The Academicis Team


Having spent the formative 20 years of his career in multinational technology and investment banking institutions, Richard started his education recruitment career in 2008, joining the Times Educational Supplement (TES). Here he gained a thorough understanding of the education recruitment market and the issues facing schools today. He worked in a number of the company’s divisions before joining TES Prime, the Executive Search arm before moving on to set up Academicis a decade ago,  in 2013. Since the company’s inception, Richard has led Academicis to become one of the market leaders in school’s senior leadership recruitment. Over his career to date, he has placed in excess of 1,200 Headteacher to CEO roles in schools, trusts and diocese across the country, and has clients as far south as Plymouth and Portsmouth and as far north as Preston, York and Cumbria.

Outside of work, Richard is a very keen swimmer and enjoys spending time with his children, wife and Viszla, Max.

Richard Lucas

Chief Executive Officer & Founder

Known for an unwavering commitment to improving standards as a teacher, headteacher, Director of Education and as Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael has helped to improve the lives of many generations of young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. As Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Children’s Services and Skills, between 2012 and 2016, Sir Michael was pleased at the end of his tenure, to report that nearly two million more children and young people were being educated in good and outstanding schools than when he took up his position in 2012. In 2000, he was knighted by the Queen for Services to Education. Previous to his appointment as HMCI, Sir Michael had been a very successful head teacher of a number of schools in Inner London. He became particularly well known for Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, East London, where he transformed one of the worst schools in Britain into one of the best, sending large numbers of children to top universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

Sir Michael Wilshaw

Associate Director

Caroline has been working in education for over 24 years and within education recruitment for over 17 years, latterly at TES Prime the executive search arm of the TES publication. During this time, she has built strong relationships with schools and supported many senior leaders to obtain their dream jobs. As Head of Delivery at Academicis, she has successfully delivered and worked on many leadership roles for schools and trust. Clients come to bank on her personally for her support during the attraction and selection phases as they know how determined she is to go above and beyond to make sure a seamless recruitment process is achieved. As well as steering her team of resourcers to generate a sound field of candidates, she oversees the entire administration process from shortlisting and vetting, through assessment and interview days to appointment. She is passionate about education and making a difference to how children learn, loves a challenge and working with different types of schools to achieve a shared goal creates this. In her free time, she energetically supports charity events with a local sports club to raise money for children.

Caroline Olsen

Head of Search

Fiona has worked within the Education Sector throughout her career, including as a SENDCO in a large Secondary School to most recently as part of the UK Strategic Accounts Team at TES, where she worked with some of the largest MATs within the UK.   Fiona is passionate about education and thoroughly enjoys working with Schools and Trusts in order to support them to make a real difference to the children in their care.  She has a plethora of experience working with clients in a supportive and consultative way and prides herself on building relationships and ensuring her clients receive exceptional service.

Outside of work, Fiona loves spending time with her family and two miniature Dachshunds, Willow and Tink.  She is an avid musical theatre fan and has directed and choreographed numerous amateur musicals in and around the North West.

Fiona Walker

New Business Client Director

Geoff has worked in Education recruitment since 2001, including several years as the Head of Interim at TES Prime. During this time he has built a sound understanding of the intricacies of appointing to different roles in a wide variety of settings and is of a firm belief that every stakeholder in a school has the ability to make a difference to the children in their care. Geoff has made successful placements in every role in a school setting from teaching assistants to CEO’s and has worked with high profile Independent school groups, stand-alone village primary schools and everything in between. Passionate about education for all Geoff is a governor of a primary school and trustee of a multi academy trust in SW London where he lives with his wife and two children.

In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, playing rugby, cycling and going to the cinema.

Geoff Morris

New Business Client Director

Anna joins Academicis with 26 years of experience in the education sector, including 17 years in a variety of Senior Leadership roles from Assistant Headteacher to Executive Headship; responsible for strategic and operational leadership of schools.

Passionate about education, Anna strongly believes that leadership in schools is a gift and is imperative to ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential whatever their backgrounds.

Anna can offer extensive personal experience, knowledge and understanding of leadership roles in a supportive and consultative manner.

At home, Anna enjoys walking, yoga and spending quality time with family and friends.

Anna Pattenden

New Business Client Director

Ross has supported hundreds of clients in finding exceptional senior leaders at all levels. He has built strong relationships with Schools, Trusts and Local Authorities which mean they return to work with him time and time again.

Outside of work Ross is a keen sportsman and loves to travel.

Ross Laird

Executive Search Manager

Before Joining Academicis in January 2020 Tracy had worked at TES for 16 years starting on teacher recruitment, moving to the International team and then for the last five years on the Leadership team as it merged with TES Prime. Outside of work Tracy’s passions are Photography, MotoGP and live music.

Tracy Laverack

Executive Search Consultant

Vonya joins Academicis with extensive experience of the education sector having worked firstly as an English teacher and most recently as a Head of a SEN establishment where she was responsible for the overall management of the school.

She has a passion for education and for ensuring that pupils get the best in both education and pastoral support. In addition, Vonya offers experience of working within client and customer facing roles and so understands the value of listening to client’s requirements and of providing a high level of customer service to both clients and candidates.

At home, Vonya enjoys cooking, travelling and spending time with her family.

Vonya Campey

Executive Search Consultant

Neil has operated within the recruitment and executive search industry across a variety of sectors nationally. With 20 years’ experience he has successfully delivered assignments for clients from management to senior Board Directors.

During this time, he has also provided career coaching and outplacement services both independently and for customers of the Dept. for Work & Pensions, helping hundreds of professionals and executives seeking a career change, or who have been made redundant.

Neil is excited to have joined Academicis, and he is looking forward to applying his extensive experience and knowledge to the Education sector.

Outside of work, Neil has a busy family life, a daughter and a son requiring a regular taxi service! He enjoys reading, good food, holidays with his family and socialising with a tight-knit group of friends in his home city of Chester.

Neil Massie

Executive Search Consultant

Will has spent over 15 years of his career working in retail finance. He has leadership experience across Risk, Credit underwriting and Sales, developing a passion for training and development.

Will began his recruitment career in 2014 and quickly established himself as a leading search consultant in the world of financial services recruitment. Will has successfully placed a number of senior leaders into many of the UK’s leading banks, finance houses and insurance companies.

Will is delighted to have joined Academicis and looking forward to the challenge of working in the extremely rewarding sector of Education.

Outside of work, Will enjoys nothing more than spending time with his family. He has a love for running and often drags his wife and 2 boys around the local Parkrun on a Saturday morning. A terrible golfer and keen drummer.

William Bridge

Executive Search Consultant

Rebecca is delighted to join Academicis and joins the business with 8 years’ experience within senior C-Suite Finance recruitment and sales across a variety of industries throughout London, Essex and the Home Counties.

Outside of work Rebecca has a busy family life with her 2 children and very large Dalmatian. Rebecca enjoys baking for events for friends and family and is very keen on fitness being married to a Military Personal Trainer. With all this happening she still finds time to also play a big part in fundraising for her 3-year old’s nursery.

Rebecca Beach

Executive Search Consultant

Before joining Academicis in 2022, Tiffany worked in event project and operational management. She spent a number of years in Spain where she successfully ran her own part time Wedding Planning company.  She has a background in Marketing and Events, as well as Internal Communications, supporting major organisational change.

Outside of work, Tiffany likes to keep fit by running and walking with her little miniature dachshund Frankie. Tiffany is a also a trained St John’s Ambulance volunteer and during Covid helped with vaccination roll out.

Tiffany Aldred

Operations Manager/ EA to MD
Marketing Manager Team

Gemma has 20 years of marketing experience, having gained a BA Hons in Illustration at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth in 2003. Gemma has worked with various brand including Clintons and Proctor and Gamble

In her spare time as a mum of three, Gemma likes to keep fit either using her Peloton, running or walking her rescue dog Aria. Gemma is a creative at heart and can often be found working on an interior design project at home.

Gemma Armes

Marketing Manager

Max is the Academicis office dog, he’s our youngest team member at only 10 months.

Max is often found snoozing in his bed in Richards office or following us around in the hope we might offer him some food! Max’s best attributes are definitely his cuddles and the ability to make us all smile as he is just so handsome!


Office Dog

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