Full Governing Board
Ross Settles – Chair and Co-opted Governor
|Date of appointment: 01.09.20||Term: 4 years|
I am a retired schoolteacher, having taught Years 6-8 in the independent sector. For many years I held senior management posts with responsibility for the school curriculum and staff training. I also served as a team inspector for the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate, and am currently a GCSE assistant examiner. I also sit on East Sussex school admission appeal panels. In my younger years I played for Sidley CC in the Sussex League, and for MCC, so am particularly passionate about cricket, but also literature and the arts in general. Prior to joining the St. Michael’s Governing Board in 2018, and becoming chair in 2020, I was vice-chair of governors at a Hastings primary school. I am very much enjoying working with the other Board members and the Headteacher to help guide the school on its exciting development journey.
Tim Rowbottom – Vice-Chair and Local Authority Governor
|Date of appointment: 01.09.20||Term: 4 years|
I live in Rye with my wife and young family, having moved to the area in 2017. This is my second spell as a school governor. I previously served a four-year term at a Church of England primary school in north London, two of which were spent as vice chair.
Professionally, I am a communications adviser in the financial services industry. Prior to that, I spent more than a decade as a public affairs consultant.
I care deeply about the education that my children and others like them will receive. Growing up in a rural area presents brilliant opportunities, but also significant challenges. I am dedicated to doing all I can to improve the experiences and life chances of all our children, and to giving them the best possible start in their critical formative years.
Ani Lawrence – Headteacher ex-officio
|Date of appointment: 01.01.23||Term: Ex-officio|
I’ve been involved in the world of education for nearly 30 years, as a teacher, a Local Authority Officer, Head Teacher, and most recently, Executive Head. I have worked in a wide range of schools, and across all key stages, including some teaching experience in both America and Scotland! I am passionate about children’s literature and am just finishing off my PhD in the subject. I’m a governor at a secondary school in East Sussex, and I work closely with a Tunbridge Wells-based charitable group for families of children with special educational needs.
Gerard Carlton-Blake – Parent Governor
|Date of appointment: 15.07.22||Term 4 years|
I have lived in the local area all of my life moving from St Leonards to Rye in 2008, save for a 3-year break where I left to gain a degree and professional qualification but came back with a degree and 2 children instead. St Michael’s has played a part in our family’s life for many years in its various iterations. My wife attended the school, it’s where I completed my 2nd year teaching practice during my degree and now we are pleased that our own children attend in Year 5 and 3 respectively.
Professionally I have had various roles primarily based in the service industry, giving me insight into the vast differences as well as similarities in people’s lives. I then took my career into a different route in studying to become a primary teacher, which, due to caring and parenting responsibilities has me now working as a Teaching Assistant in a local independent school.
As previously mentioned, our family has long ties with St Michael’s School, Playden. In turn, the school has a special place in our hearts and I wanted to contribute to its ongoing success and the small community feel that I feel makes it stand out from the rest. I look forward to working with Mrs Marshall and the rest of the Governors in order to achieve this.
Shona Bishop – Co-opted Governor
|Date of appointment: 25.08.20||Term: 4 years|
Having moved to Rye from London in Summer 2019 (and with my son at st Michael’s), I am proud to take on one of the governor roles at this school. Having previously been a governor at my son’s nursery in London I found the experience insightful and rewarding and look forward to contributing to the school and hopefully benefiting the wider local community.
Professionally I worked for a number of years in fashion marketing and truly believe in the importance of nurturing creativity in children. I now work at Google and hope that my day to day experience lends itself to bringing innovation and expansive thinking to the governing board to help provide the best education to all these brilliant human beings at St Michael’s.
Sophie Smith – Parent Governor
|Date of appointment: 01.09.20||Term: 4 years|
My husband and I moved to the area in 2014 when we were expecting our son who is now in Year 2 at St. Michael’s.
I have spent my working life as an organiser; as a Project Manager, in the charity and sport sector and in the website build sector. However, since 2014 I have worked alongside my husband in growing our holiday letting business. I have experience in coordinating complex projects and working with people from many walks of life.
I believe in using the skills you have to play your part in society, and I am on the board of my local residents’ association and have sat on the board of parents at Beckley Preschool, as well as getting involved in various fundraising projects over the years.
Alongside work, I am an avid runner and am passionate about the importance physical activity has for mental health and wellbeing, as well as about how education and educational establishments play an integral and important role (alongside parents and guardians) in helping our young people grow into well-rounded, empathetic, healthy, curious, resilient and above all, kind individuals.
Peter Challans – Foundation Governor
|Date of appointment: 26.10.21||Term: 4 years|
I have lived in Rye or Playden since 1978, and have two children, a boy and a girl, both of whom are now married and have children of their own. I have been involved with St Michael’s Church, Playden since 1996, including a long spell as Churchwarden. I am pleased to have been appointed by the Diocesan Board of Education to the Governing Body as the Foundation Governor, having served in this role previously (and then later as Vice Chairman of the Governors) a number of years ago.
I am a retired professional electrical engineer, having finally retired completely in March 2021 after a career of 26 years as an Engineering Officer in the Royal Air Force, and then joining a Government Department as a civil servant and then part-time consultant.
As the Foundation Governor, my aim is to make a particular contribution to the effectiveness of the school through maintaining and developing the Christian distinctiveness of the school, building strong links with the local Churches and parishes (St Michael’s Church, Playden and All Saints Church, Iden), and offering support and appropriate challenge to school leaders.
Samantha James – Staff Governor
|Date of appointment: 22.03.22||Term: 4 years|
After spending some time living in St. Petersburg teaching English, and then working as a Teaching Assistant in a Reception class, I started my PGCE teaching qualification in 2009. Prior to St. Michael’s, I worked at larger schools in Hastings, gaining experience teaching in Key Stage 1 and both Lower and Upper Key Stage 2. I joined St. Michael’s in September 2017 as the Year 5 and 6 class teacher and I am also the subject lead for Maths and RSHE. The school is a special place to work with leaders, staff and CPD all focused on improving the experiences and outcomes for our children.
Sydney Lazenby – Co-opted Governor
|Date of appointment: 21.09.22||Term: 4 years|
I live very near to Rye on the Kent-Sussex border and have done since 2020. My husband and I moved to the area from London when we were expecting our son. It is a great privilege to be able to raise a family in such a beautiful part of the world.
I come to the Board with 10 years’ experience in bids and pursuits across a range of industries. Presently, I am a Pursuit Lead at a Big Four professional services firm. Practically speaking, this has furnished me with complex project management capabilities and the ability to work well (perhaps best) under high pressure and tight deadlines. I pride myself on my love of problem-solving.
While I love and enjoy my job, I am immensely excited to be able to bring my skills and experience to the Board and apply them in a way that can benefit our community. I know first-hand just how important a happy, healthy, and safe school environment is and I hope to play even a small part in maintaining and developing this at St. Michael’s
Jacques Desrosiers – Temporary Ex-officio Foundation Governor
|Date of appointment: 20.10.22||Term: 4 years|
I am a recently retired Church of England minister having served as a parish priest for over 20 years. Prior to that I worked for over 15 years as a financial officer for charities in the field of international development both here and in Canada. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Canada in the early 1980’s.
I have been a school governor in state primary schools for the past twenty years, both church and community sector. I served four years as chair for a community school in Rolvenden. I also spent six years on the board of the Canterbury Diocese Board of Education, an organisation which had the oversight of church schools in that diocese. I have always valued my time working with schools both as a governor and a parish priest. I think the role of the Church of England in education is one of its most vital contributions to the life and care of the people of this land. I believe in a holistic vision of education in caring for all aspects of the nurture of our children. Though born and bred in Canada, Susan and I and our three children (now all in their 40’s) have lived in the UK since the late 1980’s. All our children have received virtually all their education in this country.
I am an avid reader and a keen walker. I love music including playing it (if not very well), the occasional game of golf (even worse) and in retirement I have re-kindled an interest in photography.
Governors who have stepped down in the last 12 months
|Name||Type of Governor||Date from||Date ended||Reason|
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