Senior Management Team

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The Senior Management Team meets monthly considering all aspects of Spark’s services with a particular focus on how to improve those services for our young people. They will be joined occasionally by invited guests with particular expertise on areas which continues to make our services excellent. The Senior Management Team consists of:

Tom McGhee Chairman

Tom is Chairman of Spark of Genius. Tom was an English teacher before changing careers to work as a software engineer developing online learning materials in the UK, Germany and Holland. Tom set up Spark of Genius in 1998 with a project called Surfing the Web with the kids that school can’t teach, which used online learning as a means of reengaging young people who had become disaffected from education. He remains a GTC registered teacher. Tom is a governing board member of the Scottish Council for Independent Schools (SCIS), and a founder member of the Scottish Children Services Coalition (SCSC). Tom is also a director of the Spark of Genius Trust, a registered charity, which provides funding to support young people leaving care.

Zak McIlhargey Managing Director

Zak has over 20 years experience working with vulnerable children and young people in a variety of settings across the public, private and voluntary sectors, eighteen years of which have been in a managerial role. He has a BA Degree in Social Work, Diploma in Residential Child Care, HNC in Social Care and an SVQ (iii) in Supported Living. After several years working as a Residential Child Care Worker with Strathclyde Regional Council and North Lanarkshire, Zak progressed to a residential managers role before moving to Quarriers where he spent six years at Seafield Residential School in a managerial capacity, initially as a Residential Manager but most of his time at Seafield School was spent managing and developing their provision for day pupils. As Head of the day school Zak worked towards returning pupils to mainstream education. Zak then returned to North Lanarkshire Council as a Senior Officer in Social Work Headquarters where his responsibilities included the modernisation of local authority children’s homes, improving outcomes for care leavers, reviewing and improving services for children and young people including foster care and transitional planning for children with disabilities.

Stephen McGhee Depute Managing Director

Stephen is the Depute Managing Director of Spark of Genius. Stephen has been involved in the company for a number of years, initially as an Education Assistant through various departments and roles to his current position. During this time he has also completed an Honours degree in Business Management and is the organisational lead on health and safety matters, chairing the Health and Safety Steering Committee. He is also NEBOSH qualified.

Stephen is responsible for all critical business operations including growth, the organisational property portfolio, procurement and tendering, transport and risk management issues including health and safety and fire safety. He works closely with the Managing Director on all matters relating to the organisation including referrals.

Jackie Blair Director

Jackie Blair has a BEd qualification with Honours and has considerable experience as a mainstream primary teacher in Scotland, New Zealand and England. Prior to joining Spark of Genius, Jackie worked for five years as a principal teacher within specialist residential education provisions. Jackie joined Spark of Genius in October 2008 as our Quality Improvement Manager and oversees ongoing service improvement through self evaluation processes, in order to develop our services across care and education and to ensure positive outcomes for all of the children and young people in need of a Spark of Genius resource.

Rebecca McCann Company Secretary/Finance Manager

Rebecca was the company’s first employee when she joined in 1996. Prior to this Rebecca worked in retail management & buying for over 15 years for Paige Fashions, Sock Shop & an independent designer ladies fashion store. Rebecca has led the administrative & financial side of Spark for one & a half decades & has seen the company grow from a tiny one room office to a successful & growing organisation.