Meet our Directors

Last updated: 24/07/2019

Darren Beardsley

Accounting Officer


Darren has been a Headteacher for seven years and is a National Leader of Education. As Accounting Officer for the Trust, he is also a member of the Trust Finance and Audit Committee, HR Committee and Standards Committee.

As well as being chair of the Headteacher group within the Trust, Darren is responsible for chairing the Secondary Catholic Headteachers group for the Diocese of Leeds and is also a member of Intervention Boards for three schools within the Diocese.  As Headteacher of St Mary’s Menston, In addition, Darren is responsible for the secondary element of St Mary’s Teaching School and leading the activities of St Mary’s as a National Support School.

Eddie Diamond

Foundation Director


Eddie has been a foundation governor of St Joseph's Otley for the last 6 years and a foundation Director of the Trust for 5 years, being the Chair of the Audit Committee. Eddie’s background and experience is in finance, audit and governance. Eddie has three children at schools within the trust.

Diane Gaskin

Foundation Director


Diane Gaskin was born in Armley, Leeds and educated at St Joseph’s Primary School, Otley and Notre Dame Grammar School in Leeds before going on to study modern languages (French and German) at the University of Liverpool. Diane trained as a chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor with the Leeds office of Price Waterhouse before a career establishing in-house tax functions in Leeds Permanent Building Society, Halifax plc and running a large multi-site tax function for HBOS plc in Edinburgh. Whilst on a career break in 2006 Diane became a governor at St Joseph’s, Otley where she is currently Chair of the Academy Council and a governor at St. Mary’s, Menston where she has chaired Finance Committee and Standards Committee and played an active role in the set up and governance of the Bishop Wheeler Academy Trust. Diane is also Chair of Academy Council at St. Mary’s, Menston.

Diane is currently Vice Chair of The Bishop Wheeler Academy Trust and Chair of the Finance Committee for The Trust.

She works as the Group Tax Manager for Vp plc- an equipment hire company based in Harrogate.

Diane lives in Otley, is married to Martin who is a chartered accountant and they have three children allof whom attended St Joseph’s, Otley and St. Mary’s, Menston. 

Caroline Hyde

Foundation Director


Caroline has been the Chair of the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust Board since its inauguration in 2013. She has over 20 years of experience as both a parent and foundation governor in a number of primary and secondary schools. Before BWCAT was formed she was a governor of both St. Mary’s, Menston and Sacred Heart, Ilkley. Caroline is an NLG and has undertaken a number of external reviews. With a background in NHS and public sector management, she has a particular interest in HR and safeguarding. She is an experienced panel member for school admissions and exclusions and disciplinary hearings. She is currently  Deputy Director of Education for the Diocese of Leeds. In her role as NLG she is currently supporting 2 schools intervention boards and is a member of 2 secondary governing bodies.

Bob Lavery

Foundation Director


Bob was born in a small mining village in the East Durham coalfield, and worked in the Chemical industry for 26 years before taking up is current role as Procurement Manager at the University of Leeds.  His professional skillsets are in Procurement and Finance, with  experiences including Buildings, and Health & Safety, 

All of his children attended St Joseph’s Pudsey and where he became a parent Governor, serving for a total of six years in office at St Joseph’s with special responsibilities for Buildings, Health & Safety.

Bob then became a Governor at St Mary’s Menston when his children were all going through the School and a vacancy arose in 1998, starting as a parent governor, then becoming a foundation governor. In the course of these 20 years, Bob has held office within the Governing Body as Chair of the Buildings subcommittee, and vice-Chair of Governors before becoming Chair of Governors for 12 years from 2005 until 2017.

In his role as Chair at St Mary’s Menston, Bob played a part in setting up the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Multi-Academy Trust being a Trust Director from the outset.  Bob is also a member of the Trust Finance and Audit committee.  

Natalie Saunders

Foundation Director

Natalie is a former pupil of St. Mary’s Menston and went on to study law at Magdalen College, Oxford, before joining a City law firm and qualifying as an employment lawyer.

Having undertaken various partnership roles and founded her own legal practice Natalie then moved into a senior leadership role in a Human Resources team in the Financial Services sector in 2015 where she acquired an interest in strategy development, risk management and governance.

She is now the People Director at Leeds Beckett University where her team is responsible for all things “HR” that shape the employee experience, including attraction, recruitment and retention, equality and inclusion, reward, recognition and payroll, wellbeing, people data and HR systems and organisational development. She also likes to keep her hand in on the legal side of things as the need arises.

Natalie was a Foundation Governor at Ss Peter and Paul, Yeadon for four years before joining the Bishop Wheeler Academy Trust in July 2019. She is married with two children and a much-loved cocker spaniel.

Janet Sheehan

Foundation Director


Janet retired five years ago after a 34 year career in education having spent the last 13 years of her working life in headship in a Catholic Primary school in the Diocese of Westminster, in the London Borough of Tower hamlets. 
Whilst extremely challenging, her leadership role proved to be both fulfilling and enjoyable. Wanting to remain in her school rather than applying for a second headship Janet successfully applied to join the first tranche of NLEs. This enabled her to have a positive impact across the wider system. In this role she supported and advised several schools across London as part of the London Challenge’s  drive to raise standards. 
Soon after relocating to Skipton Janet was invited to join the governing body of St Stephen’s in September 2013.  She remained in situ as the school became an academy and a SIB was put in place and is now chair of the Academy Council.