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Trustee Profiles

Kieran Balfe

Kieran has been a teacher for nearly 38 years, working in Peru, Hertfordshire, London and Essex. He joined HGS in September 1999 as Head of Drama, and returned to that role after a hiatus in April 2024. He also serves as the National Education Union representative. He was first elected as a Teacher Governor in July 2013 and 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.

Seanna Eisenhandler

Seanna was appointed as a Parent Trustee in November 2023. She lives in Hitchin, and has a daughter at HGS and a son at HBS. Seanna trained as a doctor and later specialised in psychiatry. She has been working as a consultant for an NHS Crisis Resolution/ Home Treatment team in Bedfordshire since 2015. She has extensive experience of medical education, taking leadership roles in the training of medical students and junior doctors. She has previously contributed to careers’ fairs and given talks about mental health careers at HGS and HBS. She is really looking forward to getting involved in the governance of the school and hopes that her knowledge of NHS structures and mental health will be useful in her role.

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 is Chair of the Curriculum & Performance Committee.

Chris Hall

Chris became a Parent Governor in 2009 and was Chair of Trustees from 2014 - 2022. 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.

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. In September 2022 she was appointed Chair of the Trust Board. 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 Staff CPD.

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. In September 2022 Simon was appointed Vice Chair of the Trust Board and Chair of the Personnel Committee.

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.