About Our Members and Trustees/Governors
Mr Jim Clark- Member
Mr Clark is an educator with over 40 years experience. He has worked in all sectors of education; schools, colleges, as an LA Inspector/Advisor, and more recently in Higher Education.
Mr Clark was Head of the Department of Education and Life Long Learning at Northumbria University. He retired from the university at the end of December 2016 and continues his association with the university through his honorary title of Visiting Scholar; he is also an Emeritus Professor.
Both nationally and internationally he has led on many initiatives in education and schooling and has supported both teacher and school development. He was Chair of the Board of Trustees of one of the first hard federated school Trusts in the country and has also supported the development of a number of Trusts in the North East.
Mr Keith Hind – Member
Mr Hind joined Kepier as a Governor in Feburary 2015, starting as a Community Governor, moving across to a Parent Governor and having a spell as Chair of Governors. Currently his role is as a Member.
Mr Hind has a HND in Mechanical Engineering and has also completed many vocational and bespoke qualifications including Operations Management, Quality Management, Lead Auditor Certification in Quality Management and Process Standards, several Geometric Dimensional & Tolerance Certificates, First Aid, Fire Warden, COSHH regulations & Hazardous Waste.
Mr Hind’s work role is that of Manager in a local North East Company. He has several years experience in Operation & Quality Management in a career spanning over 30 years. During his working life he has been responsible for dealing with customers and suppliers mainly within the automotive and aerospace industries. Additionally he has a strong background in people management and an understanding of Human Resource practices. His grounding was originally built on an Engineering platform, but he feels that his core skills are problem solving and Process Adherence Auditing. The drive for Mr Hind is to ensure Kepier is providing a broad brush education for all children who attend the school no matter what their ability level.
Mr Hind’s son attended Kepier and he has a younger daughter who will be joining the school. Both his children play football and Mr Hind coaches an U16 Football Team – football takes up the majority of any free time he has. In addition he enjoys music, both listening to and attending music events. He very much enjoys family life including holidays and socialising.
Mr Gary Wallace – Member
Mr Wallace has been a Trustee/Governor since May 2017 before resigning to become a Member. He has a Degree with Honours in Accounting and trained at a renowned accountancy firm, winning multiple awards whilst qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Mr Wallace has vast experience of the education sector, as well as advising on a wide range of Owner Managed Businesses (SME’s) and specialises in external audit, financial reporting and corporation tax.
Mr Wallace’s current role is Chief Financial Officer at a company which supports the global transition to Net Zero through commercialising world-leading clean technologies. He brings to his role as Trustee/Governor experience in financial compliance, budgeting, finance strategy, accounting software, pensions, business development, financial curriculum planning, HR issues (management and HR experience).
Mr Wallace values education because he says that the modern world is tough and often people do not realise until it is too late how important education early in life can be to provide a foundation for any good career. He believes that business and industry experience add significant real world value to education provision.
Mr Mark Atkinson – Trustee/Governor (Vice-Chair of the Trust/Kepier Local Governing Body)
Mr Atkinson was a Governor for 6 years (at Heaton Manor in Newcastle) prior to joining Kepier’s team in October 2020. He serves as Vice-Chair of the Trust/Local Governing Body. He is also Link Governor for Inclusion, PE and MFL.
He has a BA (Hons) First Class in Leadership and Management, an MSc in Leadership (ongoing) and is a Lead Auditor. Mr Atkinson serves as an Army Officer in HM Forces. Accumulating a vast amount of experience in leadership, coaching and mentoring along with strategic planning and change implementation, Mr Atkinson feels he can support the school as we look to develop and improve school leaders, teachers, support staff and learners. He also feels that his experience in organisational auditing can help identify areas for improvement allowing the School Leadership Team to be proactive rather than reactive.
Mr Atkinson believes that everything is built on a foundation and without said foundation nothing substantial can grow. He sees education as the foundation of every learner’s development to adulthood. Whether that is a future in academia or through a modern apprenticeship, he wants to support the development of the future leaders, doctors, solicitors, builders, carers, retailers and entrepreneurs.
He lives local to Kepier and his daughter is currently a learner at the school. His younger son will eventually join Kepier in a few years. His hobbies include mountaineering, orienteering and walking.
Mr Atkinson lives by two quotes: Einstein, “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created them” and General Shinseki, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to enjoy irrelevance even less”.
Mr Martin Connor – Trustee/Governor (Chair of Trust/Kepier Local Governing Body, Chair of Achievement & Progress Committee, Chair of Appraisal Governor Panel)
Mr Connor was connected with Kepier for five years as a Member before moving his role to that of Trustee/Governor in October 2020 where he currently serves as Chair of the Trust/Local Governing Body and Chair of Achievement and Progress Committee. He is Link Governor for Teaching and Learning, English, Literacy, Geography and Wellbeing. His qualifications include a BA (Hons) English and Politics, a PGCE, a National Professional Qualification for Headship, Consultant Leader, National College of Teaching and Leadership – Professional Partner. He was Headteacher of two Secondary schools from 2000- 2016. He was CEO of an Academy Trust 2016-2019. He is now semi-retired.
Mr Connor has around 40 years of educational experience including 30 as a Senior Leader and 19 as Headteacher/CEO. He has significant experience as a Senior Adviser for Headteacher performance management, is Professional Partner for seven Headteachers across the whole country and is leader of School Centred Initial Teacher Training Programme.
He feels that education provides opportunities and enriches lives and it is vital that such opportunities for enrichment, fulfilment and lifelong learning are available to all. Mr Connor developed a strong professional relationship with Kepier during his second headship.
Cricket is his passion and he played semi-professionally for many years. Walking, travelling both in Britain and Europe, and visiting his children who both live in London occupies much of his time. He has a claim to fame as his school friends had a number one hit when they were all in the sixth form in Manchester.
Mr Steven Forsyth – Trustee/Governor
Mr Forsyth has been a Trustee/Governor at Kepier since 2016. He has been employed as a teacher at Kepier since 2007 and is currently Subject Leader for History. He is Link Governor for the Football Academy and for Community. His qualifications include a BA (Hons) History, a PGCE and NPQML.
In his role as Trustee/Governor, he feels able to offer a classroom and Middle Leader perspective to decisions the school makes.
Mr Forsyth’s hobbies include running/parkrun and his claim to fame is that of being an extra in the first Harry Potter film.
Mrs Georgina Fuller – Parent Trustee/Governor
Mrs Fuller has a marine based engineering/hydrography career that spans 23 years. She studied her BSc in marine sciences, while working alongside the Nautical Archaeological Society. This led to a STEM focussed career at sea, where she was one of a very small minority of offshore based females within the engineering field, working out of many different countries around the world. She spent 11 years as project manager, specialising in marine survey, positioning, and construction projects.
Mrs Fuller also sits on the board of Governors for Gillas Lane Academy. She is a founding member of Seaham Wombles group, a town and parish councillor and is involved with the Seaham Seaside Swimmers Facebook group, running the education on sea safety and marine life, with informative posts and face to face mentoring. Mrs Fuller likes to keep herself and her family reasonably active, they like to sail, paddleboard, wild swim, cycle, walk, climb (indoors), and explore the beaches and headlands. She has recently completed her Day Skippers Sailing course as she wishes to become a competent sailor. .
Mrs Fuller holds a strong belief that education is the key to a better understanding of, and respect for the marine world. And that children’s imaginations have no boundaries, they hold the answers if we give them the problems to solve.
Mrs Lauren Hall – Staff Trustee/Governor
Mrs Hall was appointed Staff Trustee/Governor in December 2021. She has been a member of the support staff at Kepier since January 2020. She currently undertakes the role of Finance Officer, although she has completed multiple support roles, including Office Manager, which have widened her knowledge of various departments within the administration structure. Mrs Hall is currently working towards AAT qualification.
Mrs Hall believes education sets learners up for life, allowing our young people to ‘dream big’ and providing the background to enable them to achieve those dreams. She knows that education helps shape learners into respectable, law abiding citizens.
Outside of work, Mrs Hall enjoys spending time with her little girl and family. An interesting fact about Mrs Hall is that she used to partake in amateur (WWE style) wrestling and performed on a number of shows prior to becoming a mother!
Mr Neil Houghton – Trustee/Governor
Mr Houghton’s role of Trustee/Governor began in June 2019 and he is Link Governor for Maths, Numeracy and History. His qualifications include BSC (Hons) Sport and Exercise Leadership and he has a Primary PGCE. He is Assistant Headteacher at Shiney Row Primary School and currently teaches Year 6 but has taught across the primary age range. He is responsible for teaching and learning throughout the school and plays an important role in analysing and acting upon whole school data. He has also previously worked as a Parent Support Advisor and at a Pupil Referral Unit – both of which were in the Secondary sector.
Mr Houghton believes that education gives people the knowledge and skills they require to succeed in all aspects of life. It forms the building blocks and foundations of every choice we make and has no limits to where it can take us if harnessed in the correct way. Hard work and education are the keys to every door.
He has lived in the Hetton/Houghton area his whole life. He enjoys keeping fit in the gym, playing football, etc. He also enjoys photography and spending time with his two children. His claim to fame is being the cousin of Manchester City and England women’s football captain Steph Houghton.
Mr Andrew Slassor – Trustee/Governor (Chair of Welfare and Support Committee)
Mr Slassor has been a Governor at Kepier since 2011 and was previously a Governor at Newbottle Primary. He is Link Governor for SEND, Safeguarding, Looked After Children, Child Protection and Science.
He has a background in engineering, qualified to ONC, and is an MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional). He was a Service Engineer working with printers, copiers, fax machines, etc but is now retired.
Mr Slassor managed two football teams for a local youth football club and during this time was the Club Welfare Officer for 15 teams. This gave him the skills and training which support him in his role at Kepier as link Governor for Safeguarding.
Both of Mr Slassor’s children attended Kepier, leaving in 2010 and 2012.
Mrs Kate Welch – Trustee/Governor
Mrs Welch took up her role of Trustee/Governor in July 2022. She has a Masters degree in Social Policy from the University of York and other qualifications including Health and Safety, Safeguarding, Food Hygiene, First Aid and Leadership in Girlguiding. She was awarded an OBE for services to social enterprise in the North East, a Queen’s award for Enterprise Promotion and she is a Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham, a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts manufactures and commerce, and a Fellow of the Society of Leaders at St George’s Windsor.
Mrs Welch is the Founder and Chair of Trustees at Acumen Community Buildings, the charity which runs The Old Rectory opposite Kepier. She is a social entrepreneur – someone who sets up and runs businesses that make a difference in communities. Her main role is Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Acumen CIC and has been a member of numerous boards, so understands governance, finance and all aspects of running an organisation. These include the Regional Development Agency – One North East, The North East Public Health Advisory Board, The North East Regional Learning and Skills Council, The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, County Durham Community Foundation, Greggs Foundation Trust, Communities Together Durham and Jubilee Plus. She also has skills in creative thinking, community regeneration, employability and enterprise.
Love of learning is her key strength and good quality education has helped her to learn and develop as an individual as well as helping her to support my children and grandchildren with their learning. She believes in lifelong learning and loves to learn something new every day. Her hobbies include Girlguiding, music – guitar and singing and gardening. An interesting fact about Mrs Welch is that she was a Sophomore in Senior High School in the USA when she was 14.