Two leading women who have helped shape North Tyneside have been honoured in the New Year’s Honours List.
North Tyneside Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn and Dr Lindsey Whiterod, chief executive at Tyne Coast College, were awarded CBEs – the highest honour – in the annual list released by the Government.
Mrs Redfearn, a former headteacher, was honoured for her public and community work in Tyneside.
Dr Whiterod, who has delivered innovative change in the education sector, was honoured for her services to education and the community in South Tyneside.
Elsewhere, Michael Burgess, 58, of Durham, received an MBE for services to disadvantaged young people in North Tyneside.
For the last 29 years Mr Burgess has devoted his career to inspiring disadvantaged young people living in North Tyneside to bring about meaningful change in their lives and recognise their potential.
Through the Phoenix detached youth project, which he has managed since 2004, he has been able to engage with some of the hardest to reach young people on their terms on the streets, offering vital support five nights a week in areas such as employment, health, education and lifestyle.
Dr Whiterod is the first chief executive of Tyne Coast College, formed last August from the merger of South Tyneside College and TyneMet College.
She oversees the studies of 16,000 full and part-time students, directing operations at the North East’s second largest Further Education body.
Dr Whiterod, 47, from Gateshead, said: “It is a great honour, albeit a surprise, to be awarded a CBE.
“I am thrilled that my work has been recognised in this way.
“While it brings great personal satisfaction, I have been fortunate to have been consistently supported by many committed and inspirational education professionals.
“My ambition has always been to help deliver learning that provides strong foundations from which people of all ages can grow personally and professionally.”
She added: “At Tyne Coast College, supported by exceptional people, I continue to be driven by the same of goals of helping learners to achieve.
“We share an ambition to meet the education and training needs of the North East, so that the region has the strongest possible skills base.
“Delivering the skills that give every learner the best possible chance of success on their chosen career path, will help this region to grow.”
At South Tyneside College, where she was principal and then chief executive, Dr Whiterod oversaw leaps in innovation and a rise in standards that led it to be named England’s best FE college and provider in 2017.
The accolades, by the prestigious Tes education publication, coincided with the creation of Tyne Coast College – a move seen as strengthening post-16 provision in the region.
It brought together South Tyneside College and TyneMet as well as their sub-brands, which include world-leading South Shields Marine School and Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College.
Dr Whiterod, who was awarded an OBE in 2013, is a trained solicitor who began her career as a law lecturer at South Tyneside College in 1994.