Meet the Governors
DR PAUL GRAY
I was Deputy Chief Education Officer for Devon between 1990 and 1996 and went on to be CEO for Surrey for the following decade. I set up the UK’s first integrated children’s service and also the first public/private partnership for school support services. I had many national roles including Chair of the influential QCA Curriculum Committee. I was Lord Dearing’s personal adviser on Education and Social Care.
In 2006 I was invited to be part of the then Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit and led interventions in underperforming Councils.
I am a senior Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Visiting Professor and in 2004 was granted the Freedom of the City of London for services to education.
Prior to that I was a senior officer in Cambridgeshire and developed the Local Management of Schools. Previously I was an academic, teacher and college Vice-Principal.
I am mostly retired and devote myself to community work. Amongst other things, I am Chair of the Exeter Council for Voluntary Service.
I live in Exeter with my wife and eleven year old son.
SUSAN SMITH OBE, MBA, DMS
I was born and raised on a farm in Devon and educated at Queen Elizabeth’s School, Crediton and Plymouth University.I worked in Local Government from 1974, in many areas of administration including Education, IT and Property before I joined the senior management team of Devon Fire & Rescue Service in 1991. I retired as Deputy Chief Fire and Clerk to the Fire Authority in 2007 after merging Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Services. I received an OBE in May 2007 in recognition of my work with the Fire Service, nationally and locally.
My areas of experience include: Strategic management of all corporate resources including human resources, finance, property and IT.
I became a governor in 2009 after raising money for the development of the allotment at Southbrook School, which was my husband’s charity during his time as Lord Mayor of Exeter.
I have since chaired the Staffing and Curriculum Committee, been Vice Chair and Chair of Governors and Vice-Chair of the Sentient Trust.
My interests are Photography, Antiques, Gardening, Jewellery making and Silversmithing.
I have been a parent governor at the school since December 2014. I am a passionate believer in good education being about helping children to fulfil their potential in its broadest sense, and to support their wider health and well-being. I am currently a ‘full-time’ Dad following the adoption of my son in 2011. As well as Chairing the South Devon Adoption Panel and
being a member of the Somerset Panel, I also have a number of voluntary commitments including being a governor and with my local church.
Previous paid work included 12 years as Chief Executive of Exeter Community Initiatives (ECI), a local charity which develops, manages and supports a wide range of community groups and projects in the Exeter area. During part of this time, I represented the charity sector on the Devon Strategic Partnership which brought together local authorities, business and charities to help improve the quality of life for people in Devon.
I moved to Exeter in 1998 and before that worked for 12 years in London as a community development worker, trainer and adviser. I have also been involved for 30 years as a volunteer, including being a bereavement counsellor, a Buddy for the Terrence Higgins Trust, and trustee of a number of charities including chairing the Council for Voluntary Service in Westminster for four years.
To relax, I enjoy walking and playing tennis.
I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall and moved to Exeter in 2004.
I achieved a BA (Hons) in Fine art at Plymouth University.I am a practicing artist in my spare time and my arts main focus is gender roles in a conceptual form.
I joined Southbrook four years ago and I’ve never been happier!
Since being at Southbrook I have been involved in many clubs for the children including Animation, Rock, Library, Go Noodle, Dance,Craft, IT and Year Book Club.
I am part of the E-Safety team , the School Council and I run the tuck shop .
Also within my role I have delivered speech and language therapy and maths intervention which has been challenging and rewarding.
I am extremely passionate and committed about my role at Southbrook and am so excited to be given the opportunity to learn more about the workings of the school and contribute to the school in the role of Staff Governor. There will be a lot to learn but I also have a lot of practical experience with our children from the classroom perspective which I think can be put to good use in discussions and decisions.
My experiences and skills learned are varied, originally training as an Electrical Engineer; I then served three years as an Inspector in the Royal Hong Kong Police and twenty-seven years in the Fire Service in Devon, retiring as an Assistant Chief Officer. I then represented the Chief Fire Officers Association on a special project within a Government Department and my final post was as part of a multi-disciplined team carrying out a strategic review of the Civil Defence Force in The United Arab Emirates.
I have also served as a Trustee and Chairman of Victim Support Torbay. I have experience of strategic planning individually and as a team member, industrial relations as an organisation lead officer and management of property and vehicle fleet portfolios. I also have experience in health and safety management and risk assessment. I have worked with and managed a varied range of paid staff and volunteers.
I was elected to the Board of Governors in December 2015.
I have lived in Exeter since the start of 2014, having previously lived in Cambridgeshire for many years. I grew up in Berkshire, then read English at Oxford University, before moving to the north east, which is where I trained as a social worker. A career in Cambridgeshire Social Services and then the NHS followed, with a focus on children’s services, older people and mental health. For the last eight years of my career I worked for the Audit Commission as a performance specialist. This involved working with local authorities and NHS bodies on governance, performance and value for money.
I was a parent school governor at our village primary school in the 1980s, and on the Parish Council from 2012 until moving here. My interests include walking, swimming, photography and local history.
I have been a parent governor since January 2017. I am originally from the Bristol area and have lived in Devon since 1999 after periods abroad and in London. I have a degree from Hull University and a Masters Degree from Brunel University. I am a qualified social worker though I have worked the majority of my career as a Probation Officer. I am currently involved in training Probation Officers all over Devon based in Torquay. I also work for the Open University as an Associate lecturer on Social Work and Youth Justice Modules. I have four children, the youngest of whom attends Southbrook. My interests are the arts and the outdoors.
Originally from Exmoor in Somerset I moved to Exeter 23 years ago.
I read History of Art at Plymouth University and prior to this Degree I studied Interior Design.
I have worked at Exeter College since 1999 and started as an in-class enabler. I then progressed into teaching and completed my Certificate in Education in 2001.
I started teaching on the GCSE Fast Track course in 2003, becoming Team Leader in 2004.
The subjects I teach are GCSE English, Sociology and Art. I am also a tutor.
I became Deputy Head of Foundation, Learning and Support in 2009.
My interests are: swimming, boxing, painting and walking. I live in Exeter with my husband, 2 cats and 3 geese.