John Mann 

Chair of the Board of Trustees and Financial Director

John has worked in Commerce for over 45 years, working as Project Director and Programme Director on large scale multimillion-pound IT projects across Retail, Manufacturing, Finance, Local Government and Education Sectors.  One such project was the early pathfinder DfE project in Bristol during which the positive impact of technology on teaching and learning was confirmed. 
John has set up and ran organisations in the North West, which grew into a multimillion-pound business providing services into Nursery, Primary, Secondary and Special Needs Schools. He has also served on many Governing Bodies, both as Governor and Chair.   John is currently the Chair and Finance Director of the Star Academy Trust.
Declarations of pecuniary interest:
-    Director of Settings Solutions (Nursery School Finance software)
-    Member: Oldershaw Academy
-    Trustee: Advance Trust
-    Trustee: Concordia Trust


Julie Wootton

Vice Chair and HR Director

I was appointed to the role of HR Director of Star Academy Trust in May 2020 and Vice Chair of Trustees in February 2021.
I am married to Mike, who works within the retail logistics sector.  We have 2 grown up children, and 2 grandchildren.
In my professional life I am a Head of Human Resources & IT and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute Personnel Development.   I have over 20 years' HR experience across a wide variety of sectors.    
I am committed to bringing challenge and scrutiny to the Academy Trust in a supportive and collaborative environment and contribute time and knowledge to provide the school with the direction and leadership that is required to give every young person the very best start to their lifelong learning.

Declarations of pecuniary interest - None



John Gilchrist

Strategic Director

After a wide-ranging career, John is now focused on adding value to the community. He has gained a reputation for tackling complex challenges and delivering effective solutions to business leaders and boards around Europe and the Middle East. He has extensive experience in strategic positioning and troubleshooting, comprising strategic and tactical planning, governance, stakeholder communication, brand building, reputation management, and improving organisational efficiency, competitiveness and cost effectiveness. John spent the early part of his career as an aerospace engineer and management accountant, working for Rolls Royce, followed by diverse posts in International Computers Ltd. and STC Telecommunications Plc. John then switched focus to the capital markets with several executive roles at the London Stock Exchange, Clearstream International (Luxembourg), the Dubai Financial Services Authority and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. A regular conference Chair and Speaker, John has built a reputation in boardrooms across the world, and notably conducted an hour-long interview with President William J. Clinton at the Global Leaders’ Summit, Denmark.
John's particular interests lie in positioning socially responsible organisations which add value to diverse stakeholders; he is currently researching Covid-19, demographic trends and disruptive technologies and the impact these will have on primary and secondary education.

Declarations of pecuniary interest - None


Craig Hartley

Operational Director

Craig has worked as an engineer within several manufacturing facilities in the automotive industry for the last 20 years. Craig’s experience and knowledge have proved invaluable in supporting the trust through a period of significant capital investment. Craig is the Operations Director, with primary responsibility for premises and health and safety. 

Declarations of pecuniary interest - None


Simon Dyson

School Improvement Director

Simon is a qualified School Inspector, accredited by CFbT and has been involved in the inspection of several primary schools in recent years. He is also accredited by the National College for Teaching and Learning to deliver leadership programmes such as the NPQH, NPQSL, NPQML and EYLDP. Simon has been Principal at Highfields Academy for 13 years and also previously been Chair of the Nantwich Education Partnership for three years. Simon is the Director of School Improvement for Star Academy Trust.

Declarations of pecuniary interest – Chair of Governors, Oaklands School


Rob Foreman

Commercial Director

Rob has a successful track record working in major multi national businesses including Shell and Michelin. In senior leadership roles Rob managed critical customer relationships building growth plans around jointly beneficial strategic partnerships. All round commercial and people development skills will support the MAT with its growth plans - his current business consultancy activity includes mentoring at CEO level. 

Declarations of pecuniary interest - None



Contact Us

Star Academy Trust

Cumberland Avenue,