Senior Leadership Team

Ms. Ann Haydon (University of Surrey) from Surbiton High School, England

Ms. Haydon took up her position as Head of Harrow School Hong Kong on 1 August 2017. She is the first woman to lead a Harrow School.

After reading Economics and Geography at the University of Surrey, Ms. Haydon completed her PGCE at the University of Nottingham. In 2007 she gained the National Qualification for Headship from the University of London. In 2013 she was awarded a distinction in the Pearson UK. Headteacher of the Year Awards and has gained national recognition for work in leadership, governance, teaching and learning and marketing in Schools. In 2012, Ms. Haydon and her Senior Leadership Team won the Independent Schools ‘Outstanding Senior Leadership Team of the Year’ and in 2013 received the accolade of ‘Outstanding Governing Board of the Year’.

Ms. Haydon has held the position as HMC London Division Secretary and was a member of the HMC Sports Committee. She was a member of the United Learning Heads Reference Group working on strategic developments across a group of Independent Schools and Academies and she has sat on the Governing Body of several Independent Schools in London.

Ms. Haydon was Deputy Head at Guildford High School before taking up the position as Principal of Surbiton High School in 2008, an independent, HMC (Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) and IAPC (Independent Association of Prep Schools) School with circa 1500 pupils aged 4 to 18, both of which are consistently placed in the Top Ten Schools in the Times League Tables. Ms. Haydon now has the privilege of leading Harrow Hong Kong.

As a leading educator, Ms Haydon is committed to getting the very best out of young people and preparing them for top universities across the world.

Ms. Haydon’s interests include travel, sport and the arts. Ms. Haydon is married to Nigel and has two step children.

Miss Annabel Davies (Royal Holloway, University of London) from Surbiton High School, England

Miss Davies enjoyed a full British boarding school experience by firstly attending Forres Sandle Manor Prep School in Hampshire before moving to St Swithun’s School in Winchester. To further specialise in music, she moved to the specialist music school, Wells Cathedral School, for the sixth form. Having boarded from the ages of eight to eighteen she is passionate about the the benefits of a boarding school education.

On leaving school, Miss Davies graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London with a B(Mus) degree in Music and then went on to do a PGCE at the Institute of Education in London.

On gaining her teaching qualification Miss Davies started at Ravens Wood School in Kent where she spent time as a Head of Year before becoming Head of Music. She then went to Surbiton High School where she was Assistant Principal in charge of the co-curricular programme and the operational running of the school. She has also worked in both schools on developing teaching and learning and it is something she is very passionate about.

Miss Davies oversees the curriculum and teaching and learning at Harrow and is proud to be part of a forward thinking, dynamic school that is committed to preparing young people to thrive in the twenty first century.

Mr. Tom Hicks (St Catherine’s College, Oxford University) from Uppingham School, England

Mr Hicks comes from a family steeped in pastoral care. Having grown up in boarding houses in the South of England, Mr Hicks followed his father’s footsteps, becoming Housemaster at Wellington College, UK, having previously been Head of Sixth Form and Assistant HM at Lord Wandsworth College, Hampshire. Prior to moving to Hong Kong to join Harrow, he was Assistant Head: Pastoral at Uppingham School, one of the oldest and most prestigious boarding schools in Britain.

Mr Hicks is an experienced international educator, and spent three years as Head of Group Boarding for the Wellington Group of schools, paying annual inspection visits to schools in Tianjin and Shanghai. He also set up a national Prep Schools Boarding Conference, in conjunction with the Boarding Schools Association, for whom he has been a speaker at their annual national conference. Mr Hicks sat on the governing body and the academic committee of The Wellington Academy – a state boarding school in Wiltshire. At Uppingham, he spearheaded a brand-new Wellbeing curriculum, founded on the principles of Positive Psychology, following research in schools as far-ranging as the United States, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Although a teacher of English, Mr Hicks studied Modern Languages (French and Linguistics) at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University and gained his PGCE from the University of Buckingham. Whilst at university, he gained four Blues for cricket and was captain in 2000, the final first-class fixture between Oxford and Cambridge at Lord’s. He went on to captain his county, Dorset, for several years, and has also captained the MCC at the home of cricket and sat on the Players and Fixtures Sub-Committee. He now writes about the game and is a published author.

Mr Hicks joined Harrow with his wife, Penny, who works as Head of Scholarships and Bursaries and in the Admissions Department at Harrow. Their three children all attend the school.

Mr. Simon Mildinhall (University of York) from the London Oratory School, England

Mr Mildinhall grew up in the East of England before moving on to read History at the University of York (which would later be joined by an MA from King’s College London), before attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

After nearly eight years in the British Army, Mr Mildinhall decided to make the move into teaching. Since doing so, he has taught History and Politics in London, where he was also the head of the School’s Combined Cadet Force and assisted in the provision of outdoor education before moving to Harrow Hong Kong. Since arriving in Asia, he has been both a Prep and Senior House Master (for Banks and Churchill respectively) and has taught both History and Politics whilst also establishing and coordinating the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme – something that he is still involved with and which gives him the opportunity to spend more time exploring the great outdoors.

Having been involved in Pastoral care in the Senior School at every level, he is determined to use this experience to support the House Pastoral Teams in ensuring that each and every child is nurtured and supported whilst at Harrow Hong Kong.

Mr Mildinhall and his wife Hannah reside at Harrow with their young daughter and their two dogs. In their spare time, they enjoy keeping active, largely through hiking, and love to travel, having used their time here to visit Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mount Everest to name but a few, as well as experiencing the sights and sounds of the vibrant city that is Hong Kong.

Mr. James Brewer (Queen’s University Belfast) from Epsom College in Malaysia

Mr Brewer hails from Londonderry, Northern Ireland where he attended school at Foyle and Londonderry College. He graduated with a BSc in Physics before completing a MSc in Electronics and PGCE in Science, all from Queen’s University Belfast.

His first teaching post was in Bexley Grammar School in Bexley, Kent. In Bexley, he gained experience in the roles of Head of Physics and Head of Houses. Mr Brewer thought London was far from home until he moved into international teaching at Qatar International School in Doha, Qatar. He was part of the senior leadership team that developed the school into a teaching and learning school. He then moved east to Epsom College in Malaysia, Epsom was his introduction into boarding school. He thoroughly enjoyed the additional aspects that boarding school brings to teaching and to the students’ school experience.

Mr Brewer enjoyed playing various sports at school, university and club level. He played rugby with Queen’s and City Of Derry and cricket with Brigade. After hanging up his boots, he coached rugby and cricket in schools as well as regularly playing golf.

Mr Brewer moves to Harrow with his wife Mrs Mitchell, who is Housemistress of Fry House, and their two children Noah and Ella who both attend the lower school.

Ms Laura Yandell (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire & Goldsmiths, University of London) from Ark Greenwich Free School, England

Miss Yandell graduated from The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with a BA Honours degree in Acting. She then went on to do a PGCE in Drama and a Masters in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Miss Yandell worked as a Head of Department at Ravens Wood School in Kent and Sydenham High School in London before becoming Deputy Headteacher in charge of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum at Ark Greenwich Free School in South London.

Miss Yandell has a keen interest in the topic of women and leadership and has read and conducted a lot of research in this area. She is a keen member of the #WomenEd educational movement and has spoken at various conferences regarding the global in-balance of females in leadership roles in the workplace.

Miss Yandell enjoys travelling, visiting the theatre and reading and feels very privileged to have a job where she can help shape the leaders of tomorrow.

Ms. Kim Gration (Magdalen College, University of Oxford) from Luanda International School, Angola

Ms Gration graduated from the University of Oxford (Magdalen College) with a degree in Music and then went on to La Sainte Union College of Higher Education to do a PGCE. 

After teaching at two schools in Portsmouth and running the extra curricular music programme, she left the UK to teach abroad “for a couple of years” and is still waiting to go back! Ms Gration set up the English programme at Komeetta School in Espoo, Finland and enjoyed a year teaching in New York at the United Nations International School as a Fulbright Scholar. She moved to Lucaya International School in Freeport, Bahamas as a Y6 teacher and then set up a Middle School programme there for Y7 – 9. After four years, she moved to Luanda International School, Angola, first as a Music Teacher and then as an IB Curriculum Coordinator. Ms Gration moved to Harrow Hong Kong in 2015 as Head of Individual Needs. She was then appointed as founding House Mistress of Anderson House in 2018. 

When not teaching, Ms Gration enjoys spending time with her two children, who are pupils at Harrow. She also loves exploring the hiking trails of Hong Kong and listening to and playing music. 

Ms Gration is passionate about Wellbeing and Pastoral Care and is excited to take up the new role of Associate Assistant Head Pastoral and Wellbeing. 

Ms. Vicky Courtis (University of Plymouth) from Sydenham High School, England

Miss Courtis graduated from the University of Plymouth with a degree in Theatre and Performance. She then went on to do a PGCE in Drama at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Miss Courtis worked as Subject Lead (Drama) at Ark Globe Academy and as Head of Drama at Sydenham High School (both located in South London).

For seven years Miss Courtis taught at a summer programme in London, where pupils from Hong Kong would learn Dance, Drama, English and Music. Working with these pupils each summer created a desire to move to Hong Kong. She moved to take on the role of Head of Drama at Harrow Hong Kong in August 2019 and has really enjoyed her time living and working in this vibrant city.

In her spare time Miss Courtis enjoys visiting the theatre, attending live music events, running and hiking. She is delighted to be part of the senior leadership team as Associate Assistant Head (Teaching and Learning).

Ms. Freya Crofton (University of Leeds) from Saltus Grammar School, Bermuda

After graduating from the University of Leeds with a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature, Ms Crofton completed a Graduate Diploma in Law before returning to the University of Leeds to complete her PGCE.  She began her teaching career in a 2000-pupil comprehensive school in Leeds where as well as becoming EAL coordinator, she trained as a coach, sparking her interest in peer support and mentoring staff. She also directed several musical theatre productions both within the school and at a local theatre.

Ms Crofton joined Harrow Hong Kong in August 2016 and took on the role of Head of English in the following year.   This is her second international post: she spent 3 years teaching in Bermuda before arriving in Hong Kong where she took the opportunity to coach Debate and Public Speaking Teams for national and international competitions as well as completing her NPQML.

Last year, Ms Crofton co-authored an A-Level critical guide to ‘Hamlet’ and she is passionate about enjoying literature.  She also enjoys singing, theatre and travel.

Ms Crofton took on the role of Associate Assistant Head (Teaching and Learning) in August 2021.

Mr Brendan Shanahan (University of Liverpool) from St Barnabas’ CE Primary School & Nursery, England

Mr Shanahan took up his position as head of the Lower School at Harrow School Hong Kong on 17th August 2020.

Mr Shanahan graduated from the University of Liverpool with a BA (Hons) degree in Social & Economic History in 2005. He then completed his PGCE at Leeds Beckett University before starting teaching in Kirklees. Mr Shanahan has help a range of posts in his career including leading on PE, Maths, English, Design Technology, Safeguarding, Curriculum, Standards and Assessment. He was a headteacher in Westminster before taking up the role as Head of Lower School at Harrow School Hong Kong.

He is a keen sportsman and represented his University at football, lacrosse, hockey and rugby league. He also represented Huddersfield and Yorkshire playing Gaelic Football.

Mr Shanahan is delighted to be joining the team at Harrow School Hong Kong and is committed to ensuring that every pupil reaches their full potential.

Mr Gary Hancock (University of East Anglia) from Bangkok Patana School, Thailand

Mr. Hancock holds a BA degree in Primary Education with a specialism in Sports and and PGCE and has been teaching in Lower Schools for over ten years.

Upon graduation, he worked in schools in the East of England before venturing abroad to teach internationally. He has worked in British international schools in China and Thailand where he held a variety middle leader positions, both academically and pastorally. He joined Harrow Hong Kong in August 2015 from Bangkok Patana School.

Mr. Hancock will lead the Lower School on all matters of Teaching and Learning.

Mrs. Lauren Berner (University of Leicester) from Discovery School Academy Trust, England

Mrs Berner joined Harrow Hong Kong in August 2017. Over the past 2 years she has held the position of Assistant Head of Lower School (Pupil Progress), developing the use of data to support Teaching and Learning. Mrs Berner is pleased to be taking on the role of Deputy Head (Pupil Wellbeing). 

Mrs Berner holds a BA (Hons) in Primary Education from Sheffield Hallam University and qualified as a teacher in 2006. She gained a Masters in Teaching and Learning at the University of Leicester. After teaching across the primary age range, Mrs Berner pursued her interest in Inclusion and completed the National Award for SENDCo’s. She has worked as part of the Senior Leadership Team at two schools in Leicestershire, much of this time was focused on pupil wellbeing and inclusion. Mrs Berner has also completed the NPQSL with the National College and became a Specialist Leader of Education in 2015, supporting and advising schools on a range of priorities.

Mrs Berner lives in one of Harrow’s senior boarding houses (Peel House) with her husband, Mr Berner, who has recently taken up the role of House Master.

Ms. Dawn Chambers (Dublin City University) from Derwentwater Primary School, England

Ms Dawn Chambers graduated from Dublin City University with a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Art specialism in History.  After eight years living and teaching in London, she moved to Hong Kong, joining Harrow in January 2019. Preparing our young pupils for future success is her passion and she holds pupil progress at the heart of teaching and learning. She is a champion for all children and is passionate about seeing every pupil strive to achieve their full potential. 

During her time at Harrow, she has held the position of Humanities coordinator and has worked with the wider curriculum team to develop and implement a bespoke and rigorous curriculum for our pupils.

 She took on the role of Assistant Head of Lower School (Pupil Progress) in August 2021 and is looking forward to integrating assessment into teaching and learning and using data to enable every pupil’s pursuit of excellence.

Ms. Abi Hiley (University of Sheffield) from Kings’ School Al Barsha, Dubai

Ms Abi Hiley graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Financial Business Management in 2008, before going on to Edge Hill University to complete a PGCE in Primary Education.

She taught for four years in England, where she led on Maths and assessments, before moving to Dubai for two years where she was Year Leader at a British International School. Since joining Harrow Hong Kong five years ago, she has led the Theme curriculum and has been Year Leader in Year 1. Over the past two years, she has led the Computing curriculum, enjoying integrating new technologies and learning platforms throughout the Lower School. She believes that technology, when appropriately integrated into the curriculum, revolutionises the learning process for pupils.

Ms Hiley strives to ensure that the pupils in her care experience a broad, challenging, exciting and personalised curriculum within a safe, nurturing environment. For her, there is nothing more satisfying than watching children learn with smiles on their faces, beaming with confidence.

Taking on the role of Assistant Head of Lower School (Digital Strategy and Continuing Professional Development) in August 2021, she is looking forward to developing the digital strategy at Harrow Hong Kong and empowering pupils to be the competent and confident digital leaders of our future.