Lighthouse School Staff

Pauline Hilling-Smith, Executive Principal

Pauline 2 150x150 Pauline has been the headteacher of a number of highly successful all age special and primary schools for 16 years. She is a qualified teacher of the blind. Pauline is an accredited Early Years Ofsted inspector and has recently successfully completed training as a Reporting Inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate (HMC and GSA schools). She worked for Ofsted for 10 years as a team and subsequently lead inspector in schools for all age groups.

Pauline is currently working as an inspector for the Church of England. She also supports a multi-academy trust consisting of 8 primary and 2 secondary schools as well as two special schools as a school improvement partner. This works includes headteacher performance management. Pauline studied natural sciences and holds a masters degree in education. Her hobbies are travelling and studying languages. She is a fluent speaker of French and Spanish and has studied Arabic.

Emma Sullivan - Principal

Emma Sullivan Emma has worked in education for over 20 years in schools, further and higher education. Emma has a wide portfolio of experiences which includes SEMH provision, inclusion, GCSEs, post 16 study programmes, vocational and functional skills and High Needs.

In 2013 Emma successfully established a new secondary school provision for 130 young people. Emma led the development from the initial planning to Ofsted grade “Good with outstanding features”.

Emma was a senior director at 3rd largest college in the country prior to joining Lighthouse. Emma is a governor for a local secondary school and served as a governor for over 5 years on the Pupil Referral unit board. Emma has a degree in communication arts and is a qualified teacher. Emma is passionate about changing young people lives and believes only the best is good enough.

Michelle Hoole, B.Sc Computing and IT, QTS, Assistant Principal

Michelle Michelle Hoole has been a ICT and Computing teacher in secondary schools and also an Advisory Teacher for Leeds City Council. She is a Computing, Media and ICT specialist and is an experienced moderator/verifier for a number of Key Stage 4 and 5 qualifications. She has a great deal of experience with students who have struggled in mainstream education through her work with the City Learning Centres.

Michelle has worked at Lighthouse School since 2013 and has developed a computing and media curriculum specifically tailored for students with ASC.

Michelle is in charge of KS4 and Post 16 as well as careers and our work experience offer for our students. She also has oversight of the curriculum for our students with more complex needs.

Michelle is currently teaching Computing and Media up to GCSE level and is the 6th form tutor.

Katherine Atkinson – School Business Manager

KatherineKatherine is a part qualified accountant (ACCA) who has worked in finance for over 25 years, initially as a qualified bank manager (ACIB) within corporate banking and more recently in the voluntary sector as Commercial Officer for a national children’s charity. Katherine has recently qualified for the Certificate of School Business Management through the National College.

Dianne Kitching, B.Sc MCSLT, Speech & Language Manager

Dianne Dianne Kitching is a qualified Speech and language therapist with over thirty years experience, who has worked in various settings, including the NHS and in a specialist school for language disordered children. She has also run her own practice working alongside teachers and speech and language therapists. Latterly Dianne has specialised in ASC and has worked at Lighthouse for the last three years.

Victoria Eustace, B.Sc (Hons) Psychology, Wellbeing Manager

Vicky Victoria Eustace has been working in the field of ASC since 2005. Victoria has gained experience working with young people aged 2-25 with a wide range of abilities. Working both 1:1 with students and delivering group sessions. Victoria has gained skills in using evidence based practice to develop replacement skills and systematic teaching. She has worked in a number of settings; education, home and community with young people with ASC. Developing and implementing teaching and working on developing positive behaviours for learning. Victoria supported staff working in schools to implement effective strategies for students developing individual behaviour plans and working on developing replacement skills. She has had experience of working in large multidisciplinary teams alongside other professionals. She has worked directly with consultants in the field of ASC and worked closely with speech and language therapists.

Victoria has delivered training workshops for both staff and parents in specific areas relevant to ASC. She is experienced in running social groups with autistic students. She has extensive experience on working on building positive self-esteem, anxiety management, emotional development, developing independent life skills, developing personal care and building social skills.

Victoria also has experience working with families providing parents with advice support in the home. She is familiar with working and developing programmes and targets for students in the community working with staff and parents to allow for effective implementation.

Since taking the post at Lighthouse School Victoria has been establishing a wellbeing provision across the school which includes:

  • Holiday provision and afterschool club.
  • Emotional development; building resilience and emotional literacy.
  • Leading a team to develop mentoring across the school.
  • Developing transition plans for students.
  • Delivering and developing person centred goals and outcomes for students.
  • Supporting positive behaviours for learning.
  • Parent Hub Sessions
  • Working with Wellbeing Team to deliver sessions for health and hygiene, community access, daily living skills and SRE.

Kirsty Heys, BA Arts Education – Wellbeing Manager

Kirsty HeysKirsty has been with Lighthouse School since opening in 2012. She previously supported students with SEND in primary, secondary and further education placements. Since joining Lighthouse, Kirsty has supported students in 1:1 and group teaching, specialising in SRE, personal targets and independent life skills. She runs Wellbeing sessions focusing on emotional literacy and building confidence and resilience. With her drama based background, Kirsty emphasises teaching through role play, teaching interactions and active practice, so students are able to generalise to real life situations.

As part of her wellbeing role, Kirsty assists in training and mentoring staff, implementing behaviour strategies, assisting students with stress management tools and teaching various parts of the PSHE curriculum. She specialises in teaching SRE to students with ASC and assists with the implementation of the Functional Learning Group’s curriculum.

Daniel Sitkin BA (Hons) Politics – Curriculum Manager

Daniel Sitkin Daniel Sitkin has taught in a range of primary schools in London and Leeds. He has experience as Head of English and Head of Music and has run after-school clubs for children with ASC. His first teaching experience was as a teenager, when he taught classical guitar. He joined Lighthouse in September and is developing an English curriculum that is relevant and tailored to students in Lighthouse. Daniel is teaching both English and Maths, and is the Year 9 form tutor.

Tracy O’Brien, B.Ed – Teacher and SENCo

Tracy O'Brien Tracy O’Brien has been a class teacher and an Acting Deputy Head of a primary school and has worked widely in special needs education. She is a former SENCO and has taught groups and individuals with a range of special needs including autism, speech and language difficulties and behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. She has also worked with children as a reading recovery teacher as well as a coordinator of ICT, maths and science.

Caroline Maston – Teacher

Caroline Maston Caroline has taught Science in Secondary schools and other specialist provisions. She is a science specialist with a specialism in Genetics. She has a great deal of experience with students who have struggled in mainstream education through her work with BESD.

Caroline joined Lighthouse in 2016 and is developing a tailored science curriculum for Lighthouse pupils.

Caroline also teaches enterprise sessions and enjoys working with pupils to make new and interesting products to help raise funds for the PTA and Lighthouse Futures Trust.

Joanna Slingo, BA Hons Language Studies, PGCE - English Teacher

Joanna Slingo Jo has gained her teaching experience in different primary schools in Bradford. She also has a degree in Language Studies (French and Spanish) and has taught English in a French Secondary School.

Jo has experience working with children with ASC both in school and voluntary settings. Jo is teaching English and is the Year 8 Form Teacher.

Sarah Cullen, BA Hons Community Studies, PGCE, HND - Horticulture Teacher

Sarah Cullen Sarah gained her teaching experience, working in a Further Education College in North Yorkshire, where she lectured for 17 years. She has supported many learners who have struggled in mainstream education. Sarah has a broad knowledge of both planning lessons and adapting resources to accommodate students with specific learning needs. Teaching was undertaken on the Countryside Management BTEC and Outdoor Activities BTEC. Prior to that she had experience working with adults with learning disabilities and job coaching, throughout Leeds, Bradford and North Yorkshire. Sarah has been working full-time in the field of gardening and horticulture for the last 4 years. She has many regular clients locally, and has been working at Lighthouse part-time since 2014.

Vicky Kortekaas - Art Teacher

Vicky Kortekaas

Elspeth Raby, BSc (Hons) Speech Pathology and Therapy – Speech and Language Therapist

Elspeth 600x600Elspeth qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in Manchester and has had experience of working with children with SEN and ASC in a range of setting. She has also worked for a church doing youth and children’s work. Since joining Lighthouse in 2013, Elspeth has been involved in supporting students in 1:1 and small groups both for students’ wellbeing and for developing their speech, language and communication.

Angela Merrett, M.Ed Psychology of Education; B.A Sociology – Functional Curriculum Leader

Angela Angela has been with Lighthouse School since it opened in 2012. She previously worked with children with autism on ABA programmes, supporting and teaching them at home and in nursery and school settings. She has also volunteered with the National Autistic Society assisting with their adult social groups.

During her time at Lighthouse, Angela has worked as part of the tutor and wellbeings teams and has specialised in teaching independent living skills and leading community access sessions. In her current role she overseas the functional learning groups (3.4 and 4.5) and assists with teaching and developing their curriculum. She is also an Early Help practitioner helping to support the individual needs of students and their families.

Dan Robbins, BA Psychology and PGCE qualified – Coach

DanDan has a range of experience of working with children and adults on the Autism spectrum. He is a group leader for a play scheme in Huddersfield that runs every Summer and is a support worker for residentials run by Airedale and Wharfedale Autism Resource. Having worked previously at Huddersfield New College as both a teacher and support assistant, he has extensive knowledge of both planning lessons and adapting resources to accommodate student’s specific learning needs.

Colin Sherman - Coach

Colin Sherman

Laura Day, BA Hons Fine Art – Coach

LauraLaura has 3 years experience working with pupils with ASC and SEN. Previous to working at Lighthouse School she worked at Lawnswood High School, teaching life skills and assisting in group teaching for students with various needs. Laura also volunteers one a week leading a youth group for teenagers.

Laura Trembath, B.Sc Psychology – Wellbeing Tutor

Laura Laura Trembath has worked as a teacher at a College of Further Education for students with a range of special educational needs and disabilities. Her skills include team teaching, individual and group planning and teaching, developing vocational opportunities, student transition support and planning, and liaison with advisory and support agencies. She has also undertaken fund raising and events planning with a local charity’s youth community.

Helena Thorpe – Wellbeing Tutor

HelenaHelena Thorpe has worked in a Special Inclusion Learning Centre for the last 6 years. Throughout this time, she has been based at a partnership school with autism provision for Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils. She has worked closely with pupils, parents and staff with transition to Secondary School. She has experience of a range of strategies for supporting students with ASC to manage behaviour, manage stress and reduce anxiety.

Since Joining Lighthouse School, Helena has supported students in 1:1 and group planning and teaching, specialising in individual Therapeutic sessions for students with additional needs such as Attachment Disorder, depression, anxiety, grief and bereavement, and diagnosis understanding. She runs wellbeing sessions focusing on emotional literacy and building confidence and resilience. As part of her wellbeing role, Helena assists in training and mentoring other staff, implementing behaviour strategies, assisting students with stress management tools and teaching various parts of the PSHCE curriculum.

Helena is also and Early Help Professional supporting families who require out of school support. She liaises with parents, other professionals and teams around the Family (TAF) to seek solutions when further help may be required. She has also provided outreach to other schools with through transition and support or as part of sharing practice through our schools shared partnerships.

Anouska Buxton, B.A Textiles – Wellbeing Tutor

AnouskaAnouska Buxton has a vast range of experience in working with people of all ages with ASC. She has worked within a number of social and educational settings as a mentor, supporting individuals and groups to achieve their goals and maximize their independence.

Anouska is also Project Coordinator for a charity, where she is responsible for organising and facilitating events for adults with various disabilities.

Natalie Smith – Wellbeing Tutor


Amy Jenkinson-Key – Wellbeing Tutor

Amy JK Amy started Lighthouse as a tutor in 2015 after having previous experience working with a vulnerable adult with special needs and children aged 0 -19. At Lighthouse Amy has gained valuable experience working alongside students in all aspects of the school. She quickly developed a good understanding of the wellbeing curriculum and delivered various interventions. In 2017 Amy joined the wellbeing team where she has become a vital member of the Year 8 form, helping with student’s EHCP’s following up reviews and working closely with the year 8 students. Amy has recently completed training devised to improve the wellbeing of both staff and students through school based yoga practise. She leads emotional literacy sessions focusing on yoga and stress management. Amy often assists staff training and creates behaviour strategies and systems for students to use to ensure they access a positive learning experience.

Michael Ramos, BA (Hons) Learning and Teaching – Wellbeing Tutor

Michael-RamosMichael has worked in both mainstream and special education, across primary schools, referral units and respite care centres. Throughout this time he has worked with children ranging from 2-18, with a variety of complex needs such as autism and ADHD. Alongside this work, Michael has produced ethnographic research on creating child-led learning environments, focusing on school councils and project based learning.

Zuhal Cetinkaya, BA (Hons) Theatre & Performance – Wellbeing Tutor

Zuhal-Cetinkaya Zuhal has a background in Applied Theatre and has used this training to work in mental health and education, facilitating workshops in the Leeds community. Zuhal has volunteered at Mencap for a number of years, particularly within their “Job Match” department which find jobs for individuals with learning disabilities. Before starting at Lighthouse, Zuhal worked as a Learning Support Assistant in London, working with 11 – 18 year olds 1:1 to address their educational and social needs. Zuhal is a part of our Wellbeing Team here at Lighthouse and as part of her role she assists in training and mentoring staff, teaching wellbeing sessions which focus on emotional literacy, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and team work and confidence. Zuhal started Lighthouse School’s first ‘School Council’ at the end of the last academic year which will be taking shape in full from September 2017.

Andrew Brown B.A English and History – Functional Curriculum Tutor

Andy Andy joined Lighthouse in 2013. Before this he spent three years working in a complex-needs, supported living project for young adults with Autism and Asperger’s. Here he supported clients to live fulfilling and independent lives.

Loukia Maria (Lucy) Georgakopoulou – Functional Curriculum Tutor

Lucy 150x150Lucy is an MA graduate in SEN from the University of Leeds and holds a BA in Philosophy, Education and Psychology from the University of Ioannina, of the Hellenic Republic. Her academic qualifications also include basic knowledge of the Greek Sign language as well as a study on the policies on intervention to children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders and Dyslexia.

Lucy has offered her services voluntarily at the E. Gyra Centre of Autistic Persons and at the Parents’ Association of People with Special Educational Needs, both at Ioannina of the Hellenic Republic. Prior to joining us at Lighthouse School, Lucy obtained substantial experience as a volunteer Assistant Junior Tutor at Hovingham Primary School.

Caroline Mitchell, BA (Hons) Fine Art – Curriculum Tutor

StaffCarolineCaroline has a son with Autism Spectrum Condition and is a Trustee of Lighthouse School. Caroline’s skills include experience of Autism therapies, individual and small group teaching in classrooms, accompanying pupils on vocational work placements and assisting in art classes and horticulture lessons. Caroline is also a Trustee of the “Lighthouse Futures Trust” Charity.

Rob Warden – Curriculum Tutor

RobRob has a Post Grad Diploma in ASC and a BA (Hons) in Journalism. He has worked with people with ASC since 2003 in short breaks and residential settings, supporting them to love fulfilling lives and promoting independence.

Laurence Jones – Curriculum Tutor

Laurence gained a degree in youth work and community development, graduating in 2012. Since then I have worked as an autism tutor previously, gaining a certification as a Registered Behaviour Technician. I have worked with a wide range of young people across the autism spectrum and have trained in technical speech and language work. I’ve also been working at an outdoor centre since 2009 and am a keen climber and musician. I’ve been working at Lighthouse since April 2017

Rosalyn Lynch, MA Social Work; BA (Hons) Film Studies – Tutor

RosalynRosalyn has worked with children for over twenty years. Having spent many years in the US, Rosalyn gained valuable experience in working with children and adults with Developmental Disabilities, challenging behaviours and Traumatic Brain Injuries, and in these roles she was responsible for conducting assessments, developing Individual Support Plans (ISPs) and providing one to one support. In her spare time, Rosalyn completed courses in Child Development, Systemic Desensitisation and Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and she trained other professionals in Crisis Management skills to implement with children with challenging behaviour. Rosalyn also has experience in group facilitation.

Since returning th the UK, Rosalyn has undertaken courses in counselling and Teaching English as an Additional or Other Language. More recently, she gained an MA in Social work and is currently registered as a Social Worker with the HCPC.

Jenny Shaw, BA Film Studies – Tutor

Jenny Shaw Jenny has a BA in Film Studies from Sheffiled Hallam University and then moved to London to work in marketing. She moved back to Leeds in 2014 and worked in SEN Primary until moving to Lighthouse School as a Tutor in 2015. She has also worked as a one to one mentor for a young adult with complex needs including autism, epilepsy and cerebal palsy. Jenny is epilepsy and tracheostomy trained.

Natalie Whittaker – Tutor (Inclusion)

Nataile Whittaker photo 002 150x150 Natalie has a degree in Psychology, and on leaving university went to work with adults with complex needs and ASC. From there she went to work in a mainstream setting with the 6th form, helping them decide on Post 16 options and supporting students with mental health and learning disabilities, before joining Lighthouse School.

Eve Bannister - Tutor

Eve Bannister

Heather Hobbs, BA Hons QTS Secondary Education and Theology - Tutor

Heather Hobbs Heather has taught Religious Education and English in mainstream secondary schools. Heather has a son with Autism Spectrum Condition.

Rebecca Norman - Tutor

Rebecca Norman

Helen Paxton – Personal Assistant to Principal

Helen e1448443158437Helen has worked in the banking industry for 23 years as a qualified Credit Risk Manager (ACIB) within the business sector and more recently within the corporate property sector.

Anna Muir – Human Resources Manager

Anna MuirAnna is a CIPD qualified HR Manager who has worked in HR since 2003 in various roles in different sectors including retail, private healthcare and financial services. Anna has an MA in Personnel and Development and a BA Hons in German/Spanish. Anna has worked at Lighthouse School since February 2017.

Brenda Collins – HR and Exams Administrator

Brenda Brenda has a wealth of experience working in Education since 1995 to present, in a number of settings including a mainstream High School. Additional roles in a schools setting include: Cover Manager; Aimhigher. (13 – 19 year students) 6th form / EMA Administrator ; HR – Personnel Officer/Cover manager, Examination Administration Assistant; Student Reception Administrator; Librarian; Training Co-ordinator / ULR -Union Learning Rep-GMB; an OCR Internal Verifier/ Assessor for the work place.

Lorraine Owen – SEN Administrator

LorraineLorraine is the SEN Administrator and manages the statutory processes for students with statements of special educational needs and Education Health Care Plans by organising the annual review and conversion meetings. Lorraine’s role also encompasses some Reception duties at the school, and so is involved with many different aspects of school life.

Prior to April 2015, Lorraine worked in the Education sector of the Local Authority for over 30 years specialising in the area of special educational needs referrals and the provision of support for students who require additional help and support in school.

Jessica Pemberton – Receptionist

JessicaJessica has previously worked in the hotel industry for 6 years going from front of house meeting and greeting customers to being a Conference and Events organizer, organizing events such as weddings, funerals, conferences and party nights dealing with different types of the public. Jessica obtained a customer service level 2 in ICT and Customer Service in this role.

Lee Campey - Site Manager

Lee Campey