Dr Helen Rafferty appointed as SHINE’s Interim Chief Executive

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Helen Rafferty
Dr Helen Rafferty

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Helen Rafferty as SHINE’s Interim Chief Executive, to cover Fiona Spellman’s maternity leave, from Monday 19 April.

Helen will lead the team until Fiona’s return in April 2022.

Helen has been Senior Programme Manager at SHINE for the past four years and she brings with her a wealth of experience in education and grant making.

Fiona said: “In my role at SHINE I’m proud to be able to catalyse the very best that education has to offer across the North of England. I firmly believe in the children, teachers, and people of the North, and I’m so proud of all SHINE has achieved so far in delivering better outcomes for children and families across the region.

“SHINE is a hugely important part of my life, and I will miss it a lot whilst I’m away, but I feel incredibly excited at how much SHINE can achieve in the months and years ahead, especially as the school system readjusts to such a period of unprecedented challenge.

“It is enormously reassuring to know that SHINE will be in such safe hands under the new leadership team.”

Oldham-born Helen began working for SHINE in 2017, driven by a passion for giving disadvantaged children the best opportunities in life.

Fiona Spellman
Fiona Spellman

She said: “I feel immensely privileged to be given the opportunity to lead SHINE through this next phase in our development, and to build on the wonderful leadership provided by Fiona from our very first steps in establishing ourselves in the North of England in 2017.

“From my own roots in Oldham, I’ve seen first-hand the tremendous disparities in life experiences and outcomes that often exist for children and young people across our region, barriers that have been magnified and brought to prominence through the last 12 challenging months.

“I also believe passionately in the transformative power of teachers, schools and education in supporting our children and young people to reach their full potential.

“In my time at SHINE I have been immensely proud to have contributed to supporting and developing our impact in the North of England, and I’m excited to continue to lead SHINE in our work with more schools and teachers, and to further develop our partnerships and support networks within the areas of greatest need.”

Former primary school teacher and trained educational psychologist, Dr Alicia Shaw has been appointed as Interim Senior Programme Manager to cover Helen’s role. She will be overseeing SHINE’s grants programmes and updating SHINE’s evaluation strategy to help further the charity’s evidence base for the projects it supports.

For the past four-and-a-half years, Alicia worked for the York-based Institute for Effective Education, a charity promoting evidence-informed education.

She said: “SHINE does fantastic work helping disadvantaged children to thrive at school. This mission is more relevant than ever, and I’m excited to be joining the SHINE team at this crucial point in time.

Dr Alicia Shaw

“I’m really looking forward to working with teachers and schools, supporting the development, implementation and evaluation of innovative approaches to improving outcomes for disadvantaged children in the North.”

All of us at SHINE would like to congratulate Alicia and Helen on their new appointments and wish Fiona all the very best for her maternity leave.