Members of the Governing Body



Nicolette Ford

Nicolette joined the board as a parent governor in 2013 and took over as Chair of Governors in July 2018. Prior to having her children Nicolette worked as an employment solicitor where she worked closely with a number of schools. Nicolette has 3 children, all of whom attended Russell Lower School before moving up to middle school.  Nicolette enjoys using her skills and experience to make a positive contribution to the school.


Catherine Norris

Catherine joined the board in Autumn 2015 as a parent governor.  Catherine has three children who attended Russell Lower School, and have now moved on to Alameda Middle School and Redborne Upper School. Catherine works as a Systems Engineer in the defence industry, having previously worked in the transport industry.  She has considerable experience of leadership and of analysing and understanding data.  She is keen to use her skills and experience to support Russell Lower school in providing a safe, happy environment where the children can achieve to their full potential.  Catherine sits on the Curriculum, Learning and Standards Sub-Committee. Catherine is responsible for overseeing 'Special Educational Needs and Disabilities'. 


Graeme Armstrong 

Graeme joined the governing body as a co-opted governor in March 2017. He has experience working in schools in inner-London and Central Bedfordshire. Currently Graeme works locally at Redborne as an Assistant Headteacher. He lives locally and has two children, one currently at middle school and the other in Year 4. He serves on the Curriculum, Learning and Standards Sub-Committee.


Paul Birley

Paul joined the board in late 2013 as a co-opted Governor. Paul worked in Finance for over 37 years and was Head of Public Sector and Healthcare until May 2018 when he retired. The role required him to set the strategy for the team and ensure they stayed on track which is also what is required of a school governor.

Paul lives in Ampthill. Married to Sandra they have one daughter Paige, who attended Russell School from 1997 to 2001, which gave her a sound educational base for her future and saw her graduate from Bath University in 2015 with a first-class honours degree.

Having lived in Ampthill for over 20 years and with his daughter educated at the school, Paul wanted to give a little back to the community. Paul chairs the Finance and Resources Sub-Committee.


Mariella Cook

Mariella joined the Board of Governors in September 2018 as LA governor. Although now retired, she has experience in both leadership, management and education. Latterly, she was joint managing director of a small training consultancy and has also worked as a Senior Lecturer within universities. Mariella developed a strong partnership ethos, and experience in managing and developing partnership working for many funded projects and initiatives during her professional working life, she continues to apply this in her volunteering, working with different community groups; she is a very active member of Aragon Day Committee, Publicity Officer for Ampthill and District Preservation Society, member of the wider Ampthill Festival committee and a Friend of Ampthill Great Park. Other volunteering roles have included; a lay member of the Bedfordshire Advisory Committee to the Magistracy, including interviewing and selecting new magistrates, and a Beanstalk volunteer working at Flitwick Lower school helping children to gain confidence in reading and learning.

Although, she had no prior experience as a school governor,  she believes that the skills and experience that she has gained in her professional life, her involvement in the community, together with more than 40 years of being a loving, caring and hands-on parent and in recent years grand-parent, can be used to further enhance the Governing body to allow Russell Lower School to be the best education provider it can be both now and in the future.


 Francesca Crowther

Francesca was co-opted on to the governing board in July 2019.  She has experience of working with schools as Trust Secretary and Data Protection Officer for the St Alban Catholic Academies Trust based in Luton and is now the Operations Manager for a nationwide healthcare recruitment company.  Previous to these roles she worked in support and project management within a large corporate insurance broker company.  Francesca sits on the Finance and Resources sub-committee which will benefit from her knowledge of strategy planning, marketing, HR procedures and compliance.

Francesca lives in Ampthill with her husband and 2 children.  She is keen to contribute to the work of the governing board to make a positive difference to the education of local children.


Richard Gallagher
Richard Gallagher was elected to join the governing body as a parent governor in November 2019. Richard has two young children; one already at Russell and he is keen to support the invaluable work of the school's governing board. 
Richard's career in education has involved numerous roles, including specialist Computing teacher for Early Years, KS1 and KS2, Head of Year, Head of House and KS2 class teacher in prep schools in London and St Albans. Richard has vast experience of day to day school routines, management and pastoral care. As well as particular experience in developing ICT and Computing curriculums, and computer hardware across whole schools, he has had involvement with schools' governing bodies elsewhere too.
He hopes to further extend his involvement in education in this role, sharing his knowledge, experience and ideas to support the school from both a teacher and parent perspective.

Katherine Milligan

Katherine has been at Russell Lower School since 2013. Prior to completing a degree in Educational Practice, Katherine worked for a large international bank using her communication and organisational skills successfully in a number of different roles over a 15-year period.  Katherine initially built up her experience of working with children in other lower schools in Bedfordshire both employed and on a voluntary basis, then moved to Russell as an LSA, then took on the role of a HLTA before beginning her teaching career. Katherine lives locally and is a parent of three children.  She currently serves on a number of voluntary committees including PTA, netball and football. Having previously 'seen' Education as a parent and then as a member of staff, Katherine became a member of the Governing Body in July 2014.   She wanted to take another step to contribute to education and more importantly to making Russell Lower School the best possible school it can be.  Katherine serves on the Curriculum, Learning and Standards Sub-Committee.


Nina Page

Nina joined the Governing Body in July 2018 as a co-opted governor.  As a chartered accountant, Nina has worked for over 20 years in finance roles in various global manufacturing organisations. She serves on the Finance and Resources Sub-Committee of the Governing Body. Her youngest child is at Russell Lower School and she has been involved in the School’s Parent Teacher Association as its Treasurer since the start of 2018. Nina is passionate about helping Russell Lower School and its children to achieve their best and to have fun developing a love of learning.


Keith Redman-Henry

Keith is the longest serving member of the Governing Body, having served as a LA governor for a number of years and now a co-opted governor. Keith is a member of the Finance and Resources Sub-Committee of the Governing Body and has responsibility for overseeing ‘Safeguarding’ and 'Health and Safety'.


Christopher Day
Chris was elected as a parent governor in January 2020.  He put himself forward due to a desire to help the school continue to thrive and be the premier school in the local area. He has 2 young children  and has seen, first-hand, the positive effect that a great school can have on child development.
Chris’s professional career has seen him work in both large and smaller-scale business environments: as a test engineer for a leading automotive manufacturer and, more recently, as an account manager/ business developer at a fashion manufacturing and sales company. His broad range of experience means he has excellent analytical skills and knowledge on how to facilitate best practices within organisations.  He also understands the importance of people working together to achieve overall goals and make the vision a reality.   

Chris has lived in the area for over 10 years and is involved with several local clubs and is very enthusiastic about working diligently to further the development and prosperity of Russell Lower School.


Dawn Clarke

Dawn was co-opted onto the Governing Body towards the end of 2021.  She has experience of being a governor in both a secondary and middle school. She worked for over 30 years for Anglian Water/Environment Agency in a range of roles, many of which involved stakeholder engagement/communication.  Dawn has lived in Ampthill now for several years and would like to put something into the community.