A former football academy manager has been appointed the new head of Hartlepool Sixth Form College.
Mark Hughes joins the organisation from the University of Hull and brings with him more than 15 years of teaching and management experience within specialist sixth form and further education college provision.
The sixth form college recently completed a merger with Sunderland College and Mark has replaced joint interim principals Dr Stephan Jungnitz and Trevor Wray, who were appointed in April to lead the college through the merger process.
Mark first moved into academia following a successful career as a rugby player and personal trainer.
During his first post as a sixth form college PE teacher, he helped develop the south east region into an area of sporting excellence both through coaching and the identification of early talent.
With experience of managing football academies at Basingstoke Town and Ashford Town, Mark also oversaw the British Colleges Sport South East regional team and selection to the national squads.
In more recent years, he was involved in the creation of a centre of sporting excellence with Premier League champions Chelsea FC.
He said: “Despite my career in education, sport still plays a key part in my life but now as a spectator at London Irish rugby matches or taking part in marathons or gym challenges.
“I’m honoured to be joining Hartlepool Sixth Form College as its new head, and I’m very much looking forward to working with a talented team in what is going to be an exciting chapter in the college’s history.
“The Brinkburn site is a special place.
“I’m delighted with the college’s recent results along with their success in progressing Hartlepool’s young people to some of the best universities in the world.
“Along with the support of my staff, I’m really looking forward to seeing Hartlepool Sixth Form College excel even further into what I am happy to say will now be a long and bright future.”
Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Sunderland College officially merged on August 1, which bosses say will create a more resilient Sixth Form for Hartlepool and a larger, more robust Sunderland College.
Ellen Thinnesen, principal and chief executive of the sixth form college, said of Mark’s appointment: “He has successfully managed outstanding academic and business support areas in Hampshire, Surrey and Lincolnshire and recently managed a multi-million-pound collaborative outreach programme for the University of Hull that supports school pupils and college students from across Yorkshire and the Humber to access higher education pathways.
“As a passionate advocate of sixth form and higher education, Mark is determined to ensure every young person at Hartlepool Sixth Form College receives an outstanding academic learning experience and that they achieve and progress.”