The Trustees are the Trusts governing body. It comprises members drawn from a range of backgrounds and experience. The Governing Body meets often to consider strategic developments, systematic monitoring of college and management performance and prescribed compliance reports. Our Chair of Trustees is Dr Keith Hurst.


Joanna Bailey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

I started working as an English teacher in 1989 and throughout my career working in the sixth form college sector.  I became a Principal in 2009 and continued in that role until January 2021.

I am now focusing my energies as Chief Executive Officer of the Trust.  I have a wealth of experience in senior leadership, strategy development and change management.  Committed to inclusion and widening participation I have a particular interest in social mobility.  I am a trustee of the High Tide Foundation and serve on the Sutton Trust’s Education Advisory Group. In October 2020 I was designated as a Regional System Leader.


Dr Keith Hurst, Chair of Trustees

PhD in Psychology from the Institute of Psychological Sciences at the University of Leeds, with a lecturing career at Hull and Sheffield Hallam Universities (1999 – 2010)

At Sheffield I was Programme Director for MSc Health Psychology and Principal Lecturer (PL) Business Development for Psychology. I then held two PL roles concurrently in the Department of Psychology, Sociology & Politics as Business Development Lead and Markets and Recruitment Lead, responsible for student recruitment, KT and consultancy. I worked with the Food Industry in relation to healthy food choices, and was instrumental in developing Psychology Innovations, re: the psychology of creativity and innovation, and its useful impact in both commercial and social enterprise ventures.. Associate Fellow and Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society, and formerly HPC registered (Health Psychology).

I started as Assistant Dean in the School of Social Sciences and Law at Teesside University in October 2010 to provide a strategic lead for the Marketing and Recruitment portfolio, including taught Undergraduate and Postgraduate recruitment, and building the successful marketing of the broader offer – including WFD/CPD, Research/Enterprise and Consultancy. From August 2014 I led on Portfolio Development, with a focus on the merger with Teesside University Business School. I was appointed as Associate Dean (Business) in Social Sciences, Business and Law in March 2016, and led Business during its ‘virtual’ relaunch in May 2016 to its decoupling from the School of Social Sciences, Business and Law in August 2017. I then briefly undertook the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) role in the new Business School as it established its initial senior team.

I returned to Social Sciences, Humanities and Law in January 2018 as Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) leading that portfolio across four academic Departments (8 distinct subject groupings) before moving to Associate Dean (Marketing and Recruitment) in September 2019 to lead on that brief at a time of significant structural changes in the University’s approach to working in this functional area.


Paul Gavens, Trustee

I retired in 2012. Prior to that I was Managing Director and Executive Vice-President at Sembcorp Utilities UK, reporting directly to the Group President and CEO of Sembcorp in Singapore.

During that period the business made major investments including the £60 million Wilton 10 biomass power station. There was also significant restructuring of the business following new investments by customers and some closures of customer plants at Wilton. My business background is commercial however, I started in research with ICI following a PhD in organometallic chemistry at Cambridge.

I am currently a Trustee Tees Valley Collaborative Trust having recently stepped down as Chair. I chaired Prior Pursglove Sixth Form College during the period of discussions with Stockton Sixth Form College which started before the announcement of Area Reviews and led to the merger of the two colleges in May 2016.


Val Bailey, Trustee

Val has been involved in the Further Education sector for over 30 years. operating in a range of roles at various levels and within various colleges.

She worked both regionally and nationally for the government following the assent of the F&HE Act that led to the incorporation of colleges focussing primarily on funding, data and strategic planning.

Following her time as a Civil Servant she worked at a senior level at the ‘then’ Stockton and Billingham College, as Executive Director and Deputy Principal, moving on to be Principal & Chief Executive of two colleges one in the Northwest and one in the West Midlands for some 14 years, whilst continuing to live in the Stockton area.  She is proud to say that during this time her youngest daughter attended Stockton Sixth Form College where she successfully achieved her A levels and went on to become a lawyer.

On her permanent return to the Northeast, she set up an educational consultancy company and took on her first governor role in the FE sector.  She was subsequently elected to be the Northeast representative on the Association of Colleges Governors’ Council, a role that she has held for 6 years.  She is presently the Vice Chair of a large FE college in the Northeast region.Val was subsequently appointed as a ‘Member’ of the Trust and then appointed as a Trustee.  More recently she has been appointed as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.


James Privett, Trustee

Having graduated from Durham University with a master’s degree in mathematics I joined PricewaterhouseCoopers on a graduate training contract and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2003. I spent 12 years with PwC, 4 of which were in Sydney, delivering audit and accounting services to a range of clients.

Following my return to the UK I worked for RPC Group plc, focusing on acquisitions and integration, process improvements and technical accounting support. I now work for Kier Group plc where I am responsible for a number of finance transformation projects.

I bring a broad range of business experience to the Trust Board as well as a strong background in financial management. I have also served as a parent governor at Errington Primary School.


Jennifer Plews, Trustee, Safeguarding Trustee and Chair of the Search Committee

Image preview

Jenn has been the Chief Executive Officer of Northern Star Academies Trust (NSAT) since 2017, following five highly enjoyable and successful years as secondary headteacher of Skipton Girls’ High School, North Yorkshire.

Education has been a constant throughout her life, beginning her career in 1995 as a secondary teacher of art and design. During Jenn’s career she has taught and led in five local authorities, experiencing many and varied leadership roles within secondary schools and local authority school improvement.

As a national leader of education (NLE), Jenn is highly committed to working across the sector to share effective learning and practice and create cohesion and collaboration. As a CEO, Jenn is experienced at looking for challenges and opportunities, scanning the horizon and shaping and implementing strategic direction. In 2020, her Trust made environmental sustainability a core priority, placing a green curriculum promise front and centre to their work.


Sarah Moyo, Trustee

Sarah has worked as a HR Professional in both public and private sector environments for over 19 years. She has experience across a full range of HR disciplines including employment relations, organisation design, change management, reward and recognition and learning and development.

She is currently People and Communications Director at Amey, where she is responsible for the People strategy and direction for their Waste Treatment business operating recycling, composting and energy from waste facilities across the UK.

Sarah brings a wide range of executive board level experience to this role, she is passionate about helping young people achieve their full potential through education ensuring that all children have the best opportunities to succeed, she was born and raised locally and has 3 young children.