NASS is led by Chief Executive Claire Dorer OBE, who has been at the helm since 2005.

With a degree in psychology, Claire’s career includes a research psychologist post in the NHS, lecturer position at the University of Birmingham and a leadership role within the Department for Education. She leads the organisation developing strategy, representing the membership and influencing national policy. In 2022, she was awarded an OBE for services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Karen Rippon joined NASS in 2007. As NASS’ Operations Officer, Karen provides operational and business management to the organisation.

Her responsibilities include finance, NASS membership, NASS training and events including the organisation’s annual conference and providing support to NASS members.

Jenny Hayward is Executive Officer for NASS.

Before Jenny joined NASS in 2015, she previously worked for JISC TechDis, an advisory service specialising in technology and inclusion, working across the education sectors including the Specialist Colleges sector. Jenny provides operational support to the organisation, some of her responsibilities include the membership register, NASS website and the termly special interest group meetings.

Mari Davis is NASS’s Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer.

She joined NASS in 2020 and works with key stakeholders to influence and shape policy impacting the SEND sector. Mari holds a degree in Public Policy and Government as well as an MBA. Her career includes working within several corporate policy teams in the local government sector; leading a national campaign promoting local democracy as well as working as a Senior Policy Consultant at the Local Government Association.  She is a fluent Welsh speaker.

Susie Patterson is NASS’s Communications Officer.

Susie joined NASS in September 2023 and is responsible for managing NASS’s communication activities. This includes raising understanding and awareness of the valuable work NASS does and promoting the demonstrable impact its member schools have on the lives of children and young people with SEND, and their families. She has over 20 years’ experience, working across a diverse range of sectors including charity and education.