Meet The Team

Dame Maura Regan DBE OBE, DL - Chief Executive Officer, Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust

Maura Regan

Maura Regan was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021 in recognition of her outstanding leadership and service to education in the region and nationally.

She began her teaching career in London teaching History and RE, returning to the North East to take a pastoral role before becoming Deputy Head Pastoral and subsequently Principal of Carmel College.

Maura, as the architect of Carmel Education Trust, became its founding CEO having led the successful transformation of Carmel College from a single outstanding College to the lead school in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT).  The Trust was recognised as a leading organisation nationally.  In line with Bishop Robert's plan for the Diocese three Trusts amalgamated to form the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, with Maura as its CEO, comprising 28 schools both primary and secondary. It will become a Trust of 35 schools by 2022. All schools in the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust have been rated as good or better on inspection after joining the Trust.

Maura was awarded the OBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honours. She is also a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) for County Durham. In her role as an NLE (National Leader for Education) Maura and her Leadership Team have supported schools across the region and nationally from all phases. Carmel College is one of the top performing schools nationally and is a Maths Hub, leads a Science Learning Partnership and is a designated Research School.  Carmel College has a long history of Initial Teacher Training.

Maura works with the DfE and has supported a number of Trusts nationally through the Tailored Support and Trust Support programmes. She is a Trustee of Schools North East, Director of The Emmanuel Foundation Trust and a Governor of Durham School.

Maura is regularly invited to address national audiences on a range of educational initiatives, more especially on the benefits and complexities of establishing and leading a Multi-Academy Trust in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity and support for the common good. She is a keynote speaker for the CES National Executive Leader programme.

Maura is a member of the National Advisory Group looking at Recruitment & Retention among teachers. She is also a member of the sub-group working with the DfE on the Opportunity North East Programme established by the Secretary of State. Maura is passionate about making a difference and believes that ‘every child should be given every opportunity to succeed’. She has championed the Just Change Campaign on behalf of Citizens UK (Tyne & Wear Division).  This campaign is to ensure that free school meal children receive their full entitlement.

“I am proud to be the CEO of Bishop Hogarth CET and for the opportunities it has afforded me. Having been in education since 1979, it is a genuine pleasure to have had a positive impact on the lives of so many children and staff over the years. It is a great honour and immensely humbling to be recognised in this way.”

Maura Regan, DBE OBE DL

Mike Shorten – Deputy CEO of Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust 

Mike Shorten

Mike Shorten started his teaching career in Cannock, Staffordshire after studying at St Mary’s Strawberry Hill and Exeter University.  He took up a pastoral head of Year 8 role before moving to the North East to continue teaching RE and PE.

Since joining Carmel College in 1996 he has been Curriculum Leader for RE, Assistant Head Teacher leading on Innovation and since 1999 developed the Carmel Teacher Training Partnership from strength to strength: from GTP to ITT, SCITT and PGCE.  Mike has led and supported an outstanding collaboration of schools which, since 1999, has successfully produced the next generation of inspirational teaching professionals.

Further studies have led Mike to being awarded a Masters in Education Leadership and then NPQH.  Mike is an NLE and has worked on various School to School support projects across the region.  He recently completed a nationally recognised CES Executive Headship programme.

As Vice Principal he has been Director of the Teaching School.  When Carmel became an Academy in 2011, he took up the post of Head of School, then Principal and is now Deputy CEO of Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust.

Over two Erasmus+ projects, Mike has led Carmel College as the Lead School working with schools and consortia across five European countries.  Together, resources have been developed as we continue to learn from each other and our international partners about how to enrich education for young people.

Jennifer Moorhouse - Chief Operating Officer

Jennifer Moorhouse

Prior to joining Carmel College, Jennifer began her career in banking and latterly the building industry.  She has worked in a variety of roles at Carmel College, and since the Trust was formed in 2013, as Trust Business Manager as well as Carmel College’s Business Manager.  In the earlier stages of her career at Carmel College, she achieved the School Business Management BA (Hons) Degree; more recently she became an SLE and has facilitated Finance & HR CSBM training.

With over 20 years of school-based experience, Jennifer supports Directors, Governors, Heads and colleague Business Managers across the Trust within a broad ranging profile, including finance, IT, HR, payroll, facilities management, policy and procedure and governance, leading a team of managers in these specialist areas.  She regularly project manages whole Trust initiatives including tendering, refurbishment and construction projects, the transfer in-house catering and cleaning.

Jennifer gets the most job satisfaction from watching the students grow throughout their school years into confident young adults and sees her role and that of her fellow support staff as crucial in providing capacity for Head Teachers and teachers.

Julian Kenshole - Governance Manager

Julian Kenshole

Julian graduated as a Chartered Town Planner in 1989 when his career led him to the North East of England.  He worked for the next 13 years on urban renewal projects in Teesside and led the development and implementation of major regeneration programmes.  At a Local Government Re-Organisation in 1996, he was appointed as Corporate Strategy and Performance Manager for Redcar and Cleveland Council where he helped to shape the delivery and management of services for the newly created unitary authority.

He later moved to Darlington Borough Council in 2002 when he was appointed as Head of Strategy & Improvement for Education.  During the 12 years he spent at Darlington his role changed significantly as it developed to encompass services for Children, Adult and Children’s Social Care, Housing and Corporate Strategy and Policy Development.  He led the Council’s approach to Child Poverty.

Julian joined the Carmel Education Trust in September 2013 where his role is to support Directors and Governors, develop Trust policy and strategy and to ensure compliance through the principles of good governance.  He has personal experience of school governance having served as a governor at two local secondary schools.

Ann Robinson - Rudduck - Clerk to Governors

Ann has worked in administration for over 30 years and was appointed Clerk to Governors and Company Secretary for the Romero Catholic Education Trust in September 2019.

Her qualifications include a Degree in English and History and a BTEC Level 4 Certificate in Business and Administration.

Ann is currently based at St John's Catholic School and Sixth Form College in Bishop Auckland. She is looking forward to working with the Headteachers and Governors at other schools within the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust where she hopes to provide a sound, efficient service for all concerned.

David Leane - Finance Manager

David Leane

David grew up in Woking, Surrey with his parents, two brothers and one sister.  He was educated at his local Catholic first, middle and secondary schools.  He studied Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London where he was active in the Student Union and captained the football team.

After university, David studied as a Chartered Accountant and qualified with a top 30 London firm in 2006.  He worked as a manager in the audit, corporate finance and business services departments before leaving to move to the north east.  This wide experience covered everything from VAT returns to listings on the AIM stock exchange.

David is married to Heather and they are the proud parents of Patrick.  They live in Tynemouth and worship at the parish of St Cuthbert’s and St Joseph’s in North Shields, where David is Chair of the Parish Finance Committee and sits on the Partnership Development Group that followed the Forward Together in Hope process.

When Carmel Education Trust was created in April 2013, David was appointed as Finance Manager.  He particularly enjoys working across all the schools in the Trust and is proud that his work supports pupils from nursery age right through to VI Form.

Geoff Scott - Trust Data Manager

Geoff Scott

Geoff has worked in data management within the Education sector for over 15 years.  He began his working career as an apprentice at Darlington Borough Council in 1997, which led to him joining Darlington’s Local Authority (LA) a few later as a Statistical Assistant.  In this role he began producing analysis for schools across the town, supporting schools with statutory data collections, and making sure schools and management at the LA could interpret data analysis and knew of areas of strength and areas for development.

During his initial five years with the LA he attended college on a day release basis, firstly achieving a HNC in Computing, followed by a HND in Computing, and then ultimately, he successfully gained a First-Class Honours degree in Computing in 2006.  He spent 14 hugely successfully years with the LA, running a Service Level Agreement with schools on data support and analysis of school performance data, which all schools in Darlington signed up to.  His computing expertise enabled him to take on additional responsibilities, such as system administrator for the LA’s Education Management Information System.

Geoff left the LA in 2014 to join Carmel Education Trust as their Data Manager.


Stephen Hammond – Head Teacher at English Martyrs Catholic School & Sixth Form College

Mo Wilkinson

Stephen has been teaching for 32 years and, as a Theology graduate, has taught Religious Education in five of the twenty diocesan secondary schools.

He has been a senior leader for sixteen years. He served as Deputy Headteacher at St. Michael’s. Billingham from 2004-2010 before leaving to take up the Headteacher position at St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, Sunderland.

In 2014 he was appointed as Headteacher at The English Martyrs Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Hartlepool. Stephen has served as a Section 48 inspector and has successfully supported three schools in the Manchester area in their school improvement journey.

He is the proud father of four children and as two of them have ASD is passionate about inclusion in our schools.

Mo Wilkinson – Head Teacher at Our Lady & St Bede Catholic Academy

Mo Wilkinson

After studying Music at Bretton Hall Performing Arts College, Mo embarked on a career in the entertainment sector, traveling the world as a performer and later at an executive level working in the cruise and holiday park industry.

She returned to the North East after the birth of her second child and, in a career realignment, took up post as Head of Music and Public Performance at Carmel College in 2011.

As her educational career progressed, Mo became Director of Carmel College Teaching School in 2014, working collaboratively with colleagues at a regional and national level on school improvement, workforce development and Initial Teacher Training development and strategies.

Being a passionate advocate of the school led system, she facilitated and delivered bespoke leadership and training programmes for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, as well as recognised National Professional Qualification programmes for North East Teaching Schools Partnership (NETSP).

During this period, Mo relished the opportunity to collaborate with other Teaching Schools and agencies across the region in the development and delivery of several bespoke CPD packages in response to local workforce development needs, school improvement and system leadership agendas.

Driven by a passion for social mobility and the most basic educational aspiration of seeking to make a difference for every child, she took up her first Headship in a challenging school in Darlington in 2016.

After steering the school through a re-brokerage phase and moving it from a school improvement repair to improve stage, Mo successfully completed the National Professional Qualification for Executive Leaders (NPQEL) and worked across her previous Trust on several school improvement initiatives within her previous Trust.

After taking up the position of Head Teacher of Our Lady and St Bede Catholic Academy in September 2019, she is proud to say she feels like she has come home both in terms of being back in Catholic Education and in terms of having the privilege to work again in Carmel Education Trust with such an innovative and inspirational team.

Martina McCollom – Head Teacher, St. Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Darlington

Martina McCollom

Martina studied for a B.A. Hons degree in Religious Studies and Music at Strawberry Hill and returned to St. Mary’s College seven years later to undertake the Primary PGCE. Her first teaching post was in a village school with just twenty pupils in her Year 4 Class, followed immediately by a slightly more challenging cohort of thirty four!

Martina has been very fortunate to find so many career development opportunities over more than twenty five years at St. Augustine’s School. She has taught in every Key Stage, coordinated almost primary subjects, moved from Class Teacher to Assistant Head to Acting Headteacher and SENCo and finally to the role of Headteacher.

Support from Carmel College during her time as Acting Head made academy conversion and the decision to be part of a multi-academy trust a very natural next step for St. Augustine’s.

Martina’s degree subjects, and long-term involvement in liturgical music and parish life, enable her to confidently lead the Catholic life of the school, working closely with families and the parish to help children learn about the world through eyes of faith.

Bernadette Rizzi-Allan – Head of School, St Bede’s Catholic Academy, Stockton

Bernadette Rizzi-Allan

A passion for improving the life chances of disadvantaged children is what drives St Bede’s Head Teacher, Bernadette.

Having studied at Leeds Trinity University, Bernadette taught in the North West and North East where she also worked within the state sector, though her commitment is to Catholic education.  She was an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) for several years before moving to a deputy headship in Middlesbrough.

Appointed as a Head Teacher within Carmel Education Trust in September 2014, Bernadette has a track record in supporting schools and individual teachers.  She is also passionate about the mental health of children, and has served as a Trustee of the Bungalow Partnership for a number of years.

She is married to Dave and they have two children.

Marie Best – Head Teacher at St Gregory’s Catholic Academy, Stockton

Marie Best

Marie graduated from St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Teaching College with a B.Ed (Hons), in Glasgow in 1995. Her first teaching post was in the town of Oban for Argyll and Bute Council.

She has been fortunate to work in several primary schools in Scotland, gaining valuable experiences and teaching across all stages from nursery to Y6. After moving to Teesside in 2007, Marie worked as a class teacher, SENDCo and Deputy Head in St. Bede’s Catholic Academy in Stockton. In September of this year, she became Head of School at St. Gregory’s Catholic Academy.

Marie’s own faith journey and her commitment to Catholic education, enables her to positively lead the Catholic life of the school, working together with the school community to help children learn and live by Gospel Values.

In her spare time, Marie loves to spend time with her family, both in Stockton and in Scotland. She also likes to travel and spend time ‘getting to know’ the beautiful world that God created.

Michael Tiplady - Head Teacher of St William's Catholic Academy, Trimdon

Michael graduated from Northumbria University with a BA (hons) in History and Sociology and began his teaching career in Thailand working as a teacher of English as an additional language.

He returned to the UK in 2006 and trained as a primary school teacher with Carmel Teacher Training Partnership. During his teaching career he taught in Catholic schools in County Durham and Darlington before joining St Bede's, Darlington as a Deputy Head. He then became the acting Head at St Bede's before securing his first full headship at St William's RCVA primary, Trimdon Village (the primary school he attended as a child!) in 2015. In addition to his substantive role he supported St Gregory's Catholic Academy, Stockton as interim Headteacher.

Michael is committed to ensuring outstanding education for all pupils and values the importance of partnership working with other schools and organisations. He has served as the Chair of the Association of Roman Catholic Heads of East Durham as well as the chair of one of County Durham's Communities of Learning.

Jane Weatherall - Head Teacher at Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Darlington

Jane Weatherall

For Jane, joining CET as head teacher at Holy Family RC Primary School is somewhat of a returning home. Jane attended Carmel College for her Secondary and Sixth form education and is delighted to now return and be able to contribute towards the future success of the Trust.

Since studying at Leeds Trinity, Jane has taught and led in Catholic Primary Schools since 1992. She has taught in every key stage and, because much of her experience has been in small schools, almost every combination of mixed age class.

She has been head teacher of two schools and, during her first headship, led St Mary’s school in Barnard Castle to an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted inspection in October 2012 and two successive ‘Outstanding’ Section 48 RE inspections in 2012 and 2018.

Jane is passionate about working in, and the future of, Catholic Education and works for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle as a mentor to new head teachers, as support for those aspiring to headship and as a Section 48 RE Inspector. She also enjoys encouraging new people to this wonderful profession and developing trainee teachers, working as a professional tutor for Carmel TTP.

Jane is happily married to Ian and they are fortunate to have two children.

More than anything else Jane hopes that all children, as they journey through Holy Family School, know that life is full of love, of learning and laughter and know the warmth of God’s love for them.


Bev Tester - Head Teacher at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

Bev Tester

Bev’s initial career was in banking; however, she always had a plan in mind to retrain and work in education when the time was right. After 22 years in finance, she eventually took the leap of faith and embarked on her teaching career.

Bev graduated from Teesside University with a BA (hons) in Education and then completed her PGCE at York St John. She was offered her first teaching post at St Joseph’s Norton in 2007. She has never looked back, and is now moving into her sixth year as Head Teacher at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Billingham. Bev works with an amazing team of people who are dedicated to improving the life chances of young children through Catholic education and by allowing them to see their full potential and fulfil their dreams.

Bev’s faith is the driving force behind all that she does and is an active member of her parish community. Not only does Bev love to develop the minds of ‘little people’ but she also loves to guide and support newly qualified teachers, apprentices and trainee teachers. She is currently working alongside Carmel’s ITTP as a Professional Tutor.

Bev’s wish is that all children and staff who journey through Holy Rosary, feel that they are listened to, enjoy their learning and experience the love of God and our school family.

Lisa Byron – Head Teacher, St John's Catholic School and Sixth Form College



Lisa is originally from the North West and completed her BA (Hons) degree in English and Public Media at Leeds. She began her teaching career in a large multicultural upper school in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1991 and moved to the North East to begin working at St John’s in September 1995. Lisa is passionate about working at St John’s and about the wider community it serves. She is proud to lead “A Learning Community guided by Gospel Values” which recognises the talents and strengths of each and every individual, nurturing and supporting all to become the best version of themselves.

Throughout her career at St John’s, Lisa has held both pastoral and departmental leadership roles ranging from Head of Careers to Acting Head of the English Department and Head of Year 11. Since 2005, Lisa has held senior leadership roles in St John’s and was appointed as Head of School in 2012 and Headteacher in 2015. In these roles she has successfully led the school through several Ofsted and Diocesan inspections.

Working with the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese, Lisa has facilitated and delivered bespoke leadership and training programmes, supporting colleagues throughout their career stages. In addition, she enjoys working collaboratively with other schools in the Trust, within the Diocese and within Durham local authority with the aim that all children may benefit from outstanding pastoral support and a high quality education.

Helping young people to fulfil their potential and realise their dreams is what makes teaching a vocation and not just a job and Lisa is delighted when former students return to St John’s as support staff, teachers and leaders, who are all committed to give something back to our learning community, in which they excelled.

Gill Dowson - Head Teacher at St Joseph's Catholic Academy, Norton

Gill Dowson 

Following a 14-year career in Finance, Gill retrained and graduated in 2005 from Durham University with a BA (hons) in Primary Education. She began her teaching career at St. Patrick’s RC Primary School in Thornaby as a Year 6 class teacher where she led various subjects and was a School Based Tutor for ITT students. In 2011 she moved to St. Joseph’s, Norton as Key Stage 2 Leader and Assistant Headteacher, later becoming Head of School in 2015 and more recently Head Teacher.

Further studies at Durham University resulted in Gill being awarded a Masters in Education with a special focus on Educational Leadership. She has completed nationally recognised Executive Leadership training with the CES and is working towards the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers. Her interest in research has led to a new role within Carmel Research School, where she is Primary Literacy Lead and training facilitator.

Gill enjoys working with Initial Teacher Training Students having mentored and supported many trainees and newly qualified teachers over the years; she is currently a Professional Tutor for Carmel ITTP.

Gill’s faith is central to her leadership. She is committed to Catholic Education and to serving the children and families in her care. Living closely to both school and church, Gill is an active member of the parish family and the wider community to which she belongs. Her strong parish links have enabled her to develop close relationships between the parents, pupils and parishioners of the community in which she serves.

Paula Strachan - Head Teacher at St Teresa's Catholic Primary School, Darlington

Shine so that through you, others can see Him.” C.S. Lewis

Paula is passionate in her mission to ensure that all children, regardless of their starting points, are able to ‘shine’ and become the very best that they can be. She delights in the daily conversations that she has with the children that she serves. Paula strives to have a school that is full of smiles – and not just on the faces of the children!

Paula graduated from Leeds University in 2004 with a BA (Hons) in Educational Studies and English. She became Deputy Head in 2010 and joined St Teresa’s as Head Teacher in 2015.  Paula led the school through a successful Ofsted and Section 48 inspection.

St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School serves a diverse community with 54% of pupils from an ethnic minority group. The school and Paula’s leadership are used by the Catholic Education Service as a role model for schools with a diverse community and those with a high percentage of GRT pupils. St Teresa’s is a very successful primary school in the east side of Darlington. Progress measures and attainment at Key Stage 2 are consistently well above average.  It is a lead early years school for the Archimedes Maths Hub and is an Early Excellence Partner School.

Paula considers herself blessed to have spent her entire time in education in Catholic schools. She enjoys mentoring new Head Teachers within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and gains satisfaction from her Professional Tutor role within CTTP. Paula supported St Chad’s Catholic Primary School during 2020 as Executive Head Teacher and was delighted to be the Head that journeyed with them as they joined BHCET.

Pete Norman - Head Teacher at St Bede's Catholic Academy, Darlington 

Pete has been a qualified teacher since 2004, having graduated from Durham University. He began teaching in Catholic education the following year when he joined Our Lady and St Joseph’s (Brooms), Leadgate. Throughout his time there, he gained many valuable experiences and, in 2012, Pete was awarded a Masters in Education with distinction.

On the request of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, he was seconded for two terms in 2015 as Deputy Head Teacher at St Thomas More, Belmont (where he had previously attended

 as a child). Before the end of the secondment, Pete was appointed as the school’s substantive Deputy Head Teacher, which led to him working within St Joseph’s and St Thomas More Catholic Primary Federation for five years. During that time, he progressed to Executive Deputy Head Teacher and then Acting Executive Head Teacher, working across both of the federation’s primary schools.

Pete joined BHCET in September 2020, when he was appointed as Head Teacher at St Bede’s, Darlington.

Led by his faith, he believes in serving others within his role. Pete is passionate about recognising the uniqueness and potential of those within a school community and supporting them to be the best they can be.

Sheena Sinclair- Head Teacher at St Paul's Catholic Academy, Billingham 

Sheena’s ambition, from her earliest memories, was to become a teacher.  Whilst at sixth-form college studying for her A levels, Sheena spent her personal study time helping at a local primary school.  This cemented her belief that teaching was the vocation for her. After studying at North Riding College of Education in Scarborough and Leeds University, and qualifying with a BA (Hons) in English, with QTS, Sheena’s teaching career began at St Gerard’s RC Primary School in Hemlington, Middlesbrough.

During her time at North Riding College, Sheena gained the Catholic Teacher’s Certificate so the desire to teach in Catholic Education was a personal and deliberate choice.  St. Gerard’s provided Sheena with a firm foundation to grow in the teaching profession with excellent role models and opportunities. The school will always remain a very special part of Sheena’s career.

Moving to St Paul’s Catholic Primary School in 1995, was Sheena’s first step into leadership in an official capacity.  The exciting opportunity of leading a Key Stage One team through a period of significant change which saw the opening of the school nursery was just the beginning of the flourishing growth of the school. Sheena’ leadership position has expanded over her time at St Paul’s from being a Key Stage and subject leader, an Assistant Head and after a short secondment as Deputy Head Teacher at St Thomas More RCVA Primary School, Durham, Sheena became Head Teacher of St Paul’s since January 2016.

Sheena ensured that the school expanded its commitment to inclusion by securing an Enhanced Mainstream support base for children with additional social and emotional needs.

Community and faith are fundamental to Sheena; living locally to the school and being an active part of the Parish, faith is central to Sheena’s decision making and life choices.  She is delighted to work alongside the Diocesan Family of schools and is privileged to mentor and support trainee teachers and NQTs.  Sheena is currently a professional tutor for Carmel ITTP.

Sheena holds the firm belief that, as a school, we have a collective responsibility and privilege to all aspects of learning so that ‘We educate the whole child.’  Therefore, academic, spiritual, physical, social and emotional growth and development are at the heart of the Mission statement and school ethos which shapes the welcoming and inclusive family at St Paul’s is.  Sheena strives to nurture opportunities for everyone in the school community – children and adults alike – to be empowered to experience success in life.

Ruth Whyte - Head Teacher at St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Billingham 

After graduating from The University of Surrey in 1991 with a B.Ed. (Hons) in Primary Education, Ruth returned to the North East to embark on a journey in Catholic Education spanning the last 30 years.

Over the years, she has been fortunate to work in a number of Catholic schools across Teesside, developing her teaching expertise and leadership skills in all the key stages. Also, during this time, she married Gavin, they have three children and are looking forward to the arrival of their first grandchild in 2021.

In 2008 she became Deputy Headteacher of St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School Stockton-on-Tees, which is the school that she attended as a child and the parish that she is still an active member of today. After obtaining her NPQH, she was appointed as headteacher at St Joseph’s Billingham in 2014.

Her passion and commitment to Catholic Education led to her becoming one of the founding directors of St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Multi-Academy Trust which successfully merged with Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, formally Carmel Education Trust, in December 2019.


Julia Rea - Head Teacher at St John's the Evangelist Catholic Primary School 

I was born and raised locally, attending St Paul’s Primary, St Michael’s Secondary Billingham and St Mary’s 6th Form College Middlesbrough.

Whilst bringing up a young family I studied for a degree with the Open University. After graduating with a degree in literature, history and philosophy, I completed my PGCE at Durham University.

In 1993, I took up my first teaching post at St Aiden’s CE Memorial Primary, Hartlepool, moving after six years to join the staff team at St John the Evangelist as a KS1 teacher. Career progression through school saw a move to KS2 leadership and Deputy Head teacher before eventually taking up post as Headteacher in 2007.

I believe in strong collaborative work to enhance school-based practice. I formed the ‘Enquiry Network’ with several local Headteachers, the focus being on joint CPD and building professional networking across the schools. This led to an active role within ‘Stockton Teaching Alliance’ CPD group, where I worked alongside colleagues from the LA, secondary, special and FE sectors to write professional development programmes for staff from support level to leadership. I have also presented at the Transforming Tees Conference on approaches to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

Married to Chris, we are blessed with four children and two gorgeous grandchildren.

Fiona Brown – Head Teacher, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Newton Aycliffe

Fiona BrownFiona graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a B.Ed (Hons) in 1994. She worked in Ferryhill for 19 years where she taught across all the year groups. She became SENDCo and completed the NASC qualification in 2012.

A move to St Chad’s in 2014 saw Fiona begin her journey in Catholic Education. She became Deputy Head and Head of school in September of 2014. At the request of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle she was seconded for two terms at St Joseph’s Newton Aycliffe. As a member of the Parish she was pleased to join the team there and steer the school though Academy conversion. When the post for headteacher was advertised Fiona applied and was appointed Headteacher from September 2018.

Working within Catholic education is a passion for Fiona. She enjoys celebrating the children’s individuality and encouraging them to embrace their gifts and talents so they can reach their full potential. She is keen to ensure that all children are welcomed and included at St Josephs and whatever their needs they are supported and encouraged to do their best. As a member of the Parish she is keen to strengthen community links.

Fiona is married to Kenny and they have 2 children.



Amanda Howell – Head Teacher, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Hartlepool

From a very young age, Amanda had always wanted to be a teacher. Whilst studying for her A levels, she volunteered in a local primary school and knew that was where her passion lie.

She graduated from Liverpool Hope University in 1996 and was awarded a B.Ed (Hons) in History and Religious Studies, as well as studying for the Catholic Teaching Certificate. Amanda knew that she wanted to serve in Catholic Schools so her choice of university was a deliberate one. Her teaching career began at Corpus Christi Primary School in Middlesbrough. After four years she returned to work in her native Hartlepool and began teaching at Sacred Heart; working her way up from class teacher to assistant head, deputy head and then acting Headteacher, becoming substantive Headteacher in February 2018.

Amanda is committed to provide all children with a nurturing, caring and loving environment where children are able to be the best they can and where Christ is at the centre.



Jane Dolphin – Head Teacher, St Bega's Catholic Primary School, Hartlepool

Jane graduated from St. Martin’s College in Lancaster with a BA(Hons) in Religious Studies, with Qualified Teaching Status, in July 1994.  While studying for her degree she completed her Catholic Teaching Certificate at Lancaster Cathedral.

She returned home to Hartlepool and took up her first teaching post at Caldicotes Primary School in Middlesbrough.  Seven years later, after a very rewarding, start to her teaching career, Jane began teaching in St Bega’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Hartlepool.  She worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher for several years before being appointed Deputy Head Teacher and then Head Teacher, the post that she took up in September 2019.

Jane is committed to Catholic education and to strengthening links between the school and the families it serves.  ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ is the motto that encapsulates St Bega’s School community.

In the short period of time that she has been Head Teacher, Jane has welcomed the support of, and links with, the Catholic cluster schools in Hartlepool and is looking forward to broadening these links as part of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust.


Joanne Wilson – Head Teacher,  St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School, Hartlepool

Originally from the North West, Joanne settled in the North East after completing her PGCE at Newcastle University. Joanne has a passion for inspiring leaders for the future, improving children's mental health and self esteem, she is very interested in behaviour and how to help children to self-regulate.

Joanne began her teaching career in Wallsend in Newcastle and have since worked in 3 other primary schools across the Northeast. Joanne loves the North East for the community spirit, heritage, and coastline.

She was Deputy Head at St Bernadette's in Middlesbrough for 10 years before taking up her first headship at St Cuthbert's in Hartlepool, where she has been for the last 9 years. She is currently nearing the end of her new NPQEL qualification, but has found the last year to be the most challenging of her career (2020) yet, long may the journey continue.



Mary Frain – Head Teacher, St Teresa's Catholic Primary School, Hartlepool

Mary graduated from Newman Catholic College in Birmingham with a B Ed(Hons) in 1990.  A sabbatical year followed as the President of the Student Union which was a valuable experience to learn a range of skills in leadership including representing students on the governing body and the Academic board.

Mary returned to the North East and worked as a teacher then a Deputy Headteacher at Our Lady of the Rosary RC Primary School in Peterlee, completing a part time MA (Ed) with the University of Sunderland.  She moved to Headship in 2004 at St Cuthbert's Hartlepool.  She has been Headteacher at St Teresa's in Hartlepool since 2012.  She has also inspected RE on behalf of the Diocese for the past seven years.

Mary is a keen musician and has led the parish music in her home parish of Peterlee for many years, playing the organ and the guitar.  She regularly shares her music ministry in St Patrick's church in Hartlepool during family masses and other joint parish and school occasions.  She is passionate about ensuring that children, staff and parents have access to uplifting worship and liturgies in our Catholic schools.



Kirsty Evans – Head Teacher, St Chad's Catholic Primary School, Bishop Auckland

Kirsty graduated from Sunderland University in 2008 with a BA Hons in Primary Education. She began her teaching career at St. Cuthbert’s RCVA Primary School in Crook. Over the ten years she was there, Kirsty developed her leadership skills through coordinating core subjects across all key stages. During this time, Kirsty also achieved her National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL) and Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS).

In 2018, Kirsty became Deputy Head Teacher at St. Chad’s and a year later, achieved her National Professional Qualification FOR Headship (NPQH). She became Head Teacher of the school in April 2021.

The school’s motto is ‘Come as you are and walk with us’. Kirsty is committed to creating a community where the children, their families and the staff feel that they are all valued and belong. She is passionate about giving the children as many different experiences as possible during their time at St. Chad’s and creating memories that will last a lifetime.



Elaine Dodsworth – Head Teacher, St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School, Stockton

After graduating from Durham University with a BSc (Hons) and following a successful leadership career in finance, Elaine began her teaching career in Stockton and progressed across several schools in the Stockton area.

She became the Head Teacher of St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School in 2016, fulfilling an ambition to lead in education and faith. To raise aspirations and outcomes for all children, regardless of starting points is her passion and to grow both children and adults into their full potential a key goal.   The School motto is ‘Delight in the Good’ and Elaine is committed to an inclusive community school where every child has their qualities and strengths recognised, providing an environment which nurtures faith, encourages growth and raises aspirations.

St Cuthbert’s became part of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust in April 2021.



Steve Williams – Head Teacher, St Patrick's Catholic Primary School, Stockton

Steven qualified in 1999 and was fortunate enough to secure a position allowing him to return to his home parish to serve the community of St. Patrick’s. During his time at the school, Steven has gained experience across the full age range and led a variety of subject areas. This inspired Steven to move into the leadership team, first as Assistant Head then Deputy Head before being appointed as Headteacher in March 2020.

In addition to creating the correct environment for academic excellence, Steven is passionate about developing the whole child and providing opportunities for children to strengthen their confidence through sports, music and the arts. He is directed by his faith and seeks to help all pupils develop their spirituality and relationship with God.

The motto ‘May Christ be Seen in Us’ is central to the community of St Patrick’s and something every pupil and member of staff strives to live by.



Andrew Gardner - Trust Head of Catholic Life

Andrew Gardner

After completing a degree in Theology at Leeds Trinity and All Saints, Andrew began his teaching career in 2011 at Carmel College.  He trained to become a teacher of Religious Education through the Carmel Teacher Training Programme and has recently completed his Masters in Education, focusing on the ‘Distinctive Nature of Catholic Schools.’

Andrew currently teaches RE and is Lay Chaplain in the College.  He is also the Trust Head of Catholic Life, which means that he has the privilege of working with schools across the Trust.  He assists in their mission to provide an outstanding experience of Catholic prayer and spirituality.  Aside from teaching, Andrew is a committee member of the Middlesbrough Catholic Fellowship, a local charity for children and adults with learning disabilities.  He also sits on the Bishop’s Council for Spirituality in the Diocese of Middlesbrough.

School Improvement

Helen Keough - Headteacher- St Michael's Catholic Academy, Billingham

Helen Keough

Helen is currently Headteacher at St Michael’s Catholic Academy.  She has taught in the Catholic Education sector for over 20 years and spent a large proportion of that time working as a pastoral manager. Helen has worked closely with data tracking and monitoring systems across the Bishop Hogarth Trust as well as working as Senior Lead for the Archimedes Maths Hub. As part of the School Improvement Team Helen has worked on strategic improvement across secondary schools and delivered whole Trust CPD across primary and secondary phases. She has also been a speaker at conferences in the North East and in London focusing on raising attainment across a Multi Academy Trust with a special consideration for the disadvantaged. Helen’s commitment to Catholic Education and social justice is a key driver in her work to ensure that the students within the Bishop Hogarth’s Trust are given the best opportunities to live life to the full.


Click here to see the full School Improvement Team

Kevin Beston - Primary School Improvement and Maths Hub Lead

Kevin Beston

Kevin’s early teaching career brought him a wealth of experience across the primary curriculum: music co-ordinator, history lead, SEN and many more, until completing a Middle Leadership course and becoming responsible for SEN across his school.  He worked with the Local Authority as an Advanced Skills’ Teacher (AST) and was deployed in numerous schools to support SEN teaching and the implementation of the National Curriculum.  Kevin has studied with NCSL and obtained NPQH and MaST certificate with OU.

In 2004 he became Assistant Head Teacher, responsible for Mathematics, Assessment, CPD and reporting to parents.  At this point he also began his role on governance to gain wider experience of school.  Kevin continued to work for Local Authority as an AST, supporting Subject Leaders in Mathematics and Assessment.  He also worked with a Consultant to design an electronic assessment system for schools in all subjects.  In 2008 he applied for SLE status and began work supporting schools in RI or Inadequate across Sunderland.

In 2010 he became Deputy Head in school and while retaining previous responsibilities, he led on Teaching and Learning and Curriculum entitlement.  His work as SLE continues and extends to Stockton and Darlington.  Since 2013, Kevin has worked for Carmel MAT, supporting schools across the Trust and working closely with the Maths Hub.  In 2014, Kevin became a School Improvement Primary Lead for Carmel MAT.

Joanne Walker - Senior Leader in School to School Support

Joanne Walker

Joanne has been involved in working with children all her working life - as a social worker before becoming a teacher.  She has run geography departments in a variety of schools in different contexts, from challenging areas of deprivation to leafy suburbia.  Her current role as a senior leader in School to School support affords her the opportunity to engage with staff in a wide variety of schools, offering a full package of support.   Although this may mean having sometimes challenging conversations and discussions with staff and Head Teachers, it is all carried out in the belief and understanding that it is for the benefit of the young people whose futures are all our responsibilities.

It is her heartfelt philosophy that good teachers can change the life opportunities and expectations of their students and she hopes that she share this passion with the staff, parents and students she comes into contact with.  'Everything I do is driven by the desire to help children achieve their full potential.'


Rose-Marie Rochester - Maths Hub Lead

Rose-Marie Rochester

Rose-Marie graduated from the University of St. Andrews in 2001 and after completing her PGCE at St. Mary’s in Strawberry Hill, embarked on her teaching career at Carmel College, where she has remained throughout her teaching career.  Rose-Marie feels very fortunate to work both within her mathematics department as the assistant curriculum leader and more recently, with staff and students alike, across all phases in Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust’s schools.

She was designated as a maths SLE in 2013, which was the formal beginning of her work with other schools in the north east, beyond the Carmel family.  Rose-Marie has been the Maths Hub Lead for the Archimedes NE maths hub since its inception in 2014; broadening her experience of working with teachers in both primary and secondary schools to improve maths education in the area.  She is especially interested in embedding teaching for mastery in our schools and has a particular interest in sharing the Singapore methodologies, so as to build pupils’ confidence and competence with their maths.  She feels privileged to have worked with teachers from Shanghai for a number of years and continues to grow in her understanding and experience of their teaching for understanding and depth; this has enabled her to develop workshops and courses which she continually refines and delivers to teachers, maths leads and SLT members in the locality and beyond.  As an accredited PD Lead for mathematics, she is now also experienced in devising and delivering professional development for other teachers - both general maths PD and also department specific PD.  This helps schools improve their maths provision and thus outcomes for children.

Rose-Marie is passionate about understanding the mathematical journey, rather than simply focusing on a particular key stage or class.  She now fully appreciates Sir Issac Newton’s quote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” as I am constantly learning from colleagues, including Early Years’ teachers, who lay those all-important foundations and that coupled with continued opportunities for collaboration in all my roles, have helped me develop further.  It is this holistic understanding of mathematics education that I am keen to share with colleagues.

Mary Tate – Trust Executive Leader

Mary Tate

Mary has worked in Catholic education in her native North East for 30 years, qualifying as a teacher in 1990. After 10 years working in Middlesbrough schools, and a year spent teaching in Italy, she was appointed as Deputy Headteacher in 2000. In 2006 she was appointed as Headteacher of St Joseph’s Norton and worked as Executive Headteacher across St Joseph’s, Norton and Holy Rosary, Billingham from 2015. From September 2018, Mary also took on the role of Interim Executive Headteacher of St Gregory’s Academy within Carmel Education Trust.

In February 2019, Mary led St Joseph’s and Holy Rosary through Academy conversion when both schools joined the Trust.

In September 2019, Mary moved to a new post of Executive Leader across the Trust and now supports Headteachers with strategic leadership.

She works within the School Improvement Team and oversees curriculum development and transition across KS2 and KS3, working with curriculum leaders to ensure the best possible outcomes for our pupils.

Mary has undertaken Executive Leadership training with the CES and is working towards the National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership.

She is an experienced Section 48 Inspector for the Diocese and works collaboratively across partner MATs within the Diocese.

IT & Communications

Matthew Smith - IT Manager

Matthew Smith

For 21 years Matthew has worked in the Education sector, starting out in a Secondary School as an IT apprentice.  As his career developed, he moved on to support more schools across a Local Authority and before long, he rose through the ranks from technician to Team Leader.  An exciting opportunity to join Carmel College as an IT Manager came his way and he has never looked back.

Matthew’s experience working in the Local Authority really came in useful as the Carmel Education Trust was formed as he used all these skills to implement systems and services across many schools.  He now leads a creative, hardworking and dedicated team who continually go that extra mile.  When he’s not working you can usually find him on a football pitch as he is an FA qualified coach and manages an U7’s football team.


Click here to see the full IT & Communications Team


Stephen Fletcher - Senior IT Technician

Stephen Fletcher

Technology is revolutionising education in its quick ascension as one of the classroom’s greatest tools.  Based in Darlington, Stephen enjoys promoting, supporting and developing systems to provide a safe, effective and fun learning experience.  In his words: “I help staff to see the benefits of using technology and assist them in becoming more productive as they learn new skills.”

Stephen has worked in education for over 12 years in three outstanding North East schools across three local authorities.  It was an easy choice for him to move into the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust community, as his wife teaches at one of the Trust schools and his children go to a Trust primary school.

Stephen is a qualified Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.  He is always seeking out new technology in order to maximise the effectiveness of the Trust’s systems, with a particular interest in “cloud” services.

In his spare time, Stephen is a percussionist, playing a variety of different styles of music to different audiences, but he particularly enjoys providing the entertainment for special occasions, such as weddings.


David Kitching - IT Technician

David Kitching

David has been a member of the Carmel community since he was 11 years old - as a student and now as an employee.  He started developing an interest in IT systems and technology while studying A levels at Carmel VI Form. David took an apprenticeship at Carmel College at the age of 18 and worked within the IT support team, which has now developed into the Trust IT support team.  He has since achieved Microsoft and Cisco certifications and a Computer Science degree.  David is involved with the installation and maintenance of IT systems and audio/visual technologies across Trust schools, thus providing the latest technology to aid and enhance teaching the learning.

David has a real gift and passion for photography and cinematography, completing film and image projects in his spare time.  Along with his helpdesk and support tasks, he now creates films and images for promotional materials at Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust and passes his knowledge on to students to develop their skills, whether that be through writing scripts, camera techniques, production values or editing footage and images.


Marketing, Media and Communications

Jennifer Rutherford - Marketing, Media and Communications Manager

Jennifer joined the team at BHCET in December 2020. Prior to this, she has had a variety of marketing and communication roles, predominantly in the Oil, Gas and Energy sectors. She studied her Creative Advertising degree at the University of Central Lancashire and also attained a CIM qualification at Teesside University.

Throughout her career she has built up a wealth of experience in B2B marketing, helping companies to promote themselves as pioneers in this digital age. She has managed multiple marketing campaigns, projects and large events. The Education sector is a new challenge, which she is eager and enthusiastic to bring her skills to, and support children as they thrive on their educational journey.

Jennifer is married with one young daughter who keeps her busy, but in her spare time, she loves to absorb nature and go for walks.


Click here to see the full Marketing & Communications Team


Verity Cannings - Graphic Designer

Verity CanningsVerity graduated from Bournemouth University in 2019 with an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing, having previously achieved her BA (Hons) in Digital Media Design in 2018. Verity started her career within the publishing industry as a publishing assistant, and then decided that she would rather focus on a career where her creativity would be rewarded.
Since joining the Trust in January 2021, Verity has taken on the responsibility of maintaining the various websites within the Trust, as well as designing a range of creative materials from logos to promotional flyers when the need arises.

Verity only recently moved to the North East, having spent the majority of her life in East Sussex. She enjoys creating digital artwork and writing speculative fiction in her spare time.