Board of Directors

Board Members

George Craig – Chair of Directors

George has a business background in hydrostatic engineering. During the past 25 years he has managed European engineering divisions and ran apprentice training programmes for global organisations such as Nissan, Linde and Mitsubishi, and as such has a wealth of corporate management, organisation and governance expertise to offer the Trust.

With regard to his educational experience, George has an established track record of improving school governance through system leadership. He became a National Leader of Governance in 2013 during the early phase of the programme and was appointed as National Leader of Governance Advocate for the West Midlands region in January 2015. George is an experienced ERG reviewer, IEB Chair, and also works in a professional capacity as a School Governance Consultant, providing a wide range of support and training for schools locally and nationally.


Tracey Ruddle

Tracy has just taken up a new role has Director of Continuous School Improvement for Birmingham Education Partnership (January 2016) with a responsibility for supporting and in some schools, securing, improvement. With over 440 schools within Birmingham, the role of systems leaders is key. She is currently working with both maintained and academy schools supporting small MATS as well as brokering support and quality assurance. For the previous 3 years Tracy was Primary Director for United Learning, (a large national multi academy trust) leading and supporting Primary Schools, All-throughs and a number of Independent schools across a geographically large area. Prior to this Tracy was a Headteacher of 4 primary schools across Dudley and Sandwell where she developed a specialism in leading schools in special measures. Under her leadership one school went from Special Measures to being one of the first cohort of teaching schools, the alliance of which she led until moving to United Learning. She has extensive experience of understanding MATS and supported a number of schools through the conversion and sponsoring process including two of her own.


Brett Field

Brett is a director of the Inspired Thinking Group, a Midlands based technology led marketing resources management company, who provide a range of marketing, creative, artwork and print services via a market leading technology platform for an array of well-known brands including M&S, VW group, Boots, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Halfords to name a few. ITG were recently accredited in the Times Tech Track top 100 businesses, and are now a 500 strong £100m business.

Brett is responsible for ITG’s agency services, managing one of the UK’s largest studios, and prior to this role, had spent 20 years at Cadbury managing packaging design through to print. During this time he has gained experience of developing close links with a variety of education establishments, managing extensive work experience programmes, internships and developing new talent in the graphics industry.


Mike Wilkes

Mike is an Educational Consultant. He was the Headteacher of St Michael’s Church of England High School in Sandwell and has 16 years leadership experience. During this time, the school moved from a Black Country Challenge school to an Ofsted rated good school in 2014 and Outstanding in its SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) in 2015. Mike now works with a number of schools across the Black Country, supporting them with school improvement.


Derek Bailey

Derek Baillie is a Chartered Financial Planner who specialises in investment and pension planning for individuals, business owners and charities. He has over 30 years experience of working within the insurance and investment marketplace and he will be able to utilise his business financial management experience to good effect within the Trust to ensure probity, sustainability and the best possible use of financial resources.



Jeannette Mackinney, OBE

Jeannette is the CEO of Hales Valley Trust. She has been a Headteacher in Dudley for over 15 years. Jeannette was the Executive Headteacher of the Lapal and Lutley Primary School Federation, a role she held since its creation in 2012. Through Hales Valley Teaching School, and in her role as National Leader of Education, Jeannette has supported many schools to help develop leadership and raise standards. The impact of this work can be clearly seen as schools that she has supported have moved from Ofsted categories. Jeannette’s leadership has been judged as outstanding in the three inspections she has had in the role of Headteacher. Jeannette is also a current Ofsted Inspector.


Diane Morrison

Diane is an Associate Director for the Occupier Management Team at BNP Paribas Real Estate UK, providing management services for the BNP property portfolio across the UK. Diane is an experienced estates manager and has an extensive range of skills and expertise in the legal, HR, and estates fields.


Christopher James

Chris currently works for the Department of Work and Pensions, Universal Credit, Benefit Services and Finance Directorate Team at Five Ways in Birmingham. Chris has a strong strategic, financial and resource management background and will be able to support the effective oversight of the MAT through utilising his particular experience.


Mark Simpson

Mark is currently the Transport and Management Systems Manager for MMX Communications Services Ltd. Mark has extensive experience in staff, logistics and resources management. Mark is a company director and as such has had many years experience of successfully running a medium sized organisation.


Robert Gregory

Robert is a semi-retired solicitor based in Halesowen. He has a wealth of legal expertise and experience and has strong links within the local business community which he will be able to draw upon in developing the profile of the Trust across the region.


Gill Harper

Gill is an experienced and successful school leader. She was the Headteacher of Withymoor Primary School until her retirement in 2017. Gill has worked in both the primary and secondary sector. She has extensive experience working at a senior level and a proven track record in improving outcomes for children.