Members and Trustees

Meet the Members

Ian Coker

Kevin Dean

Peter Hamer

Bernadette Hunter

Meet the Trustees

Kevin Dean

Chair of Trustees

I have two key governance roles within the Esteem Multi-Academy Trust being both a Member of the Trust and the Chair of the Trust Board. Members are similar to a company's shareholders and we sit above the board. We are responsible for appointing trustees and holding them to account for the successful governance of the trust. As the Chair of the Trust Board I have, along with the other trustees, the legal responsibility for conducting the business of the academy trust. Academy trustees are both charity trustees and corporate directors and we must ensure that we adhere to our statutory duties under charity and company law. The Board of Trustees holds the CEO to account and we oversee the management and administration of the trust and the academies run by the trust.


Having worked in senior education positions for 16 years and being a Governor at a Derbyshire Special School, I understand the challenges that the Esteem MAT academies and teaching staff face on a daily basis. I have also been a representative to the Federation of Derbyshire Special Schools and I am used to championing young people with special educational needs, leading and challenging others and driving improvements to improve learning outcomes . I am recently retired, and this enables me to take a more active role as a trustee helping to develop Esteem and the academies within it. I believe that with a collective focus and drive we can continue to raise standards and positively impact the lives of students and their families and carers. I am proud to be part of Esteem and strongly believe that our achievements and success as a trust, will help raise the quality of education in special schools across the midlands.

Mark Emly

I am the Vice-Chair of the Esteem MAT Trust Board and a non-voting trustee as I am employed by the Local Authority. I have had a career in special education initially as a teacher in special schools in three local authorities and then in senior leadership positions including headship of two special schools. My roles over the last 16 years have been within a Local Authority and have included being a school improvement adviser, senior adviser and latterly, for the last 7 years, a strategic role as Assistant Director. I have a good understanding of the Ofsted inspection framework and how inspections are undertaken.


There has always been a very strong partnership between the special schools in Derbyshire and the local authority. My role as a trustee sustains this relationship and enables me to bring along to the board my skills, experience and expertise to the benefit of the trust. I am committed to young people with special educational needs and trying to help them achieve the best possible outcomes and therefore maximise their life chances. By effectively governing and successfully driving the development of a strong and effective trust, I am confident that we can positively influence the evolving educational landscape and the learning journey of our children and young adults.


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Dawn Butler

I am a member of the Trust Board and sit on four committees, which meet on a regular basis to make decisions and provide a governing steer to the organisation.  I am passionate about the performance of the Esteem MAT and the success of the students within it. My son attended Holbrook School of Autism from the age of 5 to 19 years and I saw first-hand the impact that such a child-focused school and team of specialist teaching staff had on my son’s personal achievements and learning. Prior to being a trustee, I sat on the governing body at Holbrook and worked closely with the team there.


I bring along to my role over 30 years’ experience of working in the private sector, 25 of them within HR. I work for a successful global company and have partnered with business leaders in a wide variety of HR roles.  I currently lead HR Operations teams across Europe, working on people, process, systems and service transformation.  I am committed to the effective governance of the trust and in continuing to actively support the Leadership Team at Esteem in achieving positive outcomes. Being part a new MAT is exciting and supporting others in realising the opportunities that are presented helps ensure we continue to make a difference to the lives of the children and young adults that attend our academies.

Vice Chair of Trustees

Christopher Griffin

Christopher's bio is currently being updated

Craig Kennady

As an autistic man and father to five children, who also have disabilities, I am dedicated to standing up for and championing individuals with special educational needs. I am proud to be a member of the Board of Trustees at Esteem and my understanding of the difficulties faced by children with disabilities, and their families and carers, inspires me to always help others and apply my experience and knowledge to the benefit of the trust.


As well as being a trustee, I undertake several voluntary roles in education including being a Parent Governor and SEN&D Governor at a local school.  I am also a Commission member of two Parliamentary groups, advising and working alongside MPs and key stakeholders, defending the rights of people with dyslexia and neurodiversity.  I passionately believe in everyone having the same chance in life and, as a person with disabilities, I understand the challenges that a school has to ensure children are well looked after and that their needs are met. This is what inspired me to become a trustee and why I proactively work across the trust to support the development of the organisation; work with the board ensuring effective governance and,most importantly, make a positive difference to the lives of our students.

Greg Longley

I am extremely passionate about education and the opportunities it brings to the lives of those that receive it. Being a trustee at Esteem enables  me to utilise my business acumen and commercial insight to make informed and considered decisions and to hold leaders to account.

My commercial focus and private sector experience helps support the financial oversight of the trust and the effective and compliant management of budgets and risk.


Along with my previous corporate positions I have also spent time working in education advising and mentoring MBA students for Durham University and lecturing MBA students. I am currently studying for a doctorate. I am passionate about the importance of and achieving equality and diversity in an organisation and challenging others to this regard. I have embraced being on the Trust Board of the Esteem MAT from its infancy and I am inspired by the positive steps that continue to be taken. I look forward to continuing to support the academies within the trust and being part of the exciting future ahead for the MAT, the staff and , more importantly, the children and young adults who are the reason we are all here.

Ian Van Arkadie

Ian's bio is currently being updated





Special and Alternative Provision Academies in Derbyshire, Derby City and Staffordshire

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