The GDST is led by Chief Executive, Cheryl Giovannoni and supported by the Senior Management Team. It is governed by a group of Trustees who form the GDST Council.
Cheryl Giovannoni joined the Girls’ Day School Trust as CEO in 2016. Born and brought up in South Africa, Cheryl’s first career saw her leading some of the world’s largest companies in the advertising and creative industries in the WPP Group. She was CEO of boutique design agency Coley Porter Bell, European President of global brand consulting firm Landor Associates, and UK CEO of advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather London.
Cheryl has spent much of her career supporting women in the workplace, helping them thrive and push the boundaries, often in male dominated industries. Over many years, she has dedicated time to mentoring people from all walks of life, in the GDST family and through the WACL mentoring programme.
She is passionate about the power of education to solve the world’s most intractable problems, and the role women play in creating an equal and better world for all.
Joining GDST – an organisation dedicated to educating girls – was a dream role for Cheryl. As Chief Executive of one of the UK’s largest charities, Cheryl is responsible for 25 schools and nearly 20,000 students across the UK, leading a talented workforce of 4,000 teachers and support staff, all committed to the mission of helping girls learn without limits.
As the GDST turns 150, Cheryl’s ambition is to build on the organisation’s powerful legacy as the global leader in girls’ education, pioneers in and shapers of the future for the next 150 years and beyond.
A yoga devotee and eternal optimist, Cheryl lives in London and has two daughters; one who has recently entered the teaching profession, and the other who has just graduated and is beginning her own journey into the world of work.
Chief Financial Officer
Jonathan is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA CGMA) and has over 20 years’ experience in senior positions in a wide variety of organisations.
Jonathan joined the GDST in February 2018 as Finance Director and moved to the CFO role in early 2019. Immediately prior to GDST he was Head of Finance at Cancer Research UK, the largest fundraising charity in the UK. He has also worked in substantial commercial organisations such as Cadbury Schweppes, Whitbread and Magners Irish Cider, as well as spending two years as Finance Director in a US-listed engineering business.
Jonathan brings both a commercial and not-for-profit perspective to GDST and believes that collaboration within organisations brings huge operational and financial efficiencies, which will help GDST to continue to improve the learning environment for everyone.
Director of Innovation and Learning
Dr Kevin Stannard joined the GDST from University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) where he was Director of Education.
He was responsible for initiatives and international education reform projects including the introduction of the Cambridge Pre-U in both state and independent schools, the promotion of bilingual education in Spain and the Netherlands and the development of a new curriculum for model schools in Egypt. He has also been an advisor on curriculum reform to the Singapore Ministry of Education.
Before joining CIE, Kevin taught at a number of independent schools including Eton College, where he was Head of Geography. While there he wrote a number of geography textbooks, conducted research on a range of geographical themes and was responsible for UCAS applications.
Ros joined the GDST as Director of People in August 2023, although her involvement with the GDST began some time earlier when she was a pupil (and Deputy Head Girl) at Nottingham Girls’ High School.
Ros worked within the Higher Education Sector for several years, most recently as Director of Human Resources and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at the University of Lincoln. Prior to this, Ros’s career in HR and Organisational Development was in financial services, with Capital One Bank in Nottingham, and prior to that at the John Lewis Partnership.
She is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development, a Mental Health First Aider and holds an MSc in Personal, Executive and Corporate Coaching.
Ros lives in the East Midlands, is very proud of her GDST roots and wants to help empower our girls to have fulfilling careers and lives.
Director of Estates
Cathryn is a qualified architect who has experience in a number of programme management and educational estates leadership roles across both the private and public sector.
Before starting at the GDST in September 2018 she was interim Estates Director at the University of Surrey.
Director of Legal and Risk Assurance
David is a solicitor who specialised in charity law at Berwin Leighton Paisner, and was a senior lawyer at the Charity Commission, before becoming the GDST’s Head of Legal in March 2011, and then Director of Legal in March 2018.
He is a member of the Independent Schools Council’s Child Welfare Expert Group, and is an experienced charity trustee.
Director of Information Technology Systems
Before joining the GDST, Dan was Director of Global IT Strategy for the British Council where he worked closely with the CIO to set the organisation’s IT strategy and direction.
Most of his career has been in the voluntary sector, including roles with the NSPCC and Blind Veterans UK. Dan has also worked in the commercial sector including iHotdesk – an IT outsourcing company – delivering outsourced IT services across the globe.
He is a Trustee and current chair of Charity IT Leaders, a charity that supports and advises the IT leaders of UK charities. Dan has a strong passion for placing IT at the heart of the business and believes this is vital to enable organisations to deliver services to the highest standard, and to achieve their strategic goals.
Dan is the father of two young children, a school governor, and bakes most of his own bread.
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