Pen Portraits of Governors
Life has given me two passions, education and weather. My professional career started off in education and I very much enjoyed teaching maths at a couple of local secondary schools, my career path then took me from being a teacher to becoming a Meteorologist and now for the past two years, having been a Chief Meteorologist (Weather Man) for many years, I’ve established two businesses – working part-time on both ventures to enable me to work from home and spend more time with my children.
I have three children, Noah (eldest) is in year 3 at Medstead Primary School, and two daughters under school age, although our eldest daughter Sara is due in Year R this September. Sara has Down’s Syndrome and it has really opened my eyes to the fact that every single child has unique needs, different desires and thus requires/needs different things from the school and I feel well placed to provide valuable insight into inclusion and helping every child meet their best potential. I believe it’s of upmost importance that we don’t lose a child’s personality or uniqueness as we strive to deliver the best for them academically but to also have inclusion where every child feels they are part of and contributing to the school. I am very pleased (also the reason for picking this school for my kids) that the school holds the personal development and well-being of its pupils in the highest regard forming the background of the school motto: ‘Together we Learn’ and it’s my goal to make sure Medstead Primary School continues to fulfil a child’s every need.
Local Authority Governor
I started my career at BP in the Exploration Department. During this time I was based in London but worked in various places including North Sea platforms and in Libya on geological and geophysical surveys. As computers were being used more and more I moved on to concentrate on developing computer systems and was part of a team that developed an early information retrieval system, not nearly as sophisticated as current ones. I then travelled the world (Europe, Asia, Australia and South America) training people in its use.
When my husband, Simon, was relocated to Aberdeen I did some freelance work, both in oil exploration and developing computer systems. We were in Aberdeen for nearly nine years during which time our 2 children were born. When we moved south again as my husband worked away a lot I didn’t continue in full-time employment as I wanted to be around for the children without complicated childcare arrangements. Once they were both at school I worked as a Teaching Assistant at Medstead. I had planned to move on once my children were older but enjoyed working at the school and seeing children develop and achieve in so many different ways.
I’ve been a governor for over 23 years, starting as a parent governor at my children’s primary school in Alton. In 2001 the Local Authority asked me to become a governor at a local secondary school following an issue which resulted in the resignation of the governing body. For a while I continued with both schools but eventually gave up the primary school. After retiring from Medstead, the then Head Teacher asked if I’d be a governor, as there were a number of new inexperienced governors. It was not my intention to be Chair of Governors in both schools but the Medstead’s Chair left and....... (the rest, as they say, is history). I resigned from the secondary school governing body in December 2015. I am no longer the chair at Medstead but I still serve on the governing body.
Since becoming a Governor at Medstead in 2009, I have served a number of roles within the school, including Link Governor for the English, Outdoor Learning, Pupil Progress, Special Educational Needs, Assessment, Curriculum and Early Years.
I am currently the Safeguarding Governor, Link Governor for pupils with Special Education Needs and Disabilities, including the Hearing Impaired Resourced Provision and sit on the Finance and General Purposes and Pay Committees. I also represent the governors at the Local Governors Forum meetings.
I try to support the school in as many ways as possible meeting regularly with the Headteacher, and working with other governors and the leadership team to ensure that the strategic direction of the school will enable all children to enjoy school and learning, achieve well and be well prepared for their future.
In my spare time I walk, read, garden, play tennis, paint (watercolour and acrylic), holiday and enjoy life.
With over 25 years of experience in the service sector, including 10 building and running my own successful hospitality business, I have a solid understanding of the importance of having a sound strategy in place that supports the growth of an organisation, an outlook which I feel has helped me as a Governor. My time is now spent advising small and medium size businesses on how to grow and retain their staff and clients as well as undertaking business mentoring which I find exceptionally rewarding. The past three years have also seen me progress a catering consultancy business, which I hope will become a greater part of my working life in the future.
A personal interest in sustainability and environmental issues as well as a commitment to supporting suppliers local to Medstead is an aspect of my life that I believe serves me well as a Governor. My background in catering and facilities also means I am equipped to support the school in specialist areas relating to children’s food, dietary wellbeing and the environment in which they study.
Professionally, I was Chairman of the Association of Catering Excellence, a not-for-profit voluntary organisation that promotes excellence in the hospitality industry, between 2007 and 2009.
Locally, I am a member of the Medstead Tennis Club and a keen follower of all sport but particularly golf and rugby and during my playing days I was a qualified under 14’s RFU coach. I now coach the under 10’s mini rugby teams at Alton Rugby Club.
Since becoming a Governor in 2010, I have served a number of roles within the school, and try very hard to support the life of the school in as many facets as possible. Responsibilities include;
· Link Governor for the Creative Arts until Sept 2013
- Link Governor for Outdoor Learning current (from Sept 2013)
· Link Governor for Physical Education current until Sept 2016
· Finance and General Purposes Committee current
- Pay Committee current
- Health & Safety Governor current
I am an active member of the Governing Body and a regular visitor to the school. I work closely with fellow Governors, Staff and the Headteacher to ensure that the strategic direction of the school will enable all children to excel and enjoy their time at Medstead.
I was born in Mombasa, Kenya where I lived until the age of 6. I spent my early years on the beach or in a pool! We moved to Nairobi when I started school and I lived there until I moved to the UK for A-Levels at Cranleigh School.
I will never forget my first winter in the UK - snow meant sport was cancelled, a stark contrast to school being cancelled due to a rhino on the playing fields – a regular occurrence given it was next door to the Nairobi National Park.
Sport has always played a huge part in my life, whether it be rugby, golf, tennis or hockey but my real passion has always been cricket. I was lucky enough to play international cricket for Kenya in the U19 World Cup and then for the full team between 2004 and 2007.
The lessons I have learned from sport – Leadership, Teamwork, the will to win and determination, I believe have stood me in great stead and been a great influence on where I am today.
In my professional life, I have been at the forefront of technology and transformational change. I began my career as an Energy Broker in the city, as it shifted from floor to screen based trading. In 2004, I made the leap into Digital (Sports) marketing when I joined Cricinfo.com – which at the time was the World’s Largest Single Sport Website. My role was to scale the business across new international markets resulting in acquisition by ESPN in 2007 – at the time the World’s largest sports media business and a Walt Disney Company. Following the acquisition, I set up ESPN Digital Media Europe and was exposed so some extraordinary training – from mentoring & coaching to Leadership courses and Negotiation training from a former CIA hostage negotiator!
These experiences set me up for the rigours of the next chapter in my career at US ad technology start-up RadiumOne. Then, in 2015 I was headhunted to join Eagle Eye – one of former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy’s investments - as Chief Revenue Officer. This role provided a different set of learning experiences, but one that also solidified my desire to take the leap into setting up my own business. Earlier this year I launched Volando - a business accelerator for start-ups and high growth companies. I have learnt more in the last 5 months than in any other role – lessons that I can hopefully bring to my role as Governor.
I moved to Four Marks from Twickenham 3 ½ years ago, with my wife Alex and two children Ella and Zac. My eldest Ella, is in year 1 at Medstead Primary School. She is absolutely loving every second of school life and is thriving on the experiences and in the caring environment the school offers.
Zac is an Early Learner at Medstead Pre-school and cannot wait to start his journey at school next year.
We moved from Twickenham for the quality of life and fantastic schools that Hampshire offers - both Alex and I striving for Ella and Zac’s upbringing to be more akin to what we experienced in Kenya and North Devon. We are thoroughly enjoying life outside of London – throwing ourselves into the local community and everything a more rural lifestyle offers. Having come out of retirement for the 3rd time, I can be found most Saturdays in the summer at Jubilee Fields playing cricket for Alton 1st XI!
When I got involved at Medstead School, I was struck by the happiness and enjoyment that exuded from both staff and children alike. I feel it is our responsibility as governors to nurture this environment for exceptional learning. I look forward to bringing my experiences to my role as governor and contributing to the future success of our fantastic school.
Becoming a School Governor is my first voluntary role, and is one that I’m sure I’ll enjoy.
I’ve always lived in Hampshire, and my first job after leaving school was as an apprentice in Portsmouth Naval Base, where I trained and worked as a Joiner. Working in a Naval Dockyard was a fantastic experience; it was steeped in history and tradition, and the camaraderie was great. I met my wife Louise in HMS Nelson (which is more or less part of the dockyard), which coincidentally, was where my Grandfather and Grandmother met more than six decades earlier.
After ten years on the tools, I embarked on a Management career with Amey Plc, working mostly in their Facility Management division, but also in one of its Justice focused joint ventures. I committed to a lot of education whilst working there, and took every opportunity I could to develop my career. Within a few years I was running large Facility Management contracts for some really interesting customers like the Police in London, The National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, and QinetiQ, which took me to some of the most beautiful and remote parts of the UK. My last few years at Amey were mainly spent working in an executive, strategic capacity, developing new market interests.
I really enjoyed working at Amey, the people were fantastic, and I was frequently given opportunities to develop, that included education at Warwick Business School, and the University of Navarra in Madrid. I was also lucky enough to be a regular member of their yacht racing team, which was incredibly successful, winning many regattas.
These days I co-own and run a learning and development company, which I’ve recently opened up to shared ownership. Apart from it being a great job, it gives me something very special, and that’s plenty of flexibility and time with my family. Getting my children ready in the mornings and doing the school runs is something I wouldn’t be able to do in the corporate rat race, so I consider myself very lucky.
I enjoy a few different sports, but my passion is Boxing. It’s been a while since I put a pair of gloves on, but even so, the whole sport is something I am completely captivated by.
Being part of the Four Marks and Medstead community is great, we enjoy amazing relationships with other parents at the school, and feel very privileged that our children Evie and Florence can grow up in such a lovely place.
Having moved down from London in April 2018 I wanted to find a way to get involved and help in the local community. When my eldest daughter started at the school in Year R in September, an opportunity came up to join the governors as a parent governor. It seemed a great way to be able to achieve that goal and use my professional experience to have a positive impact for the children.
I am a qualified accountant but since completing my training in an accountancy firm in Guildford I have spent the last 14 years working in Financial Services in London.
Over that time I have met and worked with a large number of people covering a variety of backgrounds, skill-sets, experience levels and nationalities. This has driven a strong belief in the value of diversity and the importance of teamwork to achieve the best results.
My current role focuses on the budgeting, forecasting and reporting of the transformation portfolio of a large bank. These are the projects that enable the organisation to deliver its change strategy creating new products and services for their customers, generating operational efficiencies and to meet ever more complex regulatory requirements.
My aim is to bring some of the finance and change experience that I have developed in my career to date, to the governor team. I hope this will help the school to continue the excellent work it already does in supporting the children and their needs at this important time in their development.
My wife Rachel and I have two gorgeous daughters Izzy and Olivia in years 4 and R respectively. Olivia is profoundly deaf and has the use of dual cochlear implants. When it was clear to us that she would require additional support in order to further her speech development and understanding, we reviewed schools with hearing impaired provisions. We feel in love with Medstead school, the community feel and integrated teaching with the deaf children. During the open day we also reviewed the deaf resource provision, meeting both Jamie and Lisa the teachers of the deaf, and witnessing total communication in action. The decision was then made, and we relocated to Medstead.
I am very passionate about effective teaching, child development and making sure that the children above all have fun and enjoy being at school. The teaching profession always amazes me, where teachers use their enthusiasm and drive to get the best out of each child balanced against a limited amount of available resources. The passion and interest from the teaching team makes a significant difference to each child. When bolstered with supportive parenting this allows the formation of tomorrow's creative citizens and future inspirational individuals/leaders. I am keen to ensure that the children within Medstead School have the opportunity and exposure to a very wide variety of interests and topics. This will broaden their outlook and interest in the world and society ensuring that their experience is one of opportunity rather than defined direction. And what better way to influence this than to be a part of it.
My professional experience has centred around engineering. Starting off as an apprentice moving into maintenance and developing to design of equipment and facilities. I have always worked within regulated industries, including pharmaceutical and nuclear which has taught me to make robust documented decisions. I am a chartered engineer with the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a design authority for the MOD. This means that I certify design acceptability ensuring that it meets requirements, legal obligations whilst being suitably safe. I am keen on utilising some of the key skills that I learnt during my MBA combined with my professional experience and deaf cultural awareness to the governor role.
Outside of work I am a dedicated father and husband, which tends to take up most of my free time. This includes spending time with my two grown up children. But when free my interests include studying hard for British Sign Language - level 2, classic car restoration and strategic board gaming.