Senior Leadership Group

Alexis Johnson Executive Principal
Alexis joined the Trust in 2019 and has been involved in SEND education for the majority of his career. He started his career as a Lecturer at Hartlepool College teaching A Level, Access to HE and GCSE but found his vocation teaching the Learning Support classes which inspired him to work in the field of SEND.  For the last 15 years he has held a variety of senior leadership positions in charities that support children, young people and adults with additional needs with a focus on education, training and care.


He is currently a partner governor at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital and an Associate Trustee at an educational charity that supports people with Autism. He is also the Responsible Individual for Dickson House children's home which is part of the Trust. His mum was brought up in a children's home and then fostered so he appreciates the value of high-quality care during childhood. 


He does enjoy spending time with family especially by the seaside or abroad with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys travel, music, reading and football and is a keen supporter of Middlesbrough FC who he has been following for over 40 years. He has the wrinkles to prove it! He does love learning whether it's an idea, a theory or a skill which is one of his core values along with humility, positivity, leadership, humour, gratitude, equality and perseverance.

Alexis Johnson

Phil Carter - Trust HR Manager
Phil joined the organisation in 2010 becoming the first senior HR appointment to the Trust Executive Board.
Prior to this he held senior HR positions as Head of HR, Group HR Manager and Divisional HR Manager operating in the Construction and Civil Engineering, Rail Engineering and Manufacturing sectors.


As a Chartered Member of the CIPD and a respected HR generalist with over thirty years of experience as a HR professional his specialist fields are in Employee Relations, Strategic HR Management and Employment Law.


Outside of work he pursues a lifelong passion for music and photography, often combining the two in his work as a freelance live music photographer at concerts and festivals around the UK. 


He regards his move of thirteen years ago into the specialist education sector as being by far the most fulfilling and rewarding time of his career and considers it a privilege to work alongside such a dedicated and committed workforce on a daily basis.

Phil Carter

Director of Human Resources

Graeme joined the Trust in early 2022. He has primarily worked in the public sector since 1975, in various roles from Clerical Assistant to Chief Finance Officer. His work has included working in local government, further education, academy trusts, housing and the NHS. For a number of years he was also a parent governor at a sixth form college and also served as chair of the audit committee.


Graeme’s role is to manage the Trust’s finances, ensure the Trust meets it’s financial obligations and help ensure the ongoing financial sustainability.


His personal interests include football and The Beatles.

Graeme Craik

Director of Finance
Laurent was appointed Principal at Communication Specialist College Doncaster in April 2023.


Laurent worked in post 16 education since 1996, in Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire, holding positions ranging from lecturer (at Lincoln College), Curriculum Leader, Senior Leader Head of 16-18 Curriculum (at Wakefield College), Group Director of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and Group Executive Director for Maths and English, Adult Education, Work Placement and International Operations (at DN Colleges Group / Doncaster College, North Lindsey College).


Laurent is passionate about education, work experience, national and international partnerships. His mission at Communication Specialist College Doncaster is to drive our teams to provide and deliver the very best and most relevant vocational training to our young people and adults, to inspire and equip them with an exciting range of life, independence and professional skills and to qualify and prepare them for the world of work.


Laurent has a keen interest in world travel, cinema and literature.


Laurent graduated with a Master of Science in International Management and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

Laurent Berges

College Principal
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Hi I’m Tina and I have worked for the Trust for over 8 years.


I am very community minded and invested a lot of time volunteering in my local area providing activities for 4 to18 year olds and employability/training for adults and was a District Councillor from 2010 –2015.


 I had previously worked in the Welfare to Work Industry for 15 years. Having spent a lot of my career working with individuals who had multiple barriers that deemed them unemployable I soon realized the positive impact that was created given the right support.


I believe that anyone who wants to work should be given every opportunity that has huge benefits to not only the individual but also the communities in which they live.

Tina Rafferty

Aspire to Be Manager
My name is Kate and I have worked at Doncaster Deaf Trust since 2002. I started my journey as a residential care worker at Doncaster School for the Deaf and quickly progressed to a team leader. Over the years, I have worked in College and School, running the residential provisions but in 2011, I became the Registered Manager for the Children's home onsite. I absolutely love my job, every day if different and exciting. From management duties, to working on shift and Ofsted inspections, I cover it all.  My main purpose is to ensure that as a team, we help to create a safe and nurturing environment, whereby children have the opportunity to have a positive childhood experience, with the best possible outcomes. 


In my spare time, I am a mother of two children. Both have additional needs, which gives me a greater appreciation for my role. I love to swim and after donating half of my liver to my daughter who needed a Liver transplant in 2013, I took part in the British Transplant Games, for 3 consecutive years, winning a Gold, Silver and bronze medal in the Live Donor races. 

Kate Warner

Children's Home Registered Manager

Hello, I am the Headteacher at Doncaster School for the Deaf with over 30 years’ experience at this school. After my degree in Maths and Sciences I completed my PGCE in Maths. I gained interesting teaching experiences in Leeds, Turkey, Kenya and Malaysia.  My mother was also a teacher of the Deaf and began her career at this school.  On my return from Malaysia, I qualified as a teacher of the Deaf and took up a post as a primary teacher and later as Maths Lead here.   


I am pleased to be the first female Headteacher in the schools ‘195 year history’ and I am determined to ensure a sustainable and high quality service for all. I am extremely proud of our school, its pupils and staff. 

Jane Goodman

School Head Teacher
Hi, I'm Natalie, I have worked for the Trust since 2006, first as the Deputy Manager of the Nursery progressing to the role of Manager in 2011. I have a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies and I am currently studying towards the National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership (NPQEL).


I spend all of my free time with my husband, our three boys and our little French Bulldog, Max.  I spend most weekends being 'footy mum' cheering the boys on from the side lines. We love going on family holidays, taking walks on the beach and going on bike rides.

Natalie Firth

Nursery Manager