Mark Ryan – Foundation Governor & Chair
Link Governor role: Catholic Standards; Careers & Quality of Education

Mark is the Executive Headteacher of St Patrick’s Catholic Primary and Christ the King Catholic Primary.  He has worked as a teacher and senior leader in schools in the Thornaby area for twenty-five years. A Diocesan Inspector for Religious Education for Middlesbrough Diocese, he is also Catholic Standards Officer for Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust, working across all of the schools.

Mark says, “I am very proud to be the Executive Headteacher at St. Patrick’s Primary school and Christ the King.  I am fortunate enough to be a parent within the community too and all four of my children attended St. Patrick’s, where they were a given a first-class education and a fantastic start to life. They all have different talents and are now pursuing their own careers, as a result of the well-rounded education they received at St. Patrick’s.

I will strive to ensure that the children in our care receive an education that will prepare them to have successful futures in an ever-changing world. My experience has developed throughout my career and I have also been a Governor for over twenty-five years both at St Patrick’s college and St Patrick’s Primary.

This is a wonderful community and I will work hard to make sure that the children become positive role models in the communities they serve.”


Helen Lickess – Foundation Governor
Link Governor role: SEN provision

Helen has been a Governor at St Patricks College for just over a year now. As a leader within the Trust, Helen has experience of working closely with stakeholders to support the work of the school in raising standards and aspirations and in helping to make St Patrick’s a school of choice for the local community. Helen has lived in Thornaby all her life and has knowledge of not only the school, as she was previously a pupil here, but also the local area. Helen is an active member of the parish of Christ the King, serving as a Eucharistic Minister.

Helen says, “St Patrick’s should be a school which serves the Catholic and wider community of Thornaby, and be the school of choice for the children leaving our Catholic primary schools.”


In her spare time, Helen enjoys baking.


Vanessa Housley, MA BEd (Hons) – Board Appointment
Link Governor for Pupil Premium 

Vanessa was invited to join the Interim Advisory Board at St Patrick’s Catholic College. Working at Stockton Borough Council, she brings her expertise as an Education Improvement Service Chief Advisor to the role.  She is also a Co-opted Governor on Stockton Riverside College’s Education Training Collective School Improvement Committee, so Vanessa’s skillset is extremely useful when it comes to supporting the work of school governance.


Vanessa says, “I work in this community and have supported the school in relation to school improvement in my local authority role.  I am passionate about supporting young people to achieve their potential so that they can lead safe, happy, healthy, economically independent and fulfilled lives.  As I have extensive and wide-ranging experience in school improvement, I am confident that I have the knowledge, skills and experience to support St Patrick’s College as it strives to become even more effective.”

In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys spending time with family and friends, good food and good wine.


Hugh Hegarty – Director, Trust CEO

Hugh brings extensive experience in strategic leadership and financial planning and delivery to his role. He has led a range of educational reform programmes in his previous position as Director of Academic Programming and School Operations, as well as developing and opening schools across the world. He also has a comprehensive understanding of school governance, having been both a School Governor and Teacher Governor for many years.


Hugh has led Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust as CEO since June 2018 and has steered the Trust through its very successful first year of operation. His passion for quality schooling is inspired by a commitment to Catholic education and every child and staff member throughout NPCAT’s twenty-seven schools and our sixth form provision. He firmly believes in the power of collaboration, combined with strong direction, to help achieve the highest aspirations for young people.



Michael Burns – Ex Officio Headteacher


During Michael’s career in leadership, he has extensive school improvement experience in a range of different schools across the North East, and has made rapid improvement to achievement, progress, behaviour and attendance in these schools. The improvements made have been recognised by OfSTED and the local authority.  As the newly appointed Headteacher at St Patrick’s Catholic College, Michael intends to lead the school by: ‘ensuring everything is centred around the life and teachings of Jesus Christ; improving the quality of education; setting the highest expectations of pupils and their outcomes and improving the life chances of all our young people, nurturing their unique gifts and talents’.

Michael believes that the school’s mission does not only include achieving the highest standards of behaviour and academic achievement, but also providing our pupils with the best possible holistic education. As a Catholic school, nurturing children’s spiritual development is central to everything we do. As part of the Middlesbrough Diocese, the school belongs to a family of Catholic primary and secondary schools with whom they share the same distinct ethos with.

Michael says, “It is a huge privilege to be appointed Headteacher of St Patrick’s Catholic College and to serve a community in the heart of my home town.”


Sharon Manners -Board Appointment