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Kikelomo Agunbiade

National Programme Director

Kike joined The Brilliant Club as National Programme Director for Researchers in Schools in October 2017. Prior to this, Kike was a Senior Education Lead at SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, where she led on a number of high profile projects including middle and senior leadership programmes, Teaching Schools and their school improvement framework. Kike spent five years working at Teach First, where she was North London Manager, and has also worked for a range of charities in roles to support and develop teachers. Kike completed the Teach First Programme as Science Teacher in North London. She holds an MBA (Education) from Keele University and a post graduate certificate in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh. Kike graduated from Merton College, University of Oxford, with an MChem in Chemistry.

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Nicholas Cater

Recruitment Director

Nicholas is responsible for all aspects of the programme’s recruitment processes, from initial attraction and advertising, through to assessment and placement. Since graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Languages and a Masters in Translation, Nicholas worked initially as an Accountant, then freelance translator, before finally settling on recruitment. He worked at a boutique recruitment firm in Central London where he was responsible for the delivery of several national graduate schemes. Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys keeping his languages up to scratch and is a keen traveller, particularly around Europe and Russia. He is also Researchers in Schools’ biggest/only Huddersfield Town fan.

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Rachel Lawrence

Curriculum and Development Director

Rachel started working with Researchers in Schools in 2014 when she led the Initial Teacher Education programme for the RIS pilot cohort at Lampton Academy. She joined the Brilliant Club in 2016 as Curriculum and Development Director for Researchers in Schools. Rachel is responsible for designing the Researchers in Schools curriculum and the delivery of Researchers in Schools training events. Before joining the charity, Rachel taught for 14 years at Lampton Academy, she was an Advanced Skills Teacher, Head of Religious Studies and a member of the Senior Leadership team. Rachel read Theology at Trinity College Oxford before doing a PGCE at St. Mary’s University College Twickenham. She later completed an MTeach at the Institute of Education, and is currently studying an Educational Doctorate (EdD) at Kings College London. In her free time Rachel is part of a Musical Theatre group, and she enjoys performing on stage.

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Jenny Paterson

School Programme Director

Jenny joined The Brilliant Club as School Programme Director in March 2018, where she oversees the Researchers in Schools programme participants and their progress on the programme. Before joining the charity, she was a teacher for over 20 years, as a Head of Department for Drama and Media, Assistant Headteacher for teaching and learning and Head of Sixth Form. She recently graduated from the University of York with a Masters in Social Justice and Education where her studies included Higher Education access and the impact of gender on educational choices. Outside of work, she is a keen playwright and traveller.

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Victoria Sharkey

School Partnerships Manager

Vicky joined The Brilliant Club in October 2019 as ITE and School Partnerships Manger. She has ten years of experience in schools, having worked as an English and Media Studies teacher in both secondary and special needs settings in London. Over the course of her teaching career, she held academic and pastoral leadership roles and was responsible for the training and mentoring of new teachers. Vicky first discovered her passion for teaching whilst working in a school in Paris during her year abroad, which formed the third year of her English and French degree at the University of Leeds.  Vicky is a keen traveller but when in London can regularly be found at her local Sunday night pub quiz.

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Jessica Ahluwalia

Recruitment and Assessment Officer

Jessy joined The Brilliant Club as Recruitment and Assessment Officer in January 2018, where she works to advertise and market the Researchers in Schools Programme, and recruit participants for the upcoming year. Before joining the charity she worked at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, as the Schools Liaison Officer working in outreach and widening participation with target state schools. Jessy graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2016 with a BA in Education and Religious Studies. Outside of work Jessy enjoys dog walking, international travel and listening to feminist podcasts. Jessy moved to London for her current role, and is enjoying exploring all the city has to offer.

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Jessica Ryan

Programme Officer

Jess joined the RIS team in September 2019 as a Programme Officer. She studied History at UCL and graduated in 2013. During this time, she worked to champion university access and social mobility in her roles as Outreach Ambassador and Horizons Mentor. Following this, she taught English in Estonia, before returning to the UK and training to teach through the Teach First programme, teaching English at a school in Bradford. She then went on to work at a school in Southwest London, where she was the Year 7 Curriculum Lead and mentored trainee teachers, alongside completing a Masters degree in Education. Outside of work, Jess enjoys hiking, wild camping, skiing and volunteering with the Scouts Association and Duke of Edinburgh Award.

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Leo Wax

Programme Officer

Leo joined the RIS team in January 2019 as a Programme Officer. He studied Politics and Spanish at the University of Leeds and graduated in 2015. Whilst at university, he was the social secretary for the Spanish, Latin American and Portuguese Society and volunteered at Nightline, a non-advisory phone line for students. He trained as a teacher through the TeachFirst programme, teaching Spanish and French at school in Bradford. He went on to teach at a school in East London where he helped to plan and deliver school wide CPD on LGBT issues surrounding staff and students. Outside of work, Leo likes to attend life drawing classes and is learning how to play the drums. He also enjoys disco music, podcasts, documentaries and politics.

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Carys Taylor

Curriculum & Development Officer

Carys joined the RIS team as Curriculum & Development Officer in October 2018. She studied Education (BEd) at the University of Auckland. Carys taught in New Zealand for over 7 years and was also part of the leadership team at her school. As part of her leadership responsibilities she researched and implemented innovative teaching practices and focused on teacher development through coaching and mentoring programmes. Outside of work, Carys is interested in travel, food and reading.

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Gil Brandt

Curriculum and Development Manager

Gil joined The Brilliant Club as a member of the Curriculum and Development team for Researchers in Schools in January 2017 and again in July 2019. During this time, Gil was attaining a master’s in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The masters focused on evaluation of teacher education programmes and researching teacher diagnosis and decision making in uncertain situations. Prior to this, Gil taught mathematics for five years in schools in London and Leeds, where he completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. Outside of work Gil is an ineffectual but passionate rock-climber and an avid fan of the greatest football team of all time – Leicester City.

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Alice Coombes Huntley

Relationships Development Officer

Alice joined The Brilliant Club in November 2019 as Relationship Development Officer. She was previously at The Noisy Classroom, promoting the use of critical oracy and debate in schools across the UK and abroad. There she delivered CPD and pupil workshops, ran national programmes, and created resources to embed oracy within the classroom. She studied English Literature at the University of Bristol and then went on to do a Masters in Victorian Literature at the University of Oxford. In her spare time Alice likes cooking, reading, playing board games and pursuing the perfect sour beer.

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Elena Tucker

Recruitment Administrator

Elena joined the RIS team in November 2018 as a Recruitment Administrator. Her interest in education began during her gap year, when she worked as a teaching assistant in local primary schools. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 2016, where she read History, before spending a year working in the education sector as an unqualified teacher, teaching assistant, tutor and research assistant. Prior to joining the charity, Elena completed an MPhil in Modern British History at the University of Cambridge, researching sibling relationships in Edwardian families. Having observed first-hand the lack of diversity in highly-selective universities, Elena is passionately committed to the charity’s mission of widening access for pupils from under-represented groups. Outside of work, Elena’s interests include travelling, cooking, taking photos of her dog sleeping and binge-watching series on Netflix. 

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Beth Williams

Programme Administrator

Beth joined the RIS team in August 2019 as the Programme Administrator. She studied History at the University of Nottingham and graduated in 2018. At university she was a student ambassador and volunteered to deliver netball coaching at primary schools around Nottingham. During the summers of her university degree, Beth worked at children’s summer camps both in Cincinnati and Spain. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Beth completed an internship with the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, engaging with children across Wales about children’s rights and developing lesson plans to help counter issues such as childhood poverty and cyberbullying. Outside of work, Beth enjoys playing netball, travelling, watching documentaries, and supporting the Welsh rugby team.