Welcome from the Senior Leadership Team
Mr George McMillan
Executive Principal and National Leader of Education
Mr McMillan is the Executive Principal of the double ‘Outstanding’ and ‘World Class School Status’ Harris Greenwich, Harris Falconwood and Harris Ockendon. Originally from Glasgow, he graduated from Aberdeen University with an MA(hons) in English Literature, and then from Edinburgh University with a PGCE and a burning desire to teach. Mr McMillan taught English for five years at a secondary school in Edinburgh serving one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, latterly having a whole school remit in charge of promoting positive behaviour. Shortly after moving to London in 2006 he joined the Senior Team at Harris Chafford Hundred and was part of their journey from ‘Requires Improvement’ to Outstanding in every area. He has been a headteacher since 2011 and an Executive Headteacher since 2019.
Mr McMillan is a lead facilitator for the National Institute of Teaching and trains hundreds of senior leaders across the country each year. As a National Leader of Education he also mentors a number of headteachers and helps support underperforming schools, helping them to identify and address areas in need of improvement.
Ms Jo Rainey
Ms Rainey is the Principal of Harris Academy Ockendon. Originally from Belfast, she graduated from the University of Ulster with a first degree in History and Geography, followed by a PGCE acquired from Leeds University. After completing teacher training, Ms Rainey moved to London in 1998 to begin her career in teaching. Over the past 21 years, she has taught history and led in schools across London and Essex with most of her senior leadership career being spent in Hackney. In 2008, after gaining her NPQH, Ms Rainey became a Senior Vice Principal and began her preparation for headship.
Ms Rainey is thrilled to be part of the Harris Federation and is excited about what the future holds for the academy and her students.
Ms Rainey has an unwavering belief that all students can succeed and that teachers have the power to transform our students’ lives regardless of their ability, background, social status and life opportunities.
Mr Darren Pearce
Senior Vice Principal
Mr Pearce joined Harris Academy Ockendon as Vice Principal in September 2020, gaining promotion to Senior Vice Principal in 2022. He has been part of the Harris family for some time, working at Harris Academy Greenwich for seven years, first as a Head of Humanities and then as an Assistant Principal.
Originally from South East London, Mr Pearce attended a local comprehensive school in Lewisham and went on to read History at the University of Oxford.
He worked as an Executive Search Consultant for two years before his passion for History led him in to the classroom where he now enjoys teaching all key stages. He is also a trained Systems Coach and enjoys working with teams of professionals from across the Academy to help them reach their leadership potential.
During his time at Harris Academy Greenwich, he helped oversee the transformation of the school’s fortunes from ‘special measures’ to ‘outstanding’ and is proud to have helped secure its status as a World Class School.
Now responsible for the Quality of the Curriculum at Ockendon, Darren wholeheartedly believes that every student in the Academy has the right to a first class education. He is motivated to ensure the curriculum offered to all students is diverse, ambitious and rich in cultural capital. He is also responsible for overseeing KS3 and 5 outcomes across the Academy, with the determination to ensure all our students achieve the results and education that enables them to reach their chosen academic or career destination.
Mr Dan Sofianos
After graduating from Queen Mary’s, University of London, with a degree in Drama, Mr Sofianos found his love for teaching in Hong Kong. He returned to the UK to follow his passion where he qualified as an English and Drama teacher through the Institute of Education.
He has since held roles as Head of Department, Advanced Skills Teacher, Specialist Leader of Education and Assistant Principal. He holds the NPQSL qualification and the SENcO Award.
He is immensely proud to be part of the Senior Leadership Team as Vice Principal. He is passionate about the lives of young people and feels strongly about developing the ‘whole’ student and building strong community links.
Mr Aran Davis
Mr Davis grew up in Basildon and graduated with a science degree from the University of Essex before qualifying as a teacher.
He has previously worked as a Head of Science at Harris Academy Ockendon and continues to lead the department as well as leading on classroom climate.
Mr Davis is motivated to ensure that all students should achieve greatness and help to overcome any barriers that they may face.
Miss Kelly Dean
Miss Dean joined Harris Academy Ockendon as Head of Sixth Form in September 2021 having been part of the Harris Federation for some time, originally working at Harris Academy Greenwich, firstly as Head of Year and then as Head of Sixth Form.
Originally from Southeast London Miss Dean read Psychology at Hertfordshire University before completing a PGCE in Social Sciences at Leicester University and a master’s in educational leadership at University College London.
Miss Dean is passionate that all Sixth Form students should be ambitious and driven in their future destinations and is committed to having a Sixth Form that is not only inclusive to all student aspirations but develops students to make such aspirations achievable.
Miss Sam Dodge
Miss Dodge began her teaching career in a local Thurrock secondary school as a Teacher of Physical Education after qualifying from the University of Brighton. She spent 10 years in this school progressing her way from Head of Year to Associate Assistant Principal.
Her main focus has always been the pastoral support and wellbeing of students.
In 2015 she joined The Ockendon Academy as Assistant Principal. Miss Dodge leads on Safeguarding, behaviour and attendance at HAOC. These roles have led her to constantly strive to ensure the best for our students in all walks of their school life.
Miss Dodge has completed a range of training and continued professional development courses including the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) which has enabled her to apply the valuable skills learnt to her everyday practice in a bid to support the students.
Miss Dodge is our lead for First Aid being qualified in First Aid and Emergency Aid and also a qualified trainer and assessor. This has resulted in her delivering annual training for our year 9 and year 12 students, and providing them with an invaluable life-skill to help them become more risk aware and equip them with skills to keep themselves or others safe, and help themselves or others if involved in a medical emergency.
Miss Dodge is also our Duke of Edinburgh Award co-ordinator. The Duke of Edinburgh award aims to help young people gain essential skills, experience, confidence and resilience to successfully navigate adult life. Students are involved in a range of activities such as volunteering, physical (such as sport, dance or fitness), developing skills (such as first aid, animal care, or sports coaching), or undertaking an expedition.
At Harris Academy Ockendon, we have been involved with the programme for a number of years, and have helped many students achieve their Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.
Mr Alexander Jackson
Originally from North-East London, Mr Jackson graduated from the University of Manchester with a Degree in Biology. Following University, he pursued careers in both the private and public sector, working initially for the Olympic Games Committee. He then moved into charity work based in South-East Asia and East Africa, focussing on improving education, health, and sanitation.
Finding his passion in education he completed the Teach First Programme in Essex before joining Harris Academy Greenwich. Here he successfully completed the Lead Practitioner programme and took charge of the Science Department, guiding them through the pandemic, and to achieving consistently high GCSE and A-Level results.
He has continued to build on his expertise in teaching with a Master’s Degree from University College London in Educational Leadership, and a Master’s Degree in Expert Teaching with the renowned Ambition Institute.
Mr Jackson joins Harris Academy Ockenden as an Assistant Principal; he is eager to support our students to thrive and make a positive contribution to their community.
Mrs Natalie McLaughlan
Mrs McLaughlan started her teaching career in Southeast London in 2005, after graduating from the University of Exeter with a dual honours degree in French and Spanish, and gaining a PGCE in Modern Languages at the University of London’s Institute of Education.
After a 5-year spell as Head of Spanish in New Cross, Mrs McLaughlan joined the Harris Federation in 2015 at Harris Academy Greenwich and accredited as a Lead Practitioner, moving to HAOC in 2021 to help lead a rapidly improving MFL department.
Mrs McLaughlan is passionate about creating lifelong linguists and supporting all students to reach their full potential. She has a strong interest in the progress and teaching of SEND students and relishes the challenge of supporting the senior team.
Ms Alice Sharpe
Ms Sharpe grew up in Southend and read Geography at Queen’s University Belfast before completing an MA in Cities and Cultures at Queen Mary’s University of London.
During this time, she taught in West London and found that teaching, particularly helping students discover a love of learning, was her true vocation.
Driven by her belief that education is foundational to social mobility, Ms Sharpe qualified as a Geography teacher through St Mary’s University, Twickenham and began her teaching career in Hackney.
In Hackney she was responsible for key stage 5 Geography provision before moving to Havering as a Head of Geography. Here she worked with Havering ITT as Geography subject lead. She moved to Harris Academy Ockendon in 2020 as Assistant Principal. Her current remits include leading the Sixth Form and Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) provision.
Ms Harroop Sandhu
Ms Sandhu graduated from City University with a first-class degree in Mathematics with Computer Science. Working as an analyst in the city, she quickly realised that she wanted a more fulfilling career, so left her job in favour of pursuing a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course at Canterbury Christchurch University. Juggling this career-move with her role as a mother instilled within her a drive to want to support others in achieving their goals, whatever their circumstances may be.
She has been teaching mathematics since 2006 and taken every opportunity to develop as a practitioner and leader, most recently completing a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Her ambition has always been to get the best out of her students, with an equal emphasis on empowering staff. She pursues this ambition by ensuring that she is well-read, up to date with professional knowledge and research, and creating environments where people feel confident to take risks in order to meet their potential.
Mr Chris Senior
Mr Senior grew up in South East London, and after attending secondary school at Harris Academy Peckham, and sixth form at Harris City Academy Crystal Palace, he went on to study Theoretical Physics at University College London. During this time, he realised he had a hunger for teaching so applied to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
Mr Senior’s career began in a large school in Croydon where he was promoted to Curriculum Leader of Science within his 11 – 16 College. In 2014, he joined the Harris Federation as a Lead Practitioner in Science and Mathematics, going on to gain accreditation as a Specialist Leader in Education and complete the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL). This has enabled him to train, challenge, support and develop staff across both the Federation and other schools.
In 2020, Mr Senior joined Harris Academy Ockendon as Assistant Principal with a focus on Key Stage 3 outcomes, homework and student personal development, where he continues his enthusiasm for developing both students and staff to reach success in their lives.
Miss Alicia Thompson
Miss Thompson grew up in South East London and graduated from Kings College London. She discovered her love and passion for teaching when she was studying her A-Levels at St Dunstan’s College. Here she knew that she wanted to go into teaching with the aim to drive and help others succeed in their studies as well as become caring, passionate and considerate individuals.
Miss Thompson has been working at Ockendon since 2008 where she joined as a teacher of Religious Studies, going onto lead the department, then become a Head of Year, and is currently part of the leadership team as an Assistant Principal.
She is looking forward to leading and propelling the Academy with the rest of the leadership team to ‘outstanding’.
Mr Adam Webb
Mr Webb grew up in Hornchurch and graduated with a degree in Biology from the University of Bath before qualifying to teach through the Teach First programme. He has previously worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher supporting schools throughout Redbridge, and as a Head of Science and Associate Assistant Headteacher in Romford before joining Harris Academy Ockendon as Assistant Principal in 2017.
Mr Webb is an enthusiastic and passionate teacher who is driven to make a real difference to students' lives. By leading on learning, teaching and staff development, he ensures that all our teachers are expert practitioners and that students make the most of every minute of every lesson.
Mr Robbie Robertson
Associate Assistant Principal
Mr Robertson grew up in Basildon and Rayleigh. After achieving a BSc Degree in Sports Studies from the University of Essex, he went on to complete his teacher training through the Harris Federation Initial Teacher Education Programme.
He then spent four years at Harris Academy Chafford Hundred as 2nd in Charge of Maths, before joining Harris Academy Ockendon as Head of Enrichment.
Mr Robertson is keen to provide students with experiences outside of their everyday lives, by leading on our successful Enrichment curriculum, and supporting our Student Parliament.