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Our Trustees

Beth Curl
Chair of Trust Board

Beth Curl was a governor of The Queen Katherine School for 8 years and has been a Trustee of the MAT since its formation and is now chair.

Beth started her career as a research chemist with an international life science company. Her growing interest in people and organisations, catalysed her move into HR and Learning and Development. Beth founded her management development consultancy in 1999 and works with a wide range of organisations, particularly in the science and technology sector. 

Since moving to South Cumbria in 2006, Beth has worked with a number of voluntary organisations and is committed to helping The Fells Trust provide the best education and opportunities for all its students.


Joanne Heather
Chair of Risk, Audit and Finance (RAF) Committee

Joanne became a Trustee in 2018 after moving to Cumbria in 2017. Both of her children have attended The Queen Katherine School.

Joanne started her career with Shell International as a petroleum engineer, and after several years gaining operational experience moved to strategic planning and financial management, underpinning her undergraduate degree in Maths with an MBA at night school. She moved to Houston, Texas with a US energy company in 2000 to advise on investment of their asset portfolio and led the budget and financial planning teams for different divisions within the company. Latterly, she worked with a boutique management consultancy providing portfolio management and financial expertise, project leadership, organisational development, and facilitation and coaching of teams and executives. Over the years, she has contributed financial guidance to a number of voluntary organisations.

She brings a wealth of experience in financial management, strategic planning and organisational development to the Trust Board.

She is passionate about how schools can best be supported to equip young people for adult life through the development of personal skills and future-proofed career aspirations as well as good academic qualifications. In her free time she is enjoying being back in the north of England, and exploring new destinations as well as revisiting old haunts.


Rebecca Batstone
Responsibility for Wellbeing across the Trust

Rebecca was appointed as a Trustee in 2021.

She originally trained as a pharmacist and has spent over 25 years working in the NHS and the Pharmaceutical industry, She is also a qualified life and business coach and presently works part-time in her own business and part-time for a mental health charity in Kendal.

She moved to Cumbria in 2017 with her husband and son and in her spare time enjoys walking and is presently ticking off the Wainwrights.


Paul Edmondson
Responsibility for Sustainability across the Trust

Paul Edmondson was appointed as a Trustee in 2019.

Degree educated in Engineering, Paul has spent the majority of his career working for Siemens in the Oil & Gas Industry where he held a number of Design, Commercial and Management positions.

Paul now works locally in the advanced materials and paper products group – James Cropper plc, where he is the Technical Manager within the group’s Strategic Innovation Team.  

Paul is an alumnus of The Queen Katherine School and resides locally with his wife and two young children.

In his spare time he enjoys fell running, playing football and photography.


Kathryn Ritchie, OBE
Responsibility for Safeguarding across the Trust

Kathryn joined the Trust in 2022. 

She recently retired after 39 years working in education as a primary / middle school teacher, Headteacher, Education Consultant,  Head of Inspection Unit, Senior Inspector of Schools, Director of Education Services and CEO of Service Children’s Education worldwide. Kathryn’s driving force has always been to get the best for the children and young people in her care. Her contribution to education was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2015 when she was awarded an OBE. 

Outside of the education world Kathryn enjoys travelling, reading, walking the fells, playing tennis, golf and skiing.