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Corporation Member Profiles

Current Corporation Members:

Alan Aston joined the Corporation in 2012.  He was born and educated locally and taught at Wolstanton High School for 32 years, being appointed Head in July 2011.  He retired from this position in December 2015.

Alan is the Vice-Chair of the Education & Standards Committee.

Syd Birkin was Vice Chair of the Stafford College Board and is the retired director of a major IT services company, he has many years of experience in management covering sales, marketing, operations and customer service.

Sylvia Butler serves as a member of the Education & Standards Committee. A retired high school teacher and former Borough Councillor for the ward in which the College lies and also a former Mayor of Newcastle; Sylvia has the interests of the people of Newcastle very close to her hear

Siobhan Hammond is a student governor. Siobhan is in her second year of studying A Levels at NULC in Media Studies, Spanish and Theatre Studies. Siobhan joined NULC from Sandon Meridian Academy.

Karen Dobson originally trained as a nurse and health visitor and worked in the NHS for 13 years. She moved into Further Education as a Lecturer in Health and Social Care and after various promotions, made the move to Newcastle-under-Lyme College in 2002 where she was appointed as Director of Curriculum & Strategic Planning, a post she held until August 2004 when she became Principal.

Karen has a Health Sciences degree from Coventry University, an MBA from Keele and currently sits on the National AOC Sports Policy Group.

Gareth Jones chairs the Finance & General Purposes Committee and has been a member of the Corporation since 1992.

Gareth retired from his position as Head of the Emergency Services Action Team for Liverpool Health Authority in 2007. He is also a member of the Search and Remuneration Committees. Gareth participated in the 2012 Learner Conference where he facilitated discussions on a number of topical subjects, and gained valuable insight into our learner views.

Steve Jones is a qualified chartered accountant and is currently the Finance Director of Hanley Economic Building Society, a position he has held for 9 years. A graduate of Stoke on Trent Common Purpose, he has a keen interest in the regeneration and wellbeing of the local area and has been actively involved in the voluntary sector for over 15 years. Steve is currently the Chair of Age UK and Vice-Chair of NSMind (having stepped down as Chair after a 5 year term).

Simon Leech is the Acting Chair of the Corporation, currently serves as Vice Chair of the Finance & General Purposes Committee, and is also a member of the Search Committee and Remuneration Committee.

Simon is a partner in local law firm Walters and Plaskitt and also has experience as a member of the Management Committee of the Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau.

Bernard Lovatt is now a partner in Bernard Lovatt & Associates LLP and is actively involved in encouraging the economic development of the area. Bernard sits on the Audit Committee of the Corporation.  

As an Engineering Ambassador, member of the management committee for STEMNET in Staffordshire and a member of the North West Midlands Network Committee of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bernard is active in encouraging students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Bernard participated in the 2012 Learner Conference where he facilitated discussions on a number of topical subjects and gained valuable insight into our learner views.

Jeremy Pert has been a member of the Stafford College Board since September 2015.  He has much experience of local community leadership first as an elected Parish Councillor and then as a Borough Councillor.  Most recently he has acted as Cabinet Aide to the Sports and Leisure portfolio holder and as Cabinet Member for Communities on Stafford Borough Council.

Jeremy has many years of commercial experience in warehousing and distribution, most recently as Sales and Account Director in the logistics industry.

Lesley Rollason is the Head of Policy and Planning at Staffordshire University.  She has worked in the Higher Education sector for over 20 years and has a Professional Doctorate in Education from Sheffield University.  Lesley has served as an elected parent governor at Alsager School, and is currently Chair of the Academic Progress Committee at Staffordshire University Academy in Cannock.  Lesley is Chair of the College’s Education & Standards Committee and the Staffordshire Governor Representative on the AOC Regional Committee.

Jim Rowley joined the Corporation in 1994. He is currently Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Search Committee. Jim was a Finance Director in the local NHS for nineteen years and was the Director of Finance & Systems Reform at Stoke on Trent Primary Care Trust before retiring in 2010.  Prior to his retirement, he was an active member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and served on several national finance committees.

Lynsey Shearsmith is the support staff member of the Corporation. Lynsey is the College’s Student Engagement Co-ordinator.

Matthew Shirley is a student governor studying at Stafford College

Francis Tunney retired in August 2010 from his post as Headteacher of Painsley Catholic College in Cheadle, Staffordshire Moorlands, where he served for 20 years. During his tenure, Francis led the College through four successful Ofsted inspections with Painsley, achieving outstanding status. Francis was the recipient of the 2010 Midlands Headteacher of the Year Award. Francis is a resident of Newcastle under Lyme.

Spencer Whiting

External Committee Members

Paul Buttery

Paul was Vice Chair of the Stafford College Audit Committee. He is a CIMA qualified accountant and is currently Deputy Director of Finance at Keele University.   Paul has spent most of his career working for the large multi-national groups GEC and ABB.

David O’Neill

David joined the board of Stafford College in March 2016.   He has served a period of 10 years as a Governor of St Joseph’s College, including two periods as Chair of Governors, whilst being Managing Director of a £50m manufacturing business based in Stoke-on-Trent.  David is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.


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