Members and Trustees
Meet our Board
Our board is made up of a wide range of highly experienced professionals who bring challenge and support to the organisation. The board meets regularly with Headteachers and senior leaders from the Trust.
Glenn was a teacher for twenty three years and a school improvement officer and educational consultant for a further fifteen. He has worked in both primary and secondary schools from Early Years to sixth form and in Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Blackpool. As well as school improvement, he has extensive experience as an examiner, course provider, adviser to the Department for Education, and writer of articles and teaching materials. He has a particular interest in English and literacy and is currently working part-time and independently to advise and support schools
Michelle Morris is Chief Executive of The Nicky Alliance and a former governor of Higher Lane Primary School. Michelle is a Trustee on the Board of the Grand Theatre in Blackpool. Michelle was Councillor for Pilkington Park Ward from 2003-2016 and was Mayor of Bury 2014-2015. Michelle brings with her a wealth of knowledge having worked in the public, private and third sectors.
Geoff started his career as a computer programmer and progressed through writing, designing and then managing ever-larger systems. He then moved into Management Consultancy with the big accountancy firms, where he ended up as Regional Director for two of them, before becoming an independent consultant. Geoff now specialises in IT Strategy, Selection and Implementation, as well as Business Strategy, Corporate Planning, Business Continuity, and Quality procedures. His clients have included a maverick entrepreneur and major Trades Union. For many years he was on the Manchester Branch Committee, and Regional Membership Panel, of the British Computer Society, of which he is a Fellow. Geoff has been a director of a small, now-merged, junior school in Rochdale, and was chair of the Guild of Parents of BGS(Girls). Geoff has three children, all dyslexic, but they all got good degrees, and one now works providing support workers to FE and HE students with special needs. His interests include walking and archaeology.
Carol McLachlan, NLE, Headteacher/CEO
Carol McLachlan has been a Headteacher for over twenty years. Higher Lane is her third headship where she joined in 2014 after previous headships in Rochdale and Bury. She has also worked in the School Improvement Service supporting and providing challenge to primary schools. Her work with school improvement included developing school leadership. Carol is committed to ensuring that all children have the best possible start to their educational career and believes that all children regardless of their background can achieve great and wonderful things.
Laurence Goldberg (Chair)
Laurence Goldberg is a former hospital pharmacist and part-time academic. He now works as an independent pharmaceutical consultant specialising in patient safety and medication error reduction. He is Editorial Consultant for Hospital Pharmacy Europe. He is a former Non- Executive Director of the National Patient Safety Agency.
He was designated a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 1989 and has won several awards for his work in pharmacy. He has been an invited speaker at many national and international conferences and has over 50 scientific papers to his name, many of them as sole author.
He was a governor and latterly Chair of Governors at Bury Grammar Schools and is currently a governor at Radcliffe Hall CE/Methodist Primary School.
Previously chair of governors of Higher Lane Primary school, Darryl has been involved in school governance for over 10 years. Darryl is able to draw on over 20 years of experience working in education policy and delivery for local and central government during which time he have developed skills in leadership and management, procurement, budget management, data analysis and programme delivery. He is keen to ensure there are high quality staff at all levels that create the right environment for children to flourish in our schools.
Councillor David Jones
Councillor Jones, as former Chair of Trustees, was pivotal in the establishment of the multi academy trust from its inception in July 2017. David guided the Board, ensuring that strong foundations were laid to ensure the Trust’s future success. David only recently stepped down as Chair due to taking on the role of Leader of Bury Council, but has remained on the Board as a Trustee.
David’s a proud Lancastrian who since 1972 has worked in the Public sector up to the present day. David was a Police Officer for nearly 34 years retiring as an Inspector in 2010. His problem solving and change management skills were then re tested when he was appointed as the Community Safety Manager for Bury Council responsible for reducing Crime and disorder.
As the present Chair of Governors at Sunny Bank, he believes he facilitates open, honest dialogue and challenge. In 2012 he was elected to the local Council representing the Ward where he lives, and was re elected in 2016.
Sonja Butterworth (Vice Chair of Trustees and Chair of HR and Standards Committee)
Sonja is an independent consultant with a background in school improvement. Sonja has over 15 years experience in Primary education. Having worked a variety of school settings from inner city schools to small village communities, in both maintained and academy trusts, including schools in the independent sector. Outcomes for children are at the heart of Sonja’s beliefs and her strong moral purpose means that there is always a drive for excellence, particularly in schools where disadvantage is prevalent. As well as being a Trustee of the Vision Multi Academy Trust, Sonja is also a Governor at The Bury Grammar School and chairs the Academic Committee.
Currently a semi-retired consultant with experience of working across a wide range of organisations including Education, Ofsted, Manchester Diocese, Local Authority and others. Previous educational roles include that of Assistant Head (non-teaching) and Director of Business and Finance.
Joan holds a MSc Degree in Management Practice, a PGC in Strategic Management and Level 5 Dip in HR Management (Assoc CIPD) and Project Management. Joan has over 30 years experience in: Leadership; Finance; Management; HR; Project and Change Management; H&S and Administration, 11 years of which have been in education, including 7 years as a primary school governor. Joan is also a trained RO (Responsible Officer).
Graham Fairclough (Chair of Finance, Audit, Risk and Resources Committee)
Graham is a fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants and ACCA. He trained with PwC in London, mostly working on audit of financial institutions, but also with work in litigation and the hospitality industry.
He has worked in the training industry since the 1990s in various management roles in London, Prague and Amsterdam. He was the lead consultant to the Singapore government for the redesign of the Singapore accountancy qualification. He is a life long learner - currently studying for an MSc in Epidemiology with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Graham comes from a family of factory workers and was the first member of his family to go to university. He attributes this largely to some outstanding primary school teachers. His job within Vision MAT is to help ensure that the finances and risk management of the Trust are sound, so that schools can go about their vital work of helping children achieve their full potential and grow into happy, kind adults.
Neil has worked for General Physics UK Ltd for over 20 years starting as a Network Administrator and, through many promotions, was promoted to their Senior Director of Global IT Operations. He has just taken on a new role as Group IT Director, of Airswift a Global recruitment company in the Energy sector, this is a higher strategic level position at a 1 Billion $ organisation, and sits on the overall Operations Board for the organisation. This role brings a range of strategic and operational challenges and means that Neil has direct reports based in various countries all over the world. His clients are varied covering both the public and private sectors, including the UK and US military. Neil is frequently involved in preparing new tenders as well as visiting clients and his team abroad. Whilst he is an IT specialist, much of his work involves general strategic management / Leadership and he also gets involved in many large scale procurement projects and thus he spoke confidently about reviewing financial papers, Neil is currently engaged with the Institute of Directors and has Passed two exams to date, to give qualifications in company directorship. Neil is hoping to apply some of this learning to a role with an academy trust. In time, he hopes to develop a small portfolio of roles (some paid and some voluntary (he is fully aware that roles with academy trusts are pro bono)). Neil’s interests lie in extreme sports including sailing, parascending and paragliding as well as his first love, rock climbing. Neil lives in Stockport.
Christine has a career history in IT, with experience in both public and private sector, working for the Co-operative Group and Greater Manchester Police. Her breadth of experience includes roles such as IT Business Partner, Senior Programme Manager and IT Director. Her extensive experience gives her an ability to quickly analyse new functions and identify an IT roadmap of improvements. Most recently she rolled out Office 365 in the Co-op, across all businesses and functional areas, and developed the change approach to maximise adoption and introduce more collaborative and flexible ways of working. She has experience of a Multi- Academy Trust through her strategic IT review of the Co-op Academies Trust. She has previously been a trustee of a vocational qualifications organisation. Christine is also a coach and has a passion to support people in their career development. Christine lives in Stockport.
Sumita Chopra is a seasoned, visionary executive with a strong history of driving business growth and optimisation opportunities, managing and sustaining client relationships, and efficiently managing cross-functional business operations. Capitalising her postgraduation in life sciences and IT system development She amassed 20 years of senior leadership experience in building relationships with Universities, NHS, Government bodies, national and international business, vendors and private IT sector and not for profit organisation overseeing global operations from single or multi-sites
In past, she has worked with the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Sure Start, Mental Health Research Network, Musculoskeletal research Network, Lancashire County council, Lancashire Teach Hospital foundation trust and most recently as Director of Operations for International Baccalaureate. She has led multi-million pounds digital transformation projects.
She completed her MBA from The University of Manchester in 2016 and is also a Manchester Gold mentor for young executives, coaching and guiding talent of tomorrow. She has lived and worked in Preston and Manchester since 2001 and her two boys attend school in greater Trafford area.
Ani Kaprekar is a highly creative business and community leader, with more than 30 years of multi-faceted international leadership career. Ani is engaged in a number of public-private initiatives in Technology, Entrepreneurship and Art. He has partnered with many leaders, organisations and start-up ventures as an Executive Coach, Non-Executive Director and Advisor. In all his initiatives, Ani is driven by curiosity and a strong sense of fairness.
Ani has advised global and culturally diverse organisations as an executive leader, managing portfolios of more than £50 million. In his early India career, Ani played a key role in building a large Tech venture in eGovernment sector. In the UK, Ani worked with public and private sector enterprises such as Mastek, Capita, Lex, HBoS, Lloyds and LeasePlan, amongst others, before setting up his coaching and mentoring practice, Banyan Tree Answers Ltd. He is a Certified NLP Master Practitioner and a member of the Protégé programme at The Coaching Academy, UK.
Ani is formally trained in theatre & film-craft and blends his creative skills and business acumen to create success stories of influence and impact. Ani is also a social media storyteller and followed by more than 1 million people across the world on Facebook.Ani is a proud Mancunian and participates in many Greater Manchester city initiatives.
Gary has lived in Manchester for nearly 15 years having grown up in Liverpool and now works as a Director of a local recruitment company and is also a shareholder of a property company.
Passionate about improving the education within our schools, he is committed to empowering others, continuous evaluation and improvement as well as developing happy, successful and proud staff. Gary is looking forward to contributing his skills and leadership to the Vision Multi Academy Trust and working with new colleagues on the board.
As well as being a Trustee of the Vision Multi Academy Trust, Gary works with the Huddersfield Town Football Foundation, serves on the board of a local synagogue and runs a local junior football team.