Meet the Trust Team

Liz Mitchell Anna SmithLiz Mitchell – Chief Executive Officer 

Liz obtained her teaching qualification in 1999 and has since demonstrated her commitment to education through an extensive career within diverse school environments. In 2014, she was appointed the role of Headteacher at Seal CoE Primary School.

Throughout her professional journey, Liz collaborated with the local authority, providing invaluable support to numerous schools and Headteachers. Her contributions encompassed initiatives to elevate educational standards, as well as coaching and mentoring endeavors. Liz further enriched her expertise by serving on the governing bodies of various primary and secondary schools.

In 2017, Liz initiated collaboration with Four Elms, culminating in the establishment of the Inspire Federation in 2018. Subsequently, in January 2022, she commenced her involvement with Maypole Primary, which later joined Inspire under her guidance.

In the year 2022, Liz engaged in collaborative efforts with the Department for Education (DFE) to transform the Federation into a Multi Academy Trust. On 1st September 2023, she successfully orchestrated the formation of the Inspire Academy Movement, assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and serving on the Board of Directors.


Maria Cordier Anna SmithMaria Cordier – Chief Finance Officer 

Maria started her professional career in a large financial company as a credit controller and quickly advanced to a senior management accountant for a major travel company, overseeing substantial multi-million and multi-currency accounts. After having her first child, Maria decided to change industries, joining Seal CoE Primary School in 2016 as a Finance Assistant and progressed to the role of Federation Business Manager.

Maria has been privileged to be part of the journey from a single school to a federation of schools and also played a key role in the conversion of the Inspire Academy Movement.

Maria now serves as the Chief Finance Officer for the Trust and looks forward to helping the Trust evolve and grow from strength to strength. She is proud to be part of a team who holds their values at the heart of everything they do.

Maria is currently studing ICAEW Business and Professional Finance.


Michelle Welton Anna SmithMichelle Welton – Finance Officer 

Michelle joined Inspire in 2021 as a Finance Assistant. Due to the Trust's growth, her expertise in budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and profit and loss (P&L) management from her background in the private sector led to her promotion of Finance Officer. A change of career has provided the Trust with new innovative ideas and ways of working from her transferable skillset.

Michelle is undertaking a Business Diploma to further enhance her knowledge and skills. She looks forward to the exciting challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the Trust. 


Tracy H Ahern Anna SmithTracy Hailstone-Ahern – Head of School Improvement 

Tracy has vast leadership experience in primary education. This in tandem with school improvement as a leader, as a consultant, as a governor and as a represent of a local authority provides her with an array of skills and knowledge. 

Tracy has supported and challenged schools, many of whom were in difficult circumstances to make rapid effective change. Her own headship experience includes schools in areas of high deprivation where her inclusive outlook improved pupil aspiration and quality of provision for all. Working alongside leaders and teachers through collaboration and sharing of best practice whilst maintaining a child led focus. Working with other professionals such as a Challenge Partner Lead and for the inspectorate has built her professional network and skill set to benefit all. 


Lorraine Butler Anna SmithLorraine Butler – School Improvement Consultant 

Lorraine was a Head of School within the Inspire Federation for 5 years and took early retirement in July 2023. Lorraine has a good understanding of the unique needs of all students and is committed to addressing educational inequalities and ensuring that every student has the resources and opportunities needed to thrive.

Lorraine has an extensive knowledge of the Inspire Curriculum and its values. She has worked with teachers and leaders to drive improvement. Lorraine has taken on a new challenge in the form of a School Improvement Consultant and continues to work with educators to ensure pupils have the very best opportunities. 


Jude Johnson – Governance Professional 

Jude assumed the role of Governance Professional with the Trust in October 2023. Prior to this, she served as a Governance Officer for the local authority and education consultancy, specialising in providing training and guidance on statutory compliance to governing boards. 

Having been involved in school governance since 2001, Jude has held positions as a school governor in various primary schools. She previously served as a National Leader of Governance for the Department for Education until its closure in October. Presently, she continues to contribute as a Local Lead Governor, offering support to chairs of governors in her spare time. 

In addition to her governance roles, Jude holds a position as a Trustee for a Christian Schools-Work charity, where she lends her expertise to strategic leadership. With her extensive experience and commitment to effective governance, Jude plays a crucial role within our team. 


Lisa Paulden Anna SmithLisa Paulden – HR Manager 

Lisa joined Inspire in 2020, bringing with her 18 years of experience in managerial roles in Finance and HR. Lisa is dedicated to ensuring that every employee feels equipped, empowered and valued, helping the Trust to achieve its strategy. She is motivated by the knowledge her colleagues are proud to be working for the Trust and prides herself on being friendly and approachable. 

Lisa is responsible for HR across the Trust and is currently studying towards the CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management. 


Andy Kilby Anna SmithAndrew Kilby - Facilities Operations Manager 

Andrew has worked for the schools within the Trust for over four years, initially starting as a Site Manager at Seal CoE Primary School. Prior to this, he has worked in Retail serving as a Store Manager and has successfully run his own business. He now holds a key position overseeing Health and Safety, Operations and Compliance across the Trust. 

Andrew is set to embark on the NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.