Who we are
The Opportunity Area is managed by an independent board that brings together senior leaders from schools, communities, business, and central and local government. They bring their experience, insight and ambition to Stoke-on-Trent and its young people.
Dr. Carol Shanahan and Prof. Liz Barnes
Dr Carol Shanahan OBE is the managing director of Synectics Solutions. Established in 1992, this data software business has outgrown three premises and employs over 350 staff. It won Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year and reached The Times Top 100 for Export Growth. Carol works with local initiatives to improve outcomes for children in the most disadvantaged wards.
Professor Liz Barnes CBE is Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive at Staffordshire University, a leading provider of higher and degree apprenticeships. She has built and maintained a strong network of employers across the city to ensure that the university provides vocationally relevant courses and supports routes into careers.
Partnership board members
- Denise Brown: Principal and Chief Executive of Stoke-on-Trent College
- Niki Clemo: Interim Director of Children and Family Services, Stoke-on-Trent City Council
- Rose Dingle: Founder, owner and manager of the Rosy Cheeks Nursery chain
- Neil Hoskinson: Assistant Director of Learning Services, Stoke-on-Trent City Council
- Adrian Hurst: Head of Community, Stoke City Football Club
- Mark Kent: Principal of City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College
- Clare Oberman: Director, The Golden Thread Teaching School Hub
- Dr Jim Pugh: Head of Education, Staffordshire University
- Mark Stanyer: Principal of Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy
- Diane Swift: Director, Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education
- Margaret Yates: Executive Headteacher of St Gregory’s Catholic Academy and St Augustine’s Catholic Academy and Executive Director of All Saints Catholic Collegiate
The meetings are also attended by Claire Trewartha, Assistant Director, West Midlands Regional Delivery Directorate, West Midlands, Chris Senior, head of delivery, Andrew George and Kay Nicholls, area delivery leads, for the Department for Education; and by David O’Connell, programme manager.