Our Team

Josephine valentineDr Josephine Valentine OBE


A Head for 20 years, Josephine has been a National Leader in Education since 2008.

Dr Valentine was Headteacher of St Clement Danes School in Chorleywood for 20 years before taking on the role of CEO full time in January 2018. After a PhD in Oral Histopathology and time as a teacher of science, Dr Valentine held the roles of Head of Science, Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head at a range of schools before becoming Headteacher of St Clement Danes in 1998. Under her leadership, the school expanded whilst becoming ever more oversubscribed and outcomes improved; the school’s results are regularly amongst the very best in Hertfordshire and the country. In October 2011 the school received an ‘outstanding’ grading from Ofsted for all 31 aspects of school provision and performance. 

She is an official DfE Academy Sponsor and DfE Education Adviser and was the lead proposer in the application to open Croxley Danes School. She leads the Herts & Bucks Teaching School Alliance and local Challenge Partners Hub and is also a member of the DfE’s Headteacher Reference Group, the Regional Schools Commissioner’s MAT Reference Group and more recently has been appointed Sub-Regional Lead for the NWLSC (North West London South Central) West Region (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) Teaching Schools.

She provides expert advice and coaching for Headteachers about all aspects of leadership and is responsible for the outcomes of schools across the Trust. In 2019, she was awarded the OBE for Service to Education.

Pippa bremnerPippa Bremner

Trust Development Director

A primary specialist, with particular expertise in Inclusion, Pippa has a proven track record of effective school improvement as the Headteacher of two primary schools and as a School Improvement Partner for Hertfordshire.

Pippa's role is to lead the strategic development of the Trust, working with colleagues from both the Education and Business teams. Pippa is also the Primary Lead for School Improvement. She works closely with school leaders to deliver bespoke coaching to help schools rapidly improve. As a passionate advocate of partnership working Pippa values her work with all stakeholders to develop best practice approaches.

Rb croppedRachel Brindley

Trust Improvement Director

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.

Currently Director of the Herts and Bucks Teaching School Alliance and Trust Improvement Director, Rachel's role centres around best practice in collaboratively improving learner outcomes and progress. She is engaged in supporting, challenging and reviewing school performance within the Trust.

Nicky hammondNicky 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.

Dominic Richards roundDominic Richards

Director of Resources

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.

Marianne barlowMarianne Barlow

HR Manager

Marianne joined the Danes Educational Trust in 2017 to establish a progressive HR Department offering a comprehensive HR service to all schools across the Trust.

An HR professional with extensive experience at senior levels within the hospitality and property sectors, she has a track record of success in commercial organisations, both setting up HR departments and working in established teams. A full member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Marianne is well placed to offer advice and guidance to key stakeholders across the full range of HR areas including recruitment and selection, pay and performance, employee benefits, employee relations and engagement.

Tom phillipsTom Phillips

IT Manager

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.

Liz Smith

Marketing and Communications Manager

Liz is a marketing specialist with over 15 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.