Leadership Team

Chris Vallance BA (Hons), PGCE

Strategic Director of Student Experience

Chris joined The Samworth Church Academy in September 2018. Having completed his PGCE at the University of Leicester in 2006, Chris worked as a teacher in Leicestershire before he secured a Head of Year post at a school in Chesterfield. He later went on to secure an Assistant Principal post before academy conversion. During his time at Outwood Academy Newbold, he held a role within Deep Experience. Chris and his team were responsible for aspects of Academy life such as the curriculum/timetable, careers, pledges and student voice. Chris very much likes to challenge himself through distance running and travelling. Chris believes that education can have a transformative effect on young people's lives, ensuring that every student can make the most of their ability. Through both his interests and his role within the academy, he wishes to broaden the horizons of all stakeholders.

Geoff Mills BSc (Hons), PGCE

Team Director of Experience

Geoff joined Sherwood Hall School in 2007 as Head of Mathematics. He began working at The Samworth Church Academy when it opened as Lead Teacher for Teaching and Learning in the School of Mathematics and Business Studies. Previously Geoff has worked in Derbyshire and East Riding of Yorkshire. He graduated in Mathematics from the University of Hull in 1992 and then stayed there to study for the PGCE. His overriding passion is that school should help educate the whole person and not just the academic.

Ian James BSc (Hons), PGCE

Strategic Director of Learning

Ian joined the Academy in July 2010 as Assistant Head Teacher of the Sherwood School. Ian has spent ten years teaching at the Garibaldi School in Clipstone, Nottinghamshire, eight of those years as the Head of Mathematics. Prior to this Ian worked at the Meden School as a Mathematics teacher.Ian graduated from Leeds University in 1992 with a degree in Mathematics and a year later studied for his PGCE teaching qualification at Nottingham University. Even at this early stage in his career Ian knew he wanted to work with young people in Mansfield.

Carl Bennett BSc (Hons) with QTS

Team Director of Learning

Carl joined Sherwood Hall School as a teacher of Physical Education in September 2002, later being appointed as Head of Boys’ PE. He began work in the Academy as Director of Sport and then as Team Leader of PE before being appointed to the Senior Leadership Team in September 2016. Since graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with an honours degree in PE with Qualified Teacher Status in 2002, he has taught PE to students from Year 7 through to those studying GCSE and A level Physical Education. Carl is passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people and is driven by the belief that every child can succeed, regardless of background or ability.

David Broomhead BA (Hons) PGCE

Strategic Director of Student Support

David joined the Academy in 2018 having worked as a Vice Principal in an outstanding school in another local authority. David is a PGCE graduate from Leeds Metropolitan University with a real passion and enthusiasm for outstanding pastoral care and education. David has experience of departmental leadership and was also a Head of Year (Learning Manager) before progressing to senior leadership in 2014. David's goal in education is simple; to inspire others to learn by promoting a 'can do' attitude and creating a positive school ethos and school culture. David is delighted to be part of the team at The Samworth Church Academy and looks forward to working with all students and stakeholders.

Maria Fletcher BA (Hons), PGCE

Team Director of Student Support

Maria joined the Academy in September 2008 as Professional Tutor and Teacher of Art. She spent the first part of her career teaching in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, initially working as Lead Teacher of Art and additionally as an Advanced Skills Teacher. Maria completed her Art Foundation Course at Loughborough College of Art and Design in 1985, graduating from Manchester Polytechnic in 1988 with a degree in Fine Art Printmaking and a year later studying for her PGCE teaching qualification at Manchester Polytechnic. In September 2015 Maria was seconded to SLT, working as Lead teacher of Art, but also with a whole school oversight of ITT students, NQTs and whole staff CPD. In May 2016 she became a permanent member of SLT taking up the position of Team Director of Deep Learning. Maria is passionate about developing both staff and students to be ‘the best that they can be’.

Donna Barnes

Operations Director

Donna joined the Academy student support team in September 2008. She completed a Level 4 Diploma for School Business Managers in January 2020 and was recently appointed as the Operations Director in February 2021. With a background in delivering apprenticeships and training and development, helping students to achieve and be the best they can be is something she has always been passionate about. Donna is looking forward to the challenges of this new role and is keen to develop and drive forward continuous improvement at the Academy.