Executive Team

Aonghus Gordon OBE, Hon DUniv, MEd (Founder and Chief Executive)

Aonghus is the Founder and Executive Chair of Ruskin Mill Trust.  Aonghus started RMT is 1983 and has worked with colleagues, growing teams and leadership to enable the development and growth of the Trust from one centre to twelve centres across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as several international collaborations. He is passionate about the need for people to break out of dependency and marginalisation, believing that everyone has the potential to shape their own future. 

Aonghus has pioneered its unique method of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE), inspired by Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris’s ideas about social renewal, healthy human development and the importance of art, crafts and land work. Thousands of young people have benefited from this integrative education method

Find out more about Aonghus Gordon

Aonghus Gordon

Helen Kippax (Deputy Chair and lead for Safeguarding and Health and Safety)

Helen has a diverse background in fine arts, social care and educational development including helping to establish a Steiner School in Sheffield. Helen undertook an HNC in Fine Arts as a mature student and set up and ran her own gallery in Sheffield. Helen joined Ruskin Mill Trust in 2004 and was tasked with setting up the Trust’s third centre, Freeman College in Sheffield. Helen was Principal of Freeman College until 2012 when she became a Trustee of Ruskin Mill Trust and Senior Mentor. Helen has gained an MSc in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education from the University West of England and continues to support and research the method of PSTE as a Trustee for Ruskin Mill Trust. Helen provides mentorship to senior leaders across the Ruskin Mill Trust group.

Helen Kippax

Constantin Court (Director of PSTE)

Constantin joined Ruskin Mill Trust in 2007. Constantin has a vast experience in social and educational establishments, working across different regulative frameworks in organisations who apply the insights of Rudolf Steiner in a contemporary way. Constantin has worked with children and adults in Germany, Palestine, Israel, Switzerland and Egypt before coming to the UK.

He was instrumental in developing Ruskin Mill Trust’s first school, Brantwood Special School and is now Director of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) Pedagogy and a member of the Executive Team Ruskin Mill Trust with responsibility for quality assuring Practical Skills Therapeutic Education and overseeing the Trust’s staff development and training programme, Hiram Education and Research Team (HEaRT).

Constantin Court

Tara Gratton (Director of Schools and Rise)

Tara started her career in education in 1992 as a teacher in a primary school. In 2004, Tara took up her first Head Teacher role and over the following years has worked with a range of schools and education federations, as a head and executive head, to improve their outcomes and quality. Tara has a proven track record of leading outstanding schools, and for supporting and transforming schools that are struggling.

Tara has been a safeguarding lead, member of a local safeguarding board, governor and board member for a range of other educational establishments and has a strong understanding of governance and compliance.

Find out more about our schools.

Tara Gratton

Oliver Cheney FCMI (Director of Colleges and Rise)

Oliver is Director of Colleges & RISE and a member of the Ruskin Mill Trust Executive Team. Oliver has 25 years’ experience of working with young people with Autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and mental health issues. Oliver joined Ruskin Mill Trust as a Support Worker in 2001 and has since held a range of roles, progressing to Principal, Executive Principal and Regional Director for Midlands. Oliver brings a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding the work of the Trust; in particular his in-depth understanding of the needs of the individuals the Trust works with.

Oliver has worked internationally, has lots of experience working with regulators, and manages the most complex organisational challenges and interventions. Oliver has been a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) since 2014.

Find out more about our colleges.

Oliver Cheney

Associate members of the Executive Team

Elisabeth Johnson (Executive Operations Manager)

Elisabeth has worked for Ruskin Mill Trust for over 25 years, in a variety of roles. She first started at the Trust as a support worker and tutor and has progressed through a range of administration, admissions and senior leadership roles.

Elisabeth has been involved in supporting several of the Trust’s new initiatives over the years and has worked at several of the Trust’s sites. Elisabeth holds a MSc in Sustainable Systems, as well as a MSc in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education. In her current role as Executive Operations Manager, Elisabeth works closely with the Executive Team, is leading on the development of the Civil Service, and is company secretary for the 9 subsidiaries of Ruskin Mill Trust.

Elisabeth Johnson

Shazuli Iqbal (Chief Financial Officer)

Shazuli has worked for the Trust for over 10 years, initially as Head of Finance and currently as Chief Financial Officer, managing the financial matters of the 22 separate companies comprising the Ruskin Mill Trust group.

Shazuli has over 28 years’ experience in business management having worked for a range of third-sector organisations previously, as well as large multi-nationals; and brings his in-depth knowledge of finance and accountancy to the Trust, ensuring financial compliance, control and performance.

Shazuli has an MBA from the Paris School of Business and is a fellow of the Institute of Financial Accountants and the Association of International Accountants. Shazuli is a Trustee of two charitable organisations outside of RMT.

Shazuli Iqbal

Lindsay Wilkinson (Trust Head of Human Resources)

Lindsay has worked for Ruskin Mill Trust for over 15 years. She first started at the Trust as a Human Resources Manager at Freeman College and then was given responsibility for the human resources function across multiple sites in the north, before becoming the Trust Head of Human Resources.

Lindsay gained human resources, senior manager and leadership experience working for a large retailer before joining the Trust and holds a MSc in Human Resource Management. In her current role as Trust Head of Human Resources, Lindsay works closely with the Executive Team and her team of HR practitioners who offer support and guidance to Provision Leaders and staff across the Trust.