Our Board of Trustees is responsible for promoting the vision and objectives of Signature. They provide firm strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluating performance against those agreed targets. They ensure that agreed plans and budgets are monitored, delivered and evaluated by the executive team.
Members of the Board work alongside the Signature team at functions, meetings or other events. They act as representatives of Signature and promote and enhance our reputation and values.
Paul Keen - Signature Chair
Paul Keen became a Trustee of Signature in March 2012 and Chair in July 2017. Now retired, Paul previously held senior positions at the Department for Work and Pensions, including as Field Director for Jobcentre Plus in the North West, and as head of the services Jobcentre Plus and the earlier Employment Service delivered to disabled people. That included Access to Work where Paul oversaw a significant expansion in support, not least for deaf and hearing impaired people.
Liz has been a Signature Trustee since 2012 and Chair of NRCPD since November 2016. She originally trained as a teacher and youth worker and moved into deaf education in 1986. In 1990, Liz joined RNID as a development officer in East Kent working on post 16 provision for Deaf teenagers with additional support needs. In 1994 Liz moved to Sense to develop work in the field of acquired deafblindness. During her time with Sense, Liz was part of the team developing and delivering the Deafblind Studies programme and worked with a wide variety of organisations, both nationally and internationally. Liz has been part of the International Acquired Deafblindness Network since its early days and has chaired the Network since 2010.
Liz is severely deaf as a result of Menieres and uses a variety of modes of receptive communication, dependant on the situation (lip reading / SSE / BSL).
Mark joined our board in September 2017. Mark is head of centre for deaf education at City Lit in London. Over the years, Mark has taught and assessed all levels of BSL, from introductory to Level 6, and is a qualified Internal Verifier, also providing consultancy and advice for BSL tutors in other colleges.
Helen joined our board in December 2017 as trustee and treasurer and is currently Chief Operating Officer of Tyne Community Learning Trust, a multi academy trust of 9 schools in South Northumberland. A chartered accountant, Helen is responsible for running the Trust finance department and business service teams. Helen, who is from Huddersfield, remained in the North East after gaining her accountancy degree at Newcastle University in 1987.
John Walker joined Signature as a Trustee in October 2015 and became Vice Chair in November 2016. He is a Teaching Fellow at University of Sussex and developing undergraduate programmes in British Sign Language and Deaf culture, as well as open courses. He is also a PhD student in Social Geography, which includes the mapping of Deaf spaces.
Ian Robinson is semi-retired and is a freelance Trainer and Consultant on Deaf issues. He was Coordinator for Leeds City Council’s Deaf START Post 16 team working with FE & HE Deaf students in and around Leeds for 10 years. He managed a large team of CSWs, English Support, Educational Support Workers and Educational Interpreters that covered colleges around Leeds, ensuring Deaf post 16 students received quality communication support and developed independence.
Karen Riley OBE
Karen Riley became a Trustee in September 2018. She is now retired and was previously Headteacher of Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children in Camden, London. She has had over 35 years teaching experience and 19 years in senior leadership roles. She has worked extensively in special education and primarily in bilingual deaf education. She is Secretary of the Sign Bilingual Consortium and is also a member of several deaf organisations committed to raising educational outcomes for deaf children including CRIDE, BATOD, NatSIP and formerly the BSL coalition.
Isabella is our newest board member joining in July 2019. Isabella has comprehensive knowledge of education marketing, with over 30 years’ experience. Isabella has worked with nearly 800 schools across the UK, training, coaching and mentoring headteachers and CEO’s, she brings her expertise in commercial, education and marketing to the Signature board.