Governor Biographies

Michelle Weerasekera (Chair of Governors - Member Appointed Governor & Member of the Academy Trust)

Michelle weerasekeraI attended Nower Hill as a student, it was a much smaller school then as you arrived at the age of twelve and left at sixteen as there was no 6th Form. I am married and have three grown up daughters, I have spent time living in Singapore and in Hertfordshire, in 2003 I came back to live in Pinner.  

I joined the Governing Board of Nower Hill in 2016 and in December 2020 I was elected as Chair. I have been a Magistrate in Hertfordshire since 2001 and sit as a Chair in Family Court. I am Vice Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children's Board in Harrow where I have been a panel member on a number Serious Case Reviews and involved in Multi-Agency Safeguarding Audits. In 2014 I was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education to Chair an Interim Executive Board to turn around a local school that was judged to be in urgent need of improvement, I was also Chair of a local primary school for six years from 2010 to 2016. 

I am passionate about the education, welfare and protection of children and young people, to ensure that they are given every opportunity to succeed and grow in to well-rounded individuals. The vision, aim and values of Nower Hill fully support this passion and I am thrilled to be part of the team ensuring that we always have the highest of expectations for ourselves and our students.

Howard Freed (Vice Chair of Governors - Member Appointed Governor)

Howard freed 1 I am married and we have three children. Karen and I are retired teachers and all three daughters are teachers. We have lived in Ware, Hertfordshire, for 30 years.

I worked in London Secondary schools for 36 years including 22 years as Headteacher of Leytonstone School and Nower Hill. I retired from headship in August 2013 and since then I have worked as a coach/mentor with Headteachers and senior leaders and with schools on school improvement and development of leadership capacity, CPD, performance management and reviews of governance. I lead training for senior leaders, aspiring Deputy Heads and aspiring Heads with the Harrow Collegiate Teaching School Alliance. I also help to run the Moving to New Headship Programme in Hertfordshire.

I am delighted to be a governor at Nower Hill. I am currently Vice Chair of the Governing Board and Chair of the Resources Committee. I loved my 13 years as Headteacher of the school and feel privileged to be able to contribute something to the school in a different capacity as a governor. Nower Hill High School and the community it serves will always have a place in my heart.

Adeela Chowdhry (Member Appointed Governor)

Adeela chowdhry

I have been a parent Governor since 2015. Having 2 sons at the school and a keen interest in education, I wanted to give something back by supporting the school and helping it to achieve its aims and objectives. I am currently Vice Chair of the Staffing Committee and the Link Governor for the English Faculty. I have a particular interest in promoting reading and literacy within the school as I currently work as Project Director for a literacy charity in London.

I have a legal educational background BA (Hons) Law with Accounting, LLM Masters in Law). My previous work has been for the Home Office, Inland Revenue and as a Magazine Editor. My skills and background include Project Management, Presenting, Business writing and Fundraising.

Diana La Rue (Member Appointed Governor)

Diana la rueI have been a governor at Nower Hill since 1999 initially as a Parent Governor and now as a Member Appointed Governor.  Having served as Chair of Staffing Committee and as Vice Chair, I was elected Chair in 2002 relinquishing the role in 2016.  During that time the Governing Body implemented many developments and changes at the school including the establishment of the 6th Form and adding Y7 to the roll.  I now sit on the Student and Staffing Committees, support the Pastoral Team and link with the Arts Faculty.

I also serve as a Panel Member for Admission and Exclusion Appeals in Harrow and neighbouring Boroughs. In 2014 I was appointed as a member of the Interim Executive Board for a local primary school in urgent need of improvement.

I have a BSc in Physics and Information Science and worked for BP as a Management Consultant.

Louise Voden (Member Appointed Governor)

Lv approvedHaving started my working life in a US global corporation, I made the move into teaching 30 years ago and have never looked back. I came to Nower Hill 14 years ago to set up the new 6th Form at the school, which quickly became a thriving hub of almost 400 students. At the end of 2010 I was promoted to Deputy Headteacher with responsibility for student support and in September 2019, was appointed as Headteacher of the school. I have lived in the Pinner area since I was 4 years old and am an ex- West Lodge girl! I am totally committed to our wonderful, diverse community; inclusive state schooling; and the holistic education and well-being of young people. It is both a pleasure and an honour to serve as the Headteacher of Nower Hill High School.

Roy McKerracher (Member of the Academy Trust)

Roy mckerracherMember of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

20+ years as finance director of local manufacturing company, with experience also in HR and IT. Education experience includes school governor in Harrow since 2002 and at Nower Hill High School from 2006.

Treasurer for 15+ years of a number of local Harrow charities involved with young people.

Miss Patricia Gordon (Staff Governor)

Trish gordonOver the course of my life, I have acquired a range of experience in different educational environments across different countries. I have worked at Nower Hill High School for almost 5 years. Previously, I worked on the Wirral in the North of England for 2 years and before this, I worked abroad teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and History in an international school in the Guangdong province of China for 2 years. I am originally from the Republic of Ireland, where I completed my Primary, Secondary and University education.

In 2017, I joined Nower Hill as an English teacher after relocating from up North and since then I have worked as KS3 Lead for English before becoming Deputy Head of the English Faculty in 2019. I was also given the additional responsibility for KS4 English in 2020.

I hold a BA joint degree in English and Classical Civilisation but before embarking on my teaching career, I volunteered with youth groups in Ireland and discovered an enthusiasm for working with teenagers. Combining this with my love of English as a subject, I decided to complete my PGCE in Wales after returning from working in China, and trained in both English and History.

The inclusive and ambitious culture of our students and staff at Nower Hill has captivated me since I arrived and I joined the governing board so that I could do more to contribute to helping all of the students at Nower Hill to fulfil their potential.

Miss Amy Thomas (Staff Governor)

Amy thomasI am currently in my fourth year working at Nower Hill, but my eleventh year overall as I attended as a student not too long ago! Over my 11 years at the school, I have seen the school develop and grow across all areas, making it the best the school has been to date. As I student here I was very happy, and had a great all round educational experience, setting me up for life beyond school. When the offer of a job came up I didn't need to think twice about taking it.

I have always wanted to move into the field of education, and was very lucky to secure my job position at Nower Hill. I work alongside extremely dedicated colleagues, who always have the students best interests at heart. I hope that by being on the governing body, I will be able to add to the progress and development of the school.

Karam Bhogal (Parent Governor)

Karam bhogalI am Director within education having worked in single and multi academy trusts for over ten years with responsibilities for all areas. I have the understanding of the competencies needed to deliver the quality of teaching and learning, on ensuring outcomes are outstanding for this school. I hold commercial experience with in depth knowledge on school funding, risk management, procurement, estates, financial management and statutory reporting, policies and other key operations. I have a daughter who is in Year 7 who has settled in well and enjoys the wide range of curriculum being offered and enrichment classes after school. I am a registered Badminton England Coach and coaching in my space time at the Dome the home of Middlesex Badminton.

This important role will allow me to contribute and support the Headteacher to making the school even a better place to learn and equip your child to make the bigger decisions in life once they leave our school. Every child must have the platform and range of skills to have a better academic and working future.

Mr Hiten Shah (Parent Governor)

HsI am a family person and resident of Harrow for more than twenty years. I have two lovely children, one who has recently joined the wonderful school community and has settled in so well.

I have a passion and commitment to equalities, diversity and inclusion as well as wider social justice issues in both my personal and professional life. I have worked in many and varied organisations and written or co-written a number of publications and guidance for practitioner use. I also believe in giving all children, no matter their backgrounds or abilities, the best and equality of opportunity throughout their journey at school, be it in the curriculum or after-school activities, and to be ready for the world beyond the school.

I have significant experience of working at board level. I am personable with an ability to enthuse others, and will work with the Board as a collective whilst acting as a ‘critical friend’. I will support the school, its staff and the Senior Leadership Team to continue the great work and successes achieved to date, for the benefit of our children.

Dr Jan Cobben (Parent Governor)


Since 1991, I have trained as a speciality doctor in several locations including London and Amsterdam, which has provided me with over 30 years of experience in clinical and paediatric genetics. I currently work as consultant and clinical lead for the Regional Genetics Service NHS at Northwick Park Hospital.

As a Parent Governor at Nower Hill High School, I am able to contribute medical and general knowledge where needed and improve students’ individual and collective learning environment and experience.

Kirti Jeram (Appointed by the Governing Board)

Kirti JeramI am a flexible working mum of 2 children, my son Aryan started at Nower Hill in year 7 in September and my daughter attends Pinner Park Primary school.  I stood for election as a parent governor as I have a passion in promoting children’s education and supporting the development of the school as much as I possibly can.

Although new to Nower Hill, I do appreciate the outstanding reputation it has and I would like to contribute to the continuation of that progress. Having lived in the area for many years, I have a good understanding of the surrounding community. I feel that I can cast an independent eye over the workings of the school and bring a fresh perspective to the work of the existing governors.

I have worked in the city for top tier financial institutions for the past 18 years and currently I work at Bank of America.  Having worked within the banking industry, I have become a true professional with excellent influencing skills and the ability to communicate effectively and build working relationships at all levels. My current role is one of governance, control and oversight all skills I feel would be beneficial to the school. I am also the Bank of America ambassador for the Inspire the Future program, a UK charity that enables schools to connect with inspirational volunteers from the world of work quickly and easily, revolutionizing the way in which young people get insights into exciting and unique careers and inspiring them to be ambitious. I believe that your past should not define your future.

I will work with energy and enthusiasm to help Nower Hill maintain its high standards, and meet future challenges. I feel I understand the requirements of the role, and hope that I would be approachable and accessible to other parents. I would be privileged to represent parents and carers in this way.

John Richardson (Co-opted Governor) 

JrHaving worked in education for 35 years, I retired in 2010. My career began as an English teacher at a secondary school in Croxley Green where I later became a Head of Year. I was then appointed as Head of English at Mellow Lane School, Hayes, where I worked for 13 years. In 1997, I joined Nower Hill High School as Head of Upper School, becoming a member of the Senior Management Team. In 2004 I became Deputy Headteacher Student Support with oversight of all aspects of pastoral care and leadership of a strong and committed team. In this role I was also responsible for preparation for OFSTED and relevant documentation. It was an exciting time to be involved in the development of Nower Hill with the establishment of both a 6th form and Year 7. 

For several years I also served as a Parent Governor at Yorke Mead Primary School, Croxley Green, where both our daughters, now in their thirties, were pupils.

I was always very proud to be a part of the Nower Hill community and I welcome this opportunity to return in the important role of governor.

Saba Syed (Member Appointed Governor)

Saba syedI am local to Harrow, born and bred, and a parent of a student in Year 7 at Nower Hill. I was a community governor at Pinner Park Junior School for just under 8 years, supporting the school’s growth under the Headteacher’s leadership. When I became a parent of a Pinner Park student two years later, I had the opportunity to connect with other parents, and benefitted from a network of friendships. With this mutual support and collaboration, we resurrected Pinner Park’s PTA, for which I was the treasurer in the first year.

Professionally, I am experienced in delivery and project management of a range of publishing and digital projects, gaining skills in resource and financial management. I’ve worked in the public sector (health, education, archives) and in the private sector in media, print publishing and online. I am currently the head of business development at the British Library, developing products and services and responsible for a multi-million pound revenue target.

Outside of work, I am involved with Tongues on Fire – UK Asian Film Festival, a local arts organisation delivering an annual international film festival, starting as the festival coordinator and now on the board of directors, as Operations Director. I am also the treasurer, and a founding member, of the Friends of Headstone Manor Park.

I enjoy being part of the wider community and using my experience to support organisations in meeting their strategic objectives, ensuring good financial management and a high standard of delivery. I am interested in seeing the value I could add to an outstanding local high school, with a new Headteacher and new members of its governing body.

Miriam Manderson (Member of the Academy Trust) 

As a parent of secondary aged children, my vision for education is that there exists true equality of opportunity through an equal status from one school to the next. I am a fellow Harrow resident and a Headteacher of a neighbouring Harrow secondary school, so it gives me great honour to sit on the Board of Trustees at Nower Hill High School.

With over 25 years in education and being a headteacher since 2019, I am fully committed to ensuring that we all continue to provide parents and children with a secondary education service which is second to none. I have worked in the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Brent and now I am happy to be giving back to the community in which I live. I speak four languages and believe that languages provide a window to understanding the world. I love working in schools, which have a vibrant and diverse population such as Nower Hill’s and wish I could speak every language on earth to fully engage with our global community! It is an exciting time for Nower Hill High School and I am proud to join the team for the journey.

Reverend Stuart Nattrass CBE  (Member of the Academy Trust)

Brought up on Tyneside. Went to Manchester University. Ordained as a C of E priest in mid 1960's and served in 2 colliery parishes before becoming a worker-priest. Worked in the Health and and Safety Executive for 29 years (inspector of factories, training manager, Area Director, Regional Director London and S.East and HM Chief Inspector of Contruction). After HSE for 13 years was a non-Executive director or external adviser to Docklands Light Railway, Transport for London, Crossrail and Costain).  Moved to Pinner in 1976. Was a non-stipendiary curate at Pinner Parish Church until 2005 and still assist occasionally. Was a Magistrate in adult and family courts. Interests are classical and jazz music (I ran Jazz at Pinner Parish Church for 20 years), theatre, Bridge, caravanning. Married to Dorothy, who was a probation officer then a social worker. Our 2 children went to Nower Hill, where our daughter Claire was Head Girl. 

Philip M Lawder (Member of the Academy Trust)

Phil Lawder has a background in marketing, design and new product development. In recent years, he has worked as advisor to many third sector organisations including Sense, Breast Cancer Care, Ramblers and Mencap. Until recently he was Chair of Relate for North West London and Herts and is still working on several national initiatives with Relate. He is also a Governor at West Lodge Primary School. 

His most recent link with Nower Hill was during the Pinner Arts Week, when he organised an exhibition of paintings by NHHS pupils in the Pinner Parish Church as part of the festival. 

He is also the author of two novels, two books of short stories and a collection of poetry.


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