Meet the Trustees

Vaughan Collier (Chair)  Contact at


Vaughan was born and educated in Essex until he was 13 when his family moved to Hertfordshire. He gained the Certificate of Education from London University and the BA Open University then a Masters in Educational Research from Anglia Ruskin University.


Vaughan taught for 8 years in Stevenage as then as Deputy Head of a new primary school in Rushden, Northants.  His first headship was in Havering and then he secured a second headship in Billericay, Essex. He was a member of the Billericay Community Trust and Head of a consistently outstanding school until his retirement from full time employment. He continues, on a part time basis, to be involved in Initial Teacher Training.


Vaughan has recently become an assessor for the new Chartered College of Teaching, pilot Chartered Teacher Programme 2018/19.


Vaughan is a Foundation Governor at Briscoe Primary School and Nursery and an active member of St Gabriel’s Church, Pitsea.


Gill Hopkins


Gill's background was in teaching and training.  After completion of a PGCE at the Urban Studies Centre in Stepney she taught geography in Yorkshire.  She also worked as part of the North Yorkshire Staff Development Team and with the Counselling and Career Development Unit at Leeds University.  On returning to Essex Gill ran the Teacher’s Centre in Chelmsford and also worked on teacher training programmes.  Whilst her children were young she worked part time at the FE College in Southend and then returned full time to teaching in a primary school.  In 2000 Gill took up a Headship of a failing Church of England Primary School which she successfully turned around to ‘outstanding’ before she left in 2007 to be ordained in the Anglican Church.


Gill served as curate in the Wickford and Runwell Team Ministry and was a governor at Wickford C/E School.  In 2010 she joined the Waltham Holy Cross Team Ministry and served as Team Vicar at the Church of the Holy Innocents, High Beach and Chaplain for Epping Forest and the Lee Valley.  The Chaplaincy was about developing ways to enable visitors to the outdoors to pay attention to their spiritual wellbeing.


Gill has ‘Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Chelmsford’ following her retirement from full time ministry in February 2016.  She is Vice Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education and the Diocesan Member for the Hearts Academy.  Gill works as a volunteer for the Friends of Epping Forest at High Beach Visitor Centre and is also involved with a group welcoming Syrian refugees.


Gill is an‘Essex’ girl by birth and is married to Richard who was born in Australia.  They have two children who have followed their parents into the world of education.  Richard and Gill love all that London has to offer and also enjoy travelling, so they have moved close to a tube station to facilitate their movements.


Debbie Rogan OBE


Debbie Rogan, HEARTS Academy Trust CEO and Executive headteacher of two of our schools was awarded an OBE by the Queen in her 90th birthday honours’ list. This was for her services to Education over a 30 year career.  She has led the Trust firstly as head of its founding school, The Wickford C of E School (A National Support School) through the growth to over 1000 pupils across 6 schools, two Alternative provision settings and a Teaching School.


The HEARTS Academy trust was one of the first Multi Academy Trusts in the country to have both Church of England and community schools in its MAT. Debbie has been a National Leader of Education since 2008 and is a system leader through her work as an OFSTED inspector, SIAMS Church of England schools’ inspector and a Pupil Premium reviewer. She has been an elected member of the Eastern Region and North East London Regional School Commissioner’s Academy headteacher Board since 2014.



John Young


John first became a Parent Governor at Hilltop Infant School in 1999 and his experience in governance has continued to date. He has chaired the Governing body at Hilltop Infant School for the past 6 years and additionally also another Essex school.


He has a passion to see improvement in education in our local area and brings a diverse range of experience to the trust. In September 2017, Hilltop Infant and Junior Schools joined Hearts Academy Trust and John is now chair of the joint school’s Local Advisory Board.


John has had a career in sales and training as well as a broad experience in management for major national companies in addition to his own business.


He is currently employed with a national retailer and as an independent business trainer. He is a Finance Officer for a church and lives in Wickford with his family.


John Crane


John the Chief Executive for the Vine Trust. He has been the Headteacher and then Executive Headteacher for two diocesan academies. John has extensive experience of leading strong Church schools. This has included consistently being in the top 25% of schools for valued added and leading a school out of special measures to a good judgement in 18 months.


Andrew Baker


Andrew is a vastly experienced former Head and Consultant who led Westcliff High School for Boys, a Selective Grammar School, for over 22 years through four OFSTED inspections in each of which the school was designated Outstanding. Andrew has an exceptional command of current educational, social and political agendas and is a confident, fluent and engaging leader and speaker able to connect with a range of audiences, most recently on cruise ships.


Andrew has advised many schools on development and improvement and given presentations on issues such as The Meaning and Significance of Academy Status, The Art of Effective Leadership, Preparing for an OFSTED Inspection and Building School Ethos and Identity. He has been commissioned by local authorities and Governors to evaluate their quality of provision and has mentored newly appointed Heads. He also lectures on a range of contemporary issues and has recently chaired an enquiry into the NHS in mid and South Essex working with consultants GPs, managers, councillors and politicians.

Andrew has been a Governor of a North London Independent school and, recently, he acted for Governors on a major personnel conflict at an Essex Secondary School. He has addressed Conferences of both Catholic schools and clergymen in the East of England.

Andrew has sharp analytical abilities, is an experienced and skilful Chairman and an author who has published two books on Contemporary British Politics and Education, Society and the Pursuit of Values: a Headmaster’s Reflections.


Aubrecia Nel


Aubrecia is a senior management consultant with a specialisation in Information and Technology consulting across industry sectors, including Public sector (Policing, Transport and Immigration and Citizenship) and Private sector (Financial Services, Telecommunications, Utilities, Nuclear Energy, Oil, Automotive and Airlines). Prior to moving into consulting, Aubrecia held Head of Department and Senior management roles in industry leading strategic change through technology programme delivery. Her early career was in software engineering, technology and information design and project management. She has experience working in Australia, South Africa and the UK and has awareness of global and strategic influences as well as the pragmatic, detailed operational aspects of technology, change management, quality and risk management, and governance.


In addition to qualifications in Information Technology and Business Management, Aubrecia has studied psychology and counselling to support people in achieving mental and emotional health and healing from trauma.



Hearts Academy Trust


2 Mount Road



SS11 8HE


Company number 7851097




T. 01268 572672









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