Leodis Academies Trust

'Forging Young Futures'



Meet the Board of Trustees

Leodis Academies Trust governance is overseen by the Trust Board. The Trust recognises and supports each Academy actively and positively in their development through this Board of Trustees, the Central Team and Local Governance arrangements.






Nick O'Donovan

Chair of Trustees

Nick is a dentist who qualified in 1996 at Manchester Dental School.   Following a training year in Cleckheaton he has practiced dentistry in Dewsbury for his entire career.  He acquired the practice he worked at and has managed a successful dental practice from 2007 to date. 

Nick has four children who all went to Westerton Primary and then on through Woodkirk Academy to university.   During this time he served as a parent governor.   This opportunity to serve as a parent governor gave Nick a clear vision of the importance of strong and robust governance at an outstanding school.  

Nick further served as a member of Hill Top Primary Academy Local Governing Board for several years before being seconded to the newly formed Leodis Academies Trust Board. He was elected Chair of Trustees in September 2019.

Along with his responsibilities of running a dental practice and being Chair of the Leodis Academies Trust Board,  Nick is a Trustee of  the charity warmheartmalawi, a charity that helps to support education for the gifted but deprived children and to correct some of  the education prejudices in that African country.  Nick is also an international team leader for Dentaid, the foremost dental Charity in the UK, taking annual volunteer dental teams to Malawi and is involved in Dentaid’s UK projects too, delivering dental care to the most vulnerable groups in our society. 

On a side note.  He is a keen golfer trying to maintain a single figure handicap and likes road cycling both of which he does enthusiastically (when the weather permits). 




Vice Chair of Trustees

Alasdair is a retired teacher. He was an undergraduate at Durham where he also did his teacher training. During his career he undertook a part-time post-graduate qualification in educational management at Nottingham University. The first part of his career was spent at two comprehensives in Derbyshire. His posts of responsibility included Head of History and Politics and pastoral roles in Upper School and Sixth Form. He was County lead for the introduction of GCSE History. For the last 22 years of his career he was a senior member of staff at a Sixth Form College in West Yorkshire.

He joined the Trust Board in February 2020 and became a member of the Standards’ Committee. In September 2020 he became the Board’s Vice-Chair. He has experience of HMI, FEFC and OFSTED Inspections. He sees his role as supporting the Trust schools; their pupils, staff and leadership teams. His ‘pet hate’ is unnecessary paperwork.

His wife is a Dentist, their elder daughter works for a major charity in Australia and their younger daughter teaches, mainly Years 4 and 5, at a school in Oxford.



Rebecca Ganz

Co-Chair of the Finance & Risk Committee

Rebecca Ganz (aka Becks) is an ex pat who joined Leodis’ Board in September 2018.  A portfolio Non Executive with roles spanning Education, Institutional Health and Business sectors, Becks has a diverse set of skills to bring to Leodis.  Becks has a background in strategy, mergers & acquisitions, Chartered Accountancy and best practice governance.  As such, she thoroughly enjoys her role with Leodis and is Vice Chair of Finance & Risk Committee as well as a highly engaged member of the Trust Board.

While not a local (Becks lives in Lancashire but asks you not to hold it against her), Becks is a life-long learner coming from a family of ardent professional educators.  Being able to contribute to the education and wellbeing of Leodis’ pupils is both an honour and a privilege for Becks. 

When not at work, family, friends and horse riding are centre stage.



David Lester

Co-Chair of the Finance & Risk Committee

David joined the Leodis Academies Trust Board as a trustee at formation of the MAT in 2016. Prior to this, he had served as a governor at Westerton Primary School since 2005, both on the main governing board and as the Chair of the Resources Committee.

David has worked for both public and private organisations pursuing a career in electronics, IT and business spanning over 30 years. This has given him a broad base of experience which to he is able to draw upon when contributing to the strategic direction and governance of the Leodis Academies Trust Board.

David has a passion for lifelong learning, having undertaken electronic engineering qualifications early in his career followed by a BA (Hons) degree with the Open University and more recently studying for an MBA. This passion extends to a desire to provide the best possible learning opportunities for young people by making the most of the resources available to provide a high quality, engaging education that will prepare them for a successful and happy life.



Colin Stribley


Colin joined Leodis Academies Trust at the formation of the MAT in 2016 and is now Chair of the Standards Committee.  Before joining the Trust, Colin was a governor at Westerton Primary School from 2000 where he was joint Chair of the Resources Committee, a member of the Teaching and Learning Committee, ICT Lead and also a key member of the PTFA during his early years as a governor.

Colin has spent his whole career working in IT where he has held various management and director roles working in engineering, service delivery, sales and contract management.  He also spent 21 years as Chair of Trustees for a final Salary pension scheme.

Colin is married with two daughters who both attended Westerton Primary and Woodkirk Academies before going onto University.

Outside of work Colin enjoys gardening, football, skiing, hill walking and keeping fit.


Ian West


Ian is married, and became a governor at the primary school his children attended, staying for 12 years.

He joined Woodkirk Academy’s Local Governing Board as his children moved to secondary school, both of whom stayed through to Woodkirk Sixth Form and successfully completed university degrees.

He remained as Vice Chair at Woodkirk until joining the Leodis Academies Trust as a Trustee as it formed in 2016.

He has served as Vice Chair of Trustees, and is currently the Chair of the Risk Management Committee.

Ian has over 40 years’ experience in the petrochemical/gas industries, and now runs his own IT consultancy company.

He has three grandchildren, and enjoys spending time with them as often as he can. 

Ian firmly believes that the role of the Trustees is to help provide the highest standard possible of education accessible to all students, and that the Trust facilitates the growth of each of the individual academies for the benefit of their individual students.



Mike Cook

Chair of the Standards Committee

Mike has a first-hand understanding of school leadership and the local educational landscape, as a former Headteacher of a large secondary academy; one of the first 32 outstanding convertor academies in England and the first in Kirklees. He was vice-chairman of the Kirklees Schools’ Forum and a member of the Kirklees Place-Planning and Admissions committee prior to his retirement in 2016.

Alongside his day job he also worked as a Research Associate for the National College for School Leadership, and contributed to the development of the Framework for Exceptional Education, a programme operated by the Schools, Students and Teachers Network (SSAT) Leading Edge group. He has prior experience as a member of the Independent Schools Inspectorate and more recently five years’ experience as a contracted inspector participating in Ofsted inspections of maintained schools and academies. He has also recently returned to marking summer examinations for one of the awarding bodies.

Mike holds a Science Degree from the University of Durham and a Master’s in Science Education from Sheffield Hallam. Unsurprisingly, therefore, his 34-year teaching career was primarily focussed on teaching physics to GCSE and A level, but also included chemistry, mathematics and IT.

Mike has a strong conviction that schools can transform lives and strives to do whatever he can to support and sustain the highest standards of educational provision.



Stephanie Makin


Stephanie Makin joined the Leodis Trust Board in January 2023, offering support and specialist knowledge for the primary sector. She maintains a consistent interest in the support of Safeguarding, Child Protection and Well-being for both pupils and colleagues. 

Stephanie has thirty years of experience as a teacher in the primary sector. She has had the privilege of being the Headteacher/Principal of Westerton Primary Academy prior to retirement in August 2022. Throughout her career, Stephanie has also simultaneously carried out roles as a Key Mentor on the Management Board for the University of Nottingham for their National SCITT in Outstanding Primary Schools.  

Furthermore, Stephanie has also Chaired the Headteacher group of the Morley Family of Schools, has been the Morley Primary Representative in the Area Inclusion Partnership and Chair of the Safeguarding Committee for the REACH Alternative Primary Provision. 

In 2021 Stephanie joined the Leeds Teaching School Hub as a strategic partner and today holds the post of Chair of Governors.  


Trustee Register of Business Interests 2023/24 and Attendance 2022/23