Revd James Saunders
Chair of Trustees

Revd Dr James Saunders is an Anglican priest. For the past eight years he has been a teacher and member of the leadership team in an independent boarding school, where he is responsible for safeguarding and child protection. He has served on the governing bodies of Church of England primary schools for the past twelve years, chairing committees focussed on school improvement, ethos and vision. In his time as Chair of Governors, the school appointed a new headteacher, restructured its leadership team, and moved from being ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’. He sat for two years on Rutland LA Education Performance Board, which acts as a sounding-board and steering group for those involved in improving school standards in the county. 

Rob Gooding
Chief Executive Officer

I have been a Headteacher for over 13 years and an Executive Headteacher for the last 6 years. I have provided local and regional school to school support in a number of capacities: National Leader in Education, Headteacher consultancy, English Advisor,  Lead Practitioner, Excellent Teacher and School Improvement Consultant. I am a former member of the SSAT National Steering group and the strategic lead/designated person for the primary aspect of The  Rutland Teaching School Alliance.

Adrienne Holland
Vice Chair of Trustees

Since retiring from 17 years of Headship, was the temporary Primary Strategic Lead for RCC and was interim Head for a very small rural school in Leicestershire. Has been a School Improvement Partner for schools in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire and is also Vice Chair of Governors for a local Primary School and Vice Chair of Home-Start Melton and Rutland. She is a Trustee for Raynes Trust, a Charitable Foundation and has acted as an External Assessor for both Warwick and Nottingham Trent Universities, from 2005-2011.  She remains passionately committed to education and continuous school improvement. I have 2 children and 2 grandchildren and live in Melton Mowbray.

Amanda Percy

Amanda has had 18 years experience of working in an education and training environment. Working for the Construction Industry Training Board across a broad range of skills and education focused projects provides her with a deep understanding of why an excellent education is so important for a young persons life chances and a fulfilling career in later life. Amanda has also held a Lead Governor for SEN and Student Welfare at the newly established West Midlands Construction University Technical College in Wolverhampton.  

David Evans
Vice Chair of the Trustees

Member and Director of the Rutland Learning Trust.  Previous Chair of Governors.  15 years experience of business and team leadership. Married with two young sons, schooled within the RLT. Interests include running and cycling.

Nicole Topham

Nicole currently works as a Legal Adviser to the Secretary of State for Transport and his policy advisors.  She has been a solicitor acting on behalf of the government since 2009.  


She has two children, her elder is currently at Whissendine with the youngest at nursery in Rutland.

Having been a governor at Whissendine CofE she believes an excellent education is the most important factor in changing the future opportunities of children and an excellent education is the best legacy we could give our children.

Kristi Withers

Works full time for Mars Chocolate.  Although Kristi no longer has children at school within the Trust, she is passionate about seeing the Trust continue to develop generations of children to fulfil their potential academically, physically and socially as well as providing them with safe and positive environments. She brings a number of skills to the Trust Board including; sales, negotiation, budget management, leadership and line management, strategy development, recruitment, coaching and capability, employee engagement and change management. Many of these skills are transferable and support her role as a Trustee to develop the strategy, review finances and ensure standards, accountability and effective policy.  

Anna Raine

For the past seven years, she has been a primary school secretary within Rutland, and has gained a full understanding of how schools are run from the ground up, being involved in most aspects of school life from communicating with parents, governors, the local authority and other outside agencies to working through financial budgets, as well as school policies and personnel matters.

She appreciates the importance of an inspirational leader, a fully motivated teaching staff, and a committed and active governing body. 

She is passionate about helping to build on the success of the Trust so far, and be involved in what she feels is the future of primary education in this locality and champion the people and the communities this involves.

She has two children currently in secondary school.

Ian Blackburn

Ian is an FCA who worked for KPMG before roles as CEO and FD of two public companies. He has extensive experience in the UK and Europe of strategy, corporate finance, operations and financial management and corporate governance. He is currently Chairman/NED of several SME's and Chairman of Mobeus VCT 2 plc. 

Emma Keith

Emma Keith joined the Royal Air Force in 1999, graduating from Officer Training in March 2000 as a prize winner.  She has had a varied and interesting career serving both in the UK and abroad.

In April 2015, she became the first female to run RAF officer training with responsibility for the welfare, training standards and outcomes for all staff and cadets at the Royal Air Force College. During her tenure the College received the first ever triple outstanding rating granted to a military officer training school. In 2016 she was short listed in the Agent of Change and Transformational Leader category in the Northern Power Woman’s awards and was delighted to win in the Agent of Change category.

Emma now works as the Deputy Commandant of the Tedder Leadership Academy and is responsible for setting the training objectives for leadership and command across the RAF. She is also responsible for the Senior Leadership Development Programme and SLT events.

Emma is a qualified leadership instructor at tactical, operational and strategic level. She is qualified in several self-awareness tools, including MBTI, SDI and McQuaig, in addition to being a Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner. A trained mediator she has assisted the RAF, Army and Civil Service with resolving workplace conflict. Emma loves travel, cooking, skiing and hiking, however, due to having 2 small daughters there never seems to be much time left in the day for hobbies!


Revd Peter French

Peter is currently the deputy Director of Education for Peterborough Diocese and prior to that was Assistant Director of Education in Birmingham Diocese for twelve years. Prior to this appointment he was a Church of England Vicar in Handsworth, Birmingham and Bury in Lancashire.  He is a National Leader of Governance and has a particular expertise in Governance, Admissions and Senior leader appointments in education as well as supporting church schools with their Christian Ethos.

Peter is married with three daughters one who is at University and the other two currently doing their “A” levels. I am also a season ticket holder at Northampton Town.