Senior Leadership Team

Ciaran O’Dowda – Principal

Ciaran is an experienced leader, advisor and trainer in education and school leadership. Over the past three decades he has led in a variety of school and college settings.

Ciaran studied at universities in Portsmouth and Bath. His time in industry before teaching took him all over Europe, working as a consultant geologist in the oil industry and as an engineering geologist working on road, bridge and tunnel construction projects.

One of Ciaran’s priorities in education has always been to motivate and enable students to be excited about the connections between the STEM subjects studied at school or college and the relevance they have to our lives, as well as the wonderful choice of career opportunities available.

  James Doherty - Vice Principal: Director of College Curriculum   James has a passion for innovation in education at all ages, particularly in the sciences, and has lectured both locally and regionally on this subject matter. Conveying the awe and wonder of the wider world and scientific developments is a key feature of his lessons and his approach to leading science education.  James is an experienced science teacher and science leader with more than 10 years’ experience of delivering physics, chemistry and biology courses in local schools. His background is in chemistry, biochemistry and genetics and his decision to study these subjects stems from inspirational teaching received during science lessons in school.

James Doherty - Vice Principal: Director of College Curriculum

James has a passion for innovation in education at all ages, particularly in the sciences, and has lectured both locally and regionally on this subject matter. Conveying the awe and wonder of the wider world and scientific developments is a key feature of his lessons and his approach to leading science education.

James is an experienced science teacher and science leader with more than 10 years’ experience of delivering physics, chemistry and biology courses in local schools. His background is in chemistry, biochemistry and genetics and his decision to study these subjects stems from inspirational teaching received during science lessons in school.

  Alex Blandford - Assistant Principal: Director of Technical Education and Enrichment   Alex has an interest in how all products look and how they work, stemming from a love of design, technology and innovative practice in education. Always keen to get the best from his students, he has introduced new technologies into the classroom alongside reinvigorating traditional skills and crafts. With over 10 years experience of working in a variety of schools as a teacher and subsequently Head of Product Design and Head of Design and Technology, Alex has managed a number of whole school initiatives and projects with great success. Alex believes that STEM in education is absolutely key to fulfilling the workplace shortfall of engineers and is passionate about making solid links between industry and education.  Outside of UTC, Alex enjoys all forms of motorsport and marvels at the precision and commitment that teams demonstrate in their engineering prowess. Alongside this he enjoys reading, the gym and spending time with his family.

Alex Blandford - Assistant Principal: Director of Technical Education and Enrichment

Alex has an interest in how all products look and how they work, stemming from a love of design, technology and innovative practice in education. Always keen to get the best from his students, he has introduced new technologies into the classroom alongside reinvigorating traditional skills and crafts. With over 10 years experience of working in a variety of schools as a teacher and subsequently Head of Product Design and Head of Design and Technology, Alex has managed a number of whole school initiatives and projects with great success. Alex believes that STEM in education is absolutely key to fulfilling the workplace shortfall of engineers and is passionate about making solid links between industry and education.

Outside of UTC, Alex enjoys all forms of motorsport and marvels at the precision and commitment that teams demonstrate in their engineering prowess. Alongside this he enjoys reading, the gym and spending time with his family.

  Fiona Haynes MBE - College Business Manager   Fiona is a marine engineer and project manager who joined the Royal Navy straight from school. On completion of her initial officer training, she was sponsored to read Engineering at Cambridge University before completing her naval engineering training at HMS Sultan (Gosport) and aboard various ships. Since completing her first sea job onboard helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, she has worked in a variety of roles, including visiting schools in the East and South-East of England talking about the role of the Royal Navy and encouraging take up of engineering careers. More recently, she managed the engineering shore support of two Type 23 Frigates in Plymouth, including both proactive maintenance planning and reactive repairs.  She has been attached to the UTC Portsmouth project since its early inception in 2015 as project manager and continues to be on loan from the Royal Navy as the first Business Manager. A keen runner and former bob-sledder, Fiona is now a mother to two young children and is passionate about creating a diverse education landscape for future generations.

Fiona Haynes MBE - College Business Manager

Fiona is a marine engineer and project manager who joined the Royal Navy straight from school. On completion of her initial officer training, she was sponsored to read Engineering at Cambridge University before completing her naval engineering training at HMS Sultan (Gosport) and aboard various ships. Since completing her first sea job onboard helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, she has worked in a variety of roles, including visiting schools in the East and South-East of England talking about the role of the Royal Navy and encouraging take up of engineering careers. More recently, she managed the engineering shore support of two Type 23 Frigates in Plymouth, including both proactive maintenance planning and reactive repairs.

She has been attached to the UTC Portsmouth project since its early inception in 2015 as project manager and continues to be on loan from the Royal Navy as the first Business Manager. A keen runner and former bob-sledder, Fiona is now a mother to two young children and is passionate about creating a diverse education landscape for future generations.

Teaching staff

  Wendy McCormick  -  Head of Engineering and Project Based Learning   Wendy has a particular interest in project based learning and is looking forward to working with local employers to identify projects to be delivered across the UTC curriculum; enabling class teaching to reflect current industry practice.  Wendy has been a Lead Practitioner in Engineering, teaching 14-18 year old college students for the last two years. Previously, Wendy has 15 years of design and project management experience in industry and defence as a Head of Engineering, a Design Engineer and an Engineering Analyst.  Outside of work, Wendy is actively involved with promoting science and engineering as a STEM Ambassador.

Wendy McCormick - Head of Engineering and Project Based Learning

Wendy has a particular interest in project based learning and is looking forward to working with local employers to identify projects to be delivered across the UTC curriculum; enabling class teaching to reflect current industry practice.

Wendy has been a Lead Practitioner in Engineering, teaching 14-18 year old college students for the last two years. Previously, Wendy has 15 years of design and project management experience in industry and defence as a Head of Engineering, a Design Engineer and an Engineering Analyst.

Outside of work, Wendy is actively involved with promoting science and engineering as a STEM Ambassador.

  Damien Edmondson - Head of Science and Chemistry Teacher   Damien is an experienced Chemistry teacher who always seeks to push his students to achieve their highest potential. He has been a Department and curriculum lead in Hampshire and Portsmouth schools for a number of years. Damien believes that education is at its greatest when students are fully involved in every aspect of their learning and feel safe to be and express themselves.  Damien is interested in creating dynamic-learning environments, to make Science a live and continuous experience. Through the use of educational theory, virtual learning environments and modern context based lessons he aims to enhance the quality of student engagement and learning that our students receive.  Damien is an avid runner and enjoys numerous physical pursuits outside of college.

Damien Edmondson - Head of Science and Chemistry Teacher

Damien is an experienced Chemistry teacher who always seeks to push his students to achieve their highest potential. He has been a Department and curriculum lead in Hampshire and Portsmouth schools for a number of years. Damien believes that education is at its greatest when students are fully involved in every aspect of their learning and feel safe to be and express themselves.

Damien is interested in creating dynamic-learning environments, to make Science a live and continuous experience. Through the use of educational theory, virtual learning environments and modern context based lessons he aims to enhance the quality of student engagement and learning that our students receive.

Damien is an avid runner and enjoys numerous physical pursuits outside of college.

  Tom Holdstock - Head of Mathematics   Tom studied maths and physics at the University of Reading before undertaking a postgraduate research project in mathematical biology. He took his passion of maths and the sciences to the classroom, teaching maths to 11-18 year old students and how it applies to the real world. He firmly believes that it is the universal language of science. Tom has had over 8 years teaching experience, including being Head of various key stages and departments across different locations. He is also a Lead Practitioner responsible for training teachers to maximise their impact on their students’ progress.  When Tom is not thinking and talking about maths, he is enjoying time with his family and the outside, keeping fit through running and cycling. He also dabbles in music and can play four chords on a number of instruments, but not much else!

Tom Holdstock - Head of Mathematics

Tom studied maths and physics at the University of Reading before undertaking a postgraduate research project in mathematical biology. He took his passion of maths and the sciences to the classroom, teaching maths to 11-18 year old students and how it applies to the real world. He firmly believes that it is the universal language of science. Tom has had over 8 years teaching experience, including being Head of various key stages and departments across different locations. He is also a Lead Practitioner responsible for training teachers to maximise their impact on their students’ progress.

When Tom is not thinking and talking about maths, he is enjoying time with his family and the outside, keeping fit through running and cycling. He also dabbles in music and can play four chords on a number of instruments, but not much else!

  Catalin Tanase - Maths Teacher   Catalin is an experienced teacher of Mathematics. Previously he has taught students ranging from 11 years old to adults, delivering courses in GCSE and A Level. Catalin believes that studying mathematics helps students to become resilient and self-confident young adults. He also believes that after finishing their studies at the UTC students will leave as curious, independent and dedicated adults ready for their future challenges  Catalin likes to be involved in enrichment activities such as Chess Club and STEM projects. Outside of work he is a Senior County Football Referee.

Catalin Tanase - Maths Teacher

Catalin is an experienced teacher of Mathematics. Previously he has taught students ranging from 11 years old to adults, delivering courses in GCSE and A Level. Catalin believes that studying mathematics helps students to become resilient and self-confident young adults. He also believes that after finishing their studies at the UTC students will leave as curious, independent and dedicated adults ready for their future challenges

Catalin likes to be involved in enrichment activities such as Chess Club and STEM projects. Outside of work he is a Senior County Football Referee.

  Dr Luka Celent - Engineering Teacher   Luka’s primary area of interest is Production Engineering which emcompasses machine tools and systems, machining processes, Computer-Aided Design & Manufacturing (CAD/CAM), advanced manufacturing technologies and reverse engineering. He brings together innovations from engineering and industrial design with an understanding of the basic principles of machining processes and machine tools. Luka is dedicated to motivating young students to pursue careers in science and engineering.  Prior to his appointment at UTC Portsmouth, Luka spent 9 years at The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at the University of Split, Croatia. He started as a young Research Assistant and progressed to a Postdoctoral Researcher in department of Mechanical Engineering Technology. In addition to his teaching and research roles he was involved in a great number of multidisciplinary student projects designed to help them to raise their practical skill levels.

Dr Luka Celent - Engineering Teacher

Luka’s primary area of interest is Production Engineering which emcompasses machine tools and systems, machining processes, Computer-Aided Design & Manufacturing (CAD/CAM), advanced manufacturing technologies and reverse engineering. He brings together innovations from engineering and industrial design with an understanding of the basic principles of machining processes and machine tools. Luka is dedicated to motivating young students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Prior to his appointment at UTC Portsmouth, Luka spent 9 years at The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at the University of Split, Croatia. He started as a young Research Assistant and progressed to a Postdoctoral Researcher in department of Mechanical Engineering Technology. In addition to his teaching and research roles he was involved in a great number of multidisciplinary student projects designed to help them to raise their practical skill levels.

  Hannah Hawkins - Geography Teacher   Hannah has previously worked in a Further Education college as Head of Geography responsible for delivering A Level programmes. Hannah believes that studying geography enables students to develop a wider variety of skills, as the subject requires students to understand and apply mathematical, English and scientific skillsets. Geography also encourages students to think independently, problem solve and critically analyse information. Hannah believes that geography is a practically-based subject and enjoys running field trips both at home and abroad.  Outside of work Hannah enjoys a wide variety of activities; she dances both jive and latin, likes to be involved in charity and community projects and also undertakes property renovation.

Hannah Hawkins - Geography Teacher

Hannah has previously worked in a Further Education college as Head of Geography responsible for delivering A Level programmes. Hannah believes that studying geography enables students to develop a wider variety of skills, as the subject requires students to understand and apply mathematical, English and scientific skillsets. Geography also encourages students to think independently, problem solve and critically analyse information. Hannah believes that geography is a practically-based subject and enjoys running field trips both at home and abroad.

Outside of work Hannah enjoys a wide variety of activities; she dances both jive and latin, likes to be involved in charity and community projects and also undertakes property renovation.

  Graeme Stewart - Physics Teacher   Graeme studied at the University of Birmingham and has spent over 15 years undertaking ocean surveys worldwide for the oil and gas exploration industry. Graeme’s passion is the application of physics in the real world, and bringing his industrial experience into the classroom to prepare students for the work place.  Graeme is excited to be part of UTC Portsmouth because it provides the perfect link between the classroom and the exciting world of engineering and science. Offering students with different routes through the curriculum tailors learning to their abilities and aspirations.

Graeme Stewart - Physics Teacher

Graeme studied at the University of Birmingham and has spent over 15 years undertaking ocean surveys worldwide for the oil and gas exploration industry. Graeme’s passion is the application of physics in the real world, and bringing his industrial experience into the classroom to prepare students for the work place.

Graeme is excited to be part of UTC Portsmouth because it provides the perfect link between the classroom and the exciting world of engineering and science. Offering students with different routes through the curriculum tailors learning to their abilities and aspirations.

  Dan Celestine - Pastoral and Academic Support Manager, English Teacher   Dan is an experienced teacher, pastoral and academic leader, who relishes the opportunity to teach and guide young people. He believes that English is essential - as well as exciting. Equipping students with the tools to read and write accurately and with purpose is vital. He also believes that English should be a source of life-long enjoyment for all young people. Dan is extremely excited about launching a new A level English programme at UTC Portsmouth and is keen to investigate further ways in which the already broad provision at the college could be further enhanced.  Beyond college, unsurprisingly, Dan enjoys reading but is also a father of two young girls who ensure that he is kept very active and busy.

Dan Celestine - Pastoral and Academic Support Manager, English Teacher

Dan is an experienced teacher, pastoral and academic leader, who relishes the opportunity to teach and guide young people. He believes that English is essential - as well as exciting. Equipping students with the tools to read and write accurately and with purpose is vital. He also believes that English should be a source of life-long enjoyment for all young people. Dan is extremely excited about launching a new A level English programme at UTC Portsmouth and is keen to investigate further ways in which the already broad provision at the college could be further enhanced.

Beyond college, unsurprisingly, Dan enjoys reading but is also a father of two young girls who ensure that he is kept very active and busy.

  Katy Le Gris - Teacher of Design Technology and Engineering   Katy is an experienced Design Technology and Engineering Teacher. She is enthusiastic in her approach to teaching, having gained experience with teaching ages 11-18 in Product Design and Engineering. Katy is passionate about STEM and is looking forward to sharing the new technologies UTC has to offer with her students.  In her spare time Katy enjoys spending time with her family and walking her dog. She is always tinkering with new projects from sewing, to building furniture from reclaimed materials.

Katy Le Gris - Teacher of Design Technology and Engineering

Katy is an experienced Design Technology and Engineering Teacher. She is enthusiastic in her approach to teaching, having gained experience with teaching ages 11-18 in Product Design and Engineering. Katy is passionate about STEM and is looking forward to sharing the new technologies UTC has to offer with her students.

In her spare time Katy enjoys spending time with her family and walking her dog. She is always tinkering with new projects from sewing, to building furniture from reclaimed materials.

  Freya Long – Teacher of Design Technology and Engineering i/c Engineering Projects Liaison   Freya is an experienced teacher having taught the full range of Design Technology subjects over the 14 years she has been in teaching. Freya has a passion for STEM and, with an enquiring mind, likes to investigate how things work. She is particularly interested in the use of different forms of energy and designing products to solve particular problems.  Freya is a keen supporter of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. After gaining her Gold Award in 2003, she has continued to encourage others to participate and will do so at UTC by managing the Award Centre.  Outside of work Freya is interested in hiking and canoeing. She finds the mountains inspirational and tries to get to the Lake District and Wales as often as possible. Freya’s other interests include historical machinery and Geology.

Freya Long – Teacher of Design Technology and Engineering i/c Engineering Projects Liaison

Freya is an experienced teacher having taught the full range of Design Technology subjects over the 14 years she has been in teaching. Freya has a passion for STEM and, with an enquiring mind, likes to investigate how things work. She is particularly interested in the use of different forms of energy and designing products to solve particular problems.

Freya is a keen supporter of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. After gaining her Gold Award in 2003, she has continued to encourage others to participate and will do so at UTC by managing the Award Centre.

Outside of work Freya is interested in hiking and canoeing. She finds the mountains inspirational and tries to get to the Lake District and Wales as often as possible. Freya’s other interests include historical machinery and Geology.