Meet the Staff

Tunde Christie
Head Teacher
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

After graduating High School in Hungary hidden behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ I was branded too rebellious to be given a passport. As many 18-year olds do, i set off to prove them wrong. I escaped the socialist regime by swimming the sea to a refugee camp in Italy and eventually found my way to Canada. Here I followed a traditional route in getting married, having two children and gaining my nursing qualifications followed by a Psych Degree.

I accidentally fell in to teaching where I was asked to be an emergency stand in for a teacher. This led me to change careers and study to be a teacher.

I moved to the UK 18 years ago and taught at a range of schools from Casterton to various EBD schools teaching year 6 through to year 11. In my spare time I was a personal tutor teaching English, maths and science to those that required it. That led me to buying the tutoring franchise.

Throughout my teaching experience I have often seen those young people who are left at the wayside, and become disaffected by school, I realised that In Kendal there was no provision for them, so following my passion for helping those that need it I set of on the journey to open South Lakes Academy.

Tamas Ferencz
Deputy Head Teacher
Deputy DSL

Appointing Tamas has brought a different dimension into South Lakes Academy. His passion for performing arts, paired with his determination to improve the lives and mental health of young people, brought in fresh energy and enthusiasm.

Tamas has a degree in Performing Arts and a Level 5 qualification in teaching. He is also working towards his bachelors in psychology. He joined us in 2020 with a few years of experience in SEN. His positive outlook to life in general makes him an invaluable addition to our school.

Michelle Christie
Senior Teacher
Deputy DSL

I was schooled and university educated in the North-west of England. My love of food, travel, debate and an unashamed passion for science have made for an enthusiastic tutor since 2014. If being raised by two teachers wasn’t enough, a degree in Sport Physiotherapy and Foundation Degrees in Maths and Geography have given me a strong foundation for the instruction of a range of subjects. I was finally compelled to join the family business after three years of working with groups of adults and children promoting a healthy lifestyle and treating those suffering after injury.

Believing truly in the future potential of all individuals, it was only natural that I moved out of sport fields and patient rooms into the classroom. Here, I have become an eccentric but none the less effective member of our teacher staff – who loves a good game of badminton!

Kerry Crane
Head of Administration
Deputy DSL

Since I was a child and trying to teach my newborn baby brother to read it was a given that I would be a teacher – though my route here was unconventional. I finished school and went to college to do a Diploma in Child Care and Education. This was followed by a period of time spent working for Butlins Holiday Camps where I worked in the entertainment sector. As fun as it was, it couldn’t last forever, so I decided to move back home. After having a small tribe of children – five in total, I returned to education to work on realising my dream of being a teacher.

After completing my BA (hons) Degree in Children Schools and Families, I approached Tunde to ask for some tutoring hours to see me over whilst I planned my next move – this was back in 2016. I have been privileged to be a part of helping to set up South Lakes Academy to what it is today.

Bob Christie

I’ve been a teacher all my life! After graduating from Loughborough University as a P.E. teacher, I became a lecturer in the subject at South Cheshire College in Crewe. A move to Canada saw me picking up teaching skills with other age groups by working in the primary and secondary sectors in maths, English and music. During a two year spell back in the UK in the mid ‘90s I worked with emotionally and behaviourally challenged youngsters at Wings School in Milnthorpe, learning various coping and behavioural management strategies along the way. On my return to the UK in 2000, after a year as a primary school teacher in Carlisle, I moved to Casterton School for a seven year teaching spell as a Y5 class teacher, eventually becoming Deputy Head. Following a brief forray into driver training I then formed a partnership with Tunde, our Head Teacher as owners of the Kip McGrath franchise in Kendal, which has now developed into South lakes Academy. At present, I work part time, interweaving my love of acting and singing with the job.

Richard Sanders

I have been teaching secondary science for over 35 years in both the UK and Canada – including 10 years as Head of Science In Casterton School. This has given me a wide range of experience in teaching to all age and ability levels ranging from year-7 to A-Level.

At South Lakes Academy I am currently teaching maths and science. I enjoy working with small groups and on an individual basis. My particular specialty is using real life situations to explain new concepts and I strive to make complicated ideas sound easy.

In the past I have volunteered with the Duke of Edinburgh award as a trainer / supervisor at the Gold Expedition Level. I enjoy walking, music and cycling which I share with my wife, we also enjoy visiting our children – both of whom are teachers too.

Pauline Benson
Learning Support Assistant

I am a mum of 2 boys and have lived in Kendal all my life. I have worked since the age of 14 in the care industry – caring for the elderly with dementia. After 25 years of this and following the birth of my 2nd child, I decided to have a career change. To fit in with child care I took on a few part time jobs whilst caring for my youngest child. when it was time for him to go to school, I decided that the time was right for me to pursue my career. After raising my son who has ADHD, I decided that I had a lot to offer other young people with similar needs.

Since starting at SLA, I have not only been supporting our young people, but I have also been improving and developing my knowledge and skills around other SEN

Sam Ryalls
Support Worker
Maintenance Manager

After spending years in the building industry as a joiner living in Yorkshire where my family still live, I moved up to Kendal in 2011. After marrying my wife Tunde and seeing her ambition to set this school up, she convinced me to take a career change from manual work to training as a support worker for the school.

In my spare time, I enjoy travelling, visiting my children and grandchildren. I also enjoy sports and activities for example, hiking and climbing – which I tend to share my enthusiasm for this with the young people I support.