CFS Leadership Team
Michaela Khatib - Executive Head
Having graduated from Homerton College, Cambridge University with a degree in Education and Music, Michaela has gained over twenty-five years teaching and education management experience, primarily in independent and the free school sector. She has a Masters Degree in Leading Innovation and Change in Education (Distinction) from St.Mary’s University.
Michaela’s career included undertaking the role of Director of Music in a leading London prep school and working as a Partnerships and Outreach Education Manager at the world-famous music establishment, The Yehudi Menuhin School (YMS). During her time at YMS she submitted a bid to the Department for Education as part of a small proposer group, aiming to establish a new primary school in Cobham with a key strength in music.
The proposal was approved for opening in Wave 2 of the government Free School programme and in September 2012 Michaela was appointed founding headteacher. Following a second successful bid to open a senior department for the school, she became executive head of the all-through institution in 2014.
Michaela is a member of the advisory council for Parents and Teachers for Excellence, a team of educationalists campaigning to raise standards nationally and is on the headteacher panel for Best Practice Network. She has given public webinars and produced articles on a range of topics in the field of education.
Helen Johnson - Head of Sixth Form
Helen graduated in English Literature from the University of Bristol and has been teaching for over 20 years. After a year working in Japan as an English Language teaching assistant, she realised that education was her future and undertook a PGCE in Gloucestershire. She quickly moved to Surrey and taught English and Drama at The Ashcombe School, Dorking and later at Rosebery School, Epsom. Helen took a career break from teaching when her children were young to run an online childrenswear business specialising in sustainable fashion from Denmark.
During her career she has held departmental and pastoral roles as Head of Year, Head of House, KS5 Coordinator and most recently, Head of English at Cobham Free School. Helen is a founder member of the Cobham Free School Senior team and has led the immensely popular annual ski trip to Italy for the past few years.
As Head of Sixth Form, Helen leads the next phase of our school's journey at the Main School, Cobham.
Laura Newman - Co-Head of Senior
Laura is a founding member of CFS, joining the primary school as SENDCo when it opened in 2012. During her time at CFS she has held held the role of SENDCo, Acting Junior Head, Deputy Head for Inclusion - Junior and Senior and most recently in 2019 Co-Head for the Senior School.
Laura read Economics at Reading University, followed by a Masters Degree in Finance, Economics and Econometrics at City Business School. She worked on the derivatives desk before realising teaching was her preferred option.
Laura completed her PGCE in 2004 and worked in a number of inner city schools in Lambeth and Wandsworth, including a placement at a Secondary PRU. She has held roles as class teacher, Head of Maths and Science, Inclusion Manager and Deputy Head.
Amy Urso - Co-Head of Senior
Amy grew up in Stockport, Greater Manchester and later Cambridge. She read Politics and Philosophy at Durham University and began her career in education as a teaching assistant specialising in behaviour. She quickly realised teaching was her vocation and gained her PGCE in Religious Studies at Homerton College, Cambridge in 2004.
Amy worked for ten years in Hertfordshire, during which time she introduced a Philosophy A Level and held a number of leadership roles including Head of Training School. Amy became an Advanced Skills Teacher in 2009. She has led county-wide pupil voice initiatives and has trained many teachers, across all disciplines. In 2014 she joined Cobham Free School Senior Department as Deputy Head, Director of Studies and in 2019 became Co-Head of the Senior School.
Amy’s two children attend the Junior School.
Gill Rolfe - Head of Junior
Gill has over 24 years experience in both the private and state sector, undertaking roles as a teacher, senior leader, lecturer, governor and education advisor over the course of her career. Originally from the Natal Drakensberg, South Africa, Gill completed a Nursery Foundation Teaching Diploma through the London Montessori Centre before gaining a Bachelor’s degree in English, Education and Psychology and a postgraduate degree in Psychology from the University of South Africa.
Gill has gained her UK Qualified Teacher Status through London University and a number of Masters Credits through Brunel University. She trained as a facilitator for the Middle Leadership Development Programme through the National College of School Leadership and is currently studying for the National Professional Qualification in Headship.
Gill joined CFS as Head of Junior in January 2016, just two terms before the school's first ever Key Stage 2 SATS examinations. She achieved impressive results in a very short space of time and, as a member of the senior leadership team, is now looking forward to embedding strategies for the continued success of CFS over the forthcoming years.
Cath Marcus - Business Manager
Catherine was one of the first members of the team who helped to establish and develop the primary school.
Qualifying as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Catherine has 15 years finance experience, working within three of the top accounting firms. Most of this time has been spent using her accounting knowledge to advise the public sector, bringing some of the best commercial and financial principles from the private sector to benefit public sector organisations. She has worked with a number of government entities in the UK and spent five years in New Zealand working on strategic infrastructure projects for an agency of the New Zealand government.
As the Business Manager, Catherine is on the Senior Leadership Team and leads the finance, administration, estates and personnel aspects of the school.
For a full staff list for the all-through school (Junior and Senior) please see: