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, 1 of which attends Russell Lower School. Her older 2 children both went through the school and have moved 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 one child at Russell Lower School, and two who attended Russell and have now moved on to Alameda Middle School. Catherine works in the transport industry where she has gained 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 chairs the Teaching, 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. Graeme has 16 years’ experience in schools, teaching primarily in inner-London where he held a number of positions including Head of Science; currently Graeme works as a Head of Year at Redborne Upper School.  Graeme lives locally and has two children, one currently in year four and the other in year one. He serves on the Teaching 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 35 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 stay 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 Premises Sub-Committee.


Stephanie Burnage

Stephanie joined Russell Lower School in 2016 to begin her first teaching post. Before accepting this position she spent four years training at the University of Derby, where she completed four teaching placements including one within a secondary Special Educational Needs school. She also gained a subject specialism in English. At Russell Stephanie currently teaches in Year 3 and leads the School Council. She is extremely passionate about the education and happiness of children and is a strong advocate of developing and nurturing the whole child. This belief is what drove her to join the Governing Body, where she aims to contribute more to Russell and help make it the best possible school it can be. Stephanie serves on the Teaching, Learning and Standards Sub-Committee.


Nicolette Walker (Head)


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 Finance and Premises Sub-Committee.


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 Leadership and Management Sub-Committee of the Governing Body and has responsibility for overseeing ‘Safeguarding’ and 'Health and Safety'.


Nina Page

Nina joined the Governing Body in July 2018 as a co-opted governor.  As a chartered accountant, Nina has worked for 20 years in finance roles in various global manufacturing organisations. She serves on the Finance and Premises Sub-Committee of the Governing Body. Her two children will both be at Russell Lower School from September 2018 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.  


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.


Robert Cullis 

Robert was elected as a parent governor in October 2018. His youngest daughter is in Year 1 at Russell Lower and his oldest daughter attends a special school in Dunstable. Robert runs his own business which connects secondary school students to universities and businesses, helping them to make informed choices about their education and careers. Previously he was a Design lecturer at the University of Lincoln and, prior to that, ran creativity workshops for primary and secondary schools. This was connected to a PhD that he completed in 2010  which sought to gain a better understanding of children's wellbeing and progress in relation to the social and emotional aspects of primary school experience, with a particular interest in learning spaces and relationships. In his early career, he worked in Finance and then designed distribution buildings, technology and work practices for Tesco. In his role as governor, he is eager to ensure that the school continues to find ways to recognise and respect the diverse range of skills and possibilities that each child presents by offering broad and imaginative learning experiences.


Nikki Murphy

Nikki joined the Board of Governors at Russell Lower School in September 2018 as a Co-opted Governor. She currently serves on the Leadership and Management Sub-Committee.

She lives with her husband and son in Maulden and works between London and home for a large UK based retailer in the field of Employee Engagement and Employee Insight. She has a Masters in Psychology of Work and a strong interest in the future world of work and the shift in the skills and knowledge that will be required of future employees. She is passionate about lifelong learning and development, health and well-being, both inside and outside of the workplace. She is keen to use her skills and experience to ensure every child at Russell Lower School reaches their full potential.