OBEs for two ‘inspirational’ Ark Principals

Two Ark Principals - Herminder Channa of Ark Boulton Academy in Birmingham and Max Haimendorf of King Solomon Academy (KSA) in London - have been awarded OBEs for services to education as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Herminder has helped transform Ark Boulton into a popular and successful school serving the local community in Birmingham’s Sparkhill. In just 18 months following her appointment in 2015, the school moved from being in “special measures” to one judged by Ofsted to be “good” in every category. She is a local leader of education (LLE) as well as a serving magistrate and lecturer at the University of Birmingham.

Herminder lives in Edgbaston and is married with two teenage daughters. Responding to the award, she said:

This is a wonderful surprise and represents an enormous tribute to the Ark Boulton family. Staff, students and the wider school community have all helped make our school such an amazing one. This award is for them, and I can’t thank them enough for what they have achieved over the last few years."

Herminder’s success at Ark Boulton was featured in The Guardian here.

Max was the youngest headteacher in the country when he was appointed as Secondary Headteacher of Ark’s King Solomon Academy in 2008. He has led the school through two outstanding Ofsted inspections and it achieved the highest GCSE results in the country for a non-selective school in 2015. He became all-through Principal of KSA and Executive Principal of Ark Paddington Green Primary Academy in September 2016.

Max, who lives in Twickenham and is married with two young children, said:

It’s a great honour to receive this award. It recognises the vision of Ark and our governors, and the hard work and dedication of our staff, students and the wider community who have created King Solomon Academy. I am proud to work with such talented and inspirational people. We are part of a community of schools showing that all pupils, irrespective of background, can succeed when supported by strong pastoral care and high expectations.

Ark CEO Lucy Heller said:

These awards are a great tribute to both Herminder and Max, and to all those they work with and teach. Ark prides itself on attracting the very best school leaders to inspire and motivate all their students to reach their full potential, and I am delighted that their work has been recognised in this way.

Ark is an education charity with a network of 38 schools in Birmingham, Hastings, London and Portsmouth, educating around 29,000 students.