The role of staff

Helping a student make a magazine

The role of staff members within the Sudbury model is very different to that of a traditional educational setting.  We do not look specifically for teachers, though staff may be called upon to teach, their primary purpose is quite different.  As adult members of the community staff act as role models to students, as examples of what it means to be a grownup, to be self-directed, to set a goal and work towards it and as models of responsible behaviour.  Our staff are also responsible for the work that it takes to keep our setting open and running smoothly, whilst students are free to take on management and administration roles they are not obliged to do so, staff have a duty to take on the remainder of the work.  And of course, staff also support students in their learning, this role can sometimes take the form of a teacher, but more often it will be that of a friend, facilitator or mentor.  As a result we seek to provide variety within our staff team, variety of interest, of background and of personality and whilst experienced teachers are welcome to apply, teaching experience is not a prerequisite for working in our setting.

How to apply

We invite expressions of interest from anyone seeking to work in our setting, though at the present time can only offer volunteer roles.  Anyone interested in applying to work with us as a volunteer staff member may download the role specification and apply according to the instructions.  There is no deadline, applications will be considered as and when we receive them and according to our needs at that point in time.

Role specification and application details

Current staff

Kezia Cantwell-Wright

Kezia Cantwell-Wright,
Staff and founder

Having experienced varied educational styles growing up, Kezia, attended both mainstream schools and the world’s first democratic school, Summerhill in Leiston, Suffolk, an experience which left a lasting impact.  Later on Kezia graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2003 in Fine Art going on to establish a career in digital design and marketing, heading up a creative team at a London marketing agency before establishing her own company Draw().  Now mother to two daughters Kezia chose to stay home with her family and home educate her children before embarking on founding East Kent Sudbury School.

View all blog posts by Kezia

Kate Coleman

Kate Coleman, Staff and founder

Mother of three boys.  Kate had been looking into alternative education after the public school system failed and damaged her sons mental health. She has always been very politically active and believes in democracy wholeheartedly. After reading Peter Gray’s ‘Free to Learn’ Kate immediately knew that a Sudbury model school was what she wanted for her own children, what she passionately believed in and what she wanted to help bring to the UK. Shortly after, Kezia unveiled her plans and things soon slotted into place. Kate is enthusiastic about sociology and psychology and has spent most of her working career within the adult education sector, managing the office and day to day needs of both students and trainers. Kate also ran her own successful business for a number of years before deciding to home educate her own children. She is passionate about cookery and loves to read.

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Jay Rechsteiner

Jay Rechsteiner, Staff and founder

Jay studied business administration, marketing and fine arts. He is currently a practicing artist and German language teacher. Jay has worked and lived in Switzerland, Japan and in the UK. He spent his early childhood in an alternative self-sustainable eco-friendly community in the early 1970s in Switzerland. With the birth of his daughter, Jay started exploring various educational methods and eventually came across the Sudbury Valley School which immediately resonated with his beliefs that children should not be forced to learn but given the freedom to learn what they choose to learn. He joined the Founding Group in August 2018.

Marc Denervaux

Marc Denervaux, Staff and founder

Over the twenty-five years that Marc Denervaux has been a school teacher in a diversity of institutions and in a variety of capacities (latterly as an expert on 16-19 mathematics and especially preparation for Oxbridge examinations), it became increasingly obvious to him that the mainstream was letting down the vast majority of its charges, and there was ever more limited scope for reform.  Over this extended period, he has witnessed growing stratification in schools and a tendency for curriculum delivery to become more rigid.  Having spent considerable time on a critique and on the development of an alternative practice, he is now committed to exploring a radically democratic praxis in formal education.

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Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones, Staff

Rachel has a background in classics and an interest in history and literature. She is also an active member of her local church and is passionate about school reform and promoting better mental health and special needs awareness.  She home educated her four children for 11 years before joining the staff at East Kent Sudbury School.

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Joseph Atkinson

Joseph Atkinson, Staff

Joe first trained as a teacher in 2008 but quickly became concerned about the impact that mainstream schooling was having on children’s well-being and mental health.  He then built on his original passion psychology, retraining as a play therapist and has worked for the past few years private tutor assisting home educating families with children of all ages and abilities, including students with a variety of special needs and learning disabilities.

View all blog posts by Joe


Our staff are also supported by the members of our founding group that helped bring East Kent Sudbury School to fruition and by many friends, family and supporters.  If you’d like to get more involved whether in the school or as a supporter, please get in touch we always like to hear from those that share our vision for education that truly gives a voice to children.