Woodingdean Primary School

& Believing,

& Achieving

Governor's Biographies

Darren Arbon

Since achieving my PhD I have worked in a variety of roles including a computer programmer, a research scientist for Cancer Research and a secondary school Science teacher.  Whilst no longer a teacher, I still have a passion for education which led my desire to be a governor at Woodingdean Primary School.  My son is currently in Year 1 and absolutely LOVES the school and is excited every day to go.  My daughter will be starting in 2020 and also cannot wait to join her big brother there.

Carly Astaniou

I became a governor at the school in 2018, shortly after my first child joined in Reception. I was keen to understand more about education, the school and participate within the local community. Prior to having children, I worked within the Financial Services Industry, specialising in IT/Change Leadership. I am enjoying understanding more and more about the education our children receive, and how we can ensure all children have the opportunity to thrive. In turn I hope that my leadership, change management and financial background can provide some useful skills to the school. My daughter has been at WPS for a number of years now and still loves it!

Aaron Barnard

Emma Bennett

I have worked in operational business roles for the past 20 years with an emphasis on marketing, business development and HR.  I now run my own business consulting for hospitality organisations.  As a parent of two boys, I have a keen interest in education, particularly the importance of early years education and ensuring that all children have opportunities to flourish at school.  In keeping with that, I am also Chair of Governors at a state-maintained nursery school in the city.

Matthew Bishop

Following graduating with a Psychology degree in 1998, I have worked in the NHS in a variety of roles and now consult in healthcare improvement work.  I believe in the power of listening, curiosity and the adoption of a beginner's mindset to find ways of working together to solve problems even when there are difficult decisions or challenging questions to answer.

My eldest daughter joined Woodingdean Primary in 2014, with my youngest joining in 2016, and I've had the pleasure of seeing them both grow through their time at school.  As a governor, I'm proud to be part of creating a school where our children can achieve their best because they have a positive nurturing environment that inspires them to learn. 

Gemma Chumnansin

Darren Gearing

Originally from Woodingdean, I attended Rudyard Kipling Primary School and Longhill High School. Following a career in international hospitality, I became an entrepreneur a few years ago with businesses across Sussex.  I am now a co-opted governor as I wanted to learn more about education, contribute to the governing board’s continued success and actively participate in the local community, believing an integral part of this is a successful school.

Raluca Jarvis

Joanna Jones

Since joining the school as School Business Manager in September 2017, I have thoroughly enjoyed being welcomed into the Woodingdean family. The microclimate of Woodingdean did get some getting used to though!

As a parent of two grown up boys, I have previously been a parent governor and then a co-opted governor in West Sussex. When the opportunity came up for staff governor at Woodingdean, I took the chance to contribute more to our school community. I believe the role of governor is essential to the smooth running of any school by supporting and challenging the school to ensure that every child gets the opportunities they deserve. 

Karen Meeres

I joined the governing board of Woodingdean in 2009 when my youngest son started at the school. Both my children had a fantastic time whilst at Woodingdean and both are now thriving at secondary school and beyond. I am now a co-opted governor and have been chair for several years. My background in financial services, especially project management, has provided skills which I have been able to use in my governor role. I am passionate that school should be fun, safe, inspiring and that all children should be encouraged and given every opportunity to try their best and achieve. These are things we see every day at Woodingdean and I’m proud to be able to help the school in any way I can.

Karen Mitton

I have lived in Brighton since 2001, moving to Woodingdean when my son started at Downs View. My daughter joined WPS 3 years later in 2016 and I was quickly impressed and reliant upon the school and the amazing parental support network.
My background has always been art and design - qualifying and working as an Interior Designer since ’99.
I was made redundant during Covid so I am looking forward to this new role and working to fulfil the three objectives I put forward in my statement. I always try and approach problems or challenges with a questioning 'What if?’ attitude, which is a skill I hope can contribute to the work of the school going forward.

Kate Williams

As the current Headteacher of Longhill High School, I have had extensive experience in the education sector. For the past twenty years I have been passionate about raising standards and aspiration in schools. I started my teaching career as a mathematics teacher and have had experience in a variety of roles prior to gaining my first leadership post in a secondary school in 2009. I am committed to the community that Longhill High School serves and I am proud to be able to give time to governorship of Woodingdean Primary School.