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The Phoenix Team

Many of the Phoenix team joined us from the highly regarded St Colette's and have a proven track record of enabling academic success and inspiring confidence in their pupils. We also have specialist teachers for Dance & Drama, French, Art and Music.

Headmistress & Early Years Teacher

Mrs Gill Cooke

BEd (Hons)

Mrs Cooke was born in Tanzania and lived in Kenya until the age of 16.  When she was three years old she lived on a train for a year!  She went to boarding school from the age of 9-18 at Ashford School in Kent, before spending four years at Liverpool University where she gained a BEd (hons).  Mrs Cooke began her teaching career in Farnborough, Hampshire before taking posts at Mornington High School in Wigan and Notre Dame School for Children in Sheffield.  During this time she managed to teach Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, PE, English, Geography and even French!  After retraining as an Early Years specialist at Kent University she worked in Reception at Halfway Houses School in Kent for six years.  On moving to Cambridge she was a supply teacher at Swavesey Village College as well as a number of local primary schools including Willingham, Cottenham, Oakington and Mayfield.  From here Mrs Cooke went to Over Primary for a number of years where she became Senior Teacher, Early Years co-ordinator and Science co-ordinator.  After a further seven years at St Colette’s as Early Years co-ordinator she helped to found the Phoenix School and became Deputy Head.  In 2013 she was promoted to Headmistress.

Gill Cooke

Mrs Cooke is married to Tony, a scientist who has a great enthusiasm for all things associated with the First World War, and they have two grown-up children.  She enjoys reading, Pilates and the theatre.

In 2015, Mrs Cooke won the Cambridgeshire Primary School Teacher of the Year award.



Mr Simon Wilson

Mr Wilson grew up in Buckinghamshire but went to school in rural Oxfordshire until the age of 18. He spent 4 years in Bristol training to be a teacher and has been teaching in class for the last 20 years. He has worked in 5 schools, mainly in Bucks but recently has spent 6 years at Willingham primary. He moved to Willingham 6 years ago to enjoy a quiet country life with his family. He has always enjoyed both playing and coaching sport and has had success over the years bringing back silverware to the schools he has worked at. Although he enjoys coaching football, rugby and cricket, he has recently developed a passion for skipping, coaching in schools up and down the country. This is an area he looks forward bringing to the Phoenix, to promote fitness and coordination. Mr. Wilson has also been involved in ICT in primary schools, and enjoys exploring different ways of educating children using up to date technology.


Simon Wilson 

In his spare time, he is an avid vinyl collector and enjoys time in the garden. He is well travelled and loves spending time with his wife and two children.




Miss Danielle Boyd

BA (Hons) Primary Education

Miss Boyd graduated from Birmingham University in 2014. Originally from Rugby, she moved to Cambridgeshire to embark on her teaching career at The Phoenix.

After being placed in three inner-city state schools during her Degree, her role at The Phoenix with such small class sizes and an opportunity to engage with every child to suit their needs is a welcome change and a great opportunity!


Dani Boyd 

She lives with her beloved Shih Tzu, Harley. Miss Boyd enjoys watching films, family days out and reading a good book.


Mrs Valerie McKee B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E.

Certificate Teaching Primary Science

Mrs McKee joined the Phoenix from St Mary's Junior School where she was Deputy Head.

She originally trained and worked as a civil servant, but about 20 years ago attended Cambridge University to learn to be a teacher. She worked at schools in Huntingdon and St Mary’s in Cambridge. She was nominated for the East Anglia Science Teacher of the year award. In 2012, she left as Head of the Junior School at St Mary's to work in Ethiopia as a volunteer with teachers and schools, which she says was an amazing experience.


 Valerie McKee

Mrs McKee has lived in Willingham for 28 years. She has three children - Ruth, Tom and Ella. Valerie enjoys gardening, sports and art.


Mrs Victoria Atkin BSc (Hons), PGCE

Mrs Atkin moved to Cambridgeshire in 2012 and lives with her husband and son near Ely. On completing her PGCE, she taught in a number of Primary Schools in Leicester, Nottingham and Cambridge.

Following the arrival of her son, she decided to change her role and work part-time. The Phoenix was the ideal place as its ethos of 'child at the heart of what we do' was a perfect match for her personal philosophy of education allowing children to learn in an environment they feel safe, happy and comfortable means they can achieve high academic standards and still be children.

Vick Atkin
In her free time, Mrs Atkins enjoys gardening and bird watching. She also loves creating works of art and is never happier than when she is reading a book.
Teaching Assistant

Mrs Emma Walpole, BTec National Diploma in Childhood Studies

Mrs Walpole has been a Nursery Nurse for almost 17 years and originally started her working life at St Colette's in Cambridge. She has 4 children ranging from 13 to 6 years of age and has lived in the Cambridgeshire area for all of her life.

Emma Walpole 


Music Teacher

Dr Lue Wilson


Mrs Wilson was brought up in Sutton Coldfield, but regards Sheffield as home and supports Sheffield United!

Mrs Wilson has been singing since she was two and has Grade 8 (distinction) in this discipline and the violin.  She also plays the piano, guitar, recorder and bassoon and loves a whole range of music from classical to heavy metal.

As well as teaching Music at The Phoenix, Mrs Wilson runs FOPS (Friends of the Phoenix School).  She is married with a young daughter.


Lue Wilson

Mrs Wilson likes reptiles, owls and cycling.  In fact she has adopted several owls and a leopard gecko called Fudge!

Dance/Speech/Drama Teacher

Miss Zoe Mottaz

NATD Ass. Ballet

Miss Mottaz lives in Cambridge with her son Charlie.  She attended the Bush Davies Dance School and the Italia Conti For Performing Arts, before working professionally for a number of years in Europe and Japan.  Miss Mottaz taught R.A.D. and I.S.T.D dancing in Greece.  Since 1997 she has run her own dance school (The MB Academy of Dance) in Cambridge.  She has choreographed numerous fashion shows in the city.

At The Phoenix Miss Mottaz teaches ballet, modern dance and drama, submitting the children for examinations in ballet and drama.

Zoe Mottaz



French Teacher

Mrs Nadja Hamilton

LLB (Hons), LLM

Mrs Hamilton studied A Level and S Level French before completing a degree in English Law.  She took a Diploma and Masters in German Law, as well as a further French qualification from the Alliance Français in Paris.

Mrs Hamilton worked as a Solicitor at an International Law Firm for several years, using both French and German language skills.

Her on-going and frequent use of the French language with native French speakers makes her an excellent French teacher, who gives weekly lessons to children from Reception age onwards

Nadja Hamilton.jpg
Teaching Assistant (part time)

Mrs Tricia Peroni


Mrs Peroni was born in Brighton and school gave her an introduction to drama, which has remained her passion ever since.  She initially trained in Aberystwyth as a children’s librarian, passing the professional examinations of the Library Association.  She then had her own family, and later took a degree in History and Humanities.  In 1998 Mrs Peroni returned to university full time to take a Master’s degree in Contemporary Theatre.  In 2000 she directed a millennium community project working with a mixed cast of adults and children, with dancers and choir.

Mrs Peroni has been working in schools for the last seven years, initially organising after school activities and clubs, then at St Colette’s and The Phoenix as early waiters supervisor and Teaching Assistant.

Tricia Peroni

Throughout her life she has been involved in theatre; whilst at college taking performances into schools, acting alongside children on stage and directing children in pantomime.

School Cook

Mrs Lesley Makinson

Finance Administrator

 Julie York


Facilities Manager

Andy York

School Administrator

Sharon Franklin

Mrs Franklin recently joined the school having worked for the last few years as a Veterinary Receptionist.

She is married with two children and has a cat called Monty. She spends her spare time driving her children to various cluns and activities.

Sharon Franklin
Chair of Governors
Mrs Tracey Best, CEng BEng (Hons) MIET - (Founder and former parent)

Nick Balon (Founder and former parent), Peter McKeown (Founder and former parent), Sami Atabani (former parent), Associates - Hazel Grace (parent), Pete Dreuitt (parent) and Valerie McKee (staff representative).