Key Staff

Joe Sonnenfeld,Teaching School Manager

I started teaching in North Tyneside in 1986 at St Stephen’s RC Primary School. Since then I’ve worked for a number of local authorities including Redcar and Cleveland, Southampton and Wiltshire and taught overseas in the Middle East and Far East. I’ve held a range of middle and senior leadership positions and I’ve been a Headteacher of two very different primary schools. I was a serving Headteacher until 2013.I have a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing classroom practitioners and leaders in a rapidly changing educational landscape. I am very excited about the advent of teaching schools and delighted to be part of the Durham Teaching School Alliance. The teaching school model provides a strong platform from which to work collaboratively to drive up standards of achievement in Durham’s schools by developing and disseminating outstanding practice across the alliance.Over time alliance schools will work with networks of schools, locally and nationally, to further build and strengthen excellence in our schools.


Lynn George, Headteacher and National Leader in Education, Prince Bishops Community Primary School.

I have been a teacher for more than twenty years and a headteacher for twelve of them. Prince Bishops Community Primary School opened in a new build after the amalgamation of two primary schools in 2006 and since then, staff have worked extremely hard to improve provision and raise the aspirations of our learners. I became a Local Leader of Education and Professional Partner in 2010 and the school was judged to be outstanding by Ofsted in 2011. Together with Etherley Lane Nursery School, Prince Bishops was designated a National Teaching School and National Support School in January 2013. Our bid was written in complete collaboration with all the headteachers who are now strategic leads; a clear example of what can be achieved when we work together. For me, being part of the Teaching School Alliance is an acknowledgement that all our children, in every school, should have the very best life chances. 


Leslie Patterson, Headteacher and National Leader in Education, Etherley Lane Nursery School.

I have been teaching since 1991, across a range of primary, infant and nursery schools. I have spent a substantial part of this time in the Early Years and have become very passionate about the early life chances for our children. After holding a range of leadership posts, I became Headteacher at the nursery in January 2008 and have supported the staff to move from Satisfactory to Oustanding by focussing on improving the childrens’ teaching and learning experiences. At the nursery we have built up expertise in developing both indoor and outdoor learning spaces, extending children’s own learning, and promoting their sense of well-being. I believe that all children are competent and capable learners given the right environment. I am committed to doing what I can to help to develop a knowledgeable, reflective and skilled workforce for children in all types of Early Years settings.