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 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
- Mark Barratt: Director of Children’s Services, Stoke-on-Trent City Council
- Rachel Beckett: Executive Principal, The Sandon Trust
- Jane Belcher: HR Manager at Michelin
- Denise Brown: Principal and Chief Executive of Stoke-on-Trent College
- Rose Dingle: Founder, owner and manager of the Rosy Cheeks Nursery chain
- Adrian Hurst: Head of Community, Stoke City Football Club
- Jen Lomas: Assistant Director of Learning Services, Stoke-on-Trent City Council
- Mark Kent: Principal of City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College
- Jonathon May: Headteacher of Watermill Special School
- Mark Stanyer: Principal of Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy
- Russell Spink: Director for the Stoke-on-Trent EEF Research School and assistant director for 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, West Midlands Regional Schools Commissioner, Chris Senior, head of delivery, and Andrew George, area delivery lead, for the Department for Education; and by David O’Connell, programme manager.