The Beacon of Light School is supported by an experienced and eminent Board of Governors (Trustees), who provide strategic leadership and management of the School to ensure it is academically successful in line with its education policies and strategic goals.
All Beacon of Light Trustees make a positive contribution to our students’ education and have an important part to play in raising school standards.
Lynda BrownStaff Trustee
Mrs Brown retired from her role as Head of Education, Early Years and Complex Needs at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council in 2016. She was previously Head of Standards and Head of Participation at Sunderland City Council, thereby having spent 10 years at Assistant Director level, with responsibility for providing leadership for high quality education for children from the early years through to nineteen. In total, she has 38 years of teaching and management experience in schools and colleges.
Since retirement, Mrs Brown has volunteered, mainly as a as a trustee, to support schools, colleges and academies to be the best they can for the children and young people who attend them. She has been involved with the Foundation of Light since 2002 and continues this involvement as a member of the Education and Skills Committee of the Foundation.
Mrs Brown is Chair of Trustees at the Beacon School. She shares the enthusiasm of other Trustees, Mrs Taylor and the staff in believing that the school can offer life-changing chances and opportunities to the young people who join the school.
Graeme ShillinglawStaff Trustee
Graeme is former Head Teacher at New Bridge Academy and has many years’ experience as a Head Teacher in secondary education and behaviour management.
He was Head Teacher of the Year in a secondary school in 2009 and Head Teacher of an Outstanding School.
Denise TaylorStaff Trustee
Denise Taylor was appointed as Principal of the Beacon of Light School in January 2016.
Denise began her teaching career in 1994 in Sunderland as a teacher of Art at Pennywell School (now Academy 360) where she held successive roles of Deputy Head of House, Head of Art, Excellence in Cities Coordinator, Academic and Business Mentor Coordinator.
She moved to Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy in 2006 as Director of Arts then Assistant Principal until December 2015.
Lesley Spuhler OBEStaff Trustee
In a career spanning 20 years in the charity sector, Lesley has been the leading light at a number of regional charities. For the last 15 years, she has led the award-winning Foundation of Light – the official charity of Sunderland AFC.
The charity’s enviable reputation and record for delivering pioneering programmes is now not only emulated by other football and sports clubs but by institutions world-wide, which is testament to her determination to make a difference and inspiring leadership.
Before joining Foundation of Light, Lesley managed charitable giving for over 30 local companies in the North East through the Community Foundation, serving Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.
Ros PottsStaff Trustee
Ros Potts has worked for The Football Association for over 20 years and currently holds a Senior Manager post, responsible for workforce development at The Football Association.
With a 25 year career in sport she has direct responsibility for supporting 600 staff in 51 local County Football Associations with a £12m budget.
She is also a fully qualified coach and mentor and an experienced board member for Sport England and London Sports Board as well as being a Life-long Sunderland fan and season ticket holder for over 40 years.
Helen GreenStaff Trustee
Mrs Green runs her own holistic therapy business and teaches yoga, she is also a very keen baker and currently attends college where she studies professional bakery.
Mrs Green’s Daughter attends the Beacon School and she has witnessed first-hand what the school and teaching staff are capable of, with the help and support received having been invaluable.
Professor Roy Sandbach OBEStaff Trustee
Chair of the Innovation Board
Professor Sandbach is Chair of the Innovation Board for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. He is also Director of the National Centre for Ageing Science & Innovation, based at Newcastle University, and Professor in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.
He also holds visiting Professor positions with Northumbria University Business School, Cranfield University and Central St Martin’s College of Arts & Design, London.
Roy chairs the North East leadership group of The Princes’s Trust and is active in the creation of the North East Futures University Technical College, focusing on IT/Digital Science and Healthcare Science.
Sandra MitchellStaff Trustee
Sandra has worked for Sunderland City Council for over 37 years. In that time she qualified as an accountant but more recently has worked in a senior role managing a range of services both for adults and for children.
Sandra is also a Non-Executive Director of Together for Children Sunderland, and is passionate about supporting and improving the life chances of all residents.
Wayne GeeStaff Trustee
Born and raised in London, at a young age Wayne started working with Southwark mediation centre alongside Southwark Police as young mediator liaising between the police and young people involved in crime.
Wayne has been working for the Beacon of Light School since it opened in 2016, initially as a student support worker and now as Pastoral, Behaviour and Inclusion Leader and also as the Student Counsellor.