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Meet Our Governors

Claire Buxton – Chair & Community Governor

CB

Appointed by Members 11/03/2020

After a degree in Product Design and 2 years as a sabbatical officer for the Students Union I started teaching in the mid 80’s, firstly as a teacher and leader of Design and Technology in Islington, Camden and Westminster and then as a Senior Leader/Deputy Headteacher. 

I moved into senior leadership developing specialist experience in Teaching and Learning, curriculum development and student progress/standards.  An opportunity through London Challenge took me into school improvement roles and I worked extensively in schools facing challenging circumstances.

I continued to teach D&T, Maths and several other subjects within the curriculum throughout.  I later spent more time training, mentoring and coaching of staff at all levels.

My passion for Designing and Making has stayed with me throughout and the determination to retain open access for girls and young women to male dominated industries is paramount.  I have a specific interest in lateral thinking and mathematical problem solving through team building activities and games.

With a substantial history of teaching in my family, I grew up in Barnet and attended East Barnet School as it became comprehensive.  After university, I settled in Haringey where my 3 children attended our local school, Highgate Wood.

My interest in staff development and support led me to undertake a Professional Certificate in Coaching at the Henley Business School.

I am very pleased to have been asked to join the Governors at Copthall.  My experience there as a Consultant Senior Leader has been a very positive one and I would like to continue to support the school in any way I can.

Janet Leigh - Vice Chair & Community Governor

JL

Appointed by Members 11/11/2016, re-appointed 11/11/2020

I am a retired Headteacher of a multicultural high school in a neighbouring borough and in the year of my retirement I was awarded a distinction in the regional finals of the annual Teaching Awards.  

Since retiring I have worked for the National College of School Leadership mentoring new heads and supporting leadership teams.  I was also an adviser in the Closing the Gap initiative for The Department for Education.  This enabled me to evaluate and support school improvement by visiting twenty-eight London schools and help them raise standards.

For the last nine years I have been a consultant working with Governing Bodies assisting them through the Recruitment process to appoint a new Headteacher.  I am also involved in the Performance Management of Headteachers. In addition, I coach senior leaders on their journey to Headship and have run training sessions for middle and senior leaders in high schools.

In order to give back to the community on a voluntary basis I sit as a magistrate in the Borough in the Adult and Youth Court and work with local schools on the Mock Trial Competition.  I am a mentor and appraiser and have been trained as a Chair in both the Youth and Adult Court.  Additionally, I have been appointed as the Youth Bench Chair.  I am a member of the Independent Exclusion and Admission Appeals Panels in this and another borough.  I was the Chair of Governors at a London High School during its transition to a multi-academy trust and am a governor at a local primary school.

I am married with two grown up children who attended Barnet primary schools.  I consider it a privilege and honour to be involved with Copthall School as a governor.

Robert Alexander – Staff Governor

RAElected by Staff 18/09/2020

Prior to teaching, I studied History at King’s College London but then spent the next 13 years running my own retail business. This included a shop in Wandsworth, website and later Pop Up shops. The business was heavily built around customer service and we were even voted Best Independent Gift Retailer in London. While running the business, I was also one of the founding members of the local business Association serving as treasurer and organising summer and Christmas fairs for the area.

I began my teaching career by completing a PGDE with Teach First and have added a real passion for Mathematics to my longstanding belief in the importance of education. Recently I have taken up the role of KS3 Maths and Numeracy Coordinator at Copthall. I really enjoy working with colleagues at Copthall and have loved teaching the pupils at the school. I am therefore very excited to play a further role in the continuing improvement of the school.

Karl Bulman – Co-opted Governor

KB

Appointed by FGB 04/12/2019

I have been a Mathematics teacher for more than 23 years, with most of that time spent working in Mill Hill. I have also been lucky enough to live in Mill Hill itself for nearly 15 years now, less than a mile away from Copthall School, so I feel I have always known about the school if not actively visiting it much before now.

I started my career at Mill Hill County High School, and when I left after 9 years I was also in charge of collecting and analysing the data for the whole school, both internal and external; helping pupils and staff to engage with this data and showing how it could inform decisions leading to better teaching and learning.

I then spent 12 years as Head of Mathematics at Mill Hill School before leaving there in August 2017 to become Director of Studies at my present school, St Helen’s in Northwood. My role encompasses Curriculum development and Teaching and Learning most notably, as well as having a key role in helping develop the timetable. These are all the type of whole school issues I have been more and more interested and involved in during my career.

However, I have always liked to be involved in many things outside of the classroom too, feeling this is essential to the development of children into successful adults. Therefore, I have developed and taken a Running Club at both Mill Hill and St Helen’s and have also been an officer in the Royal Navy section of the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) for more than 13 years, taking various day and overnight trips to Naval establishments and on water-based activities.

Outside of school I have become increasingly involved with volunteering and I see this as the main reason I have become a governor at Copthall as I feel I can give more of myself to help others. Therefore, I am currently a fully qualified Athletics coach, coaching young middle-distance runners at nearby Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers for the past 4 years, indeed, regularly coaching girls who have come over from Copthall in the past. I also volunteered at both the World Athletics and World Para Athletics Championships at the London Stadium in 2017 which was a fantastic experience I would recommend to all and I will definitely be looking for other such opportunities in the future.

Personally, I run a great deal and will be aiming for a personal best in the 2020 London Marathon, and I love cycling too. My wife works in a Barnet Primary School and I have 2 daughters, one in her first year at Manchester University studying Chemical Engineering and the other taking her GCSEs this year and hoping to be a pilot as well as to study Aeronautical Engineering so I am a huge fan of encouraging girls to careers in STEM, although I would have accepted any choice they made!

Caroline Carter – Community Governor

CCAppointed by Members 13/03/2019

I read English at QMUL and then qualified as a solicitor. I spent 30 years as a lawyer in the City, 18 of those as a senior equity partner at Ashurst LLP, in many leadership positions.

I have now left private practice and am a board director and trustee with social mobility charity The Brilliant Club; a member of the governing Council at Cranfield University; advisory board member at AccessEd; a trustee at Jackson’s Lane arts centre in Highgate; and an angel investor in start-up businesses.

I am an advocate of diversity and inclusion, ensuring that young women are both educated and empowered to reach their full potential. 

Afiya Chohollo – Community Governor

ACAppointed by Members 13/03/2019
 

I am Afiya. I am a Senior Technical Program Manager at the technology organisation Onfido.  I currently oversee the delivery of change and development. At Onfido we verify identities digitally – we use just a smartphone to validate a picture of an ID card and your Biometrics with a selfie.  Leading program management in one of the top fastest-growing tech companies in the UK requires, agility, scalability, organisation, leadership, empathy as well as both technical and strategic understanding.

I grew up in a neighbouring borough to Copthall in North London and attended a comprehensive secondary school in Barnet. I am very much a proud Londoner! I studied Material Science & Engineering at the University of Manchester graduating with a Masters in Engineering.

Having this background in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (otherwise known as STEM), and having skills in program management, has enabled me to have a vast, diverse and exciting career.  I have worked in areas from research and publishing my scientific discoveries for the MOD, to traveling the world improving advanced materials manufacturing processes, to leading business planning and program management with the UK's largest online retail operations at Tesco. I have also been involved in delivering initiatives for Artificial intelligence to verify identities remotely around the world.

STEM ambassadorship and encouraging young people to consider STEM studies and careers has long been a commitment of mine and I have founded initiatives to drive the connection with industry and education. I work within industries where whole economies and top jobs are often only a few years old but are rapidly making the status quo obsolete. We have new ways of communicating, transacting, shopping, working and learning, and I want to ensure young people are not just impacted by this but equipped for it.

Being a Governor of such an ambitious school like Copthall is such an important honour & responsibility to ensure the best and fair learning & development for all.

Poonam Dave – Staff Governor

PDElected by Staff 16/05/2018

I have been working in education for 10 years – 7 of which have been in Pastoral care.  I have a great passion for pastoral and student wellbeing and am committed to getting positive outcomes.  I have a BA (Hons) Geography from Queen Mary, University of London.

I have been a Programme Manager during summer holidays at NCS The Challenge summer programme and a mentor at Mosaic Mentoring working with Young Offenders at Brixton Prison. 

I also have extensive experience in project management working on International Women’s Day and The STEM Scholars Programme. 

I look forward to working with Copthall to help the move the school towards Outstanding.  This is truly a special school, with great staff and students. 

David Elikwu – Community Governor

DEAppointed by Members 27/09/2018

In many ways the typical millennial polymath, I have had the pleasure of working across various industries and disciplines in my professional life so far. I started my career as a young marketing intern, working on campaigns with numerous blue-chip clients like Amazon, ASOS, and Credit Suisse. I left university for a stint at a mid-size law firm in Shanghai where I lived and worked for a few months before returning to London for a graduate consulting role. I was part of a specialist compliance and financial crime team working with mid-senior level management at various tier one banks, hedge funds and investment groups, and was later able to use this experience to transition to my current role.

I now sit in the Banking and Finance team at international law firm Mayer Brown as a junior lawyer on the articled route to qualification. Throughout all my roles thus far, the unifying aspect has been my commitment to client-facing work; My ability to empathise with client needs, build relationships and quickly identify tangible solutions allowed me to bring on four new clients within my first six months as a consultant and it is this love for people that I carry into everything I do.

I am engaged in community work at various levels. I sit on the diversity committee at Mayer Brown and the Junior Lawyers Division of the British Nigerian Lawyers Forum, and also actively engage in pro-bono / CSR work for the Prisoners Advice Service, advising prisoners on their legal rights within the prison system, and for Breaking Barriers, a charity that empowers refugees and asylum seekers to find work and begin new lives in the UK.

In a personal capacity I consult start-ups on branding and strategy, engage in work with charities like Urban Lawyers and The Prince’s Trust, mentor through a few select programmes, and also help run a small community fund which gives hardship grants to young students and “pay it forward” business loans to young start-up founders from diverse backgrounds.

I am very excited to be a Governor at Copthall, not least because my mother spent the majority of her teaching career here. I have always wanted to engage in equipping children to be well-prepared for the outside world, and ensuring they have adequate resources available to unlock their full potential.

Caroline Korniczky – Community Governor

CKAppointed by Members 20/10/2020

I was educated at Derby High School for Girls and Allestree Woodlands School before graduating from Durham University with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Music.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers and Lybrand in London, I moved into financial recruitment for several years before becoming a Bursar at a girls’ school in North West London in 2007 during which time I qualified as an ISI Compliance Inspector.

I am currently Bursar and Clerk to the Governors at Abbot’s Hill School, an independent school set within 76 acres in Hertfordshire incorporating a nursery, pre-prep, prep and senior school.

In my spare time, I play the violin in various orchestras (currently leader of BBC Ariel Orchestra) and take part in triathlons for charity.

Caroline May-Parker – Parent Governor

CMPElected by Parents 04/12/2019

I have spent most of my working life in the world of banking.  The last 24 years have been with Lloyds Banking group.  I worked within International banking and I specialised in customer relationships / experiences and this allowed me to meet customers from all around the world and exposed me to wide range of different cultures and traditions.

I left the bank last year to spend more time with family and explore new opportunities and I am looking forward to the next phase of my working life.

I enjoy going to the theatre, comedy shows, reading and spending quality time with family and friends.

I went to an all-girls school many moons ago and thoroughly enjoyed it so I would love to be given the opportunity to be involved in ensuring that girls like my daughter who currently attends Copthall have that same experience.

Kasia Maziarka-Nyampingidza – Community Governor

KMNAppointed by Members 12/12/2018

My name is Kasia and I spent most of my school years in the 90’s and early 00’s surrounded by fantastic, inspirational teachers and an environment that made me want to never stop questioning and exploring. I now want to pass on such educational environment to others.

I am a qualified teacher of English as a Foreign Language and while I don’t teach, my work has always contained a major element of looking after the development of others. I completed my BA in English Philology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland, and my MSc in International Relations in beautiful Scotland at Aberdeen University. 

I am a Chartered member of CIPD and I currently work in the construction industry for J. Murphy & Sons. I have over 10 years of experience in people and organisational development across Media, Manufacturing, Logistics and Oil and Gas industries, as well as the public sector.

I am thrilled to be on Copthall’s Governing Board and hope to positively influence the current and future successes of the school and its pupils.

Saqlain Riaz – Community Governor

SrAppointed by Members 05/02/2020

My name is Saqlain Riaz, I live in Mill Hill and completed my compulsory education at two different schools in Barnet.  I attended Hendon School up until my GCSEs and made the move to Mill Hill County High School in order to do my A-levels.

I graduated from City, University of London in the summer of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and was elected to become the Vice president education at City students’ Union.

My role is primarily concerned with representing the academic interests of City’s 19,000+ students on a range of senior university committees, and to form the leadership of the Students’ Union as a full-time officer and Trustee of the Union in its capacity as a registered charity.  I am involved in campaigns on a local and national level, where I have been looking specifically at the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic students in higher education and how we can work with our institutions and government regulators to provide a more equal, inclusive and diverse education for all.

In my spare time I enjoy playing cricket, hiking, and engaging in local grassroots organising on contemporary issues affecting our communities.

Anne Rosen – Community Governor

ARAppointed by Members 10/09/2021

Having attended school in Scotland, I spent my university days in Edinburgh studying Economics and Accounting.  From there I joined one of the big accounting firms, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1993.  During my 11 years in accounting practice, I was able to build skills in auditing, insolvency and forensic accounting and achieve a fraud examiner qualification.

Over the years the varied financial investigations I worked on heighted my interest in financial regulation leading to me joining the Financial Services Authority in 2000, and ultimately transferring to the Bank of England in 2013 where I have worked ever since.  I have been fortunate to work in many interesting roles – supervising some of our biggest banks at the height of the financial crisis and in quality control.  And more fortunate still to have an employer who has supported my interests in mentoring young people’s development and early careers.

Away from work, I am Mum to two grown up children and manage a small portfolio of properties.  I am also passionate about playing bridge which I have done for over thirty years including at international level.

I am excited by the opportunity to work as a Governor at Copthall.  I am motivated by a desire to help young people achieve their potential and develop skills for their future lives through education: both in and outside the classroom.  A school that is forward-looking with effective governance has a key role to play in creating a supportive, responsive environment.

Stephen Rosen – Community Governor

Sr1Appointed by Members 20/10/2020

My name is Stephen Rosen, and I reside in North London with my wife and three children.  I attended Goodwyn School and Mill Hill School in Barnet and spent my university days at University College London, studying Economics.  After graduating, I joined Deutsche Bank’s Graduate programme and progressed to trading financial instruments, the first step of a long stretch in investing and fund management.

I founded and launched the Omni Macro Fund with over a decade of experience at two major investment banks (2008-2016).  I performed the role of Chief Investment Officer with the primary responsibility for all investment and trading decisions.  I co-managed the business and employees of the company, with a broad range of duties.

After two consecutive decades of money management, I decided to step back and redirect my time to other interests.  I still maintain an active interest in finance and have expanded the scope of work towards consulting and advisory.

I applied for the role of Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee to utilise my experiences and skills to benefit others.  I look back fondly at my time within formal education and gained essential knowledge, skills and confidence.  I believe in lifelong learning and exposure to new challenging experiences, such as governorship.

I maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, with a passionate interest in cycling.

Elaine Runswick – Community Governor

Er

Appointed by Members 13/04/2016

I have spent most of my working life in education, starting as a teacher in the primary and secondary sectors. 

I then went into Further Education and started as a teacher moving into management.  My managerial responsibility has been varied and has covered Student support, marketing, HR, Curriculum area management and Strategic Planning. It also included three restructures and a merger. 

I was a senior manager at Barnet College for 19 years, in my final role deputising for the Principal and I am a local resident, so have a good knowledge of the local knowledge of the area and its’ schools.

For the last seven years I have been working for Barnet Council with responsibility for Post 16 Education and Skills working with schools, including Copthall across the borough. 

I have a particular interest in Copthall as my daughter was a pupil at the school and would like pupils now to have the same positive experience she had, although the educational context is very different today.

Jane Sanchez – Co-Opted Governor

JsAppointed by FGB 16/09/2020

Jane is Head at Mill Hill School, having worked as the Principal Deputy Head prior to August 2018. Jane studied Geography at Sheffield University and began her teaching career at Rowlinson School in Sheffield, before taking up a position in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for four years. Upon her return to the UK, she joined Henrietta Barnet School in North London and then moved to Whitefield, a school facing extra challenging circumstances, in 1999.

Jane joined Mill Hill School as the Deputy Head Pastoral in 2003. She is passionate about education and has a wealth of experience as a senior leader in secondary education.

 

Anwar Zaidi – Community Governor

AsAppointed by Members 05/12/2018

I have been in the financial services industry for all of my working career, having completed my MBA in the late seventies.  A number of opportunities came my way through postings with international banks in Hong Kong, Bahrain, Karachi, New York and London.

My initial exposure was in Internal Audits at Grindlays Bank covering 8 countries at a junior level.  With a strong operations exposure, I moved on to Corporate Banking and managed a portfolio of large international corporate accounts which was an essential component of learning client relationships.  A challenging role was then offered to me at HSBC to develop Hexagon which was to be their core banking application.  I led a number of projects to structure proprietary products and was deputed to have them rolled out at some of the international branches of HSBC.

These experiences were subsequently very helpful as I took on senior leadership roles at international banks in New York and London which gave me a wider exposure in; team building, staff motivation / coaching, project management, regulatory engagement, corporate governance and engaging at director level on the Board of two UK banks.  This exposure along with some of the courses taken at the Institute of Directors (IOD) on Board review / effectiveness, I feel, will be of great help for my role at Copthall.

With my passion for continuous learning and remaining abreast with new technology, I took time off from work in the early nineties to complete an MSc in Computer Science. Straight after, Zeeba (my wife) and I were blessed with a boy and a girl who have, since, both graduated and are busy building their own careers.

I am passionate about contributing within our community.  As a Liveryman and a Freeman of the City of London, I have had opportunities to mentor the less privileged in East London.  It required visiting schools in the Tower Hamlets area to meet with young pupils especially girls who had difficulty convincing their father to continue further education after a certain age. With due respect for their cultural norms and traditions, setting good example of oneself and building aspirations was invariably the means to effect changes in their approach towards women’s education.

Seeing the deprivation of some in our society was the trigger for a number of other voluntary works that I engaged in and has been most satisfying.  This includes raising funds for the expansion of a private hospital, providing free meals to the homeless especially during the month of Ramadhan and coaching young bankers for their self-development under the auspices of the then Lord Mayor.

Now that I’ve retired from active work, I am very keen to utilize my experiences for instilling in pupils an interest to learn, excel in whatever they do and be inspired to fulfil their aspirations in a safe and sound environment. Copthall offers an excellent opportunity for me to impart my knowledge and to serve the community at large.

Past Governors

Elizabeth Sheridan Term of office: 25/02/2016-20/9/2018
Uparima Lankakumari Goonetillake Term of office: 01/09/2018-15/02/2019
Anjula Singh Term of office: 18/07/2016-13/03/2019
Kathryn Skelton Term of office: 18/07/2016–05/04/2019
Daniel Sabato Term of office: 05/12/2018-28/05/2019
Tahira Syed-Baig Term of office: 01/09/2018-19/08/2019
Chris Kendrick Term of office: 18/11/2018-03/04/2020
Alex Frazer Term of office: 18/07/2018-07/07/2020
Corinna Cavaye Term of office:12/10/2019-30/03/2021
Vicky Romaner Term of office: 18/07/2016-15/07/2021
Kym Hamer Term of office: 28/06/2017-15/07/2021
Julia Blackman Term of office: 04/03/2018-31/08/2021
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