Board of Governors

We are fortunate to have a highly professional and committed Board of Governors who work hard to ensure that the School is always moving forwards.

To contact the Chairman of Governors, please address correspondence to:
Mrs J Mark, c/o The Bursar, Clerk to the Governors
Abbot’s Hill School
Bunkers Lane
Hemel Hempstead

Board of Governors

Janet MarkChairman: Mrs Janet Mark BA is a former headmistress of two GSA schools. She was educated at a Grammar School in Sheffield and Bedford College, University of London where she read German. As a teacher of German and French she worked in both the maintained and independent sector including 12 years at St Albans High School. She has extensive experience as a Governor, as a Team Inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate and as a Trustee of an Academies Trust. She works as a volunteer for Parentline, the helpline service of the charity Family Lives. As well as being a guide at St Albans Cathedral and Abbey Church, she is also a qualified Green Badge Guide for St Albans.

Vice Chairman: Mr Neil James MA (Oxon) Mr Neil James MA (Oxon) is a Solicitor and a partner in a leading City law firm. He specialises in finance and banking law and has practiced in the United States as well as England. His daughters each attended Abbot’s Hill. His wife is a former Treasurer of The Friends of St Nicholas House. He lives in St Albans and in his spare time he enjoys playing the clarinet.

Chair of FiAlan Leesnance Committee: Mr Alan Lees BA, FCA is a Chartered Accountant. He is Managing Director of Kingston City Group, a consortium delivering internal audit, risk management and governance services to the higher education sector in the South East, which currently has 16 university and higher education college clients. He was previously partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP and most latterly at Menzies LLP, providing internal audit and specialist advisory services to clients in the not-for-profit and central government sectors. His career experience includes working with clients in central government, higher and further education, the charity sector, the corporate sector and the housing sector. Has also worked with accounting bodies and other membership organisations, industry regulators and has extensive experience of working with internationally active clients. He has also served on the Governance Committees of two of his previous accounting firms.

Mr Nigel Chadwick is the Managing Director of a North West London based Building Company where he has worked for over 33 years. His two girls were both educated at Abbot’s Hill, starting in the Nursery and continuing till they left at the end of Year 11. He is a Deputy Church Warden at his local village church. He brings with him a strong financial background and the experience of running a business employing over 60 members of staff.

Jonathan GillespieMr Jonathan Gillespie MA (Cantab) FRSA is Headmaster of St Albans School. After Cambridge University he taught French and German at Highgate School before moving to Fettes College, Edinburgh where he was Head of Modern Languages and then a Housemaster. Prior to joining St Albans School in September 2014 he was Head Master of Lancing College, West Sussex.

Martin HartMr Martin Hart MA (Cantab) MBA lives in Apsley and has a daughter at the school. He studied at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and has an MBA from Warwick University. He has worked in broadcasting and media regulation and is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society. He currently works in the regulation of medical education and is also a member of the Corporation (Governor) of Oaklands College.

Gordon-JamesMr Gordon James MA (Oxon) PGCE is a recently retired head of a large, stand-alone prep school. He also has several years’ experience as an ISI Team Inspector. Primary-trained and focussed, his teaching career has been spent in HMC and IAPS Prep Schools, though he has taught children of all ages, from 3 to 18. He also taught for a year in the United States as a participant in the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Programme. He is a mentor of Prep School heads, as part of an IAPS support scheme for colleagues new to headship.

Mrs Jill Myers BTEC HND is a former Abbot’s Hill parent and has worked for the British Diabetic Association. With a background in Home Economics, Jill has produced two cook books for the Diabetic Association. She has previously worked for Tesco as a developer of ready meals, before transferring across into product selection and buying. Jill is married with two daughters who were both educated at Abbot’s Hill, leaving in 2013 and 2016. During their time at the school, she was a key part of fundraising for the PE Department helping them to raise funds to purchase the trophy cabinet and gazebos.

TranScrip Head Shots - Oct 15

Dr Linda Summerton MA (Cantab), PhD studied at King’s College, Cambridge and then pursued postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco. She has worked in a variety of scientific and management roles in the Pharmaceutical Industry in the UK and abroad, and then became a Partner in a small private equity firm investing in Biotechnology and Healthcare, where she sat on the Boards of investee companies. More recently she became CEO of Dialog Devices Ltd on a part-time basis and also is a Senior Partner at TranScrip Partners, a specialist provider to Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Companies. She lives in Harpenden with her husband John and two daughters.

University of Hertfordshire Research staff portrait - Photography 2013 © Pete StevensDr Shori Thakur PhD studied Pharmacology between 1996 and 2000 and subsequently went on to complete a PhD in Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Hertfordshire. This was followed by a 3 year GlaxoSmithKline-funded postdoctoral fellowship before taking up a position as a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology in 2007. She has continued her research career, successfully supervising PhD and Masters Students and currently leads a team of 12 researchers studying for PhDs or Masters Degrees. She is currently a Principal Lecturer in Pharmacology and is also the Research Tutor and Research Admissions Tutor for the Department of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Postgraduate Medicine. Dr Thakur has recently been appointed as only one of six Ambassadors of the British Pharmacological Society in a pilot scheme that has been launched to promote pharmacology nationally and internationally.

Who owns the School?
Abbot’s Hill School Limited is a non-profit making charitable trust, which uses any surplus it makes from its operation for the benefit of the School. The Board of Abbot’s Hill School Limited acts as the Board of Governors of the School.

What do the Governors do?
The Governors are responsible for determining the strategic direction of the School and for appointing the Headmistress. They are also responsible for making sure the School complies with its obligations as laid down by company and charities law and in accordance with the Company’s Memorandum & Articles of Association. The Governors are unpaid trustees of the charity.

The Board of Governors meets once a term and holds an annual strategy day. In addition, the Board has a number of sub-committees made up of governors and staff, which meet regularly in accordance with their terms of reference and report back to the Full Board each term. Governors visit the school on a regular basis including attendance at school events.

Who are the Governors?
The Board usually comprises between twelve and fifteen governors at any one time. Typically a Governor serves eight to ten years. The Chairman is elected for a period of five years. We look for an appropriate balance of talent and professional experience amongst our trustees, and from time to time seek people with appropriate professional skills and experience to join us.