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Meet the Governors

Welcome to our Governors’ section.

Please find below details of how our Governing body is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.

The Board of Governors is a legally required group of volunteers, from the Community, Parents and Staff of the school, whose responsibility is:


  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent






Headteacher Mrs M Hughes  
Co-opted Governors Mrs A Hopkins (Chair) Mr L Howden
  Mr K Sheehan  
Partnership Governors Mrs S Thorley Mrs J Reilly
Parent Governors Mrs J Allen Mr Saroj Velamakanni
  Mrs T Bryant Mr N Greenwald         
  Mr J Levett  
Staff Governors Mrs J Brooks  
LEA Governors Vacancy  
Clerk to the Governors Mrs J Sweeting

Michelle Hughes


Michelle has been a teacher for nearly 20 years.  She started her career teaching in Ilford, then, after eight and a half years, moved to Bishops Stortford to take up a deputy headship.  After nine years in Bishops Stortford she took up the headship at Thaxted Primary School and has now been head since January 2017.  Michelle grew up on Walney Island on the North West coast of England and gained a BA Hons with QTS in Primary Teaching from Sheffield Hallam University.  More recently, she studied and gained her NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship).  She now enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, reading, dancing and trips to the theatre.


Favourite book:   The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl (to read to children)

                            One Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (for adults)

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party:       Queen Victoria

Superpower I would choose:      Teleport (then I could nip home and see my parents whenever I like, without the 5 hour journey!)

Favourite song: Best things in life are free by Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson


Jessica Allen

Jessica lives in Thaxted with her daughter, Rosie, who attends Thaxted Primary School. She is also a governor at Great Sampford Primary School. She has a degree from Newcastle University in pure maths and mechanics, a love of spreadsheets and has worked at Coutts Bank since 1998, first in fund management and then in Private Banking.

Favourite book: The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion)

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: The Obama’s

Superpower I would choose: Endless wishes

Favourite song: Havana (Camila Cabello)

Anne Hopkins

Anne has lived in Wimbish for almost twelve years. She studied for a degree in English then a PGCE from Nottingham University and began her working life as a secondary school teacher. After that she spent twenty five years as a lecturer then manager in further education. She was Head of Department for Creative Arts and in her last post she was Vice Principal, responsible for quality assurance and improvement, including teaching and learning, and safeguarding.


Anne has an interest in all levels of education and was a parent governor for six years when her own children were at primary school (many moons ago!). She is now retired and, as well as being a governor at Thaxted Primary School, is a volunteer adviser for Uttlesford Citizens Advice.  She became Chair of Governors in September 2018.


Favourite book: The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald)

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: Michael Palin

Superpower I would choose to have: the ability to time travel

Favourite song/music: For a Dancer (Jackson Browne)


Tracey Bryant

Tracey has been a teacher for over 20 years as a class teacher and SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and now works as a Specialist Teacher for Essex County Council. She has two daughters, one at SWCHS and the other at Thaxted Primary School. She enjoys spending time in Spain, attempting to learn Spanish, cycling and playing netball.


Favourite book: The Indian in the Cupboard (to read to children) The Light Between the Oceans (for me)

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: Emmeline Pankhurst

Superpower I would choose: Fly

Favourite song: S Club7 'Don't stop moving' club mix every time!


Norman Greenwald

Norman lives in Thaxted with his fiancée Mary and daughters Jessica and Ashlyn. He has a Masters degree from the University of Sussex in People and Organisational Development. He specialises in helping Organisations improve by developing the skills and capability of its people. He has worked in the field of People and Organisational Development for over 20 years across a number of different sectors. He is currently working for a local Civil Engineering company.


Favourite Book: Michael Watson's Story: My Biggest Fight

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: Nelson Mandela

Superpower I would choose: To be able to fly like Superman!

Favourite Song: Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls


Kevin Sheehan

Kevin is now ‘retired’ having spent 35 years in primary schools as Teacher and Head Teacher. He has a Bachelor of Education degree. He believes that learning is something you do all your life and he continues to enjoy a variety of online courses as well as reading for pleasure. Kevin has always been keen on sport – participating, coaching and judging. He runs and swims each week and intends taking up cycling next year. He volunteers at Audley End House, working in the gardens as well as assisting with educational visits. He also shares an allotment and has kept bees. Kevin is the Chairman of The Friends of Bridge End Gardens in Saffron Walden. He loves the outdoors, particularly walking beside the sea or through a wood!

Favourite book: Matilda by Roald Dahl or anything by Bill Bryson

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: David Attenborough

Super power I would choose: Teleportation

Favourite song: What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong



Saroj Kiran

Saroj has a PhD in Pharmacology from Cambridge University and is currently the Director of a management consultancy company, SKV consultants Ltd. He has strong leadership and motivational skills with expertise in delivering strategic projects within the Biotechnology/Pharmacology industry. He also has extensive experience of coordinating and teaching at international summer schools for secondary school students in Cambridge. He is married with two children and his daughter Sruthi is at Thaxted Primary.

Favourite book: To kill a mocking bird by Harper Lee

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: J.K.Rowling

Superpower I would choose: Ability to fly

Favourite Music/song: South Indian classical music


Sarah Thorley

Sarah lives in Thaxted with her husband Ed, and son, Joe, who attends one of the local nurseries. Sarah was an undergraduate at The University of Manchester. She also has an MA Human Rights from University College London. Sarah worked for a large educational trust for several years, responsible for their compliance and legal work and then joined a national law firm in their education law department. Sarah specialises in information law and regulatory law, advising a broad range of educational institutions from nurseries, to universities and everything in between. Sarah was a governor at a primary school and a secondary school prior to joining the Governors at Thaxted.


Favourite book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt or The Ballroom by Anna Hope

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: Ant and Dec (two people I know..)

Superpower I would choose: Ability to learn all languages instantly

Favourite song: Faith - George Michael

John Levett


John is a parent governor who lives in Thaxted with his wife Liggy, and children Charlie, Hugo and Clara. Charlie has just left Thaxted Primary for Joyce Frankland Academy but Hugo is still in and Clara started in 2017.


Originally studying as a Building Surveyor, john has worked in financial services since 1998. John is now a Technical Specialist at the Financial Conduct Authority, helping to supervise some of the UK’s largest insurance institutions. As a result John has experience in assessing board effectiveness, culture and governance frameworks.


Favourite book: Good Omens, or anything by the late Sir Terry Pratchet.

 Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: David & Victoria Coren Mitchell

 Superpower I would choose: To read minds would be useful with my children and at work.

 Favourite song: Titanium – David Guetta


Jenny Reilly


Jenny lives just outside of Little Bardfield with her husband Justin and their four children, who all go to different schools/nursery in Thaxted and Chelmsford. Jenny’s daughter is currently in Reception at Thaxted Primary.

Jenny has a degree in Marketing Management and has been working within the international education sector directing Customer Acquisition and Client Services for over 15 years.

With her husband, Jenny now runs the African education company, Mwabu. The business uses technology to improve education outcomes in Africa, providing learners and teachers from all walks of life with access to a high level of quality education.

Jenny has a broad interest in education and in supporting the development of young people as well as a drive to give something back to our local community. This is the first time Jenny has been a governor and she hopes to bring a varied set of skills and experiences as a business person and a parent to support the interests of the school community.


Favourite book: Bad Blood – Secrets & Lies of a Silicon Valley Start-up – John Carreyrou

 Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: Bill (& Melinda) Gates

 Superpower I would choose: Teleportation

 Favourite song: Current favourite album ‘A Star is Born’


Luke Howden








Luke has been a teacher at the school for four years, having arrived as an NQT. Although he is KS1 Leader and a Year 2 teacher, Luke has taught across a range of year groups including Year 4, 5 & 6. He studied English Language & Linguistics at Queen Mary College, University of London before undergoing a PGCE at the University of Cambridge. Luke spent the majority of his own childhood in Angola, west Africa where he was home schooled – his interest in becoming a teacher started then! He now lives with his wife in Haverhill and is heavily involved in his local church; he also enjoys reading, pretty much any sport you could mention and going out with his friends.


Favourite book: The Day the Crayons Quit (for children) and anything by John Grisham (for me)

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: Winston Churchill

Superpower I would choose: I’m pretty super as it is

Favourite song: American Pie by Don McLean


Jemma Keogh

Jemma moved to Thaxted in April 2019 and is keen to get involved and support the local community.  Jemma is passionate about seeing children and young people moving forward with good outcomes so that they can flourish, develop, learn and be happy as they get older and move towards adulthood.

Jemma has worked within a Local Authority for many years. She has worked directly with parents and carers, supporting them back into education and employment opportunities.  Further to this, Jemma has also worked with young people in secondary schools from year 7 through to year 13. Jemma provided careers advice and guidance to pupils and worked closely with teaching and support staff in school as well as parents and carers to ensure that all pupils were proactive and encouraged to take the right steps towards fulfilling their career aspirations.  Jemma has also worked in primary schools providing careers sessions to children in years 5 and 6 in order to raise aspirations and get the children to think about the world of work and how it links back to what they do in school.  Jemma has extensive knowledge of working with young people that were not in education, training or employment (NEET) where she supported them into positive activity, education, volunteering and employment opportunities.  Jemma currently works in Human Resources providing learning and development opportunities and professional qualifications to Childrens Social Workers and looks forward to putting her skills and experience to good use with Thaxted Primary School.

Favourite Book – Georges Marvellous Medicine

The person(s) that I would most like to invite to a dinner party – Freddy Mercury

The Superpower I would choose – Mind reading

Favourite Song – What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong


Edward Gallier


Edd has lived with his partner in Thaxted for nearly 2 years having moved from Maresfield, East Sussex.

Edd works as Head of Learning & Development for Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels for the past eight years. He heads a division within human resources responsible for all learning strategy, planning and implementation from the executive through to the frontline team.

Edd is chartered member of the CIPD. As an active member of the hospitality education and careers community he is a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality (IoH), board member of the Edge Hotel School at Essex University and Future Leaders In Global Hospitality and Tourism (FLIGHT).

I am a member of the parish church Parochial Church Council (PCC) where I have a focus on developing the new ‘Open Doors’ service with the aim of creating an every age service with a wider appeal to those new to Thaxted church and also our regular congregation.

Outside work we both love to travel, enjoying the journey, not just the destination with a particular love of train and cruise travel. For relaxation I enjoy baking and gardening, I suspect in both cases to see things grow and develop into something good looking or tasty!


Favourite book - Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell

Superpower - Invisibility 

The person(s) that I would most like to invite to a dinner party -  Winston Churchill  

Favourite Song - Lovely Day by Bill Withers