Meet the team
The leaders at Villiers Park have diverse backgrounds and bring with them a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise. They are united by a passion and commitment to improving social mobility in the UK.
Villiers Park Educational Trust thrives thanks to the commitment of dedicated, expert staff who work across our centres. Throughout the year our residential courses, masterclasses and workshops are supported by around 100 specialist tutors and speakers.
Rae Tooth - Chief Executive
As Chief Executive my role is to lead the organisation with the support of colleagues to ensure that Villiers Park makes a difference in the lives of the young people we work with, and reach ever increasing numbers of them. I do this through strategic oversight and leading staff in the delivery of all our operations. Being able to rely on my fantastic team means that I can spend most of my time being externally focused, influencing policy makers and engaging with our supporters, as well as talking to our students to learn about what works for them.
Before coming to Villiers Park I held a number of roles in the public sector, most recently as head of strategy and change at the Office for Students. I lead the development and delivery national strategy relating to widening participation to higher education. I have worked with charities in different capacities as a trustee and a consultant, including mental health charities and local charities supporting recovering addicts.
I was lucky enough to benefit from the work of Villiers Park as a young student and attended one of the courses in the early 1990s. The experience was transformational, giving me new belief in myself and my ability to succeed. Now, as a lone parent of two primary aged children, I continue to see the way different forms of disadvantage impact on every aspect of life. I am inspired by my children's huge support and our shared belief in the possibility of making a difference to the lived experiences of others.
Sarah Chick - Director of Education
In my role as Director of Education I oversee all of our programmes across the UK, working with staff to ensure that the content and delivery of our programmes is of the highest quality. I also have responsibility for the strategy, planning and partnerships involved in setting up new programmes and initiatives.
I began my career as a marine biologist, followed by several years as a graphic and web-designer. Previous to my current role I spent more than 10 years teaching, starting out as a science teacher and progressing to Vice-Principal, overseeing a sixth-form STEM College.
I take huge inspiration from sport and top sports people, particularly in my favourite sport, gymnastics. I believe the dedication, resilience, bravery and motivation instilled in me by my coaches from a young age have all been vital transferable skills I have been able to apply to my career and to inspiring the students I work with.
Caroline Baker - Director of Development and Communications
As Director of Development and Communications I set the strategic direction for raising voluntary funds to deliver our programmes as well as raising the profile of Villiers Park through communicating the impact and breadth of our work.
The first seven years of my career were spent in the financial sector, which has given me essential commercial awareness during my twelve years in the charity sector. I have a diverse portfolio of fundraising leadership experience, although my specialism is in philanthropy.
I was empowered to succeed by my line manager who gave me my first branch manager role at the age of twenty-two. She believed in me.
Christine Hall - Director of Finance
As finance director and company secretary I oversee all aspects of financial management of Villiers Park and support the board of trustees to help us deliver our mission.
I joined the Trust in 2003 after more than 20 years of commercial experience, working for companies including BP and Philips Electronics. I have also contributed over many years to the financial management of other charities and am a member of the Charity Finance Group and in 2008 was awarded the Diploma in Charity Finance.
I'm committed to lifelong learning and having worked with many inspirational musicians, I'm passionate about the benefits of participating in music-making for young and old.