Meet our Senior Leadership Team

Steve Jefferies – Headteacher

Growing up in the quiet market town of Frome I was considered quite the oddity when, unusually, I went to the University of Warwick to read English. From there, I moved to Evesham to begin my first teaching job at Pershore High School as an English and Drama teacher. In the course of my professional life, I’ve obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Birmingham, the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers, and experience of pretty much every area of school leadership. Before joining Bournside, I spent 6 years as Headteacher of Henley in Arden School in Warwickshire.

Along life’s way I’ve enjoyed mountaineering, rock climbing, and cycling. Now that my knees are beginning to creak, I spend more time in the garden, walking in the countryside and working voluntarily for my church. I also learned a huge amount during a three-year sabbatical working as a missionary for the Christadelphian Bible Mission in South America. As well as the ability to speak Spanish, the experience taught me that education is emancipatory. Your future is what you decide it to be – and education opens the door to that future. I’ve seen it first hand and that’s why I’m so passionate about Bournside’s vision. Lives really are ’empowered … through learning’.

Karen Hanley – Deputy Headteacher

I grew up in Wiltshire, went to Reading University where I studied Economics and Sociology and initially trained as an accountant with KPMG. In my mid-20s, I retrained as a teacher and lived and worked in Dorset for 10 years after qualifying. After spending 7 years as a Head of Department in the south, I moved to Cheltenham to be nearer my friends and family and take up a job here at Bournside in 2005. I have been very fortunate to have worked my way up to Deputy Headteacher, having also spent time as an Assistant Headteacher and Head of Sixth Form.

Outside of work, my twin passions are tennis and travelling. I am an avid tennis fan and love watching it live or on TV. I have also travelled widely and am always planning my next trip. I love to read and always have several books on the go. I sing and I love live theatre. I am a member of a book group and the Cheltenham Film Society, and can also be found occasionally treading the boards for the Leckhampton Players, a local am-dram society. I am also on the Committee of the Leckhampton Village Hall as I am keen for such facilities to be preserved in our communities.

Mike Stratford – Deputy Headteacher

Having grown up in Gloucestershire I know how lucky I am to work at a school like Bournside. I have many fond schoolboy memories of battling the mighty Bournside on the rugby field – and not winning as often as I would have liked! From a young age I knew that sport and teaching were going to be a big part of my future. Growing up I had some wonderful role models who inspired me to complete my degree and teacher training. 

I have since spent 14 happy years developing and nurturing incredible talent both in the classroom and on the sports field. I have had a range of leadership responsibilities and the privilege of leading the thriving Sixth Form for 5 years. I am a strong believer of high standards of behaviour and quality pastoral care, and take immense pride in leading on this aspect of our school provision. I believe that relationships among students and staff should reflect a positive and respectful culture and that every child has the right to distraction-free learning.

Out of school I am a proud Gloucester rugby fan, but a prouder father to Darcy and Ben. Saturday afternoon rugby has been replaced with children’s swimming and karate lessons, kid’s parties and family fun, but I love it! My life as a teacher and father is hugely rewarding. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Will Penny – Deputy Headteacher

Maybe being born and bred in Somerset fostered and developed my love of the outdoors, and as such teaching Geography was written in the stars! As a child I loved school and for as long as I can remember always wanted to teach. My university experience in Liverpool was an enriching one for a boy from Taunton and I loved every minute of my 3 years there. That said, the lure of the South West proved too great and I moved back ‘home’ to complete my PGCE at the University of Bath and now live with my wife and daughter in Bristol.

Before joining Bournside I spent 14 years at St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon, as Director of Sixth Form and also a Head of House in a vertical tutoring system. I can wholeheartedly say the system changed the school for the better and it is a system I am excited to see embedded at Bournside.  

Away from the classroom, I am never happier than when outdoors, be it walking, skiing, surfing, playing golf or cricket, running, or cycling. My ambition of completing an Ironman in the near future still remains! I keenly follow my two beloved sports teams Somerset CCC and, sorry if it causes offence, Bristol Bears Rugby where I am a proud season ticket holder!  

Dorottya Cservenak - Interim School Business Manager

I was born and raised in Hungary. At the age of 16, I took part in a 12-month student exchange programme in Oregon, United States where I graduated from high school. On my return to Hungary I completed my degree in Management and Business before moving to the UK, which was a great decision! I joined Bournside as an Administrator and am very fortunate to have worked my way up to Interim School Business Manager. 

Outside of work, I enjoy travelling and spending time with friends and family. I love being busy and organising events. Being a new mum is amazing as I now see all of the world’s possibilities through my daughter’s eyes.

Sally Lees - Assistant Headteacher

I was born in Cornwall where I completed my education until I was 18. From an early age I always knew I wanted to teach music and allow others to experience and enjoy all the opportunities I had as a child. I went to Cardiff University to study Music, before embarking on my Teacher Training at Bath College of Higher Education. I taught as a music teacher in Bristol before becoming Head of Expressive Arts in Cirencester. I joined Bournside in 2008 as Assistant Headteacher and embarked on further studies to gain the NASENCo award which has enabled me to become the Special Needs Coordinator (SENCo) for the school.

Away from school, my son Ethan keeps me busy. He is a very keen rugby player which is great as I have followed rugby all of my life supporting Cornwall, Bath, and England. My support for Bath Rugby though is coming home to haunt me now though, as my son is an ardent Gloucester supporter! It certainly adds fun to a day out at the rugby! In my ‘free’ time I like to play tennis, watch live sport and listen to music. I love walking and exploring the countryside with my two black Labradors, Murphy and Molly.

Lucy Hemsley - Assistant Headteacher

Born and bred in Cheltenham, I completed my undergraduate degree in History at York University before spending 2 years working in magazine publishing in London. Knowing I wanted a change of career but not quite knowing in what field, I spent a year backpacking the world before settling in Mexico to teach English. Once inside a classroom, I knew that was where I belonged! I returned to Cheltenham in 2012 to teach History and Politics at Bournside and have been here ever since! 

Alongside teaching, I completed a part-time Masters in Teaching and Learning at Oxford University, specialising in teaching the most able and also widening participation to the most competitive universities. I have been very fortunate to hold a range of responsibility posts in the school, joining the Senior Leadership Team in 2018 and now have the absolute privilege of leading on teaching and learning. Aside from school, I am a busy mum of two and whilst travelling is more Butlins than Bolivia these days, gardening has become a new hobby of mine – Monty Don eat your heart out!

Kevin Warren - Assistant Headteacher

I started my teaching career in South Wales having graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a degree in Geography. Having worked in South Wales for 13 years I joined Bournside in 2009. Outside of school, I have 2 sons and I enjoy nothing more than taking them to their various sporting fixtures every weekend and watching them compete on a rugby or football pitch. Coaching rugby at Hereford RFC under 16s and supporting Wales in the Six Nations also gives me a huge amount of satisfaction. 

Away from the rugby pitch I am a keen runner and enjoy keeping fit. I recently completed a double ultra-marathon in aid of Motor Neurone Disease running from Bath to Cheltenham. I am determined to ensure that this was not a one off experience and plan to run several more ultra-marathons in the future. In addition to sport, I take pleasure in reading, particularly autobiographies and thrillers.

Rob Waters - Assistant Headteacher

I am from a small village called Caerleon in South Wales where I grew up on a farm and went to school completing my A levels in Computing, Biology and Geography before moving on to University in Swansea. I spent 3 happy years there living by the sea, playing rugby and graduating in Information Systems. First and foremost, I am a teacher of Computing and ICT, but since joining Bournside more than 5 years ago I have had a range of responsibilities that are predominantly pastoral.

Away from school I enjoy travelling around the world including Asia, America and anywhere I can ski. When in this country, you will find me taking my dog on as many walks as she can get me on and spending time with family. Reading brings me pleasure as it allows me time away from screens and I am also a lover of golf and squash, and have a lifetime season ticket for an unsuccessful rugby team in South Wales!

Paul Lockyer - Associate Assistant Headteacher

I graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Economic and Social History before spending 4 years working in marketing and finance in the South West. Delivering training sessions was the most rewarding part, so I went back to university to train as a teacher. I started my new career in 2000, and joined Bournside as Head of History in 2005. I’ve loved every minute! So many students have a real passion for the past which makes it a delight to teach here. Whether it be honouring the Last Post at the Menin Gate; listening attentively in freezing conditions to the horrors of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp; or perfectly adhering to the 2 minute silences at our annual Remembrance Day Ceremony, Bournsiders know how to respect those who have given so much to us. I never cease to feel proud of our students as a whole community.

At home, my main interests are my family, running, and Liverpool FC. I have run 4 London Marathons and over 30 half marathons, including Cheltenham 5 times. You may have seen me running for CLC Striders at local parkruns or at the Prince of Wales Summer track meetings, when I have sometimes competed against students! My wife and 2 sons keep me busy and I take my eldest to Anfield whenever I can, whilst the younger one prefers playing ‘super heroes’ and launching himself at me dressed as Superman or Groot!

Matthew Gray - Associate Assistant Headteacher

Growing up in the city of Cleveland, Ohio in America, I was an open-minded youth who certainly didn’t anticipate the direction my life would take. My desire to understand the world led me to study Philosophy at the University of Maryland, yet it was my desire to improve the world which led me to teaching. Having spent a year on exchange at the University of Bristol, I fell in love with Britain and consider myself incredibly lucky to have found a career where I can give back to the young people of the country. 

My greatest joy in my life is my daughter Lottie who always helps me to find the excitement in the little things in life. She also reminds me of my core purpose in helping others, as I know that every student we come across is just as important to their loved ones as she is to me.

In my spare time I am an avid follower of sport: especially football, American football, surfing and basketball. I also enjoy a wide range of music and can sometimes be found practising my guitar in Bournside’s Music department. I have always had a passion for learning and have gained a huge amount of insight from my Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies at King’s College London.