The work of the AGBIS office is overseen by a Board of school governors who are representatives elected by the member school.
Richard Harman was educated at The King’s School, Worcester, followed by Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read English. Having spent two years working for an academic publisher, he decided his real vocation was in teaching. After five years at Marlborough College teaching English and Drama, during which time he also completed his PGCE at Exeter University, he spent 12 years at Eastbourne College. Progressing from Head of English to Housemaster of a Sixth Form girls’ house to member of the Senior Management Team, he then became Headmaster of Aldenham in September 2000 and thence to Uppingham in 2006. After a decade leading Uppingham and 32 years overall in teaching, he embarked on a third career as Chief Executive of AGBIS. Richard is much enjoying the challenges at AGBIS, having been Chairman of the Boarding Schools’ Association for 2011-12 and Chairman of HMC for 2014-15.
Cheryl Connelly was educated at Northumbria University where she completed a honours degree in Business Management. Having spent five years in the Civil Service, Cheryl moved to the Training and Enterprise Council where she advised public and private businesses on best practice and developed and delivered workshops to equip their own staff with the necessary skills to deliver continuous improvement. During this time Cheryl also completed her post graduate diploma in Personnel and Development. Cheryl then became an inspector with the Audit Commission where she led corporate compliance inspections at County and District councils, Police authorities and Fire authorities across the UK. After a decade at the Audit Commission, Cheryl moved into the Education sector as a Business Manager and Clerk to the Governors, spending six years in the maintained sector before spending the last three years in the independent sector. During this time, Cheryl also completed her MSc in Business Education Management. Cheryl has also served for 17 years as a school governor, including as Chair of Governors and Chair of Finance and Resources.
Rachel Cooke is a graduate from the University of Hull, where she read Philosophy. Rachel has also taught English in Mexico. She joined AGBIS from United Learning, where she spent three years as Senior Project Lead, Strategy and Performance. Before that, she worked variously in the NHS, for the Association of Colleges and in programme and project management at the Learning and Skills Improvement Service and at the Institute for Learning. Rachel is currently a governor at Aldwickbury School and at The Hurlingham Academy. Her primary role within AGBIS is running the Head Office operations based in Welwyn.
Andy Robinson graduated from the University of Salford with a joint honours degree in mathematics and physics. Andy then entered Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in September 1980. During his career in the Royal Navy where he specialised in training, leadership and management, Andy undertook a number of senior positions including Naval Service Recruiting Operations Manager and Director of Training for an establishment of seven Royal Naval schools. In 2010 he was appointed Bursar and Clerk to the Governors of St Hugh’s School, Oxfordshire and became the AGBIS Director of Training in April 2015; in this role he provided training, facilitated strategy days and conducted reviews of governance for over 150 independent schools’ governing bodies. Andy became the first AGBIS Regional Officer in September 2019. He was previously involved with two local charities as a trustee and Chairman and is currently a governor of a large co-educational independent 3-18+ day school.
Katie Hopkinson has a Business Studies degree and a CIM Professional Postgraduate Diploma. Before joining AGBIS Katie worked at the University of Hertfordshire for 14 years in marketing and more recently in a Student Success role. Katie supports the Director of Training with our extensive programme of webinars, seminars and events, including the Conference and AGM, as well as delivering all our marketing activities.
Lauren spent three and a half years doing an apprenticeship straight after Sixth Form, plus enrolled in a Google Squared course to gain a diploma in Digital Marketing. She has since helped develop marketing strategies for multiple industries including beauty and travel, to widen her experience and build on her marketing skills. Lauren is now the Membership Support Administrator here at AGBIS, creating Twitter and LinkedIn posts, supporting Katie, our Events and Marketing Manager, with setting up our webinars and keeping our website up to date.
Ann Bell joined AGBIS in January 2019. After having spent many years of her career in administration, Ann took a four year sabbatical living on the mainland of Greece. After returning to the UK she entered the education sector carrying out administration support, most recently spending seven years in a local primary school. Ann supports her AGBIS colleagues in the Head Office in Welwyn.