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Meet the Governors

Keith Martin (Chair of Governors -Community Governor and Member)                  My Wife and I moved to St Neots in 2003, I joined the Governing Body initially as a Parent Governor in 2004. Soon after joining the Governing Body I became Vice Chair. I transitioned to the position of a Community Governor and I have been the Chair of Governors and a Trustee of the school now for a number of years.

I am very proud to say that both my daughter and son have attended the Infant School, both also attended the Kids Club. I have a lot to thank the Infant School for their education. They both transitioned through the Crosshall Junior School and are now both at Longsands Academy Trust.

I come from a Defence and Information Technology back ground. I am performing a Programme Managers role for a large computer consultancy company and manage large complex projects. I am used to working at all levels within both in Public and Private sectors across various industries across the UK.

I hope to utilise my skills and knowledge that I have gained in my career to provide support to the school and the various committees of which I am a member. I hope to help maintain the high standards that have been achieved and support the children and the Local community.



Mark Abeyasekera (Member)

I relocated from West London to St Neots in 1989. I have two children both of whom have benefited greatly from their time at Crosshall. I work locally as workshop supervisor for a major construction company.

I have been a governor since 2005. I hope I can contribute to the school’s excellent educational standards and support the high levels of commitment and dedication shown by staff and pupils.



Mariyam Azher (Local Authority Governor and Member)

I have a daughter who attends Crosshall Infant School. Having lived in St Neots for many years, I take a keen interest in local affairs and its schools and wish to put my skills and effort into being active in the Crosshall Governing Body and making sure that every child has the best education possible.


I am currently a HR Manager in a company that specialises in providing HR services to schools, a post which I've held for nearly 10 years.  I am familiar with the workings of a school, the legal side and what works best for schools. I am keen to use this experience which I believe will be beneficial for Crosshall. 


Mark Crane (Parent Governor) (Term of office ended 3rd May 2021)

“I am excited to take up the role of Parent Governor at Crosshall Infant School Academy Trust where my daughter attends. I currently work in a Further Education college in North East London as the Head of ICT services and I am passionate about providing excellent technology to our learners and teaching staff. I have over 20 years - experience in the world of I.T. working for large companies within different commercial sectors and I use this experience to enable learning at all levels at the college. I believe technology has a key role to play in education and the role is increasing at a rate that can sometimes be difficult to manage. I moved to St. Neots in 2006 and have since married, had two children and set down roots in the town we now call home. It would be fantastic to use my experiences in both my working life and family life to benefit at Crosshall Infant School.”


Kelly Garner (Community Governor)

Education and the Arts have been my primary focus since university, which alongside my daughter beginning her school career at Crosshall in 2020, gives me great motivation to offer any support that I can.

Having been a secondary school teacher for 15 years (including 9 years as Head of Department for Film/Media) has provided me with a wealth of experience and opportunities to support student growth, for example I was lucky enough to work alongside Arts Council England on many student projects highlighting social issues, work as an Exam moderator for AQA, take students on residential trips to Los Angeles, create news broadcasts for parents and the community and develop a wide variety of visual resources.

Currently I work freelance as a Videographer/Photographer for my own business which has a wide client base but specialises in capturing school-based events, such as music lessons and concerts. I have a wide number of hobbies such as set design, running, and toy design.

Karen Hurrell (Staff Governor)

I have been a qualified teacher for 29 years. I am an Assistant Headteacher and SENCo for both the Infant and Nursery School.



Mike Jackson (Community Governor)

My wife and I have lived in Eaton Ford for over 30 years and our three children attended Crosshall School.  I believe strongly in the importance of providing a good education to all children from the earliest age and am pleased to have the opportunity to support the school and its staff through working as a Governor.


Most recently I was a Professor at the University of Nottingham running a research group of PhD students and Post-doctoral researchers. I have also worked in Government and industry in the space and software sectors. I have been a CEO and Company Director and have experience sitting on many different Boards and Committees across Government, industry and the voluntary sectors.


Paul-Jason Lawrence (Parent Governor)

My name is Paul Lawrence and was elected to be a Parent Governor in 2020.

My Wife, children and I moved to Eaton Ford in 2016. A year after moving in our eldest son attended both the Infant School and the Kids Club. Our youngest son will be joining the Nursery in 2021, and we know his experience will be as wonderful as it was for his brother.

I come from a Procurement and Computer Science background. In my current role is as a Senior Account Director for a spend analytics software company, I am used to working at all levels; within both in Public and Private sectors across all verticals, with clients throughout the world.

Coming from a family of Teachers and Teaching Support workers, I have always admired the work that our Teachers do for our children. I believe I am supportive & objective when it comes to making the tough choices. I am one for challenging decisions which I believe could be questionable. You will get honest answers to tough questions from me and I will always be there to support and champion the school in any way I am able.


Joanne Martin (Parent Governor)

I am the mother of two girls; my eldest who is in reception at Crosshall and my youngest who attends a local nursery. My eldest loves Crosshall and beams with joy every day she is at school. The excitement in her face is so reassuring to see; as a parent leaving their child for the duration of the school day, you feel confident in the school. Crosshall is not only my daughter’s educational setting, I attended Crosshall during my school years and it has been exciting to see how things have changed and developed over the years.  

I am a secondary teacher, specialising in Dance and have experience in Pastoral Care and Raising Attainment. Being a Dance specialist, I am passionate about the Arts and developing a learner's ability to express themselves in a creative way. I am happy to have the opportunity to be a part of the Governing Body, to share and contribute my experiences and develop ways of making learning enjoyable for all. 


Tom McCormick (Governor and Member)
I have had a long association with Crosshall Infant School over many years.  My children attended both the infant and junior schools, my wife is a former governor and helped establish the nursery, and I have been on the governing body since 2006.  My work experience includes roles in central, regional and local government as well as a wide range of business sectors.  I am passionate about learning and try to use my experience to help the school develop and improve in order to provide the best possible learning environment for all our children.


Kimberly McGrath (Vice-Chair - Parent Governor)

I have a legal background and currently work as an English as a Foreign Language teacher, both of which I believe will be helpful on the Board of Governors. With these qualifications I am able to understand all three points of view – the school and its regulations, the teachers and their needs, and the students and what is best for them. I have two young children, one in Reception and one due to start in a few years. As such, I truly have a vested interest in making Crosshall the best it can be. I look forward to serving as one of the Parent Governors.


Gillian Mitchell (Community Governor and Member (Resigned being a Community Governor from 1st September 2021)

I qualified from Liverpool university in 2003, working for a year in adult medicine, then transferred to Sheffield Children's Hospital in 2004 working in a variety of specialist areas of paediatric medicine and neonatology. I moved to Cambridgeshire in 2009 after meeting my husband, and worked as a paediatric registrar at Hinchingbrooke Hospital till 2012. I rotated to Addenbrooke's hospital to work in tertiary neonates, then started to specialise in community paediatrics, based at Welwyn Garden City, Luton and Cambridge.


I obtained the role of Consultant Community Paediatrician in November 2017 with Cambridgeshire Community Services, and I currently work based in Huntingdon and Doddington. My role involves specialising in child development, and I see children through the Early Support process (under 5 year olds with developmental delay), school aged children with developmental difficulties (including ADHD and Autism) and I perform looked after children medicals. I am the designated Dr for Spring Common Special school as well as doing safeguarding medicals as part of an on call rota and have links in my role with CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health service).


I am currently completing my Masters in Health science (Child Health) which has covered research, safeguarding, child development, public health and my final project which I am completing now, about assessing nutrition in children with cerebral palsy.


We have two children at Crosshall Infants School in Year 2 and reception. 


I have a strong interest in maximising every child's development, and am keen to pursue the Community Governor role and to support the school in anyway I can.



Dr Michael Newell (Community Governor)

My partner Stephanie and I moved to St Neots in 2014 and now live in the Eaton Socon area with our 2 children, the eldest of which attends Crosshall Infant School. I am a Senior Lecturer in Health, Nutrition and Exercise at the University of Bedfordshire. My personal interests are in physical activity and nutrition where I am a member of the Physiological Society and a Registered Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition.


Of particular interest to me is the school aim to ‘provide a challenging, stimulating, safe and secure environment’ and, in particular, how the school supports physical activity, sport and healthy living in general – an area where my expertise would add value. I hope to work with the school to help develop an active travel policy for the benefit of students, parents, surrounding environment, and neighbours of the school and integrate this into the existing offering of Crosshall Infant School.


The school forms a valuable role in shaping the future of our family and, as with all parents, I would like school to be a place where our children learn and develop as free thinking intelligent young minds. Critical to that is their wellness, and awareness of the space and people around them.




Mark-Jon Parkhouse (Parent Governor) (Resigned from 31st August 2021)

I qualified as a solicitor in 1992.  My work includes providing advice without charge to clients at the legal clinics for the Anglia Ruskin University in Peterborough.  I advise parents on various education related issues including provision of transport for children with special needs or mobility problems.  Much of my daily work involves resolving disputes in families or between businesses.  I also work to set and monitor targets for individuals and companies with financial issues.  My mother was a teacher of modern languages and my dad taught English before becoming responsible for in service teacher training in Sussex and then an Ofsted inspector. I have trained young solicitors and accountants, young people in Afghanistan and (I hope) been a good mentor and guide to my children and their friends over the last 20 years.  I can help the Infant School to continue to be a happy and successful environment for our young people.  I will provide good and conscientious support to the headteacher, staff and other Governors in setting and achieving aims, helping to set the agenda, attending all meetings, advising on regulatory matters, assisting with resource issues and helping to resolve any contentious issues that may arise.



Kimberley Pearson (Community Governor)

My eldest daughter is in reception so, my family and I are just embarking on our journey with Crosshall Infant School. Professionally I work as an Institutional Fundraiser in the environment sector.  Using skills in project management, advocacy, compliance and writing, together with a passion for the environment and building a just and sustainable future, I raise funds from government and private grant makers to support our conservation and people projects in the UK and overseas.

I have worked and volunteered within the local community for the last few years, most formally as the membership coordinator for NCT (National Childbirth Trust) St Neots. As a committee we organise local drop-in and community groups for all new local parents, as well as fundraising events. I also use my people skills to volunteer for the RSPB and lobby government through The Climate Coalition. Having lived and worked abroad for many years, I have experience engaging with diverse communities and overcoming barriers in culture, language and understanding.

I have a fundamental interest in education and how we can equip and empower young people to take on the challenges that the future will bring. 




Rebecca Sawford (Staff Governor)

I am an experienced qualified teacher. I am also an Assistant Headteacher.




Emma Sibthorpe (Parent Governor)

My family and I moved to St Neots in 2016, and my daughter started in Reception this year, after previously attending Crosshall Nursery. I have a doctorate in astrophysics and worked as a research astronomer for 13 years, both in the UK and in the Netherlands, before taking a career break to look after my children. I’ve also volunteered at public astronomy events, and worked on an astro-information phone line, giving me science education experience too. I believe that science and engineering should be accessible, interesting and fun for young children to foster their interest in the world around them, and to help them develop vital critical thinking skills from an early age. My personal experience means I have a particular interest in encouraging girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

I want to help and support the head and staff at Crosshall as part of the Governing Body. I understand that the role of a Governor is to act as a critical friend to the head and senior management team; I feel that the analytical skills I developed as part of my previous career would allow me to fulfil this role to the best of my ability.


Giles Smith (Community Governor)


Awaiting Content





Rachel Spencer (Parent Governor) (Resigned from 30th September 2020)

With over ten years working within education in a secondary setting, including my current role as an Assistant Principal, I feel I have current knowledge and skills that will be an asset to the Governing Body.  My responsibilities on SLT have included behaviour, CPD, teaching and learning and curriculum areas. I have experience writing whole school and curriculum improvement plans in line with school ethos and mission statement to continue driving improvement and measure impact. With languages as my specialist teaching area I have a huge interest in MFL teaching at KS1 and KS2. Embedding these skills early for children is key in order for successful achievement later in education.



Carol Stobbs (Community Governor) (Resigned from 3rd September 2021)

My family and I have lived in St Neots since 1986 and I have a long association with Crosshall Infant School having taught at the school for 27 years where I was the Assistant Headteacher until my retirement in July 2019. Both of my children also attended the school.

I was appointed as a Community Governor in October 2019 having previously served on the Governing Body as a Staff Governor for many years.

Having spent all of my professional career in education I hope to be able to utilise my experience and skills on the Governing Body to support the school and staff in ensuring that all of the children at Crosshall Infant School Academy Trust can benefit from the best possible early years education.



Emma Staines (Member)

I am a qualified teacher and have a degree in Management as well as a Masters in Teaching. I have worked in education since 2003 and for the last 9 years I have been teaching in a successful Upper School in North Bedfordshire. I am very passionate about education and strongly believe that every child should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential. The foundations for which are normally laid very early on.   


I care deeply about the quality of education that our children receive and I would value the opportunity to be able to contribute my time, skills, and experience to the governance of Crosshall Infant School.


Katy Stafferton (Community Governor) (Term of office ended 29th January 2021)

I have two daughters, and my eldest currently attends Crosshall Nursery School, and Kids Club. My family and I, live in Eaton Ford.

My career has been focused on working with children and young people. Roles included; working at a children’s holiday club overseas; managing charity and independent after-school clubs; developing sport, well-being and leisure activities for district councils; being responsible for a youth participation team across Central Bedfordshire.


I have spent 12 years working for a local authority, where the duties included safeguarding, youth participation, community engagement, supporting vulnerable/at risk groups, and working with schools and partners in developing strategies to support and improve children and young people’s outcomes.


I am currently taking a career break to raise my young children, having recently returned from living in Sydney, Australia. As a Community Governor, I am passionate about student welfare, supporting children and young people, and adding any value I can, utilising the skills and experience I have gained professionally, to aid the success of this school.