Our Board

Our Board Members are:

Ian Comfort (Chair – A Shareholder representative)

Ian is an educationalist and lawyer. He started his career as a maths teacher and youth worker. He has extensive experience in the management and direction of education services gained as a local authority director of education, chief executive of a large  academy trust and an adviser, nationally and internationally, on education infrastructure and reform.  He chairs the Middlesex Learning Partnership, an academy trust in West London; and Bennu, a charity providing art and drama therapy for children in primary school.  As a lawyer, he specialises in education and regulatory law and is a member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers. He currently chairs professional conduct tribunals for a range of occupations including nurses, therapists, psychologists, social workers and accountants.  Alongside his professional practice, Ian is actively involved in direct work with children, young people and communities. He chairs the multi-award winning Ebony Steelband and the Carnival Village Trust, a national portfolio organisation for the Arts Council responsible for the Tabernacle arts centre in Notting Hill.  This year he took over as chair of the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street festival.

Dean Clark (Non-Executive Director – A Shareholder representative)

Dean was appointed to the Cognus Board in July 2018. He has over 30 years banking experience at an executive level, having been the director of a risk management consultancy for the last twenty years. His clients have included some of the largest global names in financial services. Dean specialises in providing control and risk management solutions throughout the business processing cycle. Dean is the Chair of the LEO Academy Trust, a primary only multi academy trust based in the London Borough of Sutton.  Dean enjoys applying business and banking principals to the educational environment to ensure all children are provided with the best opportunities and experiences to fulfil their potential.

Jenny Sims (Non-Executive Director – B Shareholder representative)

Krishna Yergol (Non-Executive Director – A Shareholder representative)

Paul Darvell (Non-Executive Director – A Shareholder representative)

Paul joined the board in March 2017. Paul’s background is in Investment Management IT Management where he managed global teams. Paul retired from corporate executive roles at the end of 2016. Paul now spends his time overseeing his own businesses, working as a Non-Executive Director for Cognus and other companies and coaching small business owners. Paul’s passion for working with Cognus is driven from him growing up in the local area and he wants to give back to the local community. Paul has seen first hand how the right educational support can allow children to fulfill their true potential.

Tracey Burley (Managing Director)

Tracey Burley is the Managing Director of Cognus.  She was the first permanent Managing Director of Cognus and has held this role since May 2017.  Prior to that, she was a Director at CSW Group and a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Finance Committee of the Career Development Institute.  Tracey is committed to improving social mobility and opportunities for children and young people and has worked to support this since 2002.  Tracey continues this work both regionally and nationally through her roles as a Non-Executive Director of Careers England and CSW Group.