SCEL is governed by an independent Board of Directors

The Scottish College for Educational Leadership was established as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee in 2014 and is governed by an independent Board of Directors.

This Board has overseen the establishment and development of SCEL and the implementation of its strategic plan of growth and development.

The Directors bring diverse professional experiences in education and educational research, school leadership, corporate governance, business development and financial and legal management.


About Professor Anthony Finn, CBE

Tony Finn is Chair of SCEL’s Board of Directors. He also chairs the Board Recruitment and Evaluation Sub-Committee, and is a member of SCEL’s International Advisory Board.

Currently part-time Professor of Teacher Education and Professionalism at the University of Glasgow, Tony was CEO of GTC Scotland until his retirement in October 2013. He was awarded the CBE for services to Education in January 2014.

Tony began his career as a Modern Languages teacher and for almost 18 years was Head Teacher of St Andrew’s High School, Kirkcaldy, a school which won a number of national awards and commendations. Before moving to GTC Scotland, he was Senior Manager (Depute Director) for Education in Fife Council, with an overview of around 60 schools and wide strategic responsibilities including assessment, curriculum, learning and teaching and links with trade unions.

He has served on national committees on many issues, including curriculum, CPD, leadership and management and is keen to promote good practice in collegiality, pedagogy and leadership. He contributes regularly to educational conferences, seminars and events in Scotland, the UK and overseas.

About Aileen Ponton

Aileen Ponton is a member of SCEL’s Board of Directors. She also chairs the Finance, Audit and Risk Sub-Committee and the Strategic Oversight Board for the Into Headship Programme.

Aileen joined the SCQF Partnership, the body responsible for maintaining the National Qualifications Framework for Scotland, as its first Chief Executive in July 2007. The SCQF Partnership is also the National Co-ordination Point for the European Qualifications Framework. Aileen also chairs the UK Co-ordinating Group for European VET Initiatives which brings together qualifications regulators from across the UK. Aileen’s previous experience has had both an employer and education focus. Prior to joining the SCQF Partnership Aileen was Head of Policy Development (Scotland) with the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) for three years. This was the organisation which set up the network of Sector Skills Councils. Before joining SSDA in 2004, Aileen had worked with the Scottish Qualifications Authority and its predecessor SCOTVEC for 16 years in a range of roles including qualifications development, assessment and quality assurance. She has also provided advice and consultancy on Qualification Frameworks through the SCQF Partnership to a number of European countries, Bahrain and Hong Kong.

About Frances Ross

Frances Ross is a member of SCEL’s Board of Directors and the organisation’s Company Secretary. She is also a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Sub-Committee.

Frances studied Law at Glasgow University and qualified as a solicitor in 2005. She is a Partner with Clyde & Co and specialises in Employment Law with a particular interest in Discrimination. Frances is a member of the Scottish Discrimination Law Association and the Law Society of Scotland. She advises employers and employees on the full range of challenges arising from the employment relationship and is a member of Clyde & Co.’s Public Sector and Education Practice Groups. She has worked with a number of clients in the education sector. Having volunteered with the Greater Opportunity of Access and Learning and Closing the Gap Projects, Frances has a strong belief in the importance of leadership in education.

About Kenneth Muir

Kenneth Muir is a member of SCEL’s Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Board Recruitment and Evaluation Sub-Committee, and SCEL’s International Advisory Board.

Kenneth is Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the body responsible for promoting and regulating the teaching profession in Scotland. Before that, he worked in HMIE/Education Scotland, latterly as Chief Inspector and Strategic Director with responsibility for inspections and the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence. He began his teaching career as a teacher of Geography and Modern Studies and has held various senior posts in schools and education authorities.

Kenneth is the author of a number of Geography textbooks and is a regular speaker at national and international conferences. He has been a member of many national education groups, including the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board, the National Implementation Board and the Strategic Board for Teacher Education. He recently chaired the Ministerial Group which reported on the experiences of teachers and learners in the first two years of the new National examinations. He has a particular interest in the Finnish education system where he has worked with Helsinki University and the Finnish National Board of Education.

About Clare Harker

Clare Harker is a member of SCEL’s Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Board Recruitment and Evaluation Sub-Committee.

Clare has worked in Scottish Education for over 20 years and is currently Head Teacher of St Albert’s Primary School in Pollokshields, Glasgow. She was previously a Depute Head Teacher in East Renfrewshire. Clare previously worked as a Determined to Succeed teacher, based in a secondary school supporting young people with workplace learning and employability skills. From this she developed an interest in exploring barriers to learning and employment. Clare is committed to ensuring all pupils have equity of access to education and access to positive destinations beyond school. She is passionate about the development of leadership within the Scottish Education system and, consequently, access to leadership opportunities for all pupils, staff and parents. Clare has a keen interest in teacher education and ensuring the highest quality learning experiences for future teaching professionals. She sits on the B ED/M Education committee at the University of Glasgow. She has also worked as a Liaison Officer for GridClub, offering training and advice on gaming for learning and exploring how technology shapes learner profiles.

Outside school, Clare works as part of a Community Group organising land clearing, fundraising and community events. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Baldy Bane Theatre Company.

About Rodger Hill

Rodger Hill is a member of SCEL’s Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Sub-Committee.

Originally from Glasgow, Rodger started his career as a Mathematics and Computing teacher in Trinity Academy, Edinburgh before moving to North Berwick High School as Assistant Principal Teacher of Computing. Moving back to the west, he was promoted to PT Computing and then PT Curriculum at St. Joseph’s College in Dumfries. During this time he spent a year on exchange at Melbourne High School, Australia. He completed his MSc in School Leadership and Management (SQH) from the University of Stirling whilst Depute Head Teacher at Sanquhar Academy.

Leaving the classroom, he became an Education Officer with Dumfries & Galloway Council focusing on leadership development and secondary staffing. Working with Education Scotland, he delivered an innovative online leadership course through Glow, which engaged participants from across Scotland. From there he moved to Angus Council where he worked as Service Manager Schools and Learning with secondary school responsibility.

Rodger currently works at Perth and Kinross Council as Head of Education – Secondary and Inclusion.

About Pamela Nesbitt

Pamela has taught in a number of schools in Dundee and Angus over the last 28 years. She is currently Education Manager (Primary) in Dundee with responsibility for supporting and leading on all matters related to Primary Education. She was formally a Head Teacher, for a total of 10 years, at Barnhill Primary School and Park Place Primary School in Dundee. She is a Past President of the Association of Heads and Deputes Scotland (AHDS) and sits on a number of national forums.

Throughout her career she has sought to pursue her own professional learning and to support others on their learning journey. She has delivered on a range of topics at conferences and events. She has worked with Education Scotland to deliver professional development in Curriculum for Excellence and worked with GTC Scotland in the development of Professional Update.

She has been a strong advocate for the development of a national college for leadership and is committed to the ongoing support for the development of SCEL.

Pamela is also a member of the Board Recruitment and Evaluation Sub-Committee.

About Mark Wilson

Mark has been teaching for over 17 years, and is currently Depute Head Teacher of Arkleston Primary in Renfrewshire, with particular responsibility for coordinating Additional Support Needs and leading curriculum development in mathematics.

In 1999, Mark began his teaching career in North Lanarkshire as a class teacher for 10 years, until taking up a Principal Teacher post in 2009. He started his current post in 2015.

Mark completed his MSc in School Leadership and Management (including Scottish Qualification for Headship) in 2015, and has a real passion for improving outcomes for all learners through developing leadership at all levels.  He has recently worked with local authority colleagues to develop a middle leadership programme aimed at building capacity and capability.

Mark firmly believes that engaging classroom practitioners in making the link from leadership theory to practice is key to driving sustainable improvement in classrooms, and beyond.

About Neil McLennan

Neil has served Scottish education in a range of leadership positions, from teacher to middle-level leader, before going on to serve schools as a Curriculum Support Team Leader, National Development Officer and  as a Local Authority Officer.  He has also served a number of national organisations.  He is the Past President of both the Scottish Association of Teachers of History and the Enterprise Practitioners Association and was also the General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland where he chaired their Excellence in Education Working Group.

He is a former Trustee of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Foundation.  Neil is a lay advisor to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and a Director of the Scottish Parental Teacher Council.

Neil has been the recipient of local authority Enterprise Champion Awards, Institute of Contemporary Scotland Young Scot of the Year, a Royal Society Medal and also is one of Scotland’s 40Under40.  He is currently the Director of Leadership Programmes & Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen where he supports the development of leaders across both the public and the third sector.

Neil has also worked extensively with international partners to improve educational outcomes.  He worked in Former Yugoslav Republic countries as an ‘international expert’ as part of a United National Alliance of Civilisations/EUROCLIO Building Capacity Project and has presented internationally from Mexico to Malta.

Neil is also a well establish education author, having written textbooks to support young people in Standard Grade, Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications.  He has also published on leadership, values and skill development.