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Governor Biographies 

Lisa Gibbs-Murray
Chair of Governors, Co-Opted

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 in 2018. Her parents have been governors for a combined total of over 50 years so you could say it's in her genes. Lisa is a parent at the school and has been an active member of the PTA since September 2015. 

Lisa 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. As a volunteer, Lisa has been a listener to readers at St Michaels and also helped the children with their maths skills. In addition, she has helped at Hartfield Church Sunday School and the Hartfield Playschool where she is also a trustee. 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 and combines the two as a long-term member of the National Trust.

Nancy McHugh
Vice-Chair, Co-Opted

Nancy joined the governing board in March, 2019. She has three grown children and knows first-hand how varied children’s educational journeys can be, plus how important the right context is for any child to be a happy and successful learner.

Nancy’s career background is in business, 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 for many years. Outside of work as a database manager, Nancy enjoys travelling around the UK and abroad and until recently has been a head-office volunteer with The Hygiene Bank.

Hannah Briggs
Finance Governor, Parent Governor

Hannah has been a parent at St Michaels school for the last six years, which seems to have passed in a flash. She has been a member of the PTA since the day her daughter started at the school, but felt that the time had come to do more for the school itself. Hannah has worked in finance for the last twenty years and can draw on this experience to fulfil the role of Finance governor. Hannah says that since joining the governing board, her respect for the teachers and the school has trebled; she had never fully appreciated what it takes to run a school and feels honoured that I can be a part of that. 

When she is not running 50p Friday for the PTA or helping with Nature Club, Hannah enjoys walking her very energetic puppy, working with her husband to build their house and growing her own vegetables. She also has a passion for cars.

Alex Baptie 
Co-opted

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.

Heather Furminger 
Co-opted

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'

Alison Arthur
Co-opted

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 two older children, one at Beacon Academy and one at university. Alison has been an active PTA volunteer since 2004, including the roles of chair and vice-chair and was a member of the PTA at St Michael's from 2016 to 2019. 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 has a CTEFLA qualification). She has run a B&B 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.

Catherine O'Shea 

Head Teacher Ex Officio

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.

David Pinard

Staff Governor

David has been a teacher for over 30 years, working in the London Borough of Greenwich and East Sussex. During this time, he has been a staff governor at many of the schools that he worked at as well as a parent governor at both his children's primary and secondary schools. He understands the important role that governors are engaged in to support the education of children in schools. Outside of school, David follows Burnley Football Club as well as often going to see his son play hockey. He enjoys walking and has started several of the national trails. More recently, he has taken an interest in growing his own vegetables

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