Our people


Howard is Chief Executive of Samuel Ward Trust. Head of Samuel Ward Academy from 2000- 2014 Howard led the school to two successful outstanding Ofsted inspections, transformed its examination academic outcomes and increased its roll from 450 to 1,250 students. He helped set up the Samuel Ward multi academy trust in March 2013 following a successful application to open a Free Special School, Churchill, for pupils with speech, language and communications issues.
Howard is a National Leader of Education and has supported has a number of schools in this capacity within Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. In addition to this he was seconded for one year to Suffolk County Council to lead on the development of their Vision for learning. He has previously been a finance director of a small business, Secondary School Improvement Partner and a National AST assessor.  He has also been a Regional Director of Education for one of the large national academy sponsors. He was awarded Education leader of the year in 2014 by Suffolk County Council and an honorary fellow by the University Campus Suffolk.

Darren is Director of Education (Primary) for the Samuel Ward Academy Trust. Previously, Darren was Headteacher for 8 years at Kedington Primary School leading it to an Outstanding rating in October 2011 then subsequently taking  it through conversion to academy status in April 2013.
Darren is a Local Leader of Education and has supported a number of schools and headteachers in this capacity within Suffolk as well as acting as a mentor to headteacher.
His entire career has been in Primary Education, working in three authorities and five schools

Mark works as Director of Education (secondary) for the Samuel Ward Academy Trust. He works across the secondary schools of the Trust with the Headteachers with a particular focus on achievement and standards. He chairs Trust-wide groups on assessment and behaviour. Mark leads a team of Trust advisors and deploys them around the Trust to affect greatest impact with the team being both reactive and pro-active. Mark is also acting as the educational lead for the Trust on the setting up of a new school in Bury St Edmunds, Sybil Andrews Academy, opening in September 2016.
Previously Mark worked at The Thetford Academy as Vice Principal for Achievement as part of the senior team that led its transformation from one of the lowest performing schools in the country to being in the top 18% of schools for value added. He was appointed as Acting Head Teacher (secondment) of Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in September 2014 and whilst in that position was one of the strategic leads for the Norfolk and Suffolk Maths Hub. He was also a delegate on the Shanghai Maths exchange programme in September 2014 and was a member of the Commission on Assessment Without Levels at the Department for Education.

Debbie is Director of Operations and Principal Finance Officer for the Samuel Ward Trust.
Before deciding to move into Education in 2008 Debbie was a Senior Bank Manager with the Lloyds banking group. During the 20 years she was with Lloyds Debbie had experience of a wide range of roles including organising corporate events for high net worth clients, financial advisor, insurance and investments.
Debbie joined Samuel Ward Arts and Technology College in 2008. She was instrumental in the successful conversion from School to Academy in 2010 and oversaw the transition from Academy to Multi Academy in 2013. During this time she has had responsibility for the Financial Management of The Trusts, Health & Safety, Property and Catering. She has also played a key role in securing funding for some major capital projects across The Trust
In her current role her responsibilities are to develop the Business Model, systems and processes to ensure that the Trust and its academies are able to meet their strategic objectives, finding economies of scale so more time and money can be invested in improving students’ outcomes. Key areas of responsibilities include procurement, risks and assets management, PR and marketing. As Principal Financial Officer Debbie’s role is to advise the CEO and oversee Academies on the development, funding and the acquisition and spending of capital grants. She has overall responsibility for the financial administration in each academy ensuring compliance to all internal and external financial regulations.

Lisa is the Trust Secretary. She supports the Directors and Board members and has worked in the education sector for over 20 years.

Joy is Director of HR for the Samuel Ward Academy Trust, supporting the Trust in the Development of our HR strategy and in management of both teaching and support staff.
Joy’s previous roles include Senior Advisor for Schools’ Choice and HR/Payroll/Health & Safety Manager at Orwell Park Independent Boarding and Day School.   Joy has also held senior HR roles in industry. This experience has given Joy a broad understanding of both public and private sector manufacturing and service organisations, as well as the state and independent education sectors.
Joy’s knowledge and experience is particularly valuable to the Trust as we move away from local authority control and exercise more freedom in HR and other matters.

Trish is the Trust Finance Manager for the Samuel Ward Academy Trust. She has over 20 years’ experience in accounting. Trish supports all the schools within the Trust with an overview of all finances.

Information coming soon.

Russ is a creative designer, art director and photographer. His role at Samuel Ward Academy Trust is to oversee the design and communications team. Russ has been with Samuel Ward Academy for over 8 years, and has worked on developing the new academies' identities, brochures and advertising, as well as supporting the Arts and Media Departments.
Russ started his career in Sydney Australia as a photographers assistant in a large advertising agency. He taught himself basic design skills and continued to learn on the job, eventually becoming an assistant art director. He continued his role as an art director in film, before setting up his own design business which he managed for 15 years. During this time he worked for clients such as Disney, Warner Bros and Harley Davidson.
A keen footballer who also gained an FA coaching certificate and managed a boys football club for 6 seasons before hanging up his boots for good. He now fills his spare time taking photographs and walking his dog, Monty.