Lea Valley Academy

Senior Leadership Team

  Umbar Sharif - Principal

Umbar Sharif, graduated in English with a minor in Psychology. Originally fixed on a career in Law, an eye opening volunteering placement at a school in Newham, London, altered her interest. Umbar chose to commence her teaching career in the same borough that she grew up in: Waltham Forest. She was appointed to middle leadership at the age of 23 and was later headhunted to work in a school in a category to lead their literacy development. At 28, she was selected to join the inaugural cohort of the flagship Future Leaders programme. She has held a number of senior leadership roles: Assistant Head; Director of a Sixth Form Consortium and Deputy Headteacher. In 2015, Umbar was selected onto the Talented Leaders programme (matching exceptional candidates to rural and coastal schools). Umbar commenced as Principal of Ormiston Six Villages Academy in January 2016 and moved the school from ‘inadequate to good’ in 18 months.‘

  Ian Broad - Vice Principal

Ian Broad, graduated in Biological Science with minor subjects Chemistry and Physics. Ian chose to commence his teaching career in Hertfordshire where he worked for four years. He joined the team at Lea Valley back in 1992 as Head of Biology when the school was known as Bullsmoor School. He was appointed as Head of Sixth Form at Lea Valley High School in 1994. Mr Broad has worked with the Future Leaders programme visiting schools in the USA and with PiXL on the ‘Outstanding Headteacher’s’ programme. He has held a number of senior leadership roles including Assistant Principal and has been Vice Principal at Lea Valley Academy over the last 10 years.

  Steph Gibson - Vice Principal

Stephanie Gibson has been in the field of education since graduating from Warwick University in 1995 with a BA Honours in Physical Education. She knew she wanted to be a PE teacher as soon as she started secondary school and went on to achieve the GCSEs, A-levels and degree required to follow that pathway. She started her career in a school in Essex and has worked in four different secondary schools. She has been at Lea Valley Academy since 2004, when she came as a Partnership Development Manager, managing the School Sport Partnership Programme. Since 2006, she has been a member of the Senior Leadership Team, holding a variety of roles, including Director of Specialism and Senior Assistant Principal. She has been Vice Principal since 2015, with a variety of responsibilities including, Progress and Impact for KS3 and 4, Post 16, Inclusion, Primary Liaison and Safeguarding. She is passionate about improving the life chances for the young people of the Lea Valley Academy community.

 Karen McGarvey - Vice Principal

Karen McGarvey graduated from the University of Salford with Honours in Geography. From a young age, she knew she wanted to teach. In 1996, she completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at the Institute of Education, University of London.  Karen started her teaching career in Hackney and has worked in several schools in Barnet and Enfield. She was appointed to middle leadership at the age of 24. Over the next eighteen years, she was promoted to several management positions including Head of Year, Head of Department and Assistant Principal. In 2015 Karen was appointed as Vice Principal of Lea Valley Academy.”

 Gary Haines - Vice Principal (acting)

Gary Haines graduated with a degree in Modern History with International Relations. After graduation Gary worked as a Barrister’s Clerk at Grays Inn Chambers and subsequently as a Recruitment Consultant in the City of London before taking a gap year to travel. On return to the UK in 2003 Gary worked as a Learning Support Assistant in Waltham Forest which persuaded him to complete his teacher training. Gary has worked in a number of outstanding schools. As part of his training Gary was fortunate to work under ‘superhead’ Paul Grant, at Robert Clack School in Dagenham. In 2004 he completed his NQT year at Canon Palmer Catholic School in Seven Kings. He was promoted to Assistant Head of Year and KS3 Coordinator for History before being offered a position as Head of Year at Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney under the headship of former OFSTED Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw. After taking his year group through to year 11 achieving 91% A*-C including English and Maths, Gary joined Lea Valley Academy in 2011 as the Director of Humanities before quickly being promoted to Senior Assistant Principal in 2012 and Acting Vice Principal in 2016.

 Lovette Monyei - Senior Assistant Principal

Madame Monyei to the students, she started her teaching career in the UK in October 2001. She feels that although the impartation of knowledge in one's subject area is crucial in education, there are other factors to consider such as dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and empathy. These attributes have helped her over the years to understand the young people she deals with both as a classroom practitioner and as a senior leader.
She is fully committed to her professional development and to that of her colleagues. She holds two MA degrees in Linguistics and Sociology of Languages from the Universities of Grenoble and Franche Compté in France and is currently completing a 3rd MA degree in Educational Leadership and Management with the University of Nottingham.
In addition to gaining Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) status in June 2007, she has successfully completed a number of leadership programmes, including the SSAT leadership programme; the IoE Investing in Diversity Programme; Leadership Pathways programme and the NCSL Equal Access to Promotion programme.

 Debbie Perry - Senior Assistant Principal

Debbie Perry joined Lea Valley Academy in September 2001, having worked previously in Higher and Further Education for ten years.  Before pursuing a career in the education sector, Debbie was based in the City of London working for investment banks but moved into education after having her family.  In order to facilitate this, she undertook a Computer Science degree obtaining a first class honours degree and was awarded a University prize.  She then qualified as a teacher to add to her qualified lecturer status.  Debbie has undertaken a wide range of leadership responsibilities at Lea Valley Academy, has represented the school at a number of different forums and has The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).

 Sarah Redman - Senior Assistant Principal

Sarah Redman graduated with a 2:1 in English Literature from Goldsmiths College. Keen to pursue a career in university lecturing, Sarah enrolled for an MPhil in Literature at Canterbury University. Her career path changed after completing some work experience at a secondary school in East London where she realised her passion lay in improving the life chances of young people. She was appointed to middle leadership after 2 years of teaching and has held a number of positions including literacy coordinator and Head of English. Working in Hackney for over 12 years, she moved into senior leadership at Skinners Academy, first as an Associate Assistant Head for English and then as Assistant Head for Curriculum. She was headhunted to work with a number of other senior leaders from schools across London and New York to lead on literacy development. In 2014 she joined Lea Valley Academy as a Senior Assistant Principal.

 Ilgin Williams - Senior Assistant Principal

Ilgin Williams graduated from The University of Maryland at College Park, USA with a double diploma in French Language and Literature and Secondary Education. She started her teaching career in the USA in a French Immersion programme before moving to the UK. She was appointed to middle leadership as the Curriculum Leader and then became the Head of Faculty for Communications at Lea Valley Academy. She was promoted to senior leadership in 2007 as Assistant Principal at Lea Valley Academy. In 2015 she was seconded to the senior leadership team at Bishop Stopford’s School to support the school’s modern foreign languages department. She undertook a recruitment and educational consultancy role before she returned to Lea Valley Academy in 2016.