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The Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees who are passionate about enabling more autistic children and young people to access high-quality education.


Members of the Trust 

Members comprise: 

  • Ambitious about Autism
  • Martyn Craddock
  • Andrew Forbes 
  • Jack Welch


Trust appointments

Trustee nameRole Date (appointed or retired)
Neil GouldenChairAppointed 28 September 2015
Michael ClarkVice-ChairAppointed 07 October 2019
Eduardo Gutierrez-GarciaTreasurerAppointed 22 July 2023
Lesley Longstone Retired 21 July 2023
Tanith Dodge Retired 03 March 2022
Paul Disley-Tindell Retired 22 July 2022
Joanna Healey Appointed 23 November 2015
Lucy Nutt Appointed 29 June 2015
Laura Palmer Appointed 10 December 2021
Kumar Tangri Retired 24 March 2023
Charlotte Warner Retired 15 December 2021
Helen Jeffries Appointed 09 December 2022
Mark O'Kelly Appointed 02 June 2023
Elizabeth Stanton Retired 01 September 2023
Mary Fawcett Appointed 01 September 2023
Angela Buxton Appointed 08 December 2023
Anastasia Klein Appointed 22 March 2024


Other appointments

  • Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive and Accounting Officer
  • Paul Breckell, Deputy Chief Executive
  • Danae Leaman-Hill, Director of External Affairs and Development
  • Louise Honeysett, Director of Finance and Planning, Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the Trust
  • Viv Berkeley, Director of Education
  • Mark Ospedale, Director of People and Culture
  • Claire Thompson, Director of National Services
  • Michael Michaelides, Director of Property and IT


Statutory documents and accounts

View all Ambitious about Autism School Trust statutory documents on our organisation policies and reports page.  


Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust Trustees


Neil Goulden profile image

Neil Goulden

Chair of Ambitious about Autism Board and Chair of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust Board

Neil had a highly successful 40 year career in the Leisure and Hospitality industry. Since 2014 he has followed a portfolio career focussed on his keen interest in promoting Social Justice through equal opportunities in Health, Housing and Education. He is Chair of Clarion Housing, the UK's largest Housing Association, Chair at Nottingham Trent University and Chair of the Finance Committee at healthcare charity Sue Ryder, in addition to his work with Ambitious about Autism.

Michael Clark Trustee of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Michael Clark

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Michael is a solicitor and Senior Legal Counsel at TalkTalk. Before this Michael spent over 10 years in national and international private practice advising businesses on a wide variety of matters, giving him a wide breadth of experience to draw upon. Michael was Vice-Chair of his local primary school board of governors. As a parent of a child of Autism Michael understands the challenges that still exist in seeing that all children have access to the opportunities they need to learn and thrive. When he has a free moment he is either lost in a good book or out trail running (slowly).

Ambitious about Autism governance

Joanna Healey

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Joanna was part of the initial proposer group for The Rise School. Joanna is a corporate lawyer and is also a Trustee of The Foundation Years Trust. She is also involved in various outreach projects in East London.

eduardo garcia

Eduardo Gutierrez-Garcia

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism and member of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Eduardo is a senior partner at DPI LLP a leading private equity firm focused exclusively on Africa which currently manages private equity funds totalling some $1.9 billion. Eduardo has been in the private equity industry for over 25 years, and he has extensive experience as a director on boards of directors, and their sub-committees, including those of publicly listed companies. 

Eduardo is a chartered accountant and trained at KPMG in South Africa. He holds a BSc (Med) (Hons) (Medical Biochemistry) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting, both from the University of Cape Town.  

Eduardo has four children one of whom is autistic and has learning difficulties.

Mary Fawcett

Mary Fawcett

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Mary has been retired for over seven years from the role of Principal at St. Joseph’s Specialist Trust, a residential special school and college with 52-week residential provision and three lifelong supported living houses, for children, young people and adults with communication difficulties and autism. She was a trustee of St. John’s School and College for the last three years and now begins her second term as LA governor at Woodlands School in Leatherhead.

For over 20 years, Mary also worked several times each year for the National Autistic Society helping accredit schools on their practices related to autism. Mary completed a Masters in Educational Management and later worked for six years, part-time, on a PhD that was incomplete due to the time allowed expiring. Mary was also awarded a Farmington Millenium Award from Harris Manchester College, Oxford. These three awards all worked towards a single project which involved walking meditation and its benefits for young people on the autistic spectrum, in particular using the Chartres Labyrinth, which she laid out at St. Joseph’s and to this day still exists for students and staff to access. During this time Mary presented a number of papers and workshops most notably in Haifa, Israel at a Spirituality and the Whole Child Conference.


Lucy Nutt

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Lucy has over 20 years’ experience working in schools and educational management. This includes working in special education and with children from 4 to 18. Lucy has worked for local authorities and within an academy chain. Currently, she is employed by LB Enfield as the Head of School and Early Years Improvement. Lucy is also a qualified Ofsted inspector and has co-authored the LDA book, Assemblies to Teach the Golden Rules. 

helen jeffries

Helen Jeffries

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Helen has been a Trustee of Ambitious about Autism for just over a year. She is currently a Senior Civil Servant in the Department of Health and Social Care. Prior to that she worked in the Cabinet Office Covid Task Force. Helen was diagnosed autistic five years ago.

“I thought then that being autistic was a total barrier to career progression as I couldn’t see any openly autistic senior civil servants. Recent national crises have given me progression opportunities so now I’m attempting to be the open autistic role model I lacked myself. I do that by being an active campaigner in the public sector for more understanding of autism and acceptance of autistic colleagues.”  

Helen’s aim is that all civil servants should know that they are almost certain to have autistic colleagues, and that all autistic civil servants should feel confident being themselves at work.

laura palmer

Laura Palmer

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Laura has 18 years of experience in education. She is the Team Around the School Manager for Surrey County Council. The Team works closely with schools, Council services, Health services, the Mental Health Alliance and the voluntary sector to ensure that the additional needs of children and young people are met at the earliest opportunity.

Laura has an autistic son who attends The Rise School. She has direct experience of the barriers children, young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families encounter with accessing services. She is passionate and motivated to bring about positive change. As a parent, she is invested in removing barriers, promoting inclusion and being a champion for children and young people.

Mark O'Kelly

Mark O'Kelly

Director of Finance and Administration at the Barrow Cadbury Trust

Mark is Director of Finance and Administration at the Barrow Cadbury Trust, a charitable foundation committed to bringing about socially just change. He is a chartered accountant with over 35 years of experience in the charity sector, including a number of years working in overseas development and disability. He is the parent of a young adult with autism and has been involved with several local organisations working directly with young people with social and communication difficulties including autism.


Angela Buxton

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Angela was born in a mining town in Nottinghamshire and was only the second person in her family to go to University; studying American and English Literature at the University of East Anglia. After graduating, Angela taught English to Italian students for the Summer and then spent several fun and frivolous years selling fine Havana cigars on Old Bond Street, Angela moved into the world of HR, initially in Retail before moving to Ofsted, where she eventually became Head of Employment Relations and Policy.

In 2007, Angela moved to Mencap, one of the UK’s largest charities, to take up a Head of HR role.  Angela has several family members who live with learning disability and autism and Mencap provided both a great role and the chance to make a positive impact for the 1.5m people living with a learning disability in the UK.

In 2013, Angela was appointed the Exec People Director role at Mencap. After 13 years at Mencap, Angela joined Citizens Advice as their Executive Director of People in November 2021.

Angela is mum to Maxwell, 11, aspiring astronaut,who is autistic. Angela is hugely excited to have joined Ambitious About Autism School Trust Board which has such a profound impact on the young people and children it serves directly, alongside leading systemic change in the fight to champion rights, campaign for change and create opportunities for autistic children and young people.