Our Directors


Engage Trust Board Members and Directors

The Executive Board maintains strategic and statutory responsibility for The Engage Trust Academies and services. In addition Local Governing Bodies support each Academy.

The Engage Trust currently has 2 academies; The Short Stay School for Norfolk spread across 8 sites in Norfolk and the Pinetree School in Thetford. The SSSfN also provides a range of other specialist services on behalf of the Local Authority including home education for pupils unable to attend school, reintegration of excluded pupils to new schools and advice on admissions to specialist provision.

There are currently 8 Trustees of the Engage Trust. Trustee’s work entails overseeing the Academy strategy and being responsible for complying with Charity law, overseeing the school’s assets, managing any conflicts of interest, managing risk and governing the charity in a transparent & accountable way.

Meet our Directors

Philip Alan Harris

Philip Alan Harris

Member and Director - Chair of Board

I first became a school governor about 1984; I have been a governor of Wellesley First School, Blackdale Middle School, Chair of Thorpe Hamlet First School, Chair of the Management of Douglas Bader School and am currently chair of the SSSfN Governing Body.

I have been running my own company since 1986, specialising in producing marine navigation and surveying software. The software is supplied on a global basis so I have plenty of opportunities of visiting many parts of the world.

I am on the board of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, am a Cromer Town Councillor and chair of the North Lodge Park Committee. I am chair of Cromer Community Association which run the Community Centre.

I am a member of the Labour and the Co-operative Party and chair of the East of England Society Co-operative Party.

Hobbies include a season ticket holder of Norwich City Football Club and I enjoy going orienteering (when I have spare time).

Susan Teresa Cooke

Member and Director- Vice-Chair of Board

I trained as a teacher at Notre Dame College of Education in Liverpool before taking my first job at Queensway Middle School in Thetford.

I stayed there for 10 years before being seconded as an Advisory Teacher for ICT for 2 years working across the county helping primary schools come to terms with the introduction of computers in the classroom.

I then became Acting Head teacher of Woodton School for 2 terms before taking up headship at Burston Primary school. I was there for 20 years before becoming responsible for the neighbouring school of Tivetshall too, in an early partnership arrangement, until my retirement 3 years ago.

I was the NASUWT County Secretary for 5 years and remained an active member of the Norfolk Executive Committee of the NASUWT until my retirement. Throughout that period I represented teachers on the County JCC, was the Primary Advisor to the Children's Services Review panel for approx. 20 years and served for 3 years on the National Primary NASUWT committee.

A few years before I retired I became a member of the Management Committee of the Southern Area PRU. As chair of that committee I was able to push for more support in mainstream schools, so the CST concept is very dear to my heart.

Following reorganisation of the service I joined the newly formed SSSfN management committee which eventually morphed into the governing body. In becoming an Academy I became a Trustee as well as a governor.

David Clive Evans

David Clive Evans

Member and Director

Originally from Wales and upon leaving school I spend over a year teaching in Sri Lanka.

After some attempts working at various theatres in London I eventually found myself leading the music strategy for MTV Europe as Head of Music and a stint living in Rome setting up an Arabic TV Network!

Following this I had a stint at music video production working with Ace of Base, Yello amongst others lesser known!

Before the turn of the millennium I decided to leave London and started working for the British Red Cross, based in Norwich. I was the Operations Director for East Anglia and then became the Operations Director for the Overseas Branches. This meant spending a lot of my time travelling around the Caribbean on disaster preparedness and recovery.

Having left the Red Cross in 2010 I joined Norfolk County Council as Project Manager leading their integration of Health and Social Care. I could only manage a year there and left to pursue an MBA at the UEA.

Once graduated I set up a consultancy business working with the voluntary and public sectors - which I continue to do to this day!

I live in Norwich with my partner and my elderly dog. We are members of the Octagon Unitarian Chapel in Norwich and regularly attend.

My interest in being a Governor at the SSSfN derives from always striving to ensure that everyone gets the best opportunities in life and therefore giving my time and expertise to the school goes towards fulfilling this for me.

Roger John Stephenson

Roger John Stephenson


I am currently Business Director for the Institute of Systemic Therapy, formally trading as Childhood First, which is a provider of therapeutic care, education and treatment for children and young people who have experienced varying degrees of trauma, abuse and neglect. Childhood First provides services for children and are supported by our Institute for Integrated Systemic Therapy, which provides clinical training, practice development, consultation and research, and is a full training and accrediting member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapists. Currently in this role I am responsible for all aspects of placement referrals; income generation; fundraising; new project developments and senior management; and the development of therapeutic fostering nationally.

Previously I have worked over the past 2 decades in senior roles for Casterbridge Care and Education; National Fostering Agency; Lambeth Social Services and the Shaftesbury Society developing and managing strategic children’s services. In addition I served as a Community / Co-opted Governor in Wandsworth Education primary schools as well as serving as Chair in two of these separate schools. I am also currently Treasurer and Management Committee member for the ICHA Independent Children’s Home Association.

Des Damian Charles Reynolds

Des Damian Charles Reynolds

Director and CEO

I am an experienced teacher and head teacher who has been with the Trust since its inception. I started my career as a teacher of ICT before becoming a Behaviour Specialist and latterly Senior leader in mainstream secondary schools. My career has included many interesting developmental projects including leading Multi-Agency teams around both the implementation of the Common Assessment Framework and developing curriculum options for young people who pose high risk. Latterly I was seconded into the former Norwich Pupil Referral Unit as Head Teacher and ultimately led the creation of the Short Stay School and the Engage Trust.

Dennis George Freeman

Dennis George Freeman



I am currently employed as a Freelance Advocate with Coram Voice a children’s charity based in London. Coram Voice has the contract with Norfolk Children’s services to provide advocacy to young people who are likely to be placed on the Child Protection register.

I also advocate for LAC children who may have specific complaints about Children’s Services or their placement.

Prior to this I served in the Royal Air Force as an aircraft technician for 22 years during which time I completed my degree with the Open University (Maths and Technology).

On leaving the RAF I completed my PGCE (Secondary, Physics and Maths) at UEA. I taught in mainstream and special schools for 21 years before retiring and taking up my current position.

I became a governor at the SSSfN in September 2014 and a Director of The Engage MAT from its inception.

Mark Winson-Pearce

Mark Winson-Pearce


I am currently the Finance Chief Operating Officer at HSBC where I manage accounting operations, IT, projects, process transformation and operational controls for the Finance function. I have held this role for 9 years and previously held similar roles at Santander (UK) and Credit Suisse.

I became aware of Academy Trust roles through the Free Schools Network looking for new commercially experienced Trust Directors. I was attracted to a role at The Engage Trust because I wanted to work with a Trust in a geography with which I have a strong connection - I was born in Suffolk, grew up in Essex, have family in Norfolk and live in Cambridgeshire. I also wanted to work with a trust that provided me with challenges that were very different to my own work and educational experience - I was inspired by the people I met and what they are achieving and I hope I can contribute to their continued achievement.

Barbara Betty Johnson


I work at the University of East Anglia as a Faculty Finance Manager. My responsibility is for the financial planning and management for the seven Schools of Study that make up the Faculty of Social Sciences. In addition, I oversea the finance activity for the University-wide Student and Academic Service Departments. The work is complex and interesting, and I enjoy working in a dynamic environment with such diverse and fascinating people.

I am a qualified Chartered Management Accountant and Chartered Global Accountant. I am also a Trustee (Director) of the UEA’s pension scheme. I continue to enjoy developing and learning new skills and actively engage in training and conferences whenever I can.

My previous work was in banking and for the Not-for-Profit sector, always within my home county of Norfolk.

I truly believe that education is the key to unlocking opportunities that can lead to satisfying careers and interests. Being involved in the Engage Trust is giving me a unique perspective on learning for everyone, and I am delighted to be part of this special organisation