Members & Trustees


Chris Gardner
Christopher worked in secondary education for over thirty years. He was first appointed to a senior leadership position of Deputy Head teacher in 1988 and then became Head teacher of Ashton Park School, Bristol in 1995. Christopher retired after 16 years of service to Ashton Park School in 2011. During this time he led the formation of the South West Bristol Co-Operative Trust, comprising of Ashton Park, Luckwell, South Street/Compass Point and Ashton Vale schools.

He spent a further three years from 2011 to 2014 working as a consultant for the Co-Operative College helping over twenty schools in the South West of England convert to Co-Operative Trust Schools.

In his working life Christopher has been a Chair of Governors for a primary school, a member of the Secondary Head teachers
Association National Council and Chair of Bristol Secondary Head teachers group.

Christopher is keen to use his expertise to continue supporting school leadership and the education and development of young people across different phases and provision.

Viv Champeney
Vivien Champeney has worked in primary education for over 38 years in both London and Bristol. She gained her first headship in 1995 where she successfully amalgamated two three form schools which shared a site.

She moved to Bristol in 2001 and became Head of a small 5 class primary school which grew to 7 classes under her headship. Whilst Head, the school also became part of the South West Bristol Co-Operative Learning Trust and Vivien took a lead role liaising with Co-operative Trusts locally and across the Country.

She retired in August 2017 and now brings her expertise on curriculum and pastoral care to the Trust.

Donald Lawrence
Donald is a director in an advisory firm specialized in capital markets, risk management, digitization and change management working for global banks, regulators, professional services consultancies and multi-national corporations. Donald undertakes extensive research on the 4th industrial revolution, analysing trends in skills requirements in 2025 and beyond, and economic/political risks of rising social and income inequality.
After the GFC crises, Donald launched the Risk Management MSc program that attracted thousands of applications from Europe and Asia focused on post-global financial crises regulations, risk and compliance.
Donald was a two-term trustee for the International School (700 students; 65 nations; aged 5 to 18 with numerous urban owned and rented real estate assets).
In change management; Donald developed governance and advisory skills with the Foundation for Fund Governance, Washington and the steering committee in industry consortium Professional Risk Management Intl Association, CISI, ACIFMA. The foundation of Donald’s skills were formed as an Army officer, as platoon lead, and as a banker with client asset oversight.

Cara MacMahon
Cara been Director / CEO of a number of charitable organisations: Flowerfield Arts Centre (Portstewart), Queens Hall Arts Centre (Hexham), Watershed Media Centre (Bristol), Voluntary Action North Somerset (Weston-super-Mare).

She has extensive experience of being a Chair of Trustees: e.g. Student Housing Association- 5 years (Northern Ireland), Show of Strength Theatre Company -4 years (Bristol).

She have also been a board member of a number of charitable organisations: e.g. Big Telly Theatre Company (Northern Ireland), SS Great Britain (Bristol), Curzon Cinema (Clevedon)

Schools do so much more then teach facts to young people, they have the privilege and challenge to help give a young person the tools they will need to become a healthy and rounded adult. She is keen to use her skills to support the development of the Gatehouse Green Learning Trust.

Michael Larson
Michael is MD Senior Managing Director and Partner/shareholder at the London office of Harbert European Fund Advisors Ltd and is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

Prior to joining HMC in 2004 he held a variety of senior management roles in Europe and the Middle East, including 20 years with Citigroup, with positions in New York, Bahrain, London, Zurich and Geneva, returning to the UK in 2005.

Michael also undertakes a number of charitable roles including MAT trusteeship.


Richard Daws
Chair Of Trust Board
Richard’s most recent role was as UK Operations Director at United States Strategic Command (USA).

He was previously Deputy Programme Manager at Naval Sea Systems Command. He has had a 38-year naval career and is an engineer by profession. However, for last 20 years, has been leading and delivering significant high-profile government level change programmes including weapons deployment, relocation of large staffing high profile groups, complex multi-government negotiations.

Richard has worked alongside McKinsey’s and Deloitte’s on strategy change.

Jean Dourneen
Vice Chair of Trust Board
Jean retired from the University of Bristol in 2018, having spent forty-four years in education. She began her career as a secondary school English teacher and over the course of thirty years, she held a range of teaching, management and leadership positions in secondary schools in Dorset and Somerset, including being a school governor.

In 2006, Jean’s role as whole-school Initial Teacher Education Coordinator and her experience and knowledge of teaching and learning led to her being invited to join the Secondary English teacher education team at the University’s Graduate School of Education, where she moved into several different roles: English PGCE Coordinator, PGCE Programme Director, Director of Teacher Education, Director of Education and member of the School’s Senior Leadership team.

The Director of Teacher Education role involved her being a leader in developing national teacher education policy through DfE’s Initial Teacher Training Advisory Group, UCET’s Management Forum and the Russell Group’s ITE group, acting as chair for the last two.

She is a strong advocate of initial and continuing professional development for all school staff and has worked with local Teaching School Alliances and MATs on CPD, particularly using Action Research methods to support teachers to investigate their own practice in order to improve their pupils’ learning.

Sarah Baker
Sarah is currently the Chief Executive Officer designate of the Gatehouse Green Learning Trust (GGLT) formed on 01 July 2018 and Headteacher at Redland Green School, an 11-19 comprehensive. She opened the school with year 7 in September 2006 and moved to the new building and started the post 16 centre (a soft federation with Cotham School) in September 2007. Redland Green School is co-located with Claremont Secondary school for students with profound and multiple learning difficulties and the two schools work together of the benefit of students and staff from both schools.

She is chair of the Bristol Association of Secondary Heads and Principals creating a strong group of education leaders working collaboratively to drive improvements in outcomes for young people in Bristol and to meet the needs of all students including those in alternative provision.  She has been Chair of the Learning in Education group, a subgroup of the Learning City Partnership tasked by the mayor to strategically raise the attainment of students through formal learning in Bristol schools, colleges and universities. Sarah’s previous school leadership experience was in London where she worked in inner city state comprehensive schools in Newham, Greenwich and Enfield.

Lawayne Jefferson
Lawayne has worked in governance in various non-executive roles as Chair of Governors and a range of committees and in link roles. She is a strategic communications professional and has worked in that field in many counties in public and private sector and media (radio, television-as presenter & producer) and in, print. Her current role is part-time, as Senior Communications manager in a Bristol based software development company.

Strengths include inter-personal relations, motivation, writing, public speaking, speech writing and leadership. She is passionate about education, having also worked as tutor and teacher and involved in student outcomes in diverse cultures and settings. She has completed the NCTL Chairs of Governance leadership and development certificate programme in addition to numerous governor training.

Lawayne was Chair of Redland Green school, leading the school to Ofsted outstanding and an NGA commendation for financial probity in effective governance. She is also a National Leader of Governance and works with GBs and School Partnerships in Bristol to support strong governance. Over the past year she has increased her trustee skill set through collaboration with MATs and MAT leaders in Bristol and the Southwest.

Volunteering /non-executive roles has featured throughout her life having chaired and worked children’s charities in the UK and abroad, raising funds to help disadvantaged children and speaking at events to raise aspirations and awareness.

Martin Broomfield
Martin is originally from London and has lived and worked in Bristol for over 30 years.

His executive career included various roles at Bristol & West Building Society and latterly working with senior management teams in consultancy and interim roles at AXA, Lloyds Banking Group and Post Office Financial Services.

He has taught at a Further Education College in London and has been a Visiting Lecturer at University of West of England and has been a Level 2 junior rugby coach.

He values education highly and the development of young people to the best of their ability.

Mike Purnell OBE
Mike is a versatile engineering and programme director, recognised at board level for leading, defining and delivering complex and technically demanding projects and major business change. 

Currently, he leads a multi-disciplinary team in the delivery of a £1Bn, Capex and Opex, portfolio of cutting-edge equipment for a range of demanding and highly specialist users.  Mike Purnell is a Head of Programmes in a large, multi-national technology company where his role is both programme management and engineering. Mike spent 31 years in the Army before taking up his current role in 2017.

His experience spans, change management, governance, planning and development, stakeholder management, business analysis and financial management, productivity and efficiency delivery.

He is also a trustee and Tower Captain of the bellringers at Holy Trinity, Stapleton. He is married with 2 grown up children and has lived in Bristol since 2009.

Helen Salmon
Helen has had a long career in education and retired recently. She served as Headteacher of two schools in Devon leading them from Special Measures to Ofsted Good.

Her second school had a large sixth form and through her leadership roles in education and years working in Bristol schools, Helen has acquired extensive experience of schools of all phases across the South West of England within the regional context of education institutions their learners and communities.

Mike Turner
Mike is a trustee for the Gatehouse Green Learning Trust.
Mike is a Senior Civil Servant with many years of leadership and governance experience, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Mike is proud of his social class journey and is passionate about helping young people fulfil their potential. Previous voluntary roles include Chair of Trustees for a charity for homeless people, and treasurer for Bath Samaritans. Mike lives in Chipping Sodbury.

Catherine Pinder
Catherine joined the Gatehouse Green Learning Trust as a trustee in 2019. She has worked for most of her career in primary and secondary education, initially working with turnaround schools and academies within London and later developing and managing international education programmes, predominantly in India and South Africa. She helped establish a charity which runs schools for children in low-income communities in New Delhi, India and a leadership training programme for school principals in the Western Cape in South Africa. She now works for the higher education regulator, the Office for Students, with a focus on fair access and participation.

Margaret Simmonds-Bird
Bio to follow

Mark Williams
Mark has extensive experience of working in the education sector. He is trained in safeguarding and has extensive experience in non- executive roles in education, including as a secondary school Governor, Chair of Governors and IEB roles. Mark has also been a Governor at a local sixth form college. 

In his professional life he is Head of Human Resources at Bristol City Council. He is an HR specialist particularly for the public sector, having worked in the role for many years.

Stella Lithgow
Stella is originally from Somerset and has recently relocated to Bristol following 10 years living in Yorkshire. She has previously worked in secondary education as a teacher and SEN support. She later gained additional experience in taxation and educational finance, and currently works closely with academy trusts across the South West focussing on resource management, funding and safeguarding. Previous voluntary work with The Samaritans has provided her with a strong passion for awareness of mental health and wellbeing for students and staff.