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Who’s Who?

Meet the team

Who lead DCG on our strategic journey and find out more about their areas of responsibility.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

As CEO, Mandie Stravino works in partnership with the Board to shape DCG’s vision and future direction; drives the implementation of the corporate strategy and monitors strategic enactment and performance. Her lead in strategic advancement, utilising design thinking, has led to financial turnaround and improvements in services and student success across DCG.

Mandie is a qualified teacher, holds an MBA and has completed the Further Education Strategic Leadership Programme at Said Business School – University of Oxford. Mandie was awarded the OBE for services to education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020.

She holds a range of non-executive/representative roles including: Member and Director – D2N2 LEP, Director (and Vice Chair) – Land Based Assessment Ltd (Landex EPA company), University of Oxford/ETF Design Steering Committee Member, Derby City Partnership Board Member, ASCL Regional Representative and National FE Committee Member, AoC National Policy Member on both the Mental Health and Quality Groups. In December 2019, Mandie completed her two-year term of office on the FE Commissioner’s Principals Reference Group. Other previous board member roles have included: Chair – CBI Regional Council (followed by a term of office as Vice Chair) and Member of the CBI National Committee, Member of: the Derby City Opportunity Area Board, Derby City’s Counter Terrorism Group, National AoC Governance Portfolio Group; Director at the Skills and Education Group and Primary School Governor.

Chief Executive

Heather Simcox reports directly to the Chief Executive and oversees the day to day and operational functions of DCG. Heather holds accountability for the performance of academic, technical and vocational education. In addition, She leads the Group’s student support services and corporate services which include: curriculum improvement, property and estates management, health and safety, human resources, IT services, systems and Infrastructure, marketing and strategic direction.

Heather is the Group’s business continuity leader, is the Chair of the Group’s risk management committee and is the executive officer for the Group’s audit committee as well as representing DCG on several external Boards and organisations.

Chief Finance Officer

Deputy Principal

Deputy Principal Kate Martin leads academic and technical education, which includes designing and developing all areas of the curriculum. She leads four Colleges and the community provision as well as being accountable for the College’s Higher Education provision. Kate is Nominee for the enhanced skills judgement for Ofsted inspection ensuring DCG meets the priority skills needs locally and nationally.

Kate is a qualified teacher and has worked in secondary and further education. Prior to being appointed Deputy Principal, Kate was Head of the Joseph Wright Centre. She is a member of the DANCOP board; Director of the East Midlands IOT a Trustee of Derbyshire YMCA and a Trustee of Derby Book Festival.

Executive Director of Human Resources

Bernadette reports to the Deputy CEO and leads on the development and delivery of DCG’s people management strategy. Working closely with the Leadership Team, Bernadette’s role is instrumental in the development of a high achieving workforce that can deliver great outcomes for our students and other stakeholders. The HR team helps shape a rewarding and inclusive working environment through activities such as employee recruitment; employee relations; learning and development; change management, performance management, organisational development and compensation and benefits.

Bernadette is a Fellow of her professional body the CIPD.

IT Director

Ian is responsible for IT infrastructure at DCG including networks, servers and virtualisation and he manages a range of support teams engaged in software deployment, laptop and desktop support and the IT Service Desk.

He authored DCG’s ambitious Digital Transformation Strategy, drawing on his expertise and the latest thinking in data-driven optimisation, intelligent business and business intelligence.

Vice Principal: Quality of Education

Vice Principal Melanie Lanser leads the continuous improvement in teaching and learning, which includes teacher, assessor and manager development, performance management and facilitates whole-college improvement processes. She leads a team of Advanced Practitioners, Improvement Practitioners, EdTech coaches and Libraries for Learning. In her current role, Melanie is the Ofsted Nominee for Education.

Melanie is a qualified and very experienced teacher, having worked in Further Education for 32 years. Prior to being appointed Vice Principal, Melanie has taught A Level and BTEC Law programmes, Teacher Education and has a long history of curriculum leadership and management. She has worked as a Principal Examiner for AQA. She has engaged in many research projects and promotes research-informed pedagogies within the organisation. She is a member of the Society of Education and Training, the Chartered College of Teaching, the Skills and Education Group and Derby Secondary Strategy Group.

Director of Estates

Iain is responsible for developing and implementing DCG’s wide-ranging Strategy for Property and Estates as well as for the physical development and operation of the estate to ensure it meets the Group’s current and future needs.

He oversees budgetary expenditure based on forecasted and historical trends while considering the external demands on DCG supplies and services. This includes leading on the submission of capital applications to help generate estate development.

Iain also acts as the focal point for the estate team’s engagement with wider communities and stakeholders, both locally and nationally.

Clerk to the Derby College Corporation

Rose Matthews was appointed, by the Board, to support and facilitate continuous improvement in College governance. She also has experience of academy and third sector governance and is a member of the AoC Midlands Clerks’ Network. She has over 20 years’ experience in FE and six years’ in FE governance. She is working towards the ‘expert’ level programme in FE governance and has a certificate in school clerking

Safeguarding Lead

Helen Jefferson is responsible for cross-college student support services and is the Designated Safeguarding Lead for Derby College.

Helen is the Careers Leader for DCG and the Designated Senior Leader for Mental Health. She represents DCG on the Derby City Prevent Steering Group; Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Education Hub; Careers and Enterprise Company Education and Skills National Steering Group as well as being the Designated Senior Lead on Mental Health and Careers on the East Midlands Network Group and a member of the National Association of Student Services Managers.

Head of Vocational Education

Having completed an Hons Degree at MMU in Exercise, with Sport & Coaching Science Nick went on to study a PGCE in F.E with a placement at Buxton College. In 2005 he was offered his first full time position, teaching Sport at South East Derbyshire College in Ilkeston. There he progressed into Team Management positions in Sport and Public Services, with interim Management roles for Motor Vehicle and latterly Beauty Therapy.

In 2010 following the merger with Derby College his responsibility focused only on Sport and Public Services until 2021 when Travel and Tourism was amalgamated into the role. In 2022 Nick gained promotion to the role of Head of Vocational Education. He now oversees the performance of Sport, Public Services, Travel & Tourism, Hair, Beauty, Business, Creative and Digital. Since 2019, Nick I has been the Chair of the AoC Sport Curriculum group for the East Midlands Region.

Assistant Principal: Academic Education

Assistant Principal for Academic Education Matt Ridgill oversees A-Levels, GCSE+ and the Science curriculum areas whilst acting as site lead for the Joseph Wright Centre, our academic and arts campus. Matt is a qualified teacher having worked in Further Education for over 15 years teaching a range of subjects including Business Studies and Accounting at A-level. Having previously undertaken programme area leader, curriculum manager and head of department roles, Matt has also been an A-level awarding body examiner for a number of years. Matt currently chairs the T-level steering group which aims to share and promote best practice as the new qualifications are introduced across different curriculum areas.