Dr. Vanessa Ogden, Chair
Vanessa Ogden is the CEO of Mulberry Schools Trust, a Multi Academy Trust in London. This family of secondary schools is committed to raising standards in challenging contexts. Mulberry School for Girls is the founding school and Vanessa continues to be its headteacher. Under her leadership, Mulberry has been twice judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.
Vanessa’s primary work is in raising attainment for young people in schools with high levels of disadvantage and in developing outstanding education for women. In this role, as a designated National Leader of Education, Vanessa has successfully supported many other schools. Mulberry is a Teaching School offering leadership development for women, as well as more general leadership and school improvement programmes.
Vanessa features in Random House’s book the ‘Female Lead’, and she continues to promote high quality girls’ education widely. She is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Education and she has a doctorate specialising in education policy and school improvement. Vanessa also chaired the Somerset Challenge for three years from 2014 - 2017.
Mrs Obama’s visit to the school in 2015 to launch her campaign for girls’ education, Mulberry’s return visit to the White House and Mrs Obama’s subsequent Skype global conversation of girls (hosted in the UK at Mulberry in 2016) have been the catalyst for a raft of work by the school and its former students on education for girls and women – a recent example being Mulberry’s UK ‘Girl Leading’ project, supported by Children In Need. Vanessa is now establishing the Mulberry Schools Foundation to forward leadership opportunities for disadvantaged young people – in particular young women.
Dame Julia Cleverdon, Vice-Chair
Dame Julia Cleverdon spent 16 years as Chief Executive of Business in the Community, and is Chair of the National Literacy Trust, and a board member of the National Citizen Service, the Careers and Enterprise Company and the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation. She was formerly Chair of Teach First.
Following her 2012 government review on increasing young people's engagement in social action Julia co-founded the Campaign for Youth Social Action, now known as Step Up To Serve, which was convened by HRH The Prince of Wales and launched with the support of three party leaders in November 2013.
Prof. Sonia Blandford
Professor Sonia Blandford is Founder and CEO of Achievement for All and one of the UK's leading practitioners of education. She is Professor of Education and Social Enterprise at the London Centre for Leadership in Learning at the Institute of Education, and Honorary Professor of Education, University of Warwick.
She began her career as a music teacher and has worked in primary and secondary schools across the UK. She has been actively involved in creating and sustaining seven charities that continue to provide educational, social and artistic opportunities for local and national communities.
Richard Hardie is a Senior Adviser to UBS AG in the UK. Richard co-led UBS’s project to set up The Bridge Academy, Hackney, which opened in 2007, and he is the Vice-Chair of Governors. In 2003 he joined the Board of The Learning Trust, and became Chair in 2007.
He is an Honorary Vice-President of the UK Chartered Institute of Linguists and is actively involved in policy matters relating to the teaching of modern foreign languages. He is also a Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and an Honorary Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.
Steven McIntosh is the Director of UK Poverty Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children. He was previously Head of Government Relations for Save the Children's UK programme which is focused on tackling child poverty in the UK. Before joining Save the Children he worked in policy and public affairs at Carers UK.
Russell Hobby is CEO of Teach First, and was previously general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). Prior to this, he worked as a management consultant and in the software industry.
Russell is also a trustee of The Brilliant Club, Teaching Leaders and the Teacher Development Trust. He is a member of the advisory board of Future Leaders, the management board for NAHT Edge and the Independent State School Partnership forum.
Brett Wigdortz led Teach First as its CEO since its launch in July 2002 until October 2017. He previously he worked as a consultant, a journalist and researcher. His book, Success Against the Odds, a candid account of the first ten years of Teach First, was named WHSmith’s Business Book of the Month.
In 2007 he was named the UK Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year and was awarded the 2010 CASE European Leadership Award and the 2013 UK Charity Principal of the Year Award. He was awarded an OBE in the 2013 Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for Services to Education.