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Running Students


Mr Gary Gentle - Chair of Trustees


Gary has been working in Primary education for the past 30 years. Having taught in three Local Authorities as well as four primary schools, Gary has built up an extensive background of experience both as a serving teacher and as a school leader. Gary has experience of working as a school governor in both Primary and Nursery Schools as well as serving on cross phase committees linked to School Sport and school leadership. Gary is a Director of ConnectEd, a Wolverhampton organisation with over 100 Schools, which serves to support school improvement. Alongside this, Gary is a Trustee of a local outdoor education centre and of a Bilston Church Charity organisation. Gary currently works in a local Wolverhampton Primary School where he has served as Head Teacher for the past 10 years. 

Appointed: 3rd May 2017

Ms Gemma Draycott - Chief Executive Officer


Gemma was appointed as SHINE’s Chief Executive Officer in September 2022, having worked for the MAT since 2014, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer. Prior to working in for SHINE Academies, Gemma worked in the private sector in project management and people functions, such as recruitment and talent management. 

Gemma is experienced in all operational and educational functions within the MAT and demonstrates experience in transforming schools to provide better educational opportunities for all pupils. She led the conversion process for our existing schools and understands both the legal and human elements involved in this. She is passionate about nurturing individuals and providing opportunities to all pupils and adults within the MAT.  

Gemma holds a BA Hons in School Business Management. 

Appointed: 1st September 2022

Mrs Annette Wilkinson - Trustee


Annette has over 20 years business management experience within primary and secondary schools, leading on a number of major renovation and new build projects as well as specific responsibilities of  finance, health and safety, human resources and facilities management. Annette is IOSH qualified and as a result, took on a new challenge in April 2018, working for Concept Education Services as the Business Development Manager. This new role consolidates Annette’s experience and involves supporting schools and MAT’s with their statutory compliance relating to buildings and site and visiting prospective schools/trusts to talk through and showcase our current service offer. She has a wealth of governance experience and is currently Health and Safety Governor for King's Hill Federation in Walsall.

Appointed: 13th February 2019

Mr Keith Marshall - Trustee


Keith currently works for a Fortune 500, global management consultancy and professional services firm as a Senior Finance Manager. Keith has a wealth of experience in managing large scale projects, both in the UK and Overseas. Keith has an abundance of skills and experience from business, finance and project management, governance and leadership, through to strategic planning, critical thinking, facilitation and stakeholder engagement. He is able to effectively provide challenge and is committed to the outcomes of pupils and the wider communities.

Appointed: 16th March 2021

(Previously Member Appointed 8 June 2018)

Mrs Caroline Nightingale - Member & Trustee


Caroline has over 30 years experience in the NHS having started her career as a Biomedical Scientist, progressing through to managing Education and Training for the non-medical workforce at local level, to her current role in Leadership and OD at a regional level. Caroline brings with her a wealth of skills and experience from business, finance and project management, governance and education training delivery and management, through to strategic planning, critical thinking, facilitation and stakeholder engagement. Caroline is an experienced Governor, having been a Governor, Vice-Chair and Chair in schools in Wolverhampton for nearly 20 years. Caroline is passionate about education and supporting the children across our academy to SHINE and ensure that they receive high quality education throughout their primary years.

Appointed: Member - 16th September 2019

                 Trustee - 10th June 2020

Ms Sunita Yardley-Patel - Trustee


Sunita has worked in governance since 2012, starting in the HE sector and moving into primary and secondary education in 2015. Sunita is currently Head of Governance for Ormiston Academies Trust and in this role, holds Company Secretary responsibility and drives improvement through the continuous development of the Trust’s governance structures and training and management of key stakeholders. Further to school governance, Sunita has experience in admissions, exclusions, safeguarding and complaints. Sunita has joined SHINE Academies Trust Board as a member of the Wolverhampton community to support local schools and enhance the education of our young people.

Appointed: 4th February 2021

Jenny is an experienced HR professional with over 15 years’ experience working within the Education Sector supporting Schools and Academies. 


This time has been challenging yet a rewarding experience and Jenny thoroughly enjoys working in Education. She derives immense job satisfaction from knowing the difference her work makes to not only school improvement, but also to the lives of children and young people. Jenny has now extended this contribution to support SHINE Academies in the capacity of Trustee.

Appointed: 9th March 2022


Ms Jenny Jackson - Trustee

Mrs Rebecca Lafford - Trustee


Rebecca is a HR Professional with 14 years’ experience specialising in Talent Acquisition in corporate organisations, most recently in high growth start-ups. She is very passionate about creating and providing the ultimate candidate experience and creating an environment where people can bring their whole self to work, whilst partnering with the business to attract and select talent. Rebecca prides herself on integrity, determination, building strong relationships, and providing a first rate experience for everyone involved, along with the ability to challenge the status quo. Rebecca has worked in a number of different sectors including Charity, Construction, Energy and now in Financial Services, this demonstrates her ability to be adaptable and grasp new things quickly, whilst being resilient. Rebecca has a passion for Diversity and Inclusion as diverse teams bring a collection of experiences together to ensure the very best outcome.

Appointed: 14th March 2022

Mr Steve White - Trustee


Steve has been a senior learning and development / education leader for 20 years. With a career in Financial Services and Education, Steve has led successful teams and departments of up to 110 reports. Steve has worked in regulated environments most of his working life, and has worked with Ofsted / ESFA since 2016, leading a business delivering ESFA funded apprenticeships with a successful completion record. Steve’s democratic approach to leadership ensured empowerment and autonomy for colleagues, whilst maintaining a coaching and supportive culture. A clear communicator, Steve can challenge ideas and thinking with stakeholders and colleagues of all levels.

Appointed: 20th October 2022

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