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Meet the Trust Central Team

CEO - Cathy Carlisle

Cathy started her career in the early education and childcare charity sector and was involved in several initiatives to improve outcomes for young children through workforce development.

For 10 years Cathy was the headteacher and academy leader of a three-from entry single academy trust.  Developing and leading a highly skilled leadership team, the school moved from requiring improvement to being a forward-thinking learning community where leadership was distributed through the organisation.  Cathy is committed to investing in staff through quality, continuous professional development and sees this as the foundation of successful school improvement.

Joining Soke Education Trust as CEO in September 2022, Cathy has developed and is embedding collaborative practice and shared approaches based on good practice and evidence.

Cathy has a postgraduate diploma in Education and is continuing to work towards completion of her Masters, degree focused on the impact of distributed leadership to improve pupil outcomes. In addition, Cathy is a PiXL Associate and helps schools to make the best use of PiXL strategies and resources.

In her spare time, Cathy enjoys spending time with her family, socialising with friends and trying out new creative hobbies including floristry, pottery and millinery.

Director of Education - Elaine Crane

Elaine is passionate about school improvement as the route to empowering children to become successful, life-long learners who understand and can influence their world. This is underpinned by valuing and developing all staff in school so they have agency and enthusiasm when carrying out their important work.

Having worked in a variety of settings, including rural primary schools, a Bedfordshire middle school and Lincolnshire secondary schools, as subject leader, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy and Head Teacher, she has extensive knowledge and understanding of school improvement. Her work focuses on developing distributed leadership throughout the school, enabling teachers’ engagement with research and improving pupil outcomes through collaborative policy development in the areas of teaching and learning, curriculum and assessment.

Elaine has an MA in education, her work focusing on organisational support for CPD, curriculum development for pupil engagement and curriculum policy creation in relation to government ideology. In addition to her role within SET, Elaine is a PiXL associate, helping schools to use PiXL strategies and resources to transform outcomes for pupils and is also an Implementation Advocate for the East Fenland and Cambridgeshire Evidence Network, a group which advises schools in the area about Implementation Planning for school improvement.

COO - Jocelyn Sumner

Jocelyn has worked in a variety of business roles, in both the private sector and not-for-profit organisations, holding qualifications in Business and Finance and School Business Management. With a commitment and desire to make improvements, she moved to her previous role as the Finance and Operations Manager of a Single Academy Trust.

Jocelyn has extensive skills and a range of experience which supports the effective and efficient operations of a school, its leadership team and the pupil outcomes. Jocelyn is knowledgeable about site compliance and Health and Safety, how school finances are linked to curriculum needs and project management, including large scale CIF and building development. 

Previous experience of developing systems and processes, team leadership fostering a positive and empowered culture, striving for operational excellence, the ability to consider the bigger picture in a creative and strategic way, enable Jocelyn to hold a key role in the development and success of the Trust as a sustainable organisation.

Jocelyn enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling to new places and reading "a good book"!

CFO - Mike Lilley

Mike is a Chartered Accountant with a broad range of financial experience across education including, Higher Education, local authority school education, and roles in both large and small Multi-Academy Trusts.

He joined Soke Education Trust as CFO in August 2022 having gained school finance experience in roles at Leicestershire County Council as the Finance lead in their Education Effectiveness team and as Finance Business Partner at St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Multi-Academy Trust.

Prior to that, Mike worked at Loughborough University, which he joined in October 2013 as a Pensions Assistant. Mike worked his way through a number of roles, including Management Accounting, Research Finance bid preparation and latterly research post-award administration.

Mike is a keen cricketer and Leicester Tigers fan.

Trust Finance Manager - Cheryl Hinton

Cheryl has worked within finance departments in schools for fourteen years. She started working for large secondary school as a Finance Assistant. This is where she completed her financial qualifications. Initially certificates in manual and computerised bookkeeping in 2010 and then AAT Level 4 Diploma in Accounting in 2014. The experience and qualifications gained, allowed her to progress her career to School Operations Manager roles within a Lincolnshire maintained school and then a larger primary school within Soke Education Trust.

Within her current role as the Trust Finance Manager, she manages the finances for the Soke accounts alongside five trust schools, working closely with the Soke Central team, School Operations Managers and Headteachers.

Outside of work Cheryl enjoys travelling and socialising with friends and family.

Trust HR Officer - Sandra Winskill

Sandra has worked in HR for over 20 years, most of which has been in the public sector across the NHS and education. Within her role in the Trust she works across all of the schools providing HR support where needed, complementing the outsourced provision provided by EPM. This includes ensuring people are paid correctly, workforce statistics, assisting with recruitment and keeping the Single Central Record up to date. Sandra works part time/TTO and is available Tuesday to Thursday 8:30 to 2:30pm.

Sandra has a level 7 HR qualification and over 25 years membership with the CIPD. The majority of her career experience prior to joining the Trust was focused on employee relations such as supporting disciplinary, grievances, staff absence. Alongside which she managed a team focused on employee relations and recruitment.

Outside of work Sandra enjoys all the “R” activities – Reading, running, horse riding and rock music!