Our team

Josie Valentine circleDr Josephine Valentine OBE


As CEO of the Danes Educational Trust Josephine Valentine is responsible for the educational provision and outcomes of schools across the Trust.

Josephine was Headteacher of St Clement Danes, an outstanding secondary school located in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire for 20 years. She was the lead proposer in the application to open Croxley Danes secondary school through the free school programme.

As a system leader she led the Herts & Bucks Teaching School Alliance and was the regional lead for Teaching Schools across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Josephine was a member of the DfE’s Headteacher Reference Group. She was the co-founder and now is lead practitioner on a national programme for outstanding school leaders, ‘Growing the Top’ with Challenge Partners.

Josephine is an elected member of the DfE's Regional Director's Advisory Board for the Eastern Region. She is a National Leader of Education and has provided school improvement support for many schools in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. She provides expert advice and coaching for Headteachers about all aspects of leadership. 

She is Chair of Trustees for the Brilliant Club, a charitable organisation that mobilises the national PhD community to work with and raise the aspirations of deprived students. More recently Josephine was appointed to be a member of the education grant advisory board for the Wolfson Foundation.

Josephine gained a PhD in Oral Histopathology before entering the education profession. 

In 2019, she was awarded the OBE for Service to Education.

Rob Carpenter circleRob Carpenter

Associate CEO 2023 - 2024

Rob has been a headteacher since 2003 and worked in schools across South East London and the South East.  

In 2011 he became a National Leader for Education (NLE) and devoted much of his working career supporting schools in difficulty. 

He became the founding CEO of the Inspire Partnership in 2017.  The trust is now an established trust of nine primary schools in Croydon, Medway and Greenwich.  The trust has specialised in turning around failing schools with a strong track record of success. 

Rob is the author of ‘A Manifesto for Excellence in Schools’ and has led on a range of national leadership programmes, including headteacher coaching, peer review and aspirant headteacher training.  He is a member of ASCL’s Council and also a trustee with the Exceed Learning Partnership in Doncaster.

Rachel brindley circleRachel Brindley

Director of Education and Interim Headteacher at The John Warner School

Previously a Specialist Leader of Education, a Consultant and a Vice Principal, Rachel has worked with a range of schools, local authorities, and the Teaching School Council, to drive up educational standards irrespective of socio-demographic circumstance. Immediately prior to working for Danes Educational Trust, she held the role of Director of the Herts and Bucks Teaching School Alliance.

Passionate about equity and opportunity, as the seconded Interim Headteacher at The John Warner School and supported by two further colleagues from Danes Educational Trust schools, she is charged with transforming a school in Special Measures.

Chris Marks CircleChris Marks

Director of Education

An experienced Senior Leader with a demonstrated history of leading in Outstanding settings, Chris has worked closely with Danes Educational Trust since it first formed. He has experience of working in a variety of phases and settings in teaching & learning, assessment, pastoral care and more recently safeguarding and inclusion. 

As Director of Education Chris leads on school improvement within the Trust. He also has responsibility for Safeguarding, working closely with a dedicated team of Safeguarding Leads within each school.

Nicky Hammond circleNicky Hammond

Director of Finance

Nicky has over 18 Years’ experience of Finance and Business Management working in the Local Authority and the Academy sector at both Primary and Secondary level.

Nicky currently manages all financial aspects of the Trust and its two trading subsidiaries, St Clement Danes Trading and Herts & Bucks Teaching School Ltd, together with keeping a tight rein on the finances for its current £5.7 million building and refurbishment projects. Nicky can offer support and advice on all budget and finance matters and has a broad knowledge of day to day life in both maintained and academy schools.

Dom Richards circleDominic Richards

Chief Operating Officer

Dominic has over 10 years’ experience as a School Business Manager working across both primary and secondary education sectors.

Having worked in Local Authority and Academy Trust schools he brings extensive knowledge and experience in the leadership and management of finance, resources, operations and estates.  Having implemented a £17.5 million refurbishment of a secondary school under the Building Schools for the Future programme and delivering £3 million of Conditions Improvement Fund projects, Dominic is well placed to lead and develop the estates function of the Trust. Prior to working in schools Dominic had a successful career in commercial banking during which time he developed an excellent financial and business acumen.

Susan Poole circleSusan Poole

Head of Governance and Compliance

Susan has worked in governance through the free school movement since 2011, having established two single academy trusts and two multi academy trusts and managing six free schools to opening. She created governance structures to fit the needs of each organisation.

Susan has over ten years' experience as a trustee, including the role of chair. She works for the National Governance Association as a consultant and she is also a National Leader of Governance. She leads on and provides advice and guidance to all layers of governance across the Trust. She also supports with compliance and policy development.

Mary Cope CircleMary Cope

Head of Human Resources

Mary has extensive senior leadership experience across customer focused sectors including education management, regulated financial services and technology. She leads the continued development of People initiatives across all schools within our trust.

With a track record of success in commercial organisations of varied size and stages of growth, and as a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Mary is well placed to contribute advice and guidance to key stakeholders across the full range of People-related activities, including employee engagement, talent attraction, reward and recognition, diversity and inclusion, internal controls, risk and compliance, analytics and insight.   

Tom Phillips circleTom Phillips

Head of IT

Tom has 12 years’ experience working in IT, 10 within a school environment. He has actively managed both large and small scale ICT projects including new school builds and multi-million pound expansion projects.

He is well placed to advise on ICT matters and support schools throughout their ICT development. While always keen to look at ways of innovating within the ICT curriculum, Tom also has a keen appreciation of financial issues facing schools and has an excellent track record of providing ICT solutions which have longevity, represent value for money and benefit the greatest number of staff and students.

Rob Wall CircleRob Wall

Data and MIS Lead

Rob is an experienced data leader who has worked in a variety of education settings across the further education, higher education and secondary sectors before joining the Trust. 

During this time he has successfully led teams with responsibility for areas including management information systems, exams and assessment, admissions and statutory reporting. He is well placed to offer advice to schools regarding a wide range of data related matters, as well as additional guidance on schools performance measures, and support to develop interactive dashboards and reports focusing on both educational and business KPIs.

Liz Smith edit circleLiz Smith

Marketing and Communications Lead

Liz is a marketing specialist with over 20 years’ experience leading international teams, delivering events, communications strategies and multi-channel marketing campaigns for international companies.

In this time, she organised book launches, film premiers, launched websites, global competitions and advised on branding for numerous high-profile companies and individuals. Liz joined the team in September 2019 to lead Marketing and Communications and is excited about sharing the work of the Trust with a wider audience and engaging with the local and online communities to tell the story of the Trust and its schools.


  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Proud to induct our 2023-2024 Learner Voice Council. The programme empowers our learners to play a part in shaping their own lives in the classroom, out of the classroom and to go out into the world as its leaders. Thank you  and our fabulous facilitators pic.twitter.com/KywmL2zJpW
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Congratulations to all our learners receiving results today! Your hard work & dedication have paid off, & we couldn't be prouder of your achievements. Remember, these results are just a stepping stone towards your futures. There are many exciting opportunities ahead!
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 To the remarkable students receiving results today, your hard work, dedication, & resilience have brought you to this moment, we are proud of you all. Embrace the path ahead with confidence and continue to shine bright!
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Danes Educational Trust is partnering with the leading board-level search specialist, to find a new Trustee. You can find out more and register your initial interest here https://t.co/mYxh6uVnlK. For further information, please contact conor.wilson.com
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Danes Educational Trust is proud to work in partnership with , recently rated Ofsted OUTSTANDING. Thank you to all our colleagues who have consistently supported Best Practice Network over the past 2 years as facilitators of the Early Career Framework. Great news! pic.twitter.com/GSECnvCkPh
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Are you passionate about marketing & social media? Join us as a Marketing Administrator providing valuable support to our primary schools' marketing efforts. This role is 12 hours per week, term time only, with the potential for increased hours as we grow https://t.co/pp8E0ylkXu
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Thank you to all colleagues across the teaching profession who work so hard and with such care to ensure our children thrive. pic.twitter.com/qGLOZKWGsG
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Jupiter Primary school pupils learn the science behind sight and hearing tests, thank you for inviting ushttps://t.co/9rGzrwOJiQ
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Congratulations to the students whose imaginative artwork will feature in the new show home at Hatfield East. Thank you Durkan Homes for the opportunity.https://t.co/Mv4MgbJrMx
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 A wonderful evening hosted by and our first Trust public speaking competition. Congratulations to students from across our secondary schools who spoke so passionately, and thank you to all our colleagues who continue to make great things happen! pic.twitter.com/rn8B3dEmKQ
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Supported by , we are delighted to host our first Trust Post-16 Leadership development day today. Student leaders from across our secondary schools are learning the values and principles of leadership and how to realise a vision. pic.twitter.com/YhxPm6nF3s
  • @DanesEdTrust Image01:00 - 01/01/1970 Celebration at our annual ITT / ECT conference today. A great day including colleagues from across Partnership schools and a brilliant and reflective keynote from . Collaborative practice at its best. pic.twitter.com/sIDBAY6xbt