Home Page

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






Acting HeadteacherMrs J Brooks 
Co-opted GovernorsMrs H GotfraindMrs M Griffiths

Mrs C Tillbrook

Mr C Howell 
Partnership GovernorsMrs A Hopkins (Chair)Mrs D Legge
Parent GovernorsMr S VelamakanniVacancy
 Mrs J Reilly          Mr J Henderson
 Mr P Boorman 
Staff GovernorsMrs E Dymond 
LA GovernorMr J Spencer 
Clerk to the GovernorsMrs J Sweeting

Governor List 2021-22

Justine Brooks

Justine moved to Thaxted around six years ago with her family from Cambridgeshire. She quickly accepted a part-time job at the school and there has been no looking back since then! Justine started her teaching career in Kent, before moving to Cambridgeshire to be closer to her family.  Justine has experience of different leadership roles in three primary schools and loves a good challenge so was delighted when the opportunity to be acting head arose at Thaxted. In her spare time, Justine enjoys exploring the Essex countryside with her dog Archie and socialising with her friends.  


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)

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 who are both attending Thaxted Primary School.

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


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 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’


Colin Howell


Colin moved from Felsted in December 2019 and now lives in Little Sampford with his wife Sarah and his two children, Owen 19 and Megan 17 and his 11 year old Australian Labradoodle “Cadbury”. 

Colin is a Financial Accountant and an Entrepreneur, previously sitting on executive boards of various companies. After having a year out, Colin is back into business and currently a Senior Partner within his own small Accountancy Practice, a business broker and an Executive director for a Group of Security companies.   His experience covers, Finance, HR & Operations.


Outside of work he enjoys watching Football and F1 and spending time with his family and enjoying the odd round of Golf.


Favourite book: Currently reading “Finding My Virginity” Richard Branson’s Autobiography

Person I would like to invite to a dinner party:  Bill Gates

Superpower I would choose:  The ability to Heal people from illness

Favourite Music/song: I’ve got a feeling by Black eyed peas


Hazel Gotfraind


Hazel has lived in Thaxted with her husband, Baron, for a little over 3 years. She has 3 children, two girls and a boy and 6 grandchildren.  Hazel has spent the last 40 years working in both the advertising industry and not-for-profit sector.  She recently retired from her role as Fundraising & Marketing Director of a large national charity helping disabled people with their mobility.

Hazel and Baron love to travel and both enjoy cooking and socialising with family and friends. 


Favourite book : Anything by J.K. Rowling

Person I would have liked to invite to a dinner party : Robin Williams

Superpower I would choose : The ability to fly

Favourite song/band : The Beatles


Debra Legge 


Debbie moved to Thaxted from Bishop’s Stortford in December 2020. She lives with her husband Mick and has two daughters, Hannah and Natasha both in their twenties with one still living at home. Debbie has been the headteacher of a large primary school in Ilford, East London, for 25 years and is retiring in July. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology and a PGCE from Portsmouth University. Debbie is looking forward to spending more time in her new house with her husband and dogs and pursuing her hobbies such as sewing, knitting, learning Swedish, gardening and photography. Debbie hopes that by becoming a governor at Thaxted Primary School she can give something back from her 36 years experience in education and also make friends in the Thaxted area.


Favourite Book:   Becoming by Michelle Obama

Superpower:     Mind-reading

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party:   Barak Obama

Favourite Song: I   Want You Back by The Jackson five


Charlotte Tillbrook


Charlotte lives in Wethersfield with her husband Steve and son Alfie who is at Saffron Walden County High. Charlotte has a degree in Business Management and achieved her National Professional Qualification in Integrated Leadership at Hertfordshire University whilst she was a manager of Haverhill Children's Centres. 


Charlotte has had a very varied career across the public sector from Central Government to Children's Centres and now working part time at a Vineyard. Charlotte believes that all children deserve to have the best start in life and be empowered to achieve their own potential whatever that may be. Charlotte enjoys paddleboarding, skiing, reading and all things Disney but most of all spending time with her family. 


Favourite Book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl 

Person I would most like to invite to dinner: Walt Disney

Superpower: Ability to fly - I hate getting stuck in traffic!

Favourite Song - Tiny Dancer by Elton John 


Jamie Henderson


Jamie has lived in Thaxted since 2015 with his wife Jo, and children Hugo and Jasper. Hugo is at Thaxted Primary. Jamie has a degree in Accounting & Finance and is a Senior Audit Manager at Barnes Roffe LLP. He joined the firm as graduate, passed his professional exams and worked his way to up to manager within 6 years. He now runs the graduate recruitment programme at the firm as well as managing a large portfolio of clients dealing with audit, tax, corporate finance and company secretarial services.


Jamie was a keen hockey player playing for various clubs around East England including locally at Bishop’s Stortford Hockey Club. He was the club treasurer for 5 years and oversaw the transition of the club into a cashless subscription system and was heavily involved in the fundraising for a new pitch and clubhouse in which the club raised over £300k.


Other interests include keeping fit mainly either running around Thaxted or down the gym. He enjoys playing golf (when he can fit it in) and has a general interest in most sports. He also likes to experiment in the kitchen and loves cooking.


Favourite Book:  I do not read much but I did read a lot of Simon Kernick previously.

Person I would like to invite to a dinner party: Lewis Hamilton (or any Formula 1 driver really)

Superpower: Superspeed

Favourite Music: Modern Indie/Rock/Punk


Emma Dymond 


Emma lives in Hempstead with her husband, two teenage daughters and a rather large menagerie of animals. She is currently Acting Deputy Head at Thaxted Primary School and has had a long association with the school, which her own children attended. Having previously been a Parent Governor here, she is looking forward to working with the Governing Body again. Emma's initial degree was in Media Studies, Film and Television, following which she joined Sussex Police working her way up to Detective Sergeant in The Criminal Investigation Department. Having completed 13 years service, she left to look after her young family and completed the Common Professional Examination and Legal Practice Course to further educate herself in all aspects of law. After a brief spell at a regional law firm, teaching called and she began her teaching career, first at Felsted Primary School before moving to Thaxted. Having experienced a number of careers, her skillset is varied. 


Her hobbies all revolve around horses! 

Favourite book: Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae (child's) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (adult's)

Favourite song: Rise Up

Wished for superpower: (None really - but would like to look good in a superhero costume)

Would like to have supper with: Miranda Hart - Such fun!

Maggi Griffiths 


Maggi has lived in Saffron Walden for over 20 years. She lives with her husband and has three grown up children and three grandchildren. Maggi studied Music and Education at Coventry College of Education/Warwick University and began her teaching career as a primary school teacher in Coventry. Since then she has taught extensively both as a classroom teacher and Music specialist in the state and private sector in Suffolk, Essex, Dubai and Qatar. Her most recent post was as Music Coordinator for 15 years at Thaxted Primary School before retiring in 2020. Maggi’s passion is Music and in particular singing. She is an active committee member with the Saffron Walden Choral Society and co-founded Thaxted Singers in 2018 with her husband, Steve. Maggi’s other interests are reading, crocheting and travelling, in particular to Italy for an annual singing week. Maggi is delighted to be appointed as a governor at Thaxted Primary School and looks forward to continuing her association with the school, where she spent many happy years.


Favourite Book: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Superpower: time travel

Person I would most like to invite to a dinner party: Sir Simon Rattle

Favourite music/song: Over The Rainbow sung by Eva Cassidy

Jackie Sweeting


Jackie started her career at Johnson Matthey in sales and marketing.  Five of her eighteen years with the company were spent working in a sales office in Germany.  Subsequent years were spent travelling the world as a Sales and Marketing Manager. Having started a family she set up a business working from home before studying for a Certificate in School Business Management and moving into a role in education, as Business Manager at Thaxted Primary School.  Whilst working from home Jackie was Clerk to 7 Governing Bodies and she was Chair of the Governing Body at Katherine Semar Junior School for 3 years.  When not at the school Jackie is a keen gardener, florist and dressmaker. 


Favourite book: Anything by Anita Shreve

Person I would like to invite to a dinner party:  Claudia Winkelman

Superpower I would choose:  Teleportation (to keep an eye on her daughter at university in Sheffield!)

Favourite Music/song: Never Too Much by Luther Vandross