Senior team

ASDAN's senior team is responsible for strategy and operations at ASDAN and has extensive experience of education and charity sectors.

Melissa Farnham

Melissa has 25 years’ experience across the UK education landscape. Prior to her role as CEO at ASDAN, Melissa held leadership roles within education and charitable providers as well as governance and advisory roles across local authorities and within the non-maintained and independent sector. Holding trustee and advisory roles with organisations such as NASS, The Children’s Trust, Priors Court and the BSI has allowed Melissa to gain a broad and knowledgeable understanding of the sector.

Throughout her career Melissa has worked with a range of stakeholders and education communities including NGOs, devolved funding commissioners, government leaders, and policy groups. She is a passionate advocate for the education and care sector and the position they hold in shaping successful outcomes for young people.

Melissa will bring the voice of ASDAN to the forefront of the education landscape. She has been involved in numerous policy consultation responses and has represented the sector within policy and governmental workshops, Green Paper development, and conferences. Melissa was a member of the Council for Disabled Children, reviewing the actions arising from ‘Tomorrow’s leaders – a world beyond disability’, and has taken part in Ofqual and Standards-based advisory groups to identify reasonable adjustments, better and equal access, as well as explore the impact of technology on assessment.

Melissa is passionate about leading and supporting the growth of ASDAN’s mission to engage more young people to thrive on a passion to learn, elevate their aspirations and opportunities and empower them to open the doors to their futures.

Head and shoulders photograph of James Foyle

James has over 15 years of experience working within local authorities and the charity sector. Most recently, he has worked for the UK’s foremost fostering charity, leading a department for education funded programme on the recruitment and retention of foster carers utilising a psychographic profiling tool and incorporating core marketing principles. He has also transformed a membership service, uniting teams and implementing new operational models and working with partners from across the business sector. James also has experience working with organisations across Europe and Asia keen to develop and utilise the skills and knowledge honed in the UK.

James is committed to helping ASDAN achieve its mission to engage, elevate and empower young people in greatest need.

Zoë has extensive experience in teaching, leadership and curriculum design, drawn from working in and with schools, government, Multi Academy Trusts, universities and local authorities for over 25 years.

Her experience working with practitioners is grounded in her roles as a middle and senior leader in schools and as a local authority senior school improvement adviser. She has designed and led school improvement programmes, establishing action research networks for practitioners working with learners from diverse contexts.

Throughout her career, Zoë has worked with executive senior leadership teams and practitioners in primary, special and secondary school settings as an Advanced Skills Teacher, LA adviser and senior leader.

Most recently, she completed her PhD whilst working as the research officer on a Welsh Government school improvement and professional learning project. Before this, she worked as the Director of Education and Director of Curriculum Design and Professional Learning in a multi academy trust.

Zoë is committed to ASDAN’s work in creating powerful professional learning for leaders and practitioners through which they can collaboratively design evidence-informed teaching approaches and learner-centred assessment strategies that engage, elevate and empower all learners.