Astrea Academy Trust News


Astrea Academy Trust is today unveiling two new appointments to its top team, with Richard Tutt as the new Director of Secondary Education, and Jo Myhill-Johnson as a Regional Director in Cambridgeshire.


Richard Tutt is an extremely experienced system leader, joining from United Learning – the largest academy trust in the country – where he is currently a Regional Director responsible for 10 secondary academies, and the national strategic lead for Teaching and Learning and SEND.


Richard has been a National Leader of Education since 2017. Previously, he was an Executive Principal in United Learning, overseeing five secondary academies. As a Principal, Richard led Magna Academy since it opened in 2013 to achieve two consecutive Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ judgments, accreditation as a National Teaching School and National Support School and a Progress 8 score of 1.15 (24th nationally) in 2018 and 1.16 (18th nationally) in 2019.


Jo Myhill-Johnson has worked for most of her career in schools in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, where she undertook her first senior leadership role. She joins Astrea from the David Ross Education Trust where she has served as Executive Principal for Thomas Middlecott Academy and King Edward VI Academy.


The two new hires complete a round of top team appointments following the recent appointment of Brigadier Jonathan Timmis OBE as Astrea’s new Chief Operating Officer. Jonathan has served in the British Army for 30 years. His army career includes numerous tours in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in Germany and Belgium with NATO and working with the Cabinet Office.


Rowena Hackwood, CEO of Astrea Academy Trust, said:
“I am absolutely delighted that we have appointed both Richard and Jo to the Astrea team – they each come with an impressive pedigree of school improvement and will help us deliver on our vision of providing a brilliant education for all Astrea children.


“As we begin to emerge from the immediate challenges of the last two years, we are building our bench-strength with some of the most talented leaders in the sector – and beyond – and I have every confidence that as a trust we will go from strength to strength as a trust.”


Richard Tutt said:

“It is a great privilege to be appointed as Astrea’s Director of Secondary Education. I am very excited about starting and joining a wonderful team of colleagues as we strive to provide an excellent, inclusive, aspirational and academic education for every child, no matter what barriers they face.


“It is a really exciting time to join Astrea as it embarks on the next stage of its ambitious journey and I very much look forward to meeting colleagues and serving the Trust, staff, students and communities in this role.”


Jo Myhill-Johnson said:


“I am looking forward to joining Astrea and to working with our schools, leaders and staff to provide an outstanding inclusive, aspirational and academic education for all of our young people. It will be wonderful to be returning to Cambridgeshire, where I had my first taste of school leadership.”


Brigadier Jonathan Timmis OBE joins Astrea Academy Trust following the Easter break, after serving in the British Army for 30 years. His army career includes numerous tours in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in Germany and Belgium with NATO and working with the Cabinet Office.

Jonathan has led operational services at brigade, division and corps levels and has devoted his efforts to nurturing talent through training and education to help realise potential and aspirations. At Astrea he will have responsibility for HR, Estates and Technology teams as well as newly appointed Regional Operations Managers.

As part of Astrea’s ongoing investment in educational leadership, Jonathan’s appointment is accompanied by four new Regional Directors who will work across Astrea’s primary and secondary schools in South Yorkshire:

Rebekah Taylor joins from North Yorkshire County Council where she is currently the Head of School Improvement Service. She is an experienced Ofsted Inspector.

Jo Powell joins Astrea having worked in senior leadership roles in Sheffield primary schools for 17 years as Deputy, Head, and recently as Executive Headteacher.

Russell Gray joins from the Nova Education Trust in Nottinghamshire where he is currently Headteacher of Victoria Primary School and Executive Trust Lead for Primary Curriculum.

Asma Maqsood-Shah joins following a 23-year career in education, most recently as the Principal of High Hazels Academy in Sheffield.

Rowena Hackwood, CEO of Astrea Academy Trust, said:
“These high-profile appointments are a testament to our vision and values at Astrea, which are helping us to attract the very best candidates. We are committed to investing in our educational leadership, which is essential to delivering our vision of providing a brilliant education for all Astrea children.

 “As a passionate advocate of inclusive leadership and building teams to excel, Jonathan has shown us that he is dedicated to helping us deliver on our mission. I look forward to welcoming Jonathan, Rebekah, Jo, Russell and Asma into our leadership team which is going from strength to strength.”

Jonathan Timmis OBE said:

“To be appointed as Astrea’s Chief Operating Officer is a privilege. With 30 years’ leadership in the British Army, I am naturally driven by service to people. I look forward to serving the Trust, its staff, and pupils, to help deliver its vision and strategy towards a brilliant education for all.”

Rebekah Taylor said:

“I am excited to work closely with the colleagues within our four secondary schools in South Yorkshire, bringing my knowledge and expertise to enhance the improvements that are already underway and adding capacity into the rapid development journey.”

 Asma Maqsood-Shah said:

“I am excited to have the opportunity to bring my extensive experience, knowledge and skillset to Astrea and be part of a forward-thinking team with core values that align with my own beliefs.”

 Jo Powell said:

“I am passionate about the power of leadership and its potential to transform cultures and the life chances of children. I am looking forward to supporting colleagues in this challenging and important role.”

Russell Gray said:

“I am excited to be joining Astrea in such a pivotal role. Astrea has a clear dedication to improving the life chances of the pupils in its schools and I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this strong focus. I look forward to meeting and working with colleagues serving Astrea’s communities.”

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