Our Team

School Heads

Suzanne Beston - Head of Perry Wood

Suzanne has been teaching for 22 years in the primary sector. She has worked predominately in Sandwell, only recently relocating to Worcestershire. Suzanne has taught in 4 schools and has been a subject leader in many areas, ranging from DT, Maths, ICT and RE. She rapidly became a member of the senior leadership team taking a more active role in whole school initiatives. Assessment, attendance and parental engagement have been key areas that she has improved over the years. Mathematics has been her strength and she was a leading maths teacher in Sandwell for many years. Suzanne has been a Deputy Head Teacher for 10 years in 2 schools. Her passion is to engage pupils in active learning; designing curriculums that are inspiring and purposeful and finding ways to involve parents further in their child’s learning. Suzanne was a keen sportswoman in her younger days, in which she played in her school netball team and was a competitive swimmer. She values the importance of finding each child’s talents, seeking to create a school environment where pupil talents are celebrated and recognised alongside core curriculum subject talents. Suzanne is a strong believer in growing the talents of her own team to ensure everyone is reaching their true potential.

Carrie Clare - Head of Park Lane

Carrie joined Park Lane Primary & Nursery School as Head in April 2018. After starting her teaching career in 1998 she quickly progressed through Senior Leadership. As school partnerships grew, Carrie became Executive Head of a federation of schools and the founder of a small Multi- Academy Trust. Carrie has a strong belief that the children should be at the heart of all decisions made by school leaders. She recognises that children only get one chance at Primary Education and this inspires her vision and values. Carrie believes that school to school support and strong partnerships are essential to maximise the educational opportunities for children and communities.

Graham Clifford - Head of Willow Brook

In 2003 Graham began his career in teaching, with his school leadership roles beginning in 2009. Graham initially joined Willow Brook in 2014 as a Deputy Head and was appointed Head of School in Summer 2015. Graham has a career to date that includes extensive school improvement and development and he has an absolute commitment to driving forward improvements in provision for all children. His work in the field of CPD illustrates his commitment to the ethos that investment in staff is vital.

Janey Denton - Executive Head of Saxon Way and Kingfisher

Janey has been teaching for sixteen years and spent thirteen of these at her previous school where she was a teacher, Deputy Head and then Acting Head before taking the substantive Headship at Saxon Way. Janey is passionate about improving outcomes and raising aspirations for children. In recent years, she has developed a particular interest in improving teaching and learning through the use of pupil voice. She has found that listening to the thoughts and opinions of children regarding their learning and what they want/need from the curriculum to be very motivating for pupils, teachers and leaders alike. Janey has ridden and owned horses since she was very young. When she has the time, she still likes to compete and enjoys doing local one day events.

Jo Donnellan - Head of Chivenor

Jo is an experienced Head and School Improver, who was a Graduate of the Future Leaders 'Fast Track to Headship' programme. Her degree in engineering led her to a career in education as a secondary maths teacher, where she changed the mindsets of pupils who were reluctant mathematicians. Her love of primary headship comes from a deep held desire to change the lives of young people and to create an aspirational school culture where everyone can succeed. Jo was herself educated in Birmingham and is proud to be the Head of Chivenor Primary.

Suzanne Edwards - Head of Race Leys

Suzanne joined Race Leys Junior School in April 2018. A graduate of English Literature, Suzanne began her career in the secondary sector in Oxfordshire, teaching English and Humanities. After moving to Warwickshire where her career progressed upwards through middle to senior leadership level, Suzanne moved into school improvement leadership, firstly within the National Strategies and later in a number of local authorities. Moving into the primary sector several years ago, Suzanne has worked to strengthen school leadership and effectiveness across a number of primary and secondary schools across the East and West Midlands. Suzanne is ambitious for all pupils. She is committed to delivering excellence in the curriculum and classroom provision to ensure that every child is excited, challenged and supported to achieve their full potential. Widely travelled across Europe, America, Africa and Australasia as well as in Britain, Suzanne is passionate about the opportunities education affords to open children’s eyes to the wider world and to aim high. She is determined that all children, whatever their background, should be given the knowledge, skills and opportunity to have wide horizons and the confidence to realise their ambitions.

Sara Gascoigne - Head of School for Kingfisher

Sara has been teaching for 20 years both in the UK and overseas, which has provided her with a rich and valuable perspective on the world, and of education. Sara places effective communication and language at the heart of her teaching and leadership to ensure she builds effective relationships with all stakeholders, developing confidence and success. Her Yorkshire roots and driven work ethic ensure she fosters a love of learning for all her pupils, so that they want to learn and be the best they can be. Sara is passionate about aspiration, and firmly believes all pupils can achieve. She encourages her school community to constantly look to improve and grow in a safe and challenging environment. After returning from Singapore, she joined Kingfisher Primary School in September 2013, and having been Assistant and Deputy Head, is now extremely proud to be Head of School.

Lisa Guest - Head of Bramford

Lisa began teaching in 1994 and has taught in two schools before taking on the Head of Bramford role towards the end of 2016. She was a subject leader in her first year of teaching and quickly moved through leadership roles of head of year, key stage, assistant head, deputy before taking on an acting headship. Lisa’s whole teaching career has been in poor socio-economic communities where she has a passion for offering a wide range of experiences and opportunities for all pupils, whilst raising aspirations and achievement. Assessment and curriculum have also always been at the heart of her school improvement initiatives. Lisa is a firm believer in team work and that ‘together we improve’ this stems from her sports background. Sport is still one of her passions, especially football and golf. However, many would say shopping and holidays are also her main hobbies. Lisa is driven to do all she can to ensure her school has happy children and staff, helping everyone of them reach their potential, to find skills and talents within each of them and developing them. She wants learning to be non-stop and where everyone cannot wait for the next day to begin.

Jayne Lusinski - Head of Lordswood

Jayne trained as a secondary school teacher, specialising in Mathematics and PE and taught for 27 years in one school gaining experience in many areas of leadership, developing an interest in the curriculum and timetabling and taking a key role in safeguarding children. Jayne is passionate about engaging parents in their child’s education and promoting a variety of activities for children to experience within the curriculum. Jayne was seconded to Lordswood to support the leadership team in Feb 2014 and was appointed to Head of School in April 2015.

Louise Newman - Head of Nicholas Chamberlaine

Louise Newman was born and educated in the West Midlands, and was a scientific researcher before training to teach, she has a PhD in Organic Chemistry. Louise has held senior leadership roles in schools in challenging communities. Her most recent role was in rural Cambridgeshire, where she saw her school progress from a long term Requires Improvement Ofsted grade to being a strongly Good school.

Michelle Newman - Head of Stantonbury

Michelle joined Griffin Schools Trust as the Lead School's Advisor for the Midlands in September 2016. Michelle has been in education for 14 years within a range of roles in secondary and through school settings from deprived inner-city boroughs to international schools in China. Michelle's roles have included Head of English, Vice Principal and Principal with key strategic focus on raising achievement, the quality of teaching and learning as well as securing school improvement. Michelle is ambitious for the schools she supports and has a passion for developing leadership at all levels in order to improve educational outcomes for all pupils regardless of their starting points and is a fervent believer that all pupils, regardless of economic background, should have a Griffin Great education. Michelle is currently completing a PhD in Educational Leadership at Cambridge University. Finally, Michelle is a fluent french speaker who enjoys tackling Michelin star recipes in her spare time. Michelle is also an ardent traveller and enjoys visiting culturally interesting locations around the world including Japan, North Africa, South Korea and Malaysia.

Angela Sandow - Head of School for Saxon Way

Angela joined Saxon Way as Deputy Head in September 2013 after 20 years experience at another school. Throughout her career, Angela has embarked on a journey of self-development starting as a teaching assistant, completing a teaching degree and a Registered Teacher Programme, becoming a phase leader, assistant head and an interim Deputy Head. Her thirst for knowledge and development continued and she successfully became Head of School at Saxon Way in April 2015. Before beginning her career in education, Angela was a social worker for Surrey County Council. A background that she finds very useful when working with the many vulnerable families in the school.

Gemma Sant - Head of Riverley

Gemma began teaching in 2009 and joined the leadership team at Riverley as an Assistant Head in 2013 - 2014. Gemma was then appointed to Deputy Head and further to Head in 2017. Gemma has a keen interest in teaching and learning and has achieved a Masters in Education. She believes that schools should inspire learning in children whilst educating them to grow into independent, confident and accomplished young people. Through her leadership, Gemma is committed to the coaching and professional development of her colleagues paving the way for further progress in the field of education.