Meet Our Team



Matt CommanderMr Matt Commander – Director of International and Strategic Projects

After completing his degree in Civil Engineering, Matt joined the Army and served for 11 years as an officer in the Royal Engineers and Queen’s Gurkha Engineers. He completed a number of overseas postings in Kuwait, Iraq, Kosovo and Germany as well as working as the Project Engineer for the Gurkha Welfare Trust School’s Project in Nepal.

His last appointment in the Army was as a Vice Principal responsible for leadership and personal development at the Defence Sixth Form College Welbeck which led to a career change to teaching. On leaving the Army he took up a Physics teaching appointment at Cranleigh School before moving to Christ’s Hospital where he taught GCSE, A Level and IB Physics alongside being a Houseparent for six years.

Matt Joined Benenden in 2015 as Assistant Head (Co-curricular), moving to Deputy Head (Staff and Cocurricular) in April 2017. From September 2018, Matt took on the role of Director of International and Strategic Projects, overseeing all aspects of the School’s international school partnerships as well as working on other school strategic educational projects.

He also works alongside the Director of Partnerships on the strategy for the School’s Partnership Programme. In 2018 Matt completed a Master’s in Education Leadership.

Nick RendallMr Nick Rendall – Director of Partnerships and Assistant Director of International and Strategic Projects

Nick graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London having read English and History of Art, prior to joining the Army in 2001. He served in the Coldstream Guards until 2008, undertaking a variety of roles including, training recruits in Catterick, ceremonial duties in London as well as operational tours in Iraq and Northern Ireland. His final posting was at the Defence Academy of the UK as the Military Assistant to the Commandant of the Joint Services Command and Staff College.

On leaving the Army he joined Stowe School as an English teacher and worked as an Assistant Housemaster prior to teaching at Truro High School and King Edward’s Witley where he was a Housemaster and Head of the Lower School. He holds a PGCE (QTS) from the University of Buckingham and a Master’s in Educational Leadership and School Improvement from the University of Cambridge. 

At Benenden Nick has been a Housemaster, alongside teaching English, prior to becoming Director of Partnerships and Assistant Director of International and Strategic Projects.


Lesley TylerMrs Lesley Tyler – Executive Director – Curriculum and Professional Excellence

An Oxford English graduate, Lesley first taught English and Drama at Coopers School in Kent, and became Head of Performing Arts, then moved to Tonbridge Grammar as Head of Drama.

As an Advanced Skills Teacher in Gifted and Talented Education, she delivered training on this topic across the UK.

She also worked as a consultant on curriculum design and project-based learning for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the National College of School Leadership, and designed and ran summer schools for gifted students. She ran a county-wide project for able students as part of the Independent and State School Partnership which involved 35 schools.

In 2009, she moved to Benenden as Director of Studies, latterly rebranded Academic Deputy Head, and she undertook this role for ten years. From September 2019, she became Executive Director - Curriculum and Professional Excellence, with responsibility for curriculum design and innovation and academic staff training, and continues to be fully involved in the academic life of the school, including as a teacher. 

She continues her interest in curriculum design to promote challenge and connective thinking, working nationally on these topics. Lesley is a trained inspector for ISI and sits on the board of a national teacher training agency.


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