Meet the Senior Leadership Team

Numera Anwar


Mrs Anwar grew up in Manchester and completed a BSc(Hons) degree in Biomedical Science before moving to London and completing her PGCE teacher training in 2004 with London Institute of Education.

Mrs Anwar has a wealth of experience in senior leadership and has previously worked in outstanding inner London schools belonging to large multi academy Federations. She is a qualified SENCO and previously was a Leader Practitioner before her time in senior leadership.

She has worked for The Leigh Academies Trust for 6 years. Her previous role was a central trust role as Director of improvement before being promoted to Vice Principal and then Principal of Strood academy.

Mrs Anwar is committed to serving the local community and is passionate about enabling young people to gain the relevant qualifications and skills they need to enable them to thrive after their school careers.

Julie Lindsay


Miss Lindsay grew up in Scotland and completed a degree in science and a PGCE at Strathclyde university before moving to Kent for her first teaching job. She has worked in West Malling, Maidstone and Rochester before joining Strood Academy in 2012.

Miss Lindsay has extensive experience as a senior leader. She has a passion to improve learning for all students regardless of their background. She believes that all students have the potential to achieve and she is committed to ensuring that students at Strood academy go on  to achieve great things. 

Lee Aitken-Cooper


Mr Aitken-Cooper grew up in London, completed his Sports Science Degree in Canterbury and started his teaching career in Kent.

He has worked in Essex, Thurrock and Kent and joined Strood Academy in January 2022. He has a wealth of leadership experience and teaches a range of subjects  including Physical Education and Science.

Mr Aitken-Cooper drive and passion is to support students and staff to be the best they can be. 

Mr Aitken-Cooper is a senior leader link for Victory, designated safeguard lead, whole school behaviour and rewards.

Leanne Barlow


Miss Barlow grew up in Manchester but moved to Northern Ireland when she was just 16 years old.  Here she completed her A-levels and went onto study a BA Honours degree in History and English Literature at the University of Ulster.  Following this she then completed her PGCE and qualified as a teacher of History.  She has been privileged to travel to many countries throughout the world which has only fuelled her love of learning and historical inquisitiveness.
Ms Barlow has worked in various schools in Medway and gained a wealth of experience and knowledge, mainly leading on whole school behaviour and attendance at senior leadership level.  
I am deeply committed to the academy and to the young people in my care, ensuring all have access to a world class education and better life chances.


Christopher Simmons


Mr Simmons grew up in Berkshire before moving to Kent in 2007 to study Clinical Psychology at the University of Kent. He completed his teacher training at Canterbury Christchurch University before working in marketing for two years alongside representing Great Britain in powerlifting.

He has worked at Strood Academy since 2017 where he began as the head of Geography. Prior to working at Strood Mr Simmons worked in Walderslade and Sandwich.

Mr Simmons is passionate about working with and supporting young people as well as being relentlessly optimistic for the pupils that he serves.

Victoria Hancock 


Ms Hancock grew up in Medway, Kent and studied at the University of Greenwich where she gained a BA with Hons in English Literature with Drama. Ms Hancock trained to teach at Canterbury Christ Church University where she completed her P.G.D.E. and several years later completed her Masters in Education. Ms Hancock has had various roles during her teaching career including: Head of Department, Lead Practitioner of English, Assistant Principal of teaching and learning, and for culture and rewards.

Ms Hancock is driven by her belief that all young people deserve to have choices in life and to be the best versions of themselves. She has high expectations of herself, and of her students, and wants all young people to leave Strood Academy with a suite of qualifications that provide opportunities for a happy and fulfilling life.

Anna Sheldrick


Mrs Sheldrick grew up in South Wales.  She completed her BA Honours in History in York University and then her Masters in History in Bristol University.  Mrs Sheldrick trained to teach in Bristol and has worked in Herefordshire, South Wales and the North East before moving to Kent and joining Strood Academy.

Mrs Sheldrick believes in helping everyone from students to staff to achieve their potential, and is committed to working in comprehensive education having been through this system herself and always worked within it. She has undertaken different departmental and whole-school leadership roles.  Mrs Sheldrick currently leads our trainee teachers and ‘Early Career Teachers’ and is the senior leader link for Hercules Key Stage Three. She also leads on Strood Academy’s digital strategy and is committed to helping young people get the most out of their chromebooks to ensure good progress. 

Tom Knight


Mr Knight grew up in Hampshire but moved to Kent following the completion of his BA (Hons) degree in Physical Education with qualified teacher status at Brighton University. 

He has worked in both Folkestone and Tonbridge before moving to Strood Academy and has significant experience in teaching and leading in a wide range of subjects across key stages 3,4 and 5. As a senior leader Mr Knight has led on a wide range of areas including school culture and engagement as well as personal development and safeguarding. 

Mr Knight is Head of Trafalgar College with the oversight of whole school personal development and leadership of the sixth form. He is passionate about ensuring all students feel able to engage fully in their education through a strong sense of care, support and challenge. 

Jack Hawkins 


Having joined Strood in 2022, Mr Hawkins is an Assistant Principal responsible for: Data; Exams; Raising Standards KS4 and vice-Principal of Trafalgar College. Having grown up and attended school in Monmouth, Wales – Mr Hawkins moved to London to complete his undergraduate degree at the University of London. 

Following undergraduate studies Mr Hawkins trained as a barrister after being awarded the Lord Justice Holker & Residential Scholarship awards from The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. Having decided that the legal profession wasn’t for him, Mr Hawkins completed TeachFirst beginning his career as a teacher of science and geography at an inner London secondary school. 

Mr Hawkins has then gone on to lead the successful improvement of the science department at a school in Croydon. Alongside his academic role, Mr Hawkins was also a Head of Year 8 gaining valuable pastoral experience. 

In his spare time, Mr Hawkins enjoys travelling, fine wine and spending time with his wife Annabel and newborn daughter Winifred. 

Verity Hadden



Samira Nasim


Miss Nasim grew up in Medway and went to Chapter School for girls where she completed her GCSEs and A levels. She completed her BSc Hons degree in Chemistry at Bangor University, North Wales and completed her PGCE at Goldsmiths University, London.

Strood Academy is the third school she has worked in and teaches students all key stages.

As a senior leader Miss Nasim has worked in developing the Science department when she first started in 2010 and continued leading in extra curricular activities to support teaching and learning.  She has led on developing training teachers through a range of teacher training schemes.

Miss Nasim oversees Sixth Form and the academic and personal development of Year 11 students into young adults ready to take on new adventures and challenges as these youngsters leave to go onto university, apprenticeships or employment.

‘I am honoured and privileged to be part of an excellent team working with the Sixth Form at Strood Academy.  It is a 2 year journey that I live and breathe with our students and I am grateful to share their experiences and be part of their journey.’

Jo Pritchard 


Mrs Pritchard grew up in Thurrock and was the first in her family to go to university. She gained a degree in Biomedical Materials Engineering, and was awarded the Manchester University Course Prize for highest result. 

Mrs Pritchard worked in research for a few years, but enjoyed working with undergraduates much more than her investigative work, so she moved into teaching. She soon achieved her PGCE in Secondary Science and then her Masters in Educational Leadership.  

Over the past 18 years in education Mrs Pritchard has had the privilege of being Head of Science, a Lead Practitioner, Physics Examiner, Specialist Leader of Education (Physics and SEND),  Assistant Principal and SENCo. She has experience in leading successful initiatives on improving student STEM uptakes post-16, supporting high attainers, supporting students with special educational needs and disabilities, and promoting personal development.

Mrs Pritchard is incredibly passionate in her belief that all students are capable of something extraordinary when encouraged and supported well, and she is very proud to be leading the SEND department at Strood Academy.