Central Staff Team

The St Benet's MAT Central Staff Team:

Richard Cranmer
Chief Executive Officer


Richard has 20 years’ experience of working at Senior Leadership level, most recently 12 years as a high school Headteacher, during which time he transformed the school into one which combined academic success with a very strong sense of being distinctively Christian in its ethos. Prior to Headship, Richard led a Training School where he played a key role in the recruitment and training of new teachers across Norfolk and Suffolk. In addition to his school leadership he has been actively engaged with local, regional and national developments in education through his role as Chair of the National Anglican Association of Secondary School Headteachers (AASSH) and a facilitator for the NPQH qualification provided by the Church of England Foundation for Education Leadership.

Email:  richard.cranmer@stbenets.org

Sam Nixon
Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Sam joined St Benet’s as Director of School Improvement in April 2020 to support improvement across our schools.  Sam has previously been a Headteacher of a small rural school and Executive Headteacher of a small group of schools.  Most recently, Sam was Headteacher at Ashleigh Primary School & Nursery, leading it through substantial growth and to an Outstanding Ofsted.  He has also worked with a range of schools through LLE, VNET Change Leaders and NLE support initiatives and is an Ofsted Inspector.  He was appointed Deputy CEO in September 2022.

Email:  sam.nixon@stbenets.org


Suzannah Kay
Personal Assistant


Suzannah’s career as a Personal Assistant includes working for senior leaders in the public and private sectors, both in London and Norfolk.  She spent 10 years at Lotus Cars, working for the Manufacturing Director during production of the iconic Lotus Esprit and Elise sports cars.  Whilst in London, Suzannah worked for the CFO of Visa Europe and for the Managing Director of Fortnum & Mason department store before returning to Norfolk as Office Manager for the Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary.  Most recently, she worked as Executive Assistant to the Group CEO of the TEN Group, an education group encompassing primary, secondary and Further Education.  Suzannah joined St Benet’s MAT in 2019.

Email:  suzannah.kay@stbenets.org

Paul Seeman
Head of Standards & Quality Assurance

Paul joined St Benet’s MAT in Spring 2022 to play a central role in providing strategic leadership for the Trust so that its academy improvement approach delivers successful outcomes, and academies in the Trust are supported to achieve their aspirational targets for pupils and the communities they serve.  Paul previously worked as Headteacher at Worlingham Primary School and Banham Primary School and was Director of Education for the Co-operative Education East Academy Trust.  Paul has an MA in Education, NPQH and is a National Leader in Education (NLE).  He is currently training to become a SIAMS Inspector.

Email:  paul.seeman@stbenets.org

Kelly Stokes
School Improvement Officer

Kelly is accountable for ensuring the educational success of the academies new to the Trust and also for working with and improving schools who are preparing to join the Trust.  She previously worked for Sapientia Education Trust as Director of Improvement and was the first Headteacher of the newly-opened White House Farm Primary in Sprowston.  Kelly has a Masters in Education and is currently studying for her Doctorate on ‘The Impact of Ofsted and Their Framework’.  Kelly is also an Ofsted Inspector.

Email:  kelly.stokes@stbenets.org

Nadine Avenal
Trust Improvement Lead for SEND

Nadine works for the Trust part-time as Improvement Lead for Special Educational Needs & Disability.  She has over 15 years of experience working in a diverse range of schools across both the primary and secondary phase, ranging from small rural village schools to larger inner-city settings. She is a qualified teacher, SENDCo and Senior Mental Health Champion and has worked as a SEND Lead across both school clusters and a large MAT.

Email: nadine.avenal@stbenets.org