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Great Academies Education Trust

Inspiring Greatness

Trustees and Members


Annette Hall

Tony Powell

Mike O'Hare



Annette Hall (Interim Chair)

Chris Bowes

Catherine Williams

Helen Curran

Greg Suligowski

Frank Norris MBE


Annette Hall (Vice Chair)

Annette is a very experienced education leader with a proven track record of achieving educational improvement. Annette’s most recent role was for White Rose Academies as Executive Principal and CEO, a Multi Academy Trust with 3 Academies based in Leeds.

Her leadership was judged outstanding whilst at Leeds West Academy and she has an excellent understanding of accountability frameworks within schools and within regional and national frameworks. Annette has wide experience of accountability within multi-academy trusts at local governance and board level. As a successful principal and CEO, she has strong inter-personal skills, the ability to create and articulate a vision and well developed strategic planning skills. Annette has led and project managed significant and challenging programmes e.g. the LWA building was considered the ‘flagship’ BSF Leeds school.

Annette is committed to educational excellence and fully invested in the academies programme. She is values driven in all aspects of her work and believes in attention to detail and a relentless focus on what matters - teaching and learning, leadership and how to develop the skills and attributes needed for excellence in others to improve schools.


Chris Bowes

Chris is a solicitor and a partner in the global law firm CMS. He is a very experienced real estate lawyer with specialist expertise in planning and development work. Chris acts for clients in both the public and private sectors and has been involved in some of the UK’s biggest regeneration projects, which has often involved balancing the competing requirements of a multitude of stakeholders.

Chris is also a trustee of MICAIA UK a charity that supports the work of the MICAIA Foundation and eco-MICAIA (a social enterprise company), both organisations seek to address the causes of poverty in Mozambique.

Catherine Williams

Catherine has 25 years’ experience in developing, aligning and implementing people strategy within Services businesses. She has operated at all levels of the people function and progressed from business partner to work as a Board, Remuneration Committee and an Executive team member for over 15 years.

She has established a track record in supporting business growth through mergers, acquisitions and integrations, to meet the desired commercial objectives within the UK and internationally. She has brought together and led people functions, including: Recruitment; HR Business Partnering; Reward; Organisation Design; Talent Development; Diversity and CSR.

Catherine is the Founder of People Investment Partners and is an advocate of People Strategy being integrated into business strategy and owned by businesses. She believes executive teams must be visible, collaborative and accountable for creating great places to work and to do business.

Helen Curran

Helen is a Chartered Accountant with over twenty five years’ experience gained in public practice and the private sector. Her expertise includes commercial and technical aspects of financial planning, management and control, investment appraisal, organisational redesign and international project management.

Helen currently runs a micro accounting practice in Cheshire providing accounting, taxation and business planning services to small businesses. She is also co-Director providing financial support for an independent advisory firm which delivers management consultancy in public-private partnerships.

Prior to her most recent roles Helen spent eleven years working in senior management positions for an international pharmaceutical plc. Astra Zeneca. She is now keen to bring her experience and skills to benefit the Trust and its schools.


Greg Suligowski

Greg is a senior executive for Network Rail. Previously he has worked at a senior level for the New Charter Group, central government agencies and large national companies in a variety of customer relations role. Greg is very experienced in strategic planning and delivery and change management. His areas of expertise are customer service design and delivery, performance monitoring, marketing, communications and IT.


Frank Norris MBE

The bulk of his teaching career was in Stockport but his two headships were in Trafford and Cheshire. In 2001, he was appointed as HMI and led the introduction of detailed grade descriptors, supported the online self-evaluation form and established the use of contextual value-added data. He led inspections in a wide range of schools and settings including secure units, independent schools, prisons, initial teacher education as well as secondary and primary schools in England and abroad.

In 2005, he was appointed as the senior Ofsted manager responsible for local authority inspections. In 2008, he was appointed assistant to Ofsted’s National Director with direct responsibility for the monitoring and evaluation of the national school inspection programme. In 2009, he was promoted to Divisional Manager for Education and Care and led the development of the two school inspection frameworks that were introduced in 2012. Much of Frank’s work with Ofsted involved many nights away in London so he was pleased when he was appointed as senior school improvement adviser for Stockport from September 2012.

In March 2013, he was approached by the Co-op to become their Education Director to support their wide range of education programmes, including at the time, six sponsored academies in the north of England. In 2014, he was appointed Director (CEO) of the Co-op Academies Trust and oversaw the merger of three trusts into one legal entity and the number of academies growing to twenty-three following a funding commitment from the Co-op of £3.6m. The intention is to increase the number to 40 by 2022. The Trust is highly regarded and is one of the highest performing for disadvantaged students according to DfE, EPI and Sutton Trust reports.

In September 2019, Frank stood down from the CEO role and became the Co-op’s adviser on education and school matters. He was awarded an MBE in summer 2019 for his services to education.

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