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Our Executive Team

Dr John Wm Stephens CBE
CEO of Bright Futures Educational Trust

Dr John Stephens was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Bright Futures Educational Trust in January 2017.

Formerly a headteacher and director of children’s services, John spent five years as a senior civil servant in the Department for Education.  He was responsible for teaching schools and system leadership, including National Leaders of Education and National Leaders of Governance.

Throughout his career, John has engaged in research into pedagogy, inclusion and leadership. He has undertaken post graduate study at the Universities of Leicester and Manchester and at MMU.

John served as a school governor in primary and secondary schools for over 20 years, 10 of them as Chair. He was also a director of an academy trust.

He is a volunteer with St John Ambulance and leads the north regional safeguarding team and chairs two community charities in Salford and East Manchester. John has a lifelong interest in music and the arts. He is president of a local choir and is chair of the Greater Manchester Music Hub Advisory Board.

In 2016 John was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours recognising his contributions to education and charity. In 2021 he was admitted as an Officer in the Order of St John in recognition of work undertaken in safeguarding.

Lisa Fathers
Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Lisa is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Bright Futures Educational Trust. She has over 25 years’ experience in education and has held a number of Executive Leadership Director-level roles. Lisa is a National Leader of Education (NLE) designated by the DfE and she is also an effective School Improvement Partner (SIP) for other schools/MATS.

As an executive leader, Lisa works closely with our schools, providing leadership of our Trust School Improvement Strategy, providing support and challenge to our Headteachers. Lisa also leads on Risk and Assurance across the Trust and leads our Partnership and Communications Strategy.  She also provides oversight of the Bright Futures Professional Development Institute, which is central to the Trust’s People Strategy and includes two large scale Teaching School Hubs, a Maths Hub, a SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training), a SEND Outreach service, an Early Years Stronger Practice Hub and Bright Futures Training. Lisa oversees improvement work/professional development in over 600 schools making a huge impact on teacher development across the region. Lisa leads school improvement work for the Trust, leads our SEND/Inclusion strategy as well as leading on Communications, Marketing and PR.

Lisa’s particular areas of expertise and passion are school transformation/school turnaround, school improvement, teacher development, change leadership, wellbeing and partnership working. Lisa has coached and supported Executive Headteachers and Headteachers and leads on partnership working and Growth for the Trust, working alongside other MATs and schools and organisations such as Teach First, Ambition Institute, the Youth Sport Trust, the Chartered College, and Mental Health First Aid England.

Lisa has had a number of Non-Executive Governance roles having been a MAT Trustee, a Trustee of a national charity and was on the executive level Strategic Health and Wellbeing Board. Lisa enjoys contributing to the wider system such as her Co-Chair role for Greater Manchester’s Mental Health in Education Board and the Chair for a national multidisciplinary Wellbeing Board. Lisa was a National Mental Health First Aid trainer and led the successful and ground-breaking cross sector Greater Manchester Mentally Healthy Schools Programme and is a Fellow at the Chartered College of Teaching. Lisa is a champion of collaboration and whole system working across Greater Manchester, the wider Northwest region and nationally, and currently sits on the GMLP Executive Team and on the Mayoral Reform Board in Greater Manchester.

Anna Sharpley
Chief Finance Officer

Anna graduated with a BA Hons in Accounting & Finance in 2000 and went on to train as a Chartered Management Accountant in 2002 in the corporate sector, becoming qualified in 2005. She then worked in a senior role as Head of Financial Control within the retail sector before moving into the education sector in 2018.

Anna has gained first-hand experience in education, working in business, finance, and senior leadership roles in schools. She was commissioned to work across a number of schools in a system leadership role, sharing her expertise for the benefit of many schools. Anna joined Bright Futures initially as Director of Business and Commercial Finance in July 2021, then became Finance Director before moving into the Chief Finance Officer role in .

Anna has led teams and projects in all areas of Finance in both the public and private sectors, gaining school and trust level responsibility for finance, governance, IT, and estates since moving into education, working closely with Executive Leaders, School Leaders, Trustees, Local Governing Bodies and a variety of external agencies and regulatory bodies. Anna has a particular area of expertise around integrated curriculum-led financial planning, which supports academies and the trust in ensuring financial effectiveness and sustainability.

Anna has also held a non-executive position in the NHS for Salford CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) supporting Finance & Governance, which included the role of Chair of the Audit Committee.

Lynette Beckett MCIPD
Director of People and Strategy

Lynette’s role sits on the Executive Team at Bright Futures. Prior to joining Bright Futures in 2014 to establish and lead the HR function, Lynette held a number of senior human resources posts in the commercial sector. She is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development (MCIPD).

Lynette has a broad range of HR and executive leadership experience ranging from a deep specialist knowledge of employee relations, employment law, change management, employee engagement, operational and strategic HR, governance, performance management and workplace culture.  She also collaborates as part of the HR network for multi-academy trust’s (MAT’s) HR leaders and contributes valuable insight and best practice from and to Bright Futures, through this forum.

It is a non-negotiable for Lynette to work for an organisation that holds the same values as her. She is proud to play a part in bringing to life Bright Futures’ values of community, integrity and passion through the HR policies, practices and systems introduced.

Proud to part of the Bright Futures Education Trust
The Hub
144 Irlam Road, Flixton
Manchester M41 6NA