Meet the Staff

Kerrie Whelan

Head Of School

Bringing to Endeavour Academy over 20 years’ experience of working with young people who have disengaged from education, Kerrie has spent the last 15 years on the Senior Management Team of a large, all age Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). After qualifying as a Head Teacher, Kerrie took on an Interim Headship where she was successful in becoming the first PRU to achieve Centre of Excellence status in the teaching of Financial Capability. Her passion for promoting positive mental health was evident in the partnerships she developed to establish a large network of Mental Health Champions, leading to named leads within the school environment who were trained to facilitate change. Kerrie strives to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for students with a focus on resilience programmes of learning which teach students how to cope with and respond to change and instill the basic skills required become successful and confident learners and responsible citizens within their communities.

Lesley Wood

Deputy Head Of School

Lesley has over 15 years of experience of working with secondary school children from across the County Durham area within both mainstream and SEBD alternative provision schools. She has a particular passion for restorative justice, students who present as having complex needs and ensuring that all young people feel valued and respected. Lesley believes that all children have the ability to thrive within the right environment with the right level of care and support. She is committed to providing a safe and happy environment in which students can learn, achieve and grow as individuals ready to take on their next challenges in life.

Gillian Setterfield

Learning Mentor / LSA

Gillian has worked with learners with a range of abilities and needs. She has a good knowledge of Autism, ADHD, ODD and has level 3 in Counselling skills and a good knowledge of life skills.

Laura Rosamond

Learning Mentor / LSA

Laura has a degree in Education and Curriculum Studies from University of Sunderland, in which her dissertation was on ASD and Sensory Processing Disorder. She has worked with learners of different ages with a varying degree of needs and abilities.

Dr Valerie Cornish


Valerie’s background is in biochemistry, having studied for a degree and doctorate during the 1990s. This was followed by hands-on developmental biology laboratory research both in the UK and USA.
A career break and subsequent career change have seen her recently gain her PGCE in secondary science. She is dedicated to engaging pupils with the world around them and demonstrating how science is relevant on a day to day basis by using a creative and imaginative approach to teaching science.

Laura Stock

Learning Mentor / LSA

Laura attended The University of Sunderland, and earned a 2:1 BA Hons in English Literature and Creative Writing, following on to gain her PGCE and qualified teacher status. Laura has some experience in teaching in mainstream education, but fully believes that this kind of provision provides the kind of education she wants to be a part of. Laura is passionate about helping learners achieve to the best of their ability, and promotes a ‘can do’ attitude.

Michael Cullen


Michael specialises in teaching students with learning difficulties and disabilities, achieving his PGCE with Distinction. He has experience of working in mainstream, PRU and alternative provision schools and believes in a diverse, engaging and student-centred curriculum that promotes inclusion and achievement. Sport is a big part of Michael’s life, be it watching or playing. He has utilised this passion in various job roles within education, providing extra-curricular activities for both staff and students, promoting health and well-being. Michael prides himself on bringing out the best in students.

Debra Wilson

Head Of Administration / PA To Head Of School / Exams Officer

Debra has worked in the Education sector for over 15 years in a wide range of administration roles. Debra trained as a Personal Assistant supporting various Directors within Local Authority settings before moving to education to support School Governing Bodies. From then on she moved to East Durham College and has provided administrative support to various Vice Principals before moving to Endeavour Academy.

Steven Christian


Steven has studied Crime Scene Science at Teesside University graduating in 2010, the subject lends itself to many applications of science and maths. Steven has worked as a science teacher since 2011 in a variety of schools in the North East with a wide range of students. Steven uses his passion for the subjects in the classroom to express the importance of these subjects in many career paths and to develop a wider interest. Steven promotes an attitude of “doing your best” with students he works with and not comparing themselves to others. Outside of school Steven also has interest in games (board/card/miniature), these interests have helped him get involved with and create extra-curricular clubs within the schools. These clubs have been invaluable at helping develop student’s social, literacy and numeracy skills.

Louise Brewer

Learning Mentor / LSA

Louise attended East Durham College to pursue her career in Performing Arts when leaving school. Continuing on from this, Louise attended The University of Sunderland where she gained her BA Hons degree. In 2017 Louise went on to study her PGCE where she specialised in SEN – this is Louise’s first professional job working in a school. Louise is as bright in the classroom as she is on stage.

Ruby Hopkinson

Learning Mentor / LSA

Ruby has 20 years’ experience working in a variety of Early Years, Primary and Secondary schools in Scotland and England, working with students and families with many different additional needs such as ASD, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. Ruby has gained her HNC in Early Education and Childcare at Edinburgh College, and also completed many training courses on SEND, challenging behaviour, and mentoring in the classroom during her working career.


Emma Wilson

Receptionist / Administrator

Emma has over 20 years’ experience working in Customer Service including working for the NHS across two busy GP surgeries as a medical Receptionist/Administrator.  Bringing forth the ability to manage front desk settings in addition to managing a variety of administrative and clerical duties providing excellent customer care and communication skills in a professional environment.