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St Michael’s Governor Biographies 2021

Alison Arthur

Alison first became a governor in 2013 in Crowborough and is still part of the governing body at Ashdown Primary School. She was asked to join the governing body at St Michael's in 2017 when her daughter Lauren was in reception. She also has 2 older children, one at Beacon Academy and one at university. Alison started organising PTA events and attending committee meetings in 2004, including the roles of chair and vice-chair and joined the PTA at St Michael's in 2016 for 3 years. Alison has been a town councillor in Crowborough since 2019.

Alison is self-employed in several direct sales businesses and as a languages tutor (she has a degree in French, German & Russian, and also a CTEFLA qualification). She has run a B&B (temporarily closed) and has also gained experience of the tourism & hospitality industries in her previous employment. She has been involved with environmental issues for over 30 years, in both her work and personal life, and is currently chair of Crowborough Town Council's Climate Change Policy Working Group. Her interests include cooking, travelling, skiing, music and the theatre.

Alex Baptie 

Alex joined the governing board at the beginning of the academic year 2021/2022, He is also a Head of School at another East Sussex school and is keen to support St Michael's using his knowledge of education. He has been in education for 11 years having previously worked in Hampshire and moved to Crowborough in 2015. Alex has a passion for ensuring all children have a high-quality education in a nurturing environment. Away from school life, he is a keen supporter of Southampton FC and has an array of pets. He especially enjoys walking his dog on the Ashdown Forest. Alex also enjoys spending plenty of time in the garden, where he can get lost for hours. He is looking forward to being a part of the St Michael's community.

Hannah Briggs 

Heather Furminger 

I live just across the border in East Grinstead. St Michael's is such a happy school where every child is given the opportunity to flourish.  I always wanted a career working with children but my family  situation prevented me from persuing a teaching pathway studying History.  Instead I was employed as customer service manager at Gatwick airport and I hacve extensively travelled the world. I have spent the last 50 years as a volunteer in the scouting movement with the majority of that time spent enjoying the great outdoorts with the cub scouts before taking on a commisioner role. It is both a pleasure and privilege to be part of the St Michael's team who are so clearly very dedicated to their resolve to bring out the very  best in all the children in their care  enabling them to achieve their dreams, believing everything is possible. 'dream it, do it believe it'

Lisa Gibbs-Murray Chair of Governors 

Lisa started her governor “career” as a parent governor at St Michael's in July 2016 and then became a co-opted member in June 2020. In less than 2 years as a governor here, she became the chair. Her parents have been governors for a combined total of over 50 years so you could say it's in her genes. She is a parent at the school and has been an active member of the PTA since September 2015. She has a degree in Maths and Computing and, before becoming a full-time mother, she was an IT project manager for a number of years. In this role she gained a great deal of experience in controlling budgets, resourcing and delivering excellence, all useful skills for a governor. She has volunteered at St Michael's as a listener to readers and also helped the children with their maths skills. In addition, she has helped at Hartfield Playschool and assisted for a while in the Hartfield Church Sunday School. On top of all of this she is a trustee at Hartfield Playschool. So, as you can see, she is passionate about children's education and welfare. In her spare time (when there is some), she loves to walk and be out in the countryside, she has a passion for history too and combines the both as a long-term member of the National Trust.

Liz Harding 

Nancy Mchugh

Nancy joined the governing board in March, 2019, meaning she had just twelve months get to know the school and up to speed with her responsibilities before the first lockdown took hold, so the learning curve has been steep. But, she feels gratified to be part of a close-knit and purposeful team supporting the school staff through their amazing responses to the challenges of the past year.

Nancy’s career started in banking, but she has spent the past twenty years working part-time in the voluntary sector and predominantly with schools and school groups; along with working on special projects, she was an active volunteer with the parents’ associations at her children’s schools. Her late in-laws were a head teacher and an early-years specialist, so continuing her volunteering as a governor in a primary school seemed a natural choice. 

She has three grown children who are now all at university and whose educational paths varied greatly. So, she can appreciate the difference that caring, skilled and dedicated teachers can make to every child’s success in learning.

Nancy holds a BA in History, an MBA and a postgraduate diploma in Voluntary Sector Management, where her special focus was on leadership of change and innovation. She is the link governor for SEND, MHEW and Staffing and a volunteer with The Hygiene Bank.

Catherine O'Shea 

Catherine has an MA Hons from Edinburgh University where she read Religious Studies (specialising in studying Indian and Ancient Near Eastern Religions)  She completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Homerton College Cambridge.  She has been teaching for as long as she can remember.  She started working in schools in Cheshire then Shropshhire, next she taught in Central London (including a C of E primary school in Soho) and has ended up in Sussex.   Catherine has attanied the National Award for Special Needs Co-ordinators.as she believes inclusion is such an important part of education.  Part of the schools vision is a high value on training and development for all staff and Governors, She has worked with four Governing bodies in very different settings.  Governors have an essential role in working towards achieving the best outcomes for the children in the schools they serve, making all those late night meetings worth while.

Jo Shobbrook

Jo joined St Michael's Primary School in September 2016 and became the Staff Governor.  She relocated from Richmond in Surrey so that she could be closer to her extended family and to get on the ever-elusive property ladder. Jo has been a primary school teacher since 2005 and has lengthy experience working with children across KS1 and KS2. Prior to becoming a teacher Jo had numerous project administration jobs, her longest for a Transport Planning company. She has a Bsc (Hons) in Geography and Science.  Jo has recently taken up the hobby of running and enjoys nothing more than running around the green fields of Kent. Both of her children have attended St Michael's and her youngest child is currently in Year 6. Jo is enjoying her role as staff governor and is really happy contributing to her school community. 

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