Libby Nicholas

  • Vice Chair of Governors and Managing Director
  • Nominated Safeguarding Governor

Alongside Dukes’ founder, Aatif, Libby is responsible for Dukes Education’s nurseries and day schools.

Having graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in English & Philosophy, Libby realised her true vocation when working with the Prince’s Trust leading a group of young people ‘not in education or employment’.

Wanting to teach and help young people, Libby completed her PGCE and was accepted on the National Fast Track Teaching Programme ranking as one of the ‘Top Ten Nationwide Fast Track Teachers’. Progressing quickly from teaching English to increasingly senior roles, Libby has held positions such as Head of Year, Deputy Head, Headmistress, Deputy Director of Education at the Girls’ Day School Trust, and Regional Director of Education for the South & West at the Academies Enterprise Trust. Most recently Libby founded and was CEO of Astrea Academy Trust- a family of 27 schools across Yorkshire and Cambridge. During her tenure, Astrea had a 100% track record of significant school improvement including over 20 Ofsted inspections many of which jumped from ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Good’. Libby also offered all 17,000 pupils the ‘Astrea Promise’- a range of enrichment experiences including, amongst many others, residential university trips in Year 5, visits abroad, climbing a mountain, and debating, to ensure all pupils benefit from experiences to raise cultural capital and learning.

Libby’s areas of professional expertise include the delivery of school improvement, strategic organisational change, curriculum design, and innovation and all aspects of teaching and learning – thinking, theory, and pedagogy. She has conducted leadership development for middle and senior leaders in primary and secondary education and has also led staff development in the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.

Most recently co-authoring “Understanding Leadership” and “Stronger Boards, Better Education”, Libby is committed to learning-centred leadership; securing high-quality education through excellent staff development at all levels. To this end, Libby has completed the NPQH and graduated with her MBA (Masters in Business) from Cass Business School with Distinction.