Meet the Central Team

Jonathan Johnson OBE

CEO Changing Lives Learning Trust

I live and breathe our Trust’s vision and distinction; to succeed in ‘Changing Lives Through Learning’ by providing each child with an education that will give them a preparation for life that is excelled by no other. I am in no doubt that we can achieve this brave and ambitious aim with your help, your passion, and your expertise.

We welcome anyone who shares that vision and who subscribes to the multiplier effect of genuine partnership that enables continual improvement to teach children in a way that is relevant to the modern age; providing moments of awe and wonder, encouraging and enabling every child to aspire to a future that transcends the cultural and social limitations placed upon them.

We are characterised by autonomy within mutual, partnership driven principles, aims and objectives, and within them, our individual and collective determination to accept nothing less than the pinnacle of educational provision. We have a shared professional dissatisfaction, that no matter how good we become we are utterly convinced we can be even better.

Our Trust specialises in celebrating, protecting and enhancing the uniqueness of each individual school. If we’re all the same, our opportunities to learn will be limited. By remaining different, through everyone involved in our academies, rich collaboration, learning and life-long endeavours can begin.

Our highly experienced and skilled Executive Team support leaders to focus on contextual and localised leadership of curriculum, teaching, learning and the professional development and opportunities of their colleagues. Local governing boards are supported to thrive and contribute to the overall direction and decision making of our Trust.

It is a privilege to lead our Trust and the continual development, support and celebration of, hopefully, yours and our collective contributions and accomplishments. Weaving a fully inclusive, collaborative and purposeful focus on our ever improving quality of education holds the promise of changing lives through learning; for the children and communities we serve and the adults who work with them.

Judith Schafer

Deputy CEO Changing Lives Learning Trust

As Deputy CEO, I am part of a creative, strong and effective Executive Team which works tirelessly to safeguard the future of our Trust and everyone that works in it. As Director of One Cumbria Teaching School Hub, I am responsible for working with partners to secure and sustain exceptional training for teachers across Cumbria, at all stages of their careers. Cumbria’s children need the best schools in their own communities. They need aspiring professionals to help them shape their world and our Trust’s vision to change lives through learning supports that noble ambition. It’s a great place to work; as a team, we have the creativity and desire to really make a difference to children everywhere.

Laura Watson

Chief Finance Officer (CFO)

In my role, I work closely with the members of the central executive team and the senior leadership team of each academy to ensure we are financially efficient, leveraging our Trust’s economies of scale and increasing the money available for the benefit of improving teaching and learning. I am a qualified chartered accountant and before joining Changing Lives Learning Trust, I gained experience with a local accountancy firm specialising in external audit.

Tracey Shackley

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

As Chief Operations Officer I provide strategic and operational leadership for support services of the Trust. I play a lead role in designing and implementing new central shared services, structures and systems. I work with the Trustees, Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer to formulate the aims and objectives of our Trust and in establishing the policies, systems and procedures through which these can be achieved. I provide operational leadership for specified support activities of our Trust, including Administration and Business Management, IT, Estates Management, Human Resources and PR and Marketing.

Lynette Knibb

Director of People and Culture

My role within the Trust is to support our educational vision by developing and implementing HR strategy and practices that add value and align to our vision and objectives to develop a skilled and diverse workforce who will deliver the very best possible outcomes for our students and communities. We are committed to supporting our employees to perform at their very best and become an employer of choice within Cumbria.

Laura Lithgow

PR and Marketing Manager

In my role, I am responsible for publicity and communications for our Trust. I work to ensure that each academy maximises its publicity by overseeing the communication channels between each academy and the wider community including the Trust’s websites and social media.