Governor Biographies

Amanda Hawkins – PCC Foundation Governor

I have two children, Trinity who has had a very happy and enjoyable time at Framfield School and is starting her Key Stage 2 journey and Ethan who has just embarked on his school life in Reception. My professional background before becoming a full time mum was as a Group Human Resources Manager in the retail motor industry. Within this role I dealt with all aspects of Human Resources including: recruitment, writing and reviewing policies, managing performance and sitting on the company board. I undertook my professional qualifications and have retained my chartered membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Since Trinity started school I have been an active and supportive parent within the School. For the past two years I have been the Chair of the Friends of Framfield Pre-School which has been a very successful fund raising group. I feel that in bringing together my professional HR experience, my approachability, with the experience of being a Framfield parent I can contribute to supporting our Schools in delivering the best educational opportunities for all our children.

Chris Lawrence (Rev.) – Ex-Officio Foundation Governor

I have been an ordained clergyman for ten years with a previous career as a research engineer within the Ministry of Defence. As Vicar of St Thomas à Becket Church, Framfield and Blackboys CE Schools naturally fall within my parish remit to provide assemblies and services that are Christian based and in keeping with the ethos of both schools. Apart from the usual church duties I see my role as helping the children, parents and staff to take a wider view of life and how the spiritual side helps us to make greater sense of the world we live in and how we address real life issues. From a personal point of view I see my calling unfolding mainly in the area of relationships. I came to faith eighteen years ago from a largely unchurched background and as such can empathise with the ups and downs of life. I am always happy to provide pastoral support and a confidential listening ear to individuals or families, particularly when life is challenging or complicated. Contact can be made directly or via the church website: www.framfieldchurch.org.uk Focus for Religious Instruction.

Gillian Clark – PCC Foundation Governor

I moved into the village of Blackboys with my husband back in 2009 having previously lived in Heathfield. I am an active member of New Life Church Blackboys and volunteer at The Grove café when needed. My 3 grown up children are all now married, and I have 2 gorgeous grandsons and a new baby on the way. I worked for a charity for 10 years taking School Assemblies informing them of how life was for the children living in rural Uganda and still have a heart for the project even though I am now retired. I was widowed 2 years ago so have become more involved in helping local charities as well as both Blackboys and Framfield Schools. I sometimes take Assemblies in Blackboys School and very much enjoy supporting both schools when I can. As a committed Christian I take a keen interest in the Christian values and Ethos our schools hold. I am also the Governor responsible for the Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing of our staff and pupils which is a role I take very seriously.

Graham Sullivan – Headteacher at Blackboys

I am proud to be Headteacher of Blackboys School, beginning the role from September 2018. I was educated at Hampton School in Middlesex, before spending 4 happy years earning a BA Primary Education with History (QTS) at King Alfred’s College, Winchester (now the University of Winchester). Following 3 formative years teaching Year 6 at Ticehurst Primary School, I began teaching at Blackboys in 2001, moving from Classteacher, to Key Stage Coordinator, to Deputy Headteacher, to Head of School before realising my ambition to become Headteacher. The school has seen many exciting changes over this period and I continue to work hard in preparing the pupils to “Be the best they can be”.

Heather West – Staff Governor

I am a Mum of two grown up daughters and have lived in the parish for nigh on thirty years. My husband and girls attended Framfield School. Back in the day I was Chair of the PTA and a committed volunteer, giving ten hours per week to helping in school. I have been employed at Framfield since 2000 and am now the SEND HLTA (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator graded as a Highert Level Teaching Assistant), working with children from all year groups. I work closely with our SENDCO and Class Teachers to implement individual and group programmes of support, as well as providing in class support. I am passionate about our Federation and excited to see what happens to us in the future. Supporting and nurturing all of our children is paramount and it’s a privilege to be part of this.

Katharine Rabson Stark – Chair of Governors

I am proud to have been Chair of the Governing Body of the St Thomas à Becket Federation since its inception in 2015 and prior to that I was Chair and parent Governor at Framfield School. I am a National Lead of Governance (NLG) tasked to help other schools in East Sussex and am a Future Chairs Mentor. I am passionate about primary education and in ensuring that every person: child, teacher, support staff member or parent can access the best it can offer. My background is in strategic development, partnership brokering and innovation within the Higher Education Sector. I worked at King’s College London for 18 years during which time I led on the restructure of the medical schools, the establishment of a Student Entrepreneurship Institute and the renovation of the East Wing of Somerset House. My experience, particularly in establishing partnerships and representing the views of all parties through consultation does, I hope, benefit the St Thomas à Becket Federation. I am a Mum of three children, one is at Uckfield College and the other two are within Key Stage Two at Framfield. Recently I ceased full time work and have returned to education myself, studying at West Dean College on a undergraduate diploma in Arts and Contemporary Crafts.

Lisa Pestell – Headteacher at Framfield

Since graduating from Roehampton University, working with children has been my vocation. I have worked as a teacher and a leader in schools of varying size and locations including London, Bexhill and Hastings and across all key stages. I see every child as unique and special and I feel privileged to have shared in the learning journeys of so many children. I am excited to be leading such a special school and I want to continue to nurture the close relationship we have with the local community. My vision is that we offer a rich and exciting curriculum that excites every child, that we inspire pupils to achieve and be ‘The Best That They Can Be’ in everything they do and that we constantly engage in dialogue about learning with our pupils. Our staff are a strong team of fiercely committed people and together we will move the school forward from strength to strength.

In my free time, I enjoy nothing better than being out walking along the seafront with my husband, two grown-up children and my two dogs.

Mark Filsell – Associate Member

I am a Chartered Accountant, working with a local accountancy firm. Throughout my 30-year career I have worked with schools and charities as auditor, accountant and advisor. In my current role I work with a variety of different types of school in Sussex and Kent so have a good understanding of how school finances should operate. I served as a parent governor on the Blackboys School governing body for one year before federation and am now an Associate governor, serving on the Finance & Resources committee. Through my wide-ranging financial expertise and experience I hope to make a useful contribution to the work of the governing body.

Phil Wilmowski TD – Clerk to the Governors

The Clerk holds an historic appointment going back 400 years and works closely with the Chair of Governors, the Headteachers, and the other Governors to support the Governing Body. I advise the Governing Body on constitutional and procedural matters, duties, and powers. I am accountable to the Governing Body, maintain its information management system, record minutes of meetings, and undertake the role of historian.

I have been a Clerk to the Governors in East Sussex since 2005, and obtained a nationally recognised accreditation (for Clerks to Governors) in September 2008. I currently provide Clerking services to St Thomas a Becket Church of England Federation (Blackboys CEP School and Framfield CEP School) only.

Before taking early retirement, I worked as a BT manager (planning, customer service, staff management, and project management) for 36 years, and spent 42 years in the Territorial Army (rising from Pte to Major). In addition to Clerking, I also work as a Pharmacy Assistant in Morrisons Pharmacy (Crowborough) and am the Hon. Secretary of Crowborough Table Tennis Club.

Samantha Butler – PCC Foundation Governor

I grew up in East Sussex and attended a local primary school and then St. Leonards Mayfield. I studied English Literature at Durham University then after a CPE conversion course at the College of Law, Guildford and Legal Practice Course at the College of Law, London, qualified as a lawyer. I have worked at law firms in London, Norfolk and Kent but most recently in the City where I practised in the area of Commercial Litigation specialising in Construction industry disputes. Currently I look after my three small children, the eldest of whom is in year 1 at Blackboys CEP, and manage a number of properties which we rent to tenants in London. I am on the PCC in Buxted but we will shortly be moving to Framfield where I am looking forward to being a part of our new parish.

Sarah Cottingham – PCC Foundation Governor

I am a full time Mum of 7 children whose ages range from 4 to 19 years. I have links with Blackboys School dating back to 1980, as my husband and all his siblings attended the school. I grew up in Wiltshire and moved to Sussex in 1994 to work in a residential care home for the elderly. I then moved on to Brighton University to train as a Staff Nurse. After I graduated I worked at EDGH on the ophthalmic surgical ward until our eldest children (twins) were born, when I gave up nursing to become a full time mum. At present I also help my husband, working in the Family Business at Halland.

Five of our children have now passed through Blackboys CEP School (receiving an excellent education on the way!) and on to Secondary School, College and beyond. I still have children attending Blackboys School and therefore have a keen interest in the continual progress and development of both schools within the Federation. I have a wealth of experience from my nursing background which has proved very useful in many different situations over the past 20 years. 15 years ago I was treasurer to the Blackboys Pre School for a time. I have current experience of a large variety of issues associated with children passing through primary and secondary education, and have been a witness to the changes and developments at Blackboys school during the time of the three previous Headteachers/Executive Headteacher.

I hope that this experience will stand me in good stead for the challenges of being a Foundation Governor.

Tjadine Ullmann-Carp – PCC Foundation Governor

Since 2011 I have been living in East-Sussex. We moved from Holland, where I was born, raised and had a full on career as partner of a consultancy firm, to follow my husband’s job and choose this area to live because of Blackboys School. I love to be as involved as you can in the school and social life of my children. As such I have sat on the Committee of the preschool, started after school hockeyclub, one of my own passions, and for the last 3 years was co-chair of the PTA. I strongly believe a community has the responsibility to help a child find its place in society as well as it possibly can, socially, educationally and happily. I feel very honoured to have been asked to become a foundation Governor, to assist the federation to keep its high standards when the world around us brings so many challenges. Professionally I believe I can bring some helpful experience. I have been involved in the management of a large primary school federation (9 schools) in Amsterdam, worked for the largest commercial real estate company in the world, was chair of the Preschool Committee in Rotterdam and advised several companies and governmental departments on how to reduce costs and find ways to improve their financial outlook. Momentarily I work for Wizenoze, a Tech Company, that makes the Internet a better place for children, which will launch its products in the UK this year. Personally I hope to be able to act as a helpful and active soundboard to the Staff, Management and parents. I hope to bring a bit of matter of fact Dutchness, obviously with the appropriate English touch and based on Christian values.

Zoe Holland

I am a parent to Daisy in Year 4 at Framfield (as well as Logan who will start school next year). I have also supported my 2 step-sons through their Primary schooling also at Framfield. The boys came to live with us full time 5 years ago and we found Framfield incredibly supportive throughout this process.

I gained a PGCE in 7-14 Geography 13 years ago at Canterbury Christ Church University. I taught in both Primary and Secondary schools in my placements. During my secondary placement I had the opportunity to teach a group of SEN students which has led me to a career in teaching young people with a range of barriers to learning.

I currently teach Primary and Post 16 students at “Step by Step School” for children with autism in Sharpthorne near East Grinstead. In 2014 I completed my National Professional Qualification in Middle Leadership (NPQML) which has allowed me to develop knowledge, skills, and confidence in leading teams within education.

Additional knowledge and skills I have gained include …. Lead Coordinator for ASDAN (award organisation regulated by Ofqual), Team Teach handling techniques, First Aid in an educational setting, up to date on current Child Protection/Safeguarding/On Line Safety training, and trained in teaching children with autism supported by Applied Behaviour Therapy.