Governors and Members Biographies
Jason Hill - Chair of Governors
Chair of Governors
I’m Jason Hill and I was very happy to be appointed as a Community Governor in September 2021. In this role, I am linked to the ICT and Technology departments and also chair the HR committee.
I originally come from the West Midlands, having gone to school in Worcester and then to Demontfort University in Leicester. I’ve worked in the Information Technology domain for the last 30 years in various roles from technical to leadership and have spent some of my time living and working in Australia.
I currently work for SUSE Software as Director of Program Delivery. During my career, I’ve worked in most areas of IT across a range of companies. Prior to my current role, I have run several large Professional Services teams for two very large software companies, providing support, training and consultancy services to customers across Europe, Middle East and Africa on a commercial basis. Beyond just technology, this has exposed me to a lot of different competencies such as managing and developing people, legal, financial management, customer relations, communications along with working with different cultures.
From a personal point of view, I moved to Exmouth in 2019, with my wife, three children and two dogs. In my spare time, I enjoy running, cycling and being out on the water on my paddleboard.
Emily McGrath - Vice Chair of Governors
I am a community governor, having been appointed in September 2018.
I am a consultant dermatologist at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital, and we have two boys at ECC.
I have 8 years experience as a school governor at a local primary, and have led finance, HR and head teacher appraisal committees as well as acted as vice chair and chair for 2 years respectively.
I am committed to the values of comprehensive, local secondary education and look forward to supporting the school over the coming years.
I am married with two grown sons who both attended Exmouth Community College and went on to University and are now in full employment. I work part time for a local business and am a Trustee for two local charities. I was a Governor at the College for nearly twenty years and retired four years ago after a period of over seventeen years as Chair.
In my spare time I like to keep-fit and have completed four London Marathons and numerous half marathons raising thousands of pounds for both local and national charities.
I feel passionate about comprehensive education and have always supported the College when I was a parent and Governor and continue to keep a keen eye on its development.
I was appointed to the Board of Governors at Exmouth Community College as Teacher Governor in November 2020.
After qualifying as a teacher in 2000, I have had a varied career in a range of educational settings, prior to which I trained as a dancer and worked as a choreographer.
My first teaching role was as a Lecturer in Dance and Performing Arts in further education, during which time I helped set up the PGCE in Teacher Training at The Royal Academy of Dance and worked as an A Level examiner for AQA.
After moving to Exmouth, I began working part-time at Exmouth Community College, helping to set up the A level Dance course and quickly realised what a wealth of experiences and opportunities students here benefit from due to the hard work and dedication of their teachers. Alongside my role at the college, I ran the PGCE in Secondary Dance Teaching at Exeter University for 5 years, where I worked closely with a range of schools from across the South West. Currently I am Head of Dance at Exmouth and am delighted to be part of the Governing Board at a College that presents such a rich and diverse curriculum, enabling our students to succeed no matter where their interests and skills may lie.
I am a parent governor at Exmouth Community College, having been appointed in March 2019. I have four children, three of whom are currently at the College in years 7, 8 and 10. I have been highly impressed with the education that my children have received since joining the school and am keen to give something back as a governor. I hope, through my role, to help ensure that all pupils enjoy a wide range of opportunities for enrichment alongside their learning and to help drive the College forwards in its success.
I was born and raised in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales and moved to Devon seven years ago. I spent a number of years as a primary teacher in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan before taking a career break to have a family. During this time I worked from home as a marker for Key Stage 2 SATs before returning to educational roles. I have since taken on a number of roles within education including Higher Level Teaching Assistant, Forest School Lead, Data Protection Officer and School Administrator.
I have been a governor at two primary schools in the past and currently serve as a foundation governor for a local primary school in East Devon. During my time in governance I have been both a parent and foundation governor and have sat on numerous committees including Finance and Personnel; Premises, Health & Safety; Ethos; Curriculum; Resources and Admissions.
I look forward to becoming an active member of the governing board at Exmouth Community College, I am keen to foster effective relationships between parents and the school and to ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential during their time at the College.
I am a parent governor, becoming a member of the Governing Board in July 2016. I attended a reasonably large comprehensive school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and left after completing my A levels there. I later trained as a Registered Mental Nurse in Northampton. Early in my career, I moved to the South West and instantly felt at home. I’ve now lived and worked here for almost 30 years. During this time, I’ve held a number of clinical and managerial roles in mental health services in Devon and Somerset. I later moved into monitoring and inspection of mental health services and most recently, I have been responsible for supporting the learning and development of healthcare regulators.
I have three children who have all attended local schools in either Exeter or Exmouth. Both my daughter and youngest son have attended ECC. I have been impressed by the range of opportunities on offer to help students realise their full potential whatever their particular talents and skills. I see the College as being an extremely important part of the community it serves. It has great links with businesses and other partner organisations to enrich students' experience and their growth as citizens. I’m very pleased to be able to join the Governing body at this important time in the College’s life. I hope that my many years of experience in the health service will be an asset to the school and its students.
My name is Laura Woodward-Drake and I'm thrilled to be joining the team of Governors in September 2021. My subject links are Business, MFL and Classics and History. I'm also on the Curriculum and Resources committees.
After graduating from Exeter University, for the last 10 plus years I've been running the English Language School for international junior students, Hello! Exmouth (previously known as Mountlands). This has given me a wealth of experience in running a business, creating fantastic cross culture connections, and supporting young people with confidence and independence. We've welcomed over 3000 young people to the town each year and provide local host families and businesses with a new income stream.
Due to the Pandemic, the School has sadly been temporarily hibernated whilst we wait for the market to return and so I started Boost Business Assistance - a company that helps small businesses to outsource tasks and build processes, whilst giving young professionals a boost. I'm a strong believer in the phrase "enjoy what you do and you'll never work a day in your life", which is the essence Boost aims to give businesses and young people.
I've also been part of the Exmouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, a local business network, for the past few years and was voted the Chair in late 2020. Through this role I help facilitate connections, provide support and run events for the local business community.
Having attended Exmouth Community College myself, I'm keen to give back to the College and support the community. I look forward to doing so in the coming terms!
I have worked in the education sector since 2002, and I am currently an Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology and the Director of Education of the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. I have one child who attends the College, and a further two who will attend in the coming years. I am passionate about education and the opportunities it affords our young people. As a Governor, I feel I would be able to draw upon my experience and passion and contribute to the goal of improving the College’s performance.
I am delighted to become a parent Governor and was appointed in June 2022. I have lived in Exmouth since 2011 and Exmouth Community College has always been at the heart of the community.
I have been a teacher for nearly 25 years working across the state and independent sectors. My specialism is SEN and I have been a SENCo for 20 years and am also an education consultant in this field. I am currently the safeguarding lead for my own school as well as the deputy head teacher. I spent half my career in London and have worked in a local school for the past 11. I am passionate about inclusion for all and mental health and well-being of young people. With one child at the start of their journey in year 7 and one finishing in year 11, I feel I cannot only bring my professional expertise to the role but also have an insight to what life is like for children who have been on the ECC journey. I hope both my years of professional experience and being a mum to children in the school will be an asset to the governing body.
I am a Parent Governor at Exmouth Community College, having been elected in October 2022. My eldest son is in Year 7 and my youngest will follow in a few years time. I have been really impressed with my interactions with the college so far and look forward to being part of its future moving forward. I am the Link Governor for Happy Days Nursery and the REACH centre.
I gained a BSc in Psychology from the University of Cardiff and then completed a PGCE in primary teaching at Bath Spa. I was a primary teacher then deputy head in Bath, and became a designated Specialist Leader of Education, supporting other local schools with English, maths and curriculum work. During this time, I was a staff governor for my school.
In September 2016, I became Head of School at Sidmouth Primary and relocated with my family to Devon. Since September 2022, I have been a School Improvement Officer for First Federation Trust, working across a family of 20 schools in Devon and Dorset to offer challenge and support to ensure children get the very best education. It is this experience I hope to bring to the role of governor. I am currently completing a Masters in Education Leadership and Management.
Biography to follow.
My name is Karen Knight, and I am thrilled to have joined the Governing board as a Community Governor. I have recently retired from General Practice after working in the area for just under 20 years.
Both my children have successfully attended Exmouth Community College and I am looking forward to supporting both the School and the Community in my new role.
I was delighted to be appointed to the Board of Governors at Exmouth Community College as a Staff Governor in October, 2023.
I was previously a student at the College and will eventually be a parent of a year seven student in the September of 2027. I have worked mainly in Pastoral and Behaviour in my four years at the school and have started to expand my skills and knowledge in areas of SEN and student rewards/events.
I feel I have insight from multiple points of view on a variety of topics and am keen to lend a hand in any way that will collectively, with the other governors, improve the education and wellbeing for the young people of our community. Exmouth is a special place to me, and I wish to help make it a special place for the next generation.
I am so excited and honoured to be elected as Parent Governor for Exmouth Community College (2023). I have recently left my career to set up two local businesses: Wellspring Tutoring & Mentoring Ltd. and Seaborne Chiropractic & Wellness Ltd., and also to finish writing my book. Wonderful Exmouth is now our forever home and we consider ourselves richly blessed to be part of such a friendly community in such a beautiful location.
My daughter has just joined Exmouth Community College in Year 10 and I have been so incredibly impressed with the level of support, professionalism and care that she and I have received in this process, it is only natural that I now wish to offer my service back to our fantastic local comprehensive. As a teacher, I understand the pressures and challenges of a large secondary school in our current educational climate, and I also see the world our children have to face. I am in my element when working with and for young people, and my drive is to encourage every child to develop fully in their character and learning awareness while growing in self-belief and self-motivation. All children have a unique gift and it is our role to encourage them to find and express it.
My passion is to see young people receive a rich, vibrant, nurturing yet challenging educational experience in school and in our wonderful wider Exmouth Community. Supporting the staff and structures to be able to provide this is vital. As Parent Governor, it is my hope to be able to offer support to the students by utilising my experience as a Head of Year and Whole School Leader for Mental Health and Wellbeing, as well as my expertise with young people who have Special Educational Needs.
As for me, I love literature, history and the arts, and I am in the rather slow process of writing my first book, which I began when I was pregnant with my daughter. I ‘paused’ writing to focus on working and mothering, and now, 15 years later, I am dusting off my quill. The story is about the journey of spiritual self-discovery and the awakening of the understanding of our true identity – without wanting to give too much away, think modern day Narnia… but for teenagers… and watch this space!
We have a pack of pet panthers (black house cats really, but don’t tell them!), whom we adore; we love the sea (kite-surfing, paddleboarding and swimming); walking on the beach; being a part of our Church community; animals, nature, culture, travel, music, dancing, books, good food, playing games and laughing a lot! I truly look forward to getting to know you and being of service to Exmouth over the next few years.
I have worked in SEND education for over 25 years and have a drive to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged learners. I am from the North West of England but have lived in Devon for 14 years: so yes, still a newbie. All three of my children have attended ECC and my youngest intends to stay on for post 16.
My degree is in music and I have a keen interest in all the arts.
My family has been directly involved with the College for over three decades. My three children were pupils and in September the first of my grandchildren will join the College. I was a parent, and latterly community governor, for over twenty years. I served as chair of Human Resources for the majority of the time, but also focussing on curriculum. Supporting the transition of the College to Academy status was a busy, but very interesting, period and we all learnt a great deal!
I have been focussing on my family and work for the last few years but now that I have retired from the Civil Service I am delighted to be once again a member of the Governing Board.
I think the young people of Exmouth deserve the best education that we can provide and that is what I have always been committed too.
A 14 year career in the teaching profession covered teaching in a Secondary Modern, a Grammar School, 2 Polytechnics at degree level and the first woman teacher at Devonport High School for boys in Plymouth. In Okehampton I set up A level Geology and was Head of 6th form (now post 16).
Retiring from teaching to become a Funeral Director I was then elected as a Governor at Okehampton Community College, and as a town councillor the Council representative on Okehampton Primary School Governors.
In funeral service I was part of a team that developed an NVQ and subsequent full educational programme including a degree programme.
In Exmouth I was elected to Exmouth Community College Governors and gave 12 years service mainly on ‘Premises’. I was also a Foundation Governor at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Exmouth.
For some 20 years I have been a panel member for School Admissions Appeals and School Exclusions Appeals for Devon County.
My wide range of experience in education has given a depth of perspective to every challenge the College has faced. This and my experience of running my own business for nearly 30 years will help in the new role as a Member.
And in between times I am a member of the Rotary Club of Exeter Southernhay and play Croquet, (currently Club Chairman) and even find time to garden.
Jason Hill - as Chair of Governors
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Following a 4-year secondment in Hong Kong, my then young family and I moved to Exmouth in 1985 as part of a company reorganisation. Although we expected to stay for only a few years, we have remained and enjoyed living here ever since! Before that time, I had studied electrical engineering at ONC and HNC level, and completed a “sandwich” degree course at Bath University, facilitating a professional career in engineering planning and operations management in the telecommunications and railway industries.
Our three daughters all undertook their secondary education at the Community College, becoming well-rounded young ladies in the process as well as gaining places at their chosen Universities. My wife, Trish, worked in the Adult Education Department of the College for many years, while I was previously a member of the Governing Body for some 14 years, as Chair of Finance. I am delighted to once again have the opportunity to be involved in the life and management of the College.