Meet the Team

Our team has a total of...

More than 0 years of teaching experiences

Over 0 years with Monster Phonics

Ingrid Connors

Founder and Product Director

I had an ambition to create an even playing field for all children to succeed. The motivation for this came from my childhood. At a young age I experienced a shift in circumstances at home, going from a life of plenty to struggle. Feeling hungry was not uncommon. I worked hard to succeed and knew the journey would be harder for some of my family who were dyslexic. I could see how easy it would be to fall behind. This sparked a life-long ambition to improve the life chances. Like most teachers, it is what makes me truly happy.

The idea for colour coding started from conversations with my mother, who was Austrian, and her German speaking friends. They talked about the idiosyncrasies of the English language and why so many ways of spelling the same sound made it complicated. I thought about how I used colour in maths to help me learn and how this could be used in language.

I later went to work in research, then in teaching and eventually got to build and test out this idea. I have been blessed by the enthusiasm of the people around me who helped bring this system to life.

Seeing the improvement in results, confidence and enjoyment in learning in schools is a dream come true. We can teach the way children learn. Becoming validated by the DfE was an important milestone. Now we are on a mission to change the world!

Tim Peake


I was very fortunate for my two daughters to have been taught Phonics by Ingrid, using Monster Phonics.  The change in their pace of learning, their love of reading and most importantly, their confidence was transformational.  I had spent 3 years witnessing first-hand as a parent, the complete boredom created by the phonics scheme the school used prior to Ingrid implementing Monster Phonics.

I could see the potential of Monster Phonics.  I wanted other Parents to be able to see their children benefit in the same way mine had.  It was therefore a very easy decision for me to invest and spend time in the business. 

Building a business where everyone shares a passion for helping children, and for making learning fun, is an amazing thing to be involved with.  It’s meaningful in so many ways.  For the first time in my professional career, I feel proud of what I do.

Everyone involved in this business is involved for very personal reasons.  We’re all privileged to be able to help Monster Phonics grow.  My role is to ensure Monster Phonics remains focused on communicating the importance of making learning fun, placing children’s needs at the heart of what we do, and helping all children realise a higher sense of achievement, by getting as many schools, parents and children to enjoy using Monster Phonics as possible.

Ian Connors

Managing Director

I come to Monster Phonics with over 25 years of experience in primary education, bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise to my role as Managing Director of Monster Phonics. My background includes serving as Headteacher at three outstanding schools in the UK and internationally, as well as being the Director of Education for one of the largest primary-focused Multi-Academy Trusts in the country. Before taking on this role, I served as Head of Primary for HFL Education, where I supported 500 schools with teaching and learning, curriculum and assessment. I am proud to take on this role at Monster Phonics and am eager to contribute to its continued success.

Lesley Denby

School Success Manager

Hello everyone, I am Lesley Denby and currently work as an EYFS teacher in an ‘outstanding’ school in Staffordshire. I have had a variety of leadership roles in schools and have experience of teaching from Nursery to year 6. My subject specialism is Early Years and I am passionate about making learning active, engaging and fun for children and staff.

I first came across Monster Phonics when I was looking for a new phonics scheme for my current school and we started using Monster Phonics in September 2019. It’s been amazing to see children and staff alike embrace the scheme so positively and the results have been fantastic. The multi-sensory approach has engaged everyone and the monsters have given children new and imaginative context to their learning. Monster Phonics has been so successful in our school that I am now rolling the scheme out across the other schools in our academy.

After seeing first-hand the excellent results Monster Phonics can bring, I am really excited to now be a Monster Phonics trainer and look forward to supporting your school to embed the Monster Phonics programme.

Outside of school, I like spending time with my family and there is nothing I like better than long country walks with my Golden Retriever Lola.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Toni Evans

Schools Success Consultant

Hi, my name is Toni and I joined the Monster Phonic team part time 2 years ago as a trainer for the South East. I have recently joined the Monster Phonics team full time as Schools Success Consultant. I am really excited to be part of Monster Phonics and looking forward to coming out to schools to train teachers, TA’s and support staff in the benefits and wonders of monster phonics. I trained as a primary school teacher and have taught for the past 20 years. My specialism is in Early years but I also have experience of teaching all year groups from year R to year 6. I was also a middle leader and nqt mentor in the village school that I worked in, my subject leads have included literacy co-ordinator, phonics lead and also reading and volunteer readers co-ordinator. I started using Monster Phonics in the school I was working in 4 years ago and it was amazing to see the children so excited about phonics, as well as the fantastic progress in our phonics results!!!

Outside of school, I am a married mum, with 2 teenage boys, have a 9-year-old sprocker dog and a campervan that we love to go off on adventures in. I love being creative, whether this is through baking, sewing, drawing or gardening I love them all. I look forward to meeting you at a training session and supporting your school very soon.

Amy Allen

Consultant Trainer

Having taught for over 20 years, in a range of settings and countries, I have settled back in UK with my four children. I have a background in SEN and am currently a SENDCo at a rural school in Leicestershire. My further education started out with a degree in Psychology, following which I gained Qualified Teacher Status, and then an MA in Primary Education (Special Needs) and am currently studying for a Masters in Inclusive Education. I also have qualifications and experience in a range of areas such as counselling, Behaviour analysis, Drawing and Talking, Teaching English as a Foreign Language and have experience working with, supporting, advising and writing programmes for young people with a range of difficulties. These include dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, global difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders, speech and language difficulties, fine and gross motor difficulties and numerous other areas. Being a single mum of 4 children ranging in ages from 6 to 18, I do not have much time for myself, but I enjoy art, especially glass fusion and travelling, having lived in Asia for 17 years, so return as often as I can. My passion for Monster Phonics is simple really. The use of colour and characters, bring the teaching and learning of synthetic phonics to life and make it enjoyable and strategic. There are a range of resources which make it easy for teachers to pick up and use and the consistent use of the characters and colours make it easy for the majority of students to pick up, and even those who find learning phonics more challenging using other strategies, seem to persevere with it more and pick it up quicker than I have seen with other programmes. I really enjoy being part of this dynamic team and would be happy to share my knowledge with you.

Claire Simms

Consultant Trainer

Hi everyone, I’m Claire. I am currently a Year 1 teacher in a school just outside Cannock, Staffordshire. As well as being a class teacher I am also Key stage 1 Lead, phonics Lead and ECT mentor, a role that I’ve enjoyed for a number of years. I\’ve been teaching for 16 years in Primary settings and taught across all key stages, prior to this worked in America teaching Music. I first came across Monster Phonics when a friend got in touch and asked if I’d it. I was currently searching for a new scheme to implement in school and I was instantly hooked. We took the 15-day free trial and never looked back. I am passionate about phonics and it has been a pleasure to see how the children and staff have embraced the scheme so positively. The scheme itself offers so much support for both experienced staff and staff new to the profession. The children are so engaged and our results have increased. I am proud to be part of the Monster Phonics team and I look forward to supporting your school to embed the Monster Phonics Programme. Outside of school, I like spending time with family and friends as well as attending live music events. I also enjoy playing a range of musical instruments. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Jenny Fox

Consultant Trainer

Hi, I’m Jenny and I am currently a Reception teacher and Phonics lead at Alderman Bolton Primary School in Warrington. I first started using the program in Autumn 2019 and loved seeing the enthusiasm and accelerated progress made by my class. This, along with my passion for early phonics and reading inspired me to become a trainer in December 2020. Since then I have continued to embed Monster Phonics across my school and spread my love of Monster Phonics among staff, pupils and parents. Over my teaching career I have taught over EYFS, KS1 and KS2, which has enabled me to understand the importance of Phonics throughout the whole school journey.

Katie Mabey

Consultant Trainer

My name is Katie Mabey and I am currently working as a Year 1 teacher at Chiltern Primary School in Basingstoke. I have been a teacher for eighteen years. As well as a teacher, I am a keen traveller and have been fortunate to have visited many worldwide places. I also enjoy baking and have previously trained in sugar art as a hobby. My background is predominantly Early Years and Key Stage One focused. I initially followed the Btec National Diploma programme where I qualified as a Nursery Nurse and then went on to follow the four-year BA Hons in Primary Education (QTS) programme at formerly King Alfred’s College in Winchester where I graduated as a Primary School Teacher with specialist subject Early Years. I later returned to university alongside my teaching and achieved a Masters in Education from the University of Winchester. I have taught at the same school throughout my teaching career and over the years have undertaken numerous roles, including being a member of the Senior Leadership Team; Early Years leader; Key Stage One leader; Newly Qualified Teacher and teaching student mentor and Science and PSHE lead. Currently, I am a Monster Phonics Trainer and Ambassador and lead Monster Phonics; Key Stage One and Early Years English and Music in our school. I have developed a strong passion for Monster Phonics over the four years that we have used it in our school and it was this that encouraged me to jump at the opportunity of becoming a trainer for the programme. I just love seeing children become so familiar with the different characters and it is this that engages them and tunes them into learning their phonics in a multi-sensory way. I love bringing the programme to life with silly stories about the characters and adventures they go on, such as a ‘Monster Hunt’ I always introduce at the beginning of the children’s time in Year One and this immediately engages them. I am excited to share the benefits of this fun and engaging programme that means so much to our children.

Kerry James

Consultant Trainer

I have been teaching in the Primary sector since 2001 and have taught in all year groups. My subject specialism is English, and I was the English lead in a medium-sized school for three years, prior to leaving after I had my first two sons, in 2007. I completed my MEd in 2007. The focus of my final thesis was how children learn to spell, with a focus on preferred learning styles. I am currently the English Co-Ordinator and Early Years teacher for a small rural Lincolnshire school. One of the main reasons I enjoy presenting the Monster Phonics program to schools is that I am passionate about all children being literate and enjoying their learning. Receiving positive feedback from schools relating to success stories in spelling, reading and writing makes me extremely happy and fulfilled. In addition to this, being able to visit other schools and work with other teachers and teaching staff allows my learning to continue as a professional, in that I am always looking for opportunities to better my own practice; working in other settings is an ideal way for me to do this! In my spare time, I love spending time with my family; our three sons, my husband, and three Labradors. I am a keen photographer and enjoy taking family photographs when we are out on our travels. I also have a love of reading; poetry of any sort, biographies and autobiographies.

Laura McWilliam

Consultant Trainer

My name is Laura and I have been a Primary School Teacher for thirteen years. I began my teaching career in KS2 and have now been teaching in EYFS for seven years. I teach full time in a large primary school in the East Midlands. I love teaching and am particularly passionate about EYFS because I genuinely believe there is something so special about watching children develop in their first years of education. I really enjoy outdoor learning and like to be creative. Dress up days are my favourite and I dress up as Monster Phonics monsters fairly frequently! I am so enthusiastic about engaging children in their learning and that is one of the reasons why I work as part of the Monster Phonics team in my free time; because I think it is brilliant how engaging the monster characters and their colour coding make the scheme. I am passionate about teaching Phonics and early reading and have been working for Monster Phonics since September 2021. In my free time, I enjoy attending dance classes, walking on the beach with my family and having adventures! My biggest adventure so far was when I went interrailing around Europe. You can contact me at [email protected]

Naomi Agnew

Consultant Trainer

Hello, I’m Naomi and I am a Monster Phonics trainer based in London. I have been teaching and leading in Early Years and Primary for 12 years and the biggest kick I get from work is helping a child learn to read and write. I believe this is the most important skill we can give our children and why I am so passionate about teaching phonics and early reading. I have taught using several phonics schemes, and Monster Phonics is by far, the easiest to use as a teacher and the most engaging for children. I believe that the colour coding of sounds, is the key to it’s success. The children in our classes love all the Monsters and the songs and our teachers love the easy-to-use website and ready prepared resources and activities. I first discovered Monster Phonics around the time my daughter was learning to read. Once I saw how quickly she took to it and the progress she made, I knew I wanted to get involved in the scheme. When I’m not teaching or working with Monster Phonics, I run public speaking workshops and training for schools, businesses, and individuals. I look forward to meeting you at a training session soon or helping your school embed the Monster Phonics programme. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Sam Rivolta

Consultant Trainer

My name is Samantha Rivolta and I have been a teacher for over 20 years. I have worked in a range of settings and taken on many roles including being a member of the Senior Leadership Team. I have been a Deputy Head; Head of School; Early Years leader; Newly Qualified Teacher and teaching student mentor. I have also been the English, Phonics and Maths lead. It’s been a very busy time. My passion, however, remains with Early Years and KS1. I thoroughly enjoy working with the younger children as they begin their academic journey. Their enquiring minds and eagerness to learn is very rewarding and I love to see children embracing all the awe and wonder that surrounds them and Monster Phonics fits in perfectly. Monster Phonics was introduced to me in its infancy, and it was clear that the structure, the colours and the characters were going to be a success. The multisensory approach encourages all learners to participate in Phonics sessions where they quickly make the links to become successful readers and writers. I have seen the positive impact Monster Phonics has on results and attitudes to learning. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for the scheme and all it has to offer.

Sarah Newman

Consultant Trainer

Hello, my name is Sarah Newman. I have been teaching for 30 years and have worked in Nurseries and Schools in London, North Carolina and Kent. I have lots of experience in teaching in Early Years and KS1 and love the creative side of teaching. I am currently teaching in the Nursery in a Prep school in Wye, Kent. I first came across Monster Phonics when I was teaching Year 1 and as a school we were looking for a phonics scheme. I introduced it halfway through the year and then moved to teach Reception where I used it for the whole academic year. Monster phonics is so colourful and the children really took to the monsters. I love the way it is easy to use with the daily lessons and activities and it was a delight to see the children's enthusiasm for their daily phonics session. I joined the Monster Phonics team in September 2021 and am very keen to share this great scheme with others. I live near the coast in Kent with my husband and 2 young teenage children. We all enjoy being outdoors and taking our labrador, Hamish for walks. My other interests are cooking, playing tennis and I have recently completed a course on Bee keeping which I am keen to develop at home and in my school.

Tanya Haigh

Consultant Trainer

I am a teacher and leader, with 23 years experience in schools and education. I have held a wide variety of roles, both in schools at middle and senior leader levels and Headship, as well as within Local Authorities and Teaching Schools as part of school improvement teams. I am an aspirational, visionary teacher with an unshakable belief in achieving high standards of education for all. I have a proven track record in raising standards in teaching and learning across the curriculum, leading and managing change for schools and demonstrating impact on school outcomes and improvements. My particular subject specialisms are the primary English curriculum, Early Phonics, Reading and progression, EYFS and KS1 and also SEND. These are firmly grounded in the New OFSTED Framework and guided by the key themes, strands and research which underpin deep dives and any OFSTED inspections. Messages and training to support schools in Phonics and Early reading are aligned with key DFE messages. I have experience of directly working with different stakeholders in school teams, providing training and CPD. I have also undertaken school reviews, audits and supported self-evaluation, either with a focus on general teaching and learning or with more specific dives around vulnerable groups, SEND and Phonics and Early Reading. Outside of teaching I have a busy family life with a husband and two daughters. We enjoy reading, shopping, cooking and especially family film nights – often accompanied by a huge bag of popcorn!

Vicky Lea

Consultant Trainer

I am Vicky Lea and I am the Phonics Lead at St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School. I teach in year 1 and 2, moving in to year 2 next year and I am phase leader for key stage 1. I am celebrating 20 years as a teacher in September 2021. I have taught and led EYFS before moving into key stage one. I also lead science across the school and I am the mentor to all the trainee teachers on placement in school. I have had an interest in phonics since I started teaching, and I have always wanted to provide the children I teach with the most multi-sensory, engaging and fun programme as I can and I have now found a phonics programme that is all of those.

Cat Vincent

Consultant Trainer

I am proud to be a lifelong learner and have a huge amount of enthusiasm for learning. Currently, I am reading for a BSc Hons degree in Psychology. I hold a Forest School Practitioner qualification which not only was a joy to do but has many transferable skills which include Risk/Benefit analysis, being compassionate about other people’s perspectives, connecting with other people, and embodying the knowledge that learning should always be fun if it is to have maximum impact.

I have worked as a teaching assistant for six years and then as a teacher for the past three years. Monster phonics was introduced to me three years ago and I have had the pleasure of using it as a Key Stage 2 teacher to help SEN children find a love of reading and writing.

My passion for languages does not stop at English. Five years ago, I began learning Italian and once I have completed my degree, I will begin learning Spanish. I also love sailing, walking, music and self-improvement. Oh, and did I mention I passed my motorbike test last year? That was definitely fun learning!

I know Miss Oh No! is a popular monster, but my favourite monsters are the Black Cats with their simple elegance and grace.

Jonathan Williams

Board Director

Jonathan has over 20 years' experience leading high performance teams. As CMO at Auto Trader, the largest digital motoring marketplace, where he spent 15 years, he was instrumental in the digital transformation of the business, resulting in an IPO that achieved a market cap of £6bn. He also advises boards of multiple leading digital organisations and consults for several Private Equity Firms.

Sara Robayo Sarmiento

Financial and Customer Services Manager

Hi Everybody :)

I am Sara and I am the finance and customer service manager at monster phonics. I have a background in Economics and International Business in Madrid.

I joined this fantastic team in May 2020, I am amazed at the excitement and enthusiasm of children learning phonics. I did not know how important phonics is in children’s life. I did not get into reading until I was 14, and since then, I have found another world, I enjoyed reading so much now.

I love all the monsters; however, my favourite monsters are cool blue and Miss Oh No because he is a DJ and she loves dancing like me.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on [email protected]; I will be happy to help you in your Monster Phonics Journey😊

Brahim Arrab

Distribution Leader

Hello! My name is Brahim Arrab. I am native to North Africa, the lovely Morocco! I was born and raised in the Atlas Mountains, but graduated from Marrakech University, majoring in Sociology and Psychology. I am a former hotel manager, with 6 years experience in tourism

In 2013, I met my lovely wife and soon settled in the UK in 2016. I am now a father to two bright boys and there is nothing I love more than spending quality time with my family, whether that’s cycling through forests or playing football in the garden.

I have been working for Monster Phonics since January 2022 as a Distribution leader, and it’s been an exciting journey so far! The team is fantastic with kind and friendly staff. The books that we sell are a real hit with my own children and my eldest has aced his Phonics with the aid of the characters from the books. Thank you Monster Phonics!

Sarah Lee

Product and Content Manager

I'm Sarah, the graphics designer working with Monster Phonics from the very beginning.

I'm responsible for bringing the monsters characters to life and creating the resources across the programme.

Creating the monsters has been one of my biggest achievements. I always enjoy working with brands that I can connect to on a personal level, and as a mum of 5 Monster Phonics does just that.   I'm passionate about Monster Phonics and the ability to engage children, making learning to read an enjoyable experience.  I love to bring the fun of the monsters into the learning environment and watch how the children respond to and engage with the characters.

In my spare time, I love being creative, spending time with my family, and taking walks in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.

Hanna Stechenko


I started to illustrate Monster Phonics books in 2019 just after I'd completed a course in commercial and children's illustration in Odessa, Ukraine. I was keen to try my new skills in practice. The Monsters captivated me and became my favorite project! Each story is sweet and funny, it takes me back to my childhood, it fills me with warmth and a sense of security. Our country has been going through difficult times since 2014, there is a war and bad news. Monster Phonics has become a lifeline for me, my psychological support. I am very grateful to everyone who created this.