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Governor Profiles

Paula Willoughby

Paula Willoughby

Chair of Governors

My background is in law and I have been a solicitor for over 20 years. My current role is in a bank and so I have experience working in a highly regulated environment and alongside my usual day-to-day job, I sit on various committees which are responsible for the governance of specific areas within the Bank. From this experience I believe that I have the skills to support the Governing Body and whole school community.

I have been a Governor at Alban City School since 2019 and Chair of Governors since Autumn 2021. I chose to apply to Alban City School to become a Governor because of the school’s ethos and aims – the children, their happiness, well-being and high achievement really are at the heartbeat of the school. It is a privilege to be able to play a part in ensuring the continued success of this great school.

I am a mum to two school age children; love cooking and baking and taking our dog Daisy for long walks in the countryside. I am also a Swim England qualified Level 1 Judge for competitive swimming.

Kate Leahy

Vice Chair of Governors

I am a Local Authority governor at Alban City School. I am currently the Vice Chair of Governors and sit on the Resources Committee.

I have been involved with the school from the outset, originally through my role as a school place planning officer at Hertfordshire County Council.  Having identified the need for a new school in St. Albans, I was fortunate to be part of the dedicated team which successfully established Alban City School. I was asked to stay on as a local authority governor when the school opened, and was delighted to do so.

Having grown up and attended school locally, I know the area well and have a strong connection with St Albans. I now head up the School Planning team at Hertfordshire County Council meaning I have a good understanding of how schools work, especially the ever changing relationships and responsibilities between schools and local and central government. I have always been passionate about education, and being a school governor offers me the opportunity to be involved first hand.  With two primary aged children of my own, I can also add my perspective as a parent.  I am proud to remain part of Alban City School as it continues to grow and flourish.

Gilly Stray

Headteacher

I am very proud to be the Headteacher at Alban City School. I joined the school as Headteacher in January 2018, and I feel very fortunate to lead such a thriving and supportive school community.  My degree is in the performing arts, and I am committed to ensuring we offer a broad, balanced and diverse curriculum at Alban City, where every child can flourish, feel happy and supported, and achieve their very best during their time with us.

Cathy Carter

Staff Governor and Deputy Head Teacher

I am a staff representative for our governing body.  I attend full governing body meetings and pupil achievement committee meetings. I joined Alban City School in 2012 as one of the reception class teachers. In 2015 I was appointed Deputy Head and I work closely with the Head Teacher and the whole staff team.

Gordon Baisley

Co-Opted Governor

I was elected as a Parent Governor in November 2016 and was subsequently elected a co-opted Governor in 2020. I sit on the Full Governing Body and Resources Committee.

All three of my children have attended Alban City. I’ve seen with all three how happy they’ve been at Alban City, how they have been nurtured and developed their knowledge and social skills.

My professional background was leading teams within IT – latterly as Director of Quality Assurance at a Financial Services firm – before I founded a St Albans based Recruitment company in 2015. The various roles have given me broad experience, including planning and managing budgets, HR management of teams, and a consciousness of a range of employment law and company legal obligations.

Locally, I am also a governor at Killigrew School. I’m Chairman and a coach at Victoria Playing Fields Football Club, and coach U11 Rugby at Old Albanians RFC. Through these roles, I have a lot of contact primary school aged children and continually grow my appreciation of the skills and considerations involved in teaching them.

I hope that both my perspective as a parent, the knowledge and experience gained through my professional history, and my other roles within the local community, combine to allow me to deliver value as a Governor at Alban City.

Linda Crawley MBE

Founding Governor

I qualified as a teacher in September 1970 and worked in 3 different local authorities over the ensuing years. I worked as a deputy headteacher, and as a headteacher. I worked as a Primary Strategy Consultant Leader for the Local Authority, supporting schools in raising attainment.

I retired in December 2009 and worked part time as a tutor for the School of Education at Hertfordshire University supervising teaching practice in primary schools throughout the county and adjoining counties. In 2010, I headed a mixed group of parents and teachers to help set up Alban City School.

I was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to education.

Robert Crick

Parent Governor

I was brought up in France, where I did my baccalaureate and first mechanical and production engineering degree, I went on to do a masters of engineering in robotics. Following a 15 year career in the field, I also completed an MBA (Master of Business Administration) at Cranfield.

I have experience managing small businesses. I was on the board of directors of a £20M manufacturing company.

Today I run two start-up businesses, one is an international trade consultancy and the other is an automation engineering company.

I’ve been a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) ambassador for three years now, and regularly drop into local schools as well as ACS to do presentations and demonstrations on STEM subjects. I feel children should be given as many opportunities as possible to explore STEM subjects as these are fundamental to addressing the challenges the world is currently facing. Finally, I’m fairly outgoing and approachable, and have been involved in helping the PTA organise and run the comedy and quiz nights.

Lizzi Hodgkinson

Co-Opted Governor

I became a Governor in September 2022, just after my eldest daughter completed seven enjoyable years at Alban City School. I currently have two children at the school, with my youngest beginning her primary school journey at the same time as I embarked upon my journey as a Governor.

I have been involved with the PTA since 2015, and spent a couple of years as Chair. Despite the unexpected challenges thrown up during my time as Chair (namely the global pandemic), it was thoroughly rewarding to help make a difference for the children, both in terms of raising funds to enhance their learning experience, but also putting on a variety of fun events for them.

I am an employment Lawyer by trade and hope that these skills, as well as my passion for the school, will play some part in helping the school continue to excel and prosper.

I am a member of the Pupil Achievement Committee and the Link Governor for Wellbeing, SEND and Pupil Premium.

Peter Harris

Parent Governor / Chair Pupil Achievement Committee

I have an interest in the direction the school takes because I have 4 children, 3 of which have been, or are at the school depending on what year you are reading this in!

My line of work is in marketing where I manage creative teams and so hope I can help bring forward ideas for marketing and engagement in our school. I like to listen to understand problems and then think of creative ways to solve them. I would like to see children learning more about financial matters, investing and everyday banking.

I regularly play football and go to the gym and have a great interest in health, fitness and well-being. I encourage my children to try sports and consider their health and wellbeing. I would love to encourage girls to try football more, especially since the women’s football World Cup. I’m an advocate of yoga and meditation and believe that children can greatly benefit from practising these methods.

I am currently chair of the Pupil Achievement Committee.

I think this is a great school and would love to see it get even better for future generations, I look forward to seeing you around pick up and drop off!

Sean Trend

Co-Opted Governor & Chair of Resources Committee

I became a governor in summer of 2022. Having graduated with a degree in History from University of Bristol, I joined Deloitte’s graduate programme and trained as a Chartered Accountant. Post qualification and leaving Deloitte I have had several finance roles including Financial Controller at Cancer Research UK before joining ASOS as Head of FP&A, Finance Director and most recently Senior Director of Strategy and Operations.  ASOS is a FTSE 250 company with revenues in excess of £4bn.

I wanted to become a governor for several reasons. Firstly, I have always liked to balance academic or corporate life with a form of volunteering. I think the balance is really important. Secondly, I really understand the importance education can have on the opportunities we get in life and being able to contribute hopefully positively in some way towards that really excites me.

I am currently chair of the Resources Committee.

Bernadette O'Sullivan

Bernadette O’Sullivan

Staff Governor

I am delighted to be the staff representative for our governing board. I look forward to learning more about the running of the school and contributing to its further development. I joined Alban City School in 2018 as a PPA teacher, which meant I was fortunate to teach in all the year groups and experience the different stages of children’s social, emotional and educational development. Since September 2020, I have been one of the class teachers in Year 1.

In the past, I have worked in banking and finance. I started my career in teaching as a teaching assistant, taking a degree later in life to become a teacher.

Sarah Wright

Sarah Wright

Parent Governor

I was delighted to be elected as a Parent Governor in October 2023, and have two girls who thoroughly enjoy being at Alban City School.

My background is in Leadership, Team and Organisational Development, and I feel privileged to have spent the majority of my career doing this in High Performance Sport. For over 18 years, I worked with Olympic and Paralympic Sports to design and deliver programmes to develop World Class Leaders and Head Coaches, as well as supporting Sports to create High Performance Teams and Cultures. My ambition is to create sustainable success and have worked with Senior Leadership Teams to ensure Sports had the right structures, people and skills to deliver their strategy and ambitions across multiple Olympic Games.

More recently I was after a new challenge, and I am currently transferring the lessons learnt from Sport into the business world, where I work for a consultancy firm who have a number of global and UK based clients.

My reason for wanting to become a Governor is because I am passionate about creating positive environments where children can learn, develop and belong. We love Alban City School and its values and ethos and I hope the skills and experiences I have can help to continue to drive and shape the future of the school going forward.