Central Team

CEO & Accounting Officer

Andy Brown OBE

CEO & Accounting Officer


Andy was headteacher of West View Primary School, the Regional 2015 Pupil Premium winner from 1996-2016. He is Chair of the DfE Primary Headteacher’s Reference Group and has been a National Leader of Education since 2007. Andy was national runner-up in Head-teacher of the Year 2015 and currently sits on the EDT national head-teacher’s board and the regional boards of Tees Valley Combined Authorities, Transforming Tees, Teach First. He until recently supported the DfE in the North East. Andy knows the North East education sector really well having taught in the Tees Valley for almost 39 years. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2016. For his sins he is a shareholder of Darlington Football Club and an ‘average’ golfer and tennis player!

Headteacher Board

Andy Brown OBE

CEO & Accounting Officer, Ad Astra


Andy was headteacher of West View Primary School, the Regional 2015 Pupil Premium winner from 1996-2016. He is Chair of the DfE Primary Headteacher’s Reference Group and has been a National Leader of Education since 2007. Andy was national runner-up in Head-teacher of the Year 2015 and currently sits on the EDT national head-teacher’s board and the regional boards of Tees Valley Combined Authorities, Transforming Tees, Teach First. He until recently supported the DfE in the North East. Andy knows the North East education sector really well having taught in the Tees Valley for almost 39 years. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2016. For his sins he is a shareholder of Darlington Football Club and an ‘average’ golfer and tennis player!

Mandy Hall

Headteacher West Park Primary School, Hartlepool


Mandy is Head-teacher at West Park Primary School. Mandy has been headteacher for 3 years and has taught at three large schools within the locality and her pedagogical knowledge is exceptional. Mandy has a particular interest in curriculum development with experience in the UK and abroad.

Charlotte Haylock

Headteacher West View Primary School, Hartlepool


Charlotte was recently appointed as Head Teacher following a lengthy period as Head of School at West View. During this time she was also seconded as Acting Head Teacher at a school which required improvement.
Charlotte has been teaching for 14 years and previously worked in Durham Local Authority. Most of her teaching has been within Key Stage 2; most recently, leading the Year 6 team. Her experiences as a ‘fast-track’ teacher, international placements and leadership programmes have enhanced her pedagogy and learning. She describes her passion for ensuring the best for every child – both academically and pastorally and believes she goes above and beyond in order to deliver on this.

Eddie Huntington

Headteacher Rosebrook Primary School, Stockton –on-Tees


Eddie qualified as a teacher in 1995 having previously working in the recording industry. After training in London his first teaching position was in an inner-city, multi-cultural, large primary school. From there he worked in Essex before returning to his North East home in 2001. After a break of 2 years in Thailand as Head of Curriculum in a prestigious international school he returned to Stockton-on-Tees to become Deputy Head of a brand new school. In 2015 he became headteacher of Rosebrook Primary School with the challenge of establishing better progress for all of the pupils and raising attainment.

Julie Thomas

Headteacher Brougham Primary School, Hartlepool


Julie came late into teaching having left school at 16 and considers herself to be a great example of lifelong learning! With the exception of her first probationary year Julie has always taught in schools in areas of social or economic deprivation, She recently stated, “I am determined that every child will receive a good education and that no child will be “doubly disadvantaged” through an inadequate education.” She takes her duty of care to both pupils and staff very seriously.

She has steadily increased the support that she and her staff give to other schools as part of the school’s contribution to wider system leadership. This support ranges from bespoke sessions with individuals or groups of staff in other schools, to visits to Brougham to see excellent practice in operation, and arranging seminars and conferences with external speakers of renown at Brougham to which other schools in the LA and from our sub-region have been invited.

She is a NLE and along with the school community have moved provision at Brougham to a point now where we are judged by the LA as ‘outstanding’.

Central Team

Sue Crowe

Head of Operations


Sue leads on academy conversion and business management. Sue has eleven years’ experience of School Business Management having worked in the secondary sector for four years and at West View for six years. She has a business degree, a School Business Management qualification and the IOSH Managing Safely Health and Safety qualification. Sue works across the trust and has overall responsibility for all areas of business management including finance, HR, site and facilities management, health and safety, governance and policy development.

Heather Jackson

Head of School Improvement


Heather has been in teaching for 16 years and during that time taught in three schools all in challenging, disadvantaged socio-economic contexts. Heather was consistently recognised as an outstanding teacher with a drive and passion for ensuring the success of all pupils. She has extensive experience in senior leadership teams immersed in effecting school improvement and of leading schools out of Special Measures.

Jonathan Dunning

Estates Manager


Jonathan has worked in both public and private sector in construction related roles for over 20 years, more recently as Construction Officer for Hartlepool Borough Council, predominantly involved in the construction and maintenance of school buildings.

He is also a Co-opted Governor at Throston Primary School with additional responsibility for Safeguarding. As a result, he is pleased to be able to be involved in helping to improve the physical environment of a school as well as the governance aspect.

Anthony Degnan

Finance Manager


Anthony leads on finance and accountancy. Anthony is a partially qualified accountant and until recently was a key member of a LA’s schools’ finance team. Anthony is a committed Middlesbrough FC supporter.

Martyn Ingram

HR & Governance Manager


Martyn is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development with over 25 years’ experience at all levels in the public sector, including executive experience as an Elected Member. He was until recently employed as a HR Adviser and Job Evaluation Manager, providing corporate HR Services to both Schools/Academies and the Departments of Hartlepool Borough Council. He has had an eclectic experience of supporting voluntary organisations and schools such as being a board member of Tri-star Homes, Five Lamps Organisation, Safe in Tees Valley and also experience as a School Governor. He is a Committee Member of the Tees Valley Branch of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Natalie McClelland

IT Manager


Natalie has over 11 years IT experience working as both an ICT Manager and an IT Project Manager in education and large organisations such as Sellafield Ltd and Hewlett Packard Enterprises. She has always loved working in education, and is extremely pleased to be part of Ad Astra Academy Trust.

In Natalie’s spare time, she enjoys walking and spends every weekend she can with her husband in the Lake District tackling the highest fells or a nice lowland stroll, all of which are followed by a lovely pub lunch.

Jane Oliver

Finance & Admin Assistant


With a Degree in Business Administration, Jane has predominantly worked in the Welfare to Work sector initially as a job search delivery consultant and over the last 7 years in a finance role in both the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable departments.

Kay Peterson

Finance & Admin Assistant


Kay is an experienced admin and personal assistant to senior management, with a Children’s Centres and School Improvement background. She is currently studying AAT Level 4 accountancy with intentions to progress onto a Business and Finance Degree. Outside of work she can usually be found with her children pursuing mischief and adventure.

Reece Carney

IT Technician


Reece has worked within a Primary School as an IT Technician for over 7 years. He started as an apprentice and has completed 3 relevant apprenticeships in ICT and Supporting Teaching and learning. He has worked alongside other organisations and knows what level of service is needed by schools. He is overwhelmed to be part of Ad Astra Academy Trust.

In his spare time, Reece enjoys wood working, wood turning and audio. He is a member of Teesside Woodturners Association which help to support various local charities such as the North East Air Ambulance. He also enjoys building and installing car audio and competes in competitions on a professional level.