Our central core team comprises leading educationalists, HMIs, previous headteachers, previous directors of LEAs, project managers and business and community leaders.
Professor Ian Craig CEd, BA, DPA, MBA, PhD
Ian Craig is Trust Chair. He is Visiting Professor at the Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and at the Institute of Education, University College London (IOE). After training as a teacher he became a head teacher, inspector, Director of Education and the Government’s Chief Schools Adjudicator for England. During the past three years he has undertaken disparate assignments both in the UK and abroad. He has worked for the World Bank and DFID, assisting in the restructuring of teacher education in Pakistan and Rwanda, with other national and regional education administrations, providing strategic development and support, and undertaken management reviews of several higher education organisations. In 2012/13 he was the IOE’s Interim Director of Initial Teacher Education and in 2013/14 he was Interim Executive Director of The College of Teachers (UK). His main interests are in education policy, systems and structures, particularly relating to basic/compulsory education and the professional training and development of teachers. He has lectured, broadcast and written widely in these fields throughout his career. He also currently tutors and supervises on various higher level degree courses for the IOE and the University of London’s International Programmes.
Gerry Davis (OBE, BEd,MA) is a Trust Director. He is retired from a working life in the voluntary, public and private sectors. He currently volunteers as the Synod Secretary of the London District of the Methodist Church. He started his working life as a scientific assistant at the Atomic Energy Authority before qualifying as a teacher. He taught at three comprehensive schools and has been an education adviser, secondary school inspector, deputy director of education and director of community development in London boroughs. He was interim general manager of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust for nearly two years. In 1992 he was appointed as Chief Executive of the City Challenge regeneration company with responsibility for the environmental and economic development, coincidentally, of the area in which his family settled when they arrived from the Caribbean. He has always been involved in voluntary work sitting on boards of community organisations, a number of private sector organisations [such as the Corporate Sustainability Committee of a major international bank], the governing body of schools and of a large further education college of which he was Chair for fourteen years. He has been honoured with an OBE for his voluntary contribution to further education.
Mike Younger is a Trust Director. He has extensive experience in teacher education and in gender studies. He was Dean of Education and Head of the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education 2006-2011, having previously been Director of Teaching and of Teacher Education. Whilst Director of the Teacher Education programme, 1992-2001, he led the Faculty through three very successful Ofsted inspections which resulted in the programmes being awarded ‘outstanding’ status. His main research and teaching interests are located in teacher education and in teacher professional development, in gender studies and in school leadership and curriculum development. He co-directed, with Molly Warrington, a UK-government sponsored project on Raising Boys Achievement within inclusive contexts, a project which led to a highly influential report, two major books (Raising Boys’ Achievements in Primary Schools: towards a holistic approach, and Raising Boys’ Achievement in Secondary Schools: issues, dilemmas and opportunities, and over twenty mainstream research publications. More recently, Mike was Director of the University’s Centre of Commonwealth Education, which involved him in co-directing projects based in East Africa on the retention of girls into secondary schooling, developing teacher education programmes in Tanzania and Namibia, and working with governments in the Caribbean, to develop communities of practice to enhance in-service education for teachers and education professionals. In 2012, he took responsibility as lead consultant for the Faculty in establishing a new Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan, and in leading an initial teacher education project, aimed at transforming teacher education in Kazakhstan.
Pradip Gajjar is a Trust Director, a member and Chair of Governors for Krishna Avanti Primary School (Leicester). He is a Senior Consultant at Transnational Management Associates, a global provider of management development programmes. He specialises in global team development and cross-cultural consultancy. Pradip has consulted for some of the world's leading global organisations. He is also an Associate of The Institute for Voluntary Action Research, providing management development for the non-profit sector, and Associate Director of Diversiton, Europe's leading diversity training network. Pradip has an MBA from Aston Business School.
Nitesh Gor is Chief Executive of the Trust. His experience encompasses CEO and director roles across the exploration, management consultancy and investment banking industries. He is a published author (Dharma of Capitalism, Kogan Page 2011) and a contributor to publications such as Forbes. Nitesh has a broad business strategy background gained as a result of working for two leading corporate strategy consultancies and as an independent advisor to corporate boards. His primary corporate focus is on leadership, strategy and entrepreneurship. Nitesh has an MBA from London Business School and an undergraduate degree from the University of London.
Manoj Ladwa is a Trust Director. Manoj served as a member of the hugely successful Narendra Modi for Prime Minister campaign team. Manoj headed the campaign’s Research, Analysis, and Messaging team in New Delhi working closely with the top BJP leadership and spokespeople to conceive and coordinate the national communications and advertising strategy. Manoj is the founder and chief executive of the MLS Chase Group. He has interests in India focused advisory services, corporate affairs, and media. He is a Non-Executive Director of leading biotech firm Helperby Therapeutics Group and India Infrastructure Finance Company. Manoj divides his time between his businesses and pursuing charitable and political interests in the UK and India. Manoj’s specialist areas are structuring international ventures and resolving complex disputes. He is a recognised expert on foreign direct investments into India. In 2010 he founded India Inc (www.indiaincorporated.com) a media organisation which includes platforms such as the India Global Business magazine, India Investment Journal and Policy India. Manoj was also a founder of Saffron Chase, a government relations and corporate communications consultancy which merged with his MLS Chase Group in 2012. Manoj serves on the Advisory Boards of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (UK). He is an accomplished media commentator and is frequently invited to speak at international conferences. Manoj has authored over 100 articles and publications. He writes a popular weekly blog called “Globally Speaking” and is active on Twitter @manojladwa. Manoj is founder Trustee of international volunteering charity SEWA Day and has recently been appointed to the Governing Council as a Trustee of the Avanti Schools Trust. Manoj is a graduate of the London School of Economics. He is dual qualified as an English solicitor (non practising) and Indian advocate.
Kirit Patel is the Finance Director of the Trust. Kirit is a chartered accountant and also a qualified teacher. He started his teaching career at Waltham Forest College where he spent four years teaching IT and Law. Thereafter, a career move took him into accounting and finance. He joined PwC where he gained extensive financial consulting and audit experience across various sectors and industries. His experience includes establishing corporate finance functions and serving as Head of Finance.
Yuvraj Rana is a Trust Director (and Vice-Chair of directors), a member and Chair of Governors of the Harrow Regional Governing Body (which oversees Krishna Avanti Primary School and Avanti House School). He operates a wholesale lighting business. He has extensive experience in community event organisation and marketing. He is also former chairperson of the UK's largest Hindu youth group. Yuvraj has a degree in Business.
Usha Sahni is the Trust’s Director of Education. As an HMI for twelve years she has served with Ofsted in many senior roles including that of Regional Director and Deputy Director for the Early Years national policy team. As a distinguished headteacher, she has served in many inner London schools and has made a strong contribution to national initiatives in raising standards for children from poorer backgrounds. She is a trustee of two national charities engaged in promoting the well-being of children and families in vulnerable circumstances. Usha was a founding member of the National College for School Leadership, and a Board member for the University Of London Institute Of Education. Her experience includes leadership training and coaching for headteachers and teachers as a mentor, an external examiner and an assessor of the National Professional Qualification for Headship. Usha has Masters Degrees in Psychology and Education & Management. In 1999, she was awarded an OBE for her Services to Education.
Asish Soni is a Trust Director and Chair of Governors for Krishna Avanti Croydon. He is a qualified accountant, and has been working in the finance department of the Home Office in Croydon for the last ten years. Asish is the department head of food for life in central London: a charity that distributes food to homeless people.
Dr Krutika Pau is a Trust Director with a Doctorate in Education and a Masters in Business Administration. She is currently the interim Director of Children and Families for The Children’s Society, a national charity supporting young people experiencing multiple disadvantages. Her career in the public sector has been dedicated to improving outcomes for children, young people and families living in diverse communities. She has been the statutory Director of Children’s Services for Slough Borough Council and led the work to establish an independent Trust to manage children’s social care services in the borough. She has previously been Director of Children’s Services in the London Borough of Brent, directing the planning, commissioning and delivery of services including children’s social care, education, youth service, youth offending team, early years and adult education. Krutika has worked at the Department for Education, brokering and establishing sponsored academies in London and has held a ministerial appointment as a Schools Adjudicator. She has significant experience of service transformation and improvement and has led local authority children’s safeguarding peer reviews on behalf of the Local Government Association. Working for Deloitte, she has also undertaken safeguarding peer reviews of schools in Chile. Krutika has served as a member of the corporation of the College of North West London and chaired the audit committee (2001-2009). She has also been a Trustee of SHINE, a national education charity (2005-2015) and currently provides support to the Cambridge University Primary School.
Brij Vadhvania is a project manager for the Trust. Brij has experience in operational project management, including: project start-up, financial management, risk and issue management, consultation and marketing, and recruitment. Brij has a degree in Economics.