Senior Management Team

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.

Senior Management Team

Cheryl Giovannoni
Chief Executive

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.

With the GDST having surpassed it’s 150th anniversary in 2022, Cheryl’s ambition is to continue 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.





Jonathan Davis
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.

Kevin Stannard
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.

Cathryn Buckle Director of Estates at GDST

Cathryn Buckle
Chief Transformation Officer

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.

David Boyd
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.

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