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Trustee Profiles

Kieran Balfe

Kieran has been a teacher for over 36 years, working in Peru, Hertfordshire, London and Essex. He was appointed Head of Drama at HGS in September 1999, but in September 2014, with the closure of the Drama Department, became Teacher of Drama. He also serves as the National Education Union representative. He was first elected as a Teacher Governor in July 2013, re-elected in September 2017 and re-elected unopposed in 2021. He currently sits on the Finance and Resources Committee.

James Crowther

James became a Trustee after his appointment as Headteacher in September 2022. He is the Accounting Officer for the Academy Trust and is a member of all Trust Board Committees. James is a member of the Hertfordshire Association of Secondary Headteachers (HASSH) and has 15 years of school leadership experience prior to taking up the role of Head at Hitchin Girls' School. 

Ken Down

Ken became a Community Governor in July 2010. He has over 20 years' experience in the Pharmaceutical industry. He is a Director of Drug Discovery at BenevolentAI, a company that combines advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning with a drug discovery platform, wherein he leads drug discovery projects aimed at discovering new and better treatments for disease. Previously, Ken worked as a medicinal chemist and project leader at GlaxoSmithKline, and has made significant contributions to multiple clinical candidates. He is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee and the Link Governor for the Science department.

Geoff Edwards

Geoff became a Parent Governor in October 2017. His daughter left HGS after A Levels in 2021 and he became an Appointed Trustee. His wife taught PE at HGS for 29 years and continues to run the DofE program for the school. Geoff has a degree in Banking and Finance from The University of Birmingham and in 2020 retired from being a director of a London-based consulting company that works with the investment management industry. Geoff is a qualified cricket and hockey coach and has been heavily involved with Hitchin Cricket Club and Blueharts Hockey Club for over 40 years. Geoff is Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee and is the Link Trustee for the Art department.

Chris Emmings

Chris was elected Staff Governor in February 2016. She works at HGS as Data and Examinations Manager. She has worked in education since 2000 and has been an Examinations Manager in secondary schools in Stevenage and Hitchin for over 20 years. Chris enjoys camping, reading and spending time with her young grandson.

Tony Fitzakerly

Tony became a Community Governor in 2012 and is the Link Governor for Modern Foreign Languages. He is a member of the Asset Management & Finance Committees. He has worked for many years in the communications industry in the UK and internationally. Tony’s three daughters all attended the school.

Sam Franklin

Sam became a Trustee in 2021. She has two daughters at HGS and has lived in Hitchin since 2016. Her background is in education and she worked on SEND playschemes in her youth. She currently works for Family and Health Services Commissioning in Children’s Services at Hertfordshire County Council.

Samantha Frost

Samantha's family moved from Australia to Hitchin three years ago, and love being part of the local community. She spent 20 years working in audit and risk management, and is now a self-employed management consultant specialising in corporate wellbeing, as well as a qualified mental health first aider for both adults and children. The school experience is crucial to how young people view themselves and their place in the world, and she relishes the opportunity to be part of the team helping to shape that. Samantha is Trustee Board Lead for Student and Staff Wellbeing, is the Link Trustee for the History Department, and also sits on the Curriculum & Performance Committee.

Chris Hall

Chris became a Parent Governor in 2009 and was appointed Chair of Governors in 2014. In October 2017 he was appointed a Community Governor. He is a member of all the committees and is the Link Governor for the Sixth Form and Mathematics. He has worked in educational and health publishing for over 30 years for a variety of UK and international companies, and has two daughters who have attended the school. Chris now runs his own business focusing on SEND and psychological assessment in schools. He is a Trustee of Rainbows Bereavement Support GB and a Trustee of Hitchin Educational Foundation and the Hitchin Girls' School Charitable Trust.

Alex Holden

Alex became a Trustee in March 2022, and is a member of the Finance and Audit Committees. She is Deputy Chief Executive for the charity Target Ovarian Cancer and has previously been a trustee for two other organisations. Alex grew up in Cambridgeshire and lives in Ickleford. Her daughter attends HGS, and her son is at Hitchin Boys' School.

Nesta Job

Nesta has served as a Hertfordshire governor for 35 years, and as a governor of Hitchin Girls' School for 29 years, including as Parent Governor, and as the Chair of the Personnel and Admissions Committees and Vice Chair of Governors. She has been a consultant for management and leadership within the motor industry. Prior to that, she was a consultant specialising in recruitment and customer care, primarily in the retail and motor industries. She is the Link Governor for Careers, Staff CPD and the Student Development departments.

Mary King

Mary has been a governor and trustee in Hertfordshire schools for nearly 30 years. She is Chair of the Admissions Committee and a member of the Curriculum and Performance and Personnel Committees, as well as the Trustee responsible for Safeguarding and the Pupil Premium, and also for Healthy Schools. Now retired, Mary has a degree in Biochemistry, and has experience of teaching in both mainstream and special schools across primary and secondary age groups.

Simon Lucas

Simon became a Community Trustee in 2015. He is Managing Director of the executive search firm Society, and a Trustee of The Society Foundation, a charity to which his company donates 10% of its profits. Simon grew up in South Wales and read Philosophy and Politics at the University of Warwick. He lives just around the corner from HGS with his wife and two children.

Frances Manning

Frances became a Governor on her appointment as Headteacher in 2007. She is the Accounting Officer for the Academy Trust and is a member of all Governing Body Committees. Frances is also a Trustee of the Hitchin Girls' School Charitable Trust and of Phase, the Hitchin Churches Schools Worker Trust. Frances is a National Leader of Education (NLE), providing support to schools via the North Herts Teaching Alliance, and is also Vice Chair of Hertfordshire Association of Secondary Headteachers (HASSH). 

Steve Mills

Steve became a Parent Trustee in 2014 and is now Community Trustee. At present, he sits on the Finance, Curriculum & Performance and Admissions Committees. He is also the Link Trustee for Classics and Physical Education – a particular interest of his. Steve has been Headteacher at Whitehill Junior School since 2013; prior to that, he taught in schools in Luton and Hitchin. Steve’s wife, Sally, is Assistant Headteacher at HGS and his daughter is a former student.

Dominic Roberts

Dominic was appointed as a Trustee in February 2022. He currently works as a civil servant in a busy and dynamic operational role, working across policy and regulation workstreams. He also serves as a Justice of the Peace for the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire bench. He was a governor of his daughter’s previous school as the Health and Safety Lead and Chair of the Resources Committee. He has a daughter who has completed her time at HGS and a younger daughter who has just started her journey through the school.

Katharine Rowe

Katharine attended the school as a student from 1978 to 1985. She completed a Classics degree at Newnham College, Cambridge, and then worked for five years as an administrator in Life Assurance. She did a PGCE in Classics in 1994 and returned to HGS as a teacher of Classics.  She became Head of the Classics in 2003 and Head of Year 11 in 2014.  Her daughter started at HGS in September 2012 - the fourth generation of her family to attend here. Katharine is a member of the Finance and Resources Committee.

Toby Scott

Toby has been a Parent Trustee since 2017 and is also a member of the Admissions and Curriculum & Performance Committees.  He is the Link Governor for Philosophy & Ethics and Computing & Business.  An experienced journalist and communications professional, he is currently a communications manager for the NHS in Hertfordshire. Toby is from Lancashire and has lived in Hitchin since 2014.

Amy Thornber

Amy became a Parent Trustee in 2022. She has a daughter in Year 7 and a younger daughter at primary school. Amy works at GSK Stevenage, where the first half of her career was as a Computational Biologist working to discover new medicines, and the second half has been in Strategy and Operations. Amy is looking forward to really getting to know HGS and volunteering her skills in service of the school’s mission.

Mike Winter OBE

Mike has 40 years’ experience in international education, including the British Council in the UK, Turkey, Brazil, France and Japan. In 2004 he was awarded an OBE for his services to international education collaboration. In 2009, Mike became Director International for the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) in London, the world’s foremost centre for education research. He has been the University of London’s Director of Global Engagement since 2016. Mike lives in Hitchin with his wife Claudia and his daughter Bibi, who is in Year 10. From 2011 to 2015, Mike served as Parent Governor at Highbury Infant School and Nursery.