Mr Gary Griffin
Chair of Governors
Sponsor – RBKC
Gary has had a 40 year career in education and is a former graduate of Exeter University and the London University Institute of Education. He started as a History and Politics teacher at the City of London School and gradually moved up through internal promotions, including pastoral positions, Assistant Head, Senior Deputy Head and, from 2017 to 2021, Head Master of Immanuel College in Hertfordshire. In addition, he has served on a number of governing bodies in both the state and independent sectors. Currently, he is on the Board of Directors at the Pegasus Academy Trust in Croydon and a Trustee on the Board of Management at the Royal Alexander and Albert School in Reigate. Gary joined the Chelsea Academy Board of Governors in April 2022.
Mr Roy Blackwell
Sponsor – RBKC
Roy started his working life as a teacher, after which he became Education Officer for a Local Authority before spending ten years in the civil service which led to him travelling around Europe negotiating bi-lateral and multi-lateral treaties for HM Government. Between 1999 and 2019, Roy was Clerk to the United Westminster Schools/Grey Coat Hospital Foundation. In January 2020, he was appointed interim CEO of the Challenger Multi Academy Trust which had primary and secondary schools in Bedford and Essex. He is currently Chair of the VOCES8 Foundation, a charity dedicated to music education; a Director of the City of London’s Academy Trust; Vice Chair of the City of London Academy Trust; and Chair of Governors of Highgate Hill Academy. He was also an inaugural member of the City of London’s Education Board; chaired the Independent Schools Pension Scheme committee and was a board member of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. He is Vice Chair of the Confederation of School Trusts and represented it on the Independent and State School Partnership group. More recently, he joined the board of BrainCanDo which is looking at the development of children’s brains and how neurological research can influence teaching and learning. In June 2021, he was installed as Master of the Worshipful Company of Educators.
Revd Sam Hole (LDBS)
Chair of Student & Curriculum Committee
Sam began working life as a History teacher, first at Latymer Upper School and subsequently at The Grey Coat Hospital. After training for ordination and undertaking a PhD in Theology at the University of Cambridge, he served in a parish in Southwark. During this time he was Chair of Governors at St Saviour’s and St Olave’s, a Church of England girls’ secondary school. He is currently Associate Vicar at St Luke’s and Christ Church, Chelsea. He is delighted to serve on the Governing Board of Chelsea Academy, and enjoys his visits to the school. In his spare time, he values walking and theatre.
Mr Julian Simmonds
Chair of Finance and Audit Committee
Julian Simmonds has just retired as Chair of Governors of Notting Hill and Ealing High school after 7 years where he played a key role in rebuilding and extending a major part of the school. He is also on the advisory council of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and a non-executive Director of one of the largest Russian banks, VTB Capital. He read Russian and Soviet Economics at the University of Surrey. In addition to Russian, he also speaks French and German. Julian’s entire 29 year career was spent at Citigroup from which he retired in 2001. At that time, he was the Executive Vice President responsible for all the trading businesses in the developed world. He is married with 2 grown up children and has lived in Chelsea since 2007. He enjoys running and working out in the gym.
Mrs Mariella Ardron
Mariella became the Principal in September 2020 having spent the past 25 years working in Hounslow secondary schools. She has extensive leadership experience gained from working in urban schools that serve disadvantaged communities. Mariella is passionate about excellent teaching and learning and the transformative power an outstanding education has on improving the life chances of young people. As a practising Anglican Mariella is delighted to be leading a CoE academy. She lives with her husband and three teenage daughters right under the Heathrow flightpath!
Mr Abheesh Busawon
Abheesh is a Management Consultant at PwC specialising in digital finance transformation through process excellence and intelligent automation with over 8 years of experience working with both the public and private sector clients. Prior to joining consulting, he completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme where he qualified as a mathematics teacher. As a Teach First Ambassador, he remained close to supporting the mission by mentoring students through the Futures programme. His passion for education ultimately led him to taking a career break during summer 2017 to become an Assistant Principal with E-ACT in Willenhall where he was in charge of Curriculum & Progress. This was the culmination of his 6.5 years of education experience within multiple secondary schools across the country. He graduated from Imperial College London and the University of Warwick with Master’s degrees in Materials Science & Engineering (MEng) and Educational Leadership (MA) respectively.
Mr Stuart Blakley
Stuart is a Chartered Town Planner who has worked in the Civil Service and the semi-state sector, and now works in the private sector. After gaining a Business Studies degree at the University of Ulster he completed a Masters in Town Planning at Queen’s University Belfast. Over the years, Stuart has been involved in various Church of England activities from giving pro bono advice on a property portfolio, to helping at a homeless shelter and youth club. He is a Trustee of the Irish Georgian Society and Change for Good, a charity supporting ex-prisoners to rebuild their lives. In his spare time, Stuart writes and photographs for various design publications and is a fan of classical music. He is very pleased to have joined the Governing Board of Chelsea Academy from 1 September 2023.
Ms Susan Harris
After graduating from Durham University with a degree in Politics and Social Policy, Sue spent thirteen years in Procurement roles, working in the furniture, travel, telecoms, and FMCG sectors. The arrival of children in 2004 marked a change in direction, though negotiation skills are very much still required when dealing with her two boys, Jack and Luke. When Jack started school, Sue decided to get involved in education as well, spending eight years as a Governor of a local primary school. She became a Parent Governor at Chelsea Academy in the summer of 2016, where she is keen to strengthen the links with the parent body and encourage parental involvement in school life. As a fluent Italian speaker, Sue takes every opportunity to travel to the region of Abruzzo in central Italy, where she continues her quest to produce the perfect risotto.
Ms Hazel Hughes
Sponsor – RBKC
Following a childhood spent in a rural Cheshire village, Hazel studied in Bristol and York before moving to start her teaching career in West London. From the outset, she was passionate about special educational needs (SEND) and the agenda around inclusion. She also gained experience in the many aspects of school leadership and was employed in a variety of leadership roles over thirty years. Although recently retired, she continues to be involved with two secondary academies. While new to the role of school governor, Hazel has regularly attended governing body meetings as a senior leader. She is married with two adult children and particularly enjoys walking and time spent outdoors.
Mr Jonathan Lansley-Gordon
Jonathan is an Education Consultant specialising in Teaching and Learning, and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy. He is a former Assistant Head Teacher at King’s College London Mathematics School and has taught both physics and mathematics for 12 years in a variety of schools across the country. He graduated with a First Class Master’s degree in Theoretical Physics from Imperial College London, and continues to be passionate about representation and social mobility as Managing Director of The Blackett Lab Family, a network of UK based Black physicists.
Ms Laura Malkin
Sponsor – LDBS
Laura’s career has been in education, beginning as a teacher in a bilingual classroom and eventually moving into management, administration, advisory and volunteer roles. She currently holds various positions with institutions from primary through post graduate levels, in the UK and the US. Laura is the recently retired Executive Chairman of the Thomas’s Schools Foundation which works with more than 40 central London primary schools and community centres, helping them to address a range of challenges. She is an experienced school governor and currently serves on the governing body of the Fox Ashburnham Primary School Federation, Alleyn’s School and Wellesley College (US) and on several advisory boards at Harvard University. Laura is married, has four children and has lived in Chelsea since 1989. She holds a BA (Latin American Studies) from Wellesley College (USA).
Mrs Alison Mould
Alison has recently retired from being a Property Litigation Solicitor, after 36 years, to concentrate on voluntary work.
Alison has been on the Board of Park Walk Primary School, one of Chelsea Academy’s feeder schools, for ten years as Chair of Finance and then as Chair of Governors for the last four years. She also helps out there one day a week.
Alison is a Governor of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital Trust (which includes the local Brompton Hospital) where she is the governor representative on various committees including Heart & Lung, Finance and Specialist and Emergency Medicines.
Alison is also a director of Opportunity Kensington Limited, a BID company, which has the aim of further re-energizing the local Kensington High Street and its environs.
Socially Alison enjoys the theatre, especially ballet – watching not performing!
Ms Tabia Salam
Tabia was one of the first pupils to join Chelsea Academy when it opened its doors in 2009 and has become the first alumna of the school to join its governing board. As well as achieving top GCSE and A-Level results, she immersed herself in a wide range of extra activities offered by the Academy including a trip to the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, and also represented the UK in an international Maths competition. She went on to study for an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at King’s College, London and then a Masters in Biomedical Research (Data Science) at Imperial College. Following a summer internship Credit Suisse, she joined the global financial services firm as a Technology Analyst.