Meet the HeadStart team

The HeadStart team in Newham comes from varied backgrounds but there is one goal that drives all our work: we’re determined to make Newham a place where young people thrive.

Annadevi Nagtalon
Youth Practitioner
I am one of HeadStart’s Youth Practitioners and work in secondary and primary schools in Newham. I believe every young person has the capability to create a successful and happy life and I am incredibly lucky to be able to facilitate them through the process of construct and live their best life.

Diana Igbokwe
Youth Practitioner
I studied Dance Theatre at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Contemporary Dance, which led me to completing a teacher training course. I am a dancer, choreographer, teacher and youth practitioner and I work fluidly across Hip Hop, African, Street Dance, Contemporary and Jazz styles. I find it a great pleasure giving back to the next generation and strive to be a giver of love, good vibes, positive energy!

Hiwot Ameneshoa
Youth Practitioner
As a Wellbeing coach I realised my passion for working with young people. I believe in empowering young people to adopt a growth mindset and become their own biggest cheerleaders. I find HeadStart’s preventative approach to mental health and commitment to supporting the child holistically inspiring.

Jayson Branigan
Youth Practitioner
I am a HeadStart youth practitioner. I have been working with young people since I was a young person! The work that HeadStart does is vital as it helps build up resilience and gives young people a head start in life.

Marcus Morgan
Youth Practitioner
I am one of the HeadStart youth practitioners and I work in secondary and primary schools in Newham. I sing, write, teach, coach and enjoy helping young people make informed choices in their lives.

Matthew Burnett
Youth Practitioner
I grew up in East London and trained for the 2012 Olympics before going on to university to do acting. I’ve even been in a couple of major feature films! Before joining Head Start, I was a drama Secondary School teacher where I led the Mentoring and Anger Management programme in my school. My passion is seeing young people use their voice to fufill their potential.

Michael Olusegun
Youth Practitioner
I work in primary and secondary schools in Newham leading HeadStart programmes. I love training and teaching boxing and martial arts and helping young people reach their full potential. My favourite quote is “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Rebecca Rice
Youth Practitioner
I deliver a variety of HeadStart programmes that aim to build young people’s resilience. My role as a youth practitioner is to encourage young people to use their everyday experiences as opportunities for learning more about themselves and others and to try new things that will unlock and open doors for their future.

Sarah Reeves
Youth Practitioner
I’m one of the HeadStart youth practitioners. My main aim in life is to make a positive impact on the world and those people around me. In the words of Walt Whitman “Be curious, not judgemental”.

Janine Robertin
Co-Production Lead
It’s my job to make sure young people are heard and can really influence how our work develops and changes– a goal I’m 100% committed to. I love that I get to be a part of a young person’s story, their change and their growth.

Sabrina Simpson
Co-Production Practitioner
My role is to run HeadStart Champions activities across a range of primary and secondary schools. For the last ten years I have worked with children and families where there is parental mental illness. I moved to the HeadStart team because I feel very strongly that all children and young people should have access to support around their emotional wellbeing. Where we can support and intervene early is important!

Becky Dawson
Resilience Training Lead
(Secondary & Primary Phases)
Over my 16 years experience teaching, I have held several pastoral roles and most recently the role of Assistant Headteacher and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. I am passionate about working with schools to build resilience in their pupils and ensure each young person is given every opportunity to meet their full potential. As a Resilience Training Lead, I work with HeadStart schools in Newham to develop a whole school approach so schools are able to make positive differences in the lives of the young people in their care.

Louise Bauer
Resilience Training Lead
(Secondary Phase)
After 15 years of school leadership, I remain passionate about helping to make education and intervention relevant to the young people in our classrooms, to “Generation Z” and to our increasingly diverse communities, recognizing and respecting all of their richness as well as all of their challenges.

Suus-anna Harskamp
Resilience Training Lead
(Primary Phase)
I started teaching here in Newham and loved my job, especially spending time with our fantastic young people. Over the years I became more interested in working with the child as a whole person and not just about delivering the curriculum. Being at HeadStart is a brilliant way to de-stigmatise thinking around mental health and encourage emotional well being.

Helena Kaliniecka
Clinical Psychologist
I support the HeadStart Youth Practitioners and deliver the More than Mentors programme in secondary schools. The best thing about my job is getting to know some pretty amazing people from all walks of life, it’s such an honour to be allowed to share part of a young person's journey with them.

Penny Phillips
Parent and Creative Activities Manager
Over the years I’ve worked in a variety of roles from giving advice and information to coaching and community development. I have a passion for finding solutions to problems while working alongside those who are directly impacted. HeadStart is a great opportunity to work with young people in Newham to help them feel good about themselves and the people around them.

Faria Khan
Programme Support Officer
I provide administrative support to the HeadStart team. To me, the term ‘children are our future’ has become a cliché. At HeadStart we strive to support young people to build their future by instilling resilience. We have come a long way to achieve this work with the many interventions and the dedication of our team.

Discover More