for 18 months. She was also formerly Head of a Teaching School Alliance and ran a SCITT.

Sridhar Athreya

Sridhar is Divisional Head of Risk and Compliance at Capita PLC. He has more than 21 years’ experience in organisational strategy, finance and operational risk management at global management consulting firms, financial institutions and public finance agencies. As part of these roles, he has shaped and led Board and regulatory-facing mandates, developed forward-looking finance, risk and compliance operating models and championed adoption of institutional and industry best practices at HSBC, Barclays and UBS.

Sridhar has a strong grasp of the global macroeconomic context, international politics, global industrial policies and regulations and investment trends. He obtained a BSc and MSc in Computer Science and postgraduate qualifications in International Business before embarking on a consulting career. He has also attended the Private Equity programme at University of Oxford and International Relations and Political Economy course at London School of Economics. His consulting experience includes leadership roles within the financial services risk advisory practices at Accenture and SunGard.

Sridhar is also active in Board roles in the third sector, having served as Chair of Governance, Risk, Investment Committees at Concordia UK, Commonwealth Human Ecology Foundation and as Committee Member at Charity Investors Group.

Rachelle Headland

Rachelle has been in business leadership and marketing communications roles for over 20 years, working with some of the world's biggest brands and at some of the UK’s most famous advertising agencies.

As a Managing Director at Saatchi & Saatchi, she built the agency’s specialist capability in retail including integrating social, mobile, ecommerce, and specialist design capability, in order to build the business and deliver profit to the group.

Her leadership experience includes the transformation of business operations and culture, through better use of technology and a holistic approach to talent development. Rachelle has helped businesses drive growth sustainably and is as passionate about quality of expertise, as she is about commerciality.

Gareth Conyard

Gareth is a career civil servant who joined what was then the Department for Education and Skills in 2003. Since then he has worked mainly at the Department for Education (under its various names) as well as an Education Advisor at the Department for International Development. 

During his time as a civil servant, Gareth has worked on education policies from early years through to higher education, and has spent the last few years focused on teacher and leader continuing professional development.  Alongside this, Gareth established a wellbeing network at the Department for Education and gives frequent talks on wellbeing and mental health across Government.  Outside of work, Gareth is a married father of two.

Adam Alagiah-Glomseth

Adam is Chief Executive of education charity Talent-Ed Education. In this role Adam works closely with current and former teachers. Talent-Ed partners with schools to match ex-teachers with disadvantaged young people to provide tailored tuition.

He has seen first hand the pressure that teachers are under at partner schools, as well as hearing from Talent-Ed tutors why they chose to leave the classroom. This highlighted the urgent need for better mental health and wellbeing support for teachers.

Prior to Talent-Ed, Adam spent 7 years with strategy consultants BCG, working out of their Johannesburg, London, and Copenhagen offices. Before that he worked in research and international development.

Amy Bills FCCT

Amy is the Deputy CEO and Education lead at The Diocese of Coventry Multi Academy Trust, serving 19 academies, primary and secondary, across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Prior to this she was the Regional Education Director with another large, national trust following several years as Principal and Executive Principal in a range of primary academies serving richly diverse, disadvantaged communities in the West Midlands. Amy is also a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching.

Helen Herniman

Helen is a chartered accountant with several years’ experience leading finance and corporate service teams across a wide range of organisations in different sectors. Previously, Helen spent six years in finance and operational roles at the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Law Society in England and Wales. As chief finance officer she was instrumental in leading corporate services through cultural change and transformational processes to set up a high performing shared services team for the Law Society.

Helen has worked for many not for profit organisations, including the Chartered College of Teaching. She currently leads the Resources and Technology Services (RTS) at the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Helen is an advocate for customer service, diversity in the work place and valuing people.

Debbie Simpson

Debbie is an accountant and HR professional with many years’ experience leading corporate services latterly in interim C-Suite roles in large publicly funded organisations going through periods of transformative change.

Debbie is founder of the Institute for Continuous Improvement; a charity working to embed best practice in the delivery of public services. She has extensive Board and Committee experience and presently chairs the Governance and Audit Committee at West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

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