Meet our Governors

Who are the Holbrook Academy Governors?

We have sought out a broad range of experiences, skills and talents to create a governing body which we feel best supports Holbrook’s mission and vision.

Helen Butler,  Chair of Governors / Chair of Finance & Personnel Committee

Helen is a parent governor and Chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee. She has three children, all of whom attend Holbrook Academy. Prior to becoming a governor at Holbrook, she served as a governor at an outstanding primary school as Chair of Quality and Monitoring Committee.

Helen moved to Suffolk over 20 year ago from Manchester to start her career as a graduate with BT and loved the area so much that she settled here with her family.  Helen currently works for Openreach as a Business Transformation Manager, specialising in Technical Release Management, Change Control and Financial Management. Helen also has extensive experience in Business Change Management, Contention Management and Annual Financial Planning.

Helen has a degree in Geography and professional qualifications in Project and Programme Management. In her spare time Helen loves to read, socialise with friends and go to the beach.

Louise Cullen, Vice-Chair of Governors
Louise Cullen has three daughters, all of whom attended Holbrook Academy. Previously she served as a Community Governor at Chelmondiston Primary School for eight years, and was Chair of Governors during their Ofsted inspection in 2013 receiving ‘outstanding’ for governance. Prior to that she served for four years at Chair of Chelmondiston Playgroup, also awarded an outstanding rating from Ofsted during this time. Louise has considerable experience in senior management and communications as head of communications at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, and previously as head of communications at Ormiston and at the National Union of Students. Her current portfolio of work includes presenting the latest research assessing the impact of policies on education and social mobility to policy makers and opinion formers in the world of education. Louise is also an award-winning journalist and editor, and has written for many national publications including the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the Independent. She was a commissioning editor at Marie Claire in the 1990s and still writes reviews in her spare time. Louise has a degree in History of Art and History from UCL. She is also a trustee of the Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust.

Marek Pawlewski, Chair of Quality and Monitoring Committee

Marek is the Holbrook Academy Link Governor for the local Primary Schools.  He has two sons, one at Holbrook Academy and the other, a former student from Holbrook Academy, now studying Medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast. Marek works as a Strategy Analyst for BT Group developing and implementing commercial mathematical models. Prior to working in Strategy, he worked in BT’s Research Department as a Principal Scientist. Marek has expertise in computerised speech recognition, biometrics, computer vision, statistical modelling and identity security. He has several journal and conference publications spanning a range of technology fields and is the registered inventor of nine patents. He has supervised numerous PhD students and has delivered guest lectures for MSc courses at UCL and The University of Kent. Prior to joining BT, Marek worked in the North Sea oil industry specialising in sub-sea navigation.  He holds degrees in Theoretical Physics, Offshore Engineering and Software Engineering.  In his spare time he enjoys sailing with his family.

Martin Slattery

Martin is a Community Governor. He is now retired after a professional career spanning some 40 years in teaching and education in schools and colleges in Liverpool, Essex & Suffolk, culminating in 11 years as Principal of Bilborough Sixth Form College in Nottingham and two years as Director of High Pavement SFC in the City centre. Martin knows Suffolk well as Director of the Federated Sixth Form in Felixstowe in the 1980s, and more recently as Strategy Manager for the County’s 14-19 programme in the period 2007 – 2010. This post involved developing the County’s 14-19 curriculum with its 35 secondary schools and 4 FE colleges and creating the two new post-16 institutions in Suffolk – Suffolk One in Ipswich and the Sixth Form college in Lowestoft – to raise attainment and aspiration across the county. Martin is married with two children, two step children and five grandchildren, one of whom attended Holbrook Academy. He is currently completing a substantive publication on Ageing in the 21st Century and travelling with his wife, (outside the school holidays) to such faraway places as Vietnam, Cambodia and, hopefully, South America.

Anna Sterling

Anna has been a teacher for over 23 years, and 20 of those years have been spent teaching on the Shotley Peninsula at a local feeder school, Shotley Community Primary. She has a daughter at Holbrook Academy, and her son will be joining soon. Anna has undertaken many different roles in her career, including that of staff governor, and has been part of the senior leadership team since 2006. She was SENCO for 14 years, and has a Postgraduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs. She is currently the Curriculum Lead and has been leading the development of a new curriculum for her school. She is also English and Oracy Lead, PE, Art, DT and Key Stage 2 Lead and is completing a NPQSL with a focus on vocabulary. She has been involved in various projects with external agencies including the County Advisory Service, and she is currently working with Marcelo Staricoff and the Joy of Not Knowing (JONK) to embed thinking skills into her school. She has also been a mentor with SCITT, and she is now working with the new induction training for ECTs. Anna’s particular interest is in the pedagogy of teaching and learning and is a part of the Quality and Monitoring Committee. Anna enjoys keeping active, spending time with her family and her dog, and she lives in Chelmondiston.

Dan Thomas                                                                                                                       

Dan is originally from Capel St Mary, and moved to London to study (BA Graphic Design from Middlesex University) and start a career in graphic design; first with Getty Images, then for ten years as an Associate at Conran & Partners (Sir Terence Conran’s architecture and design practice). There he worked on branding for many projects including the opening of the Bluebird ‘gastrodrome’ in Chelsea; the re-opening of the Great Eastern Hotel, at Liverpool Street Station; Roppongi Hills development in Tokyo; and the launch of Uniqlo in the UK. He moved back to Suffolk, to Holbrook, in 2005 where he and his wife, Lisa, an art director, established their own graphic design studio, Come Hither Design, in 2008. Their extensive client list includes Nespresso, PizzaExpress, The Galley Woodbridge, and Ipswich’s SPILL festival of performance. Come Hither Design have also helped with the marketing of The Alton Water Run. They have two children, both of whom attended the Academy. When the children were at Holbrook Primary School, Dan was Chair of the school’s PSA for over three years where he built the infamous Gunge Gallows and hosted numerous pub quizzes to raise funds for the school. He and Lisa are both season ticket holders at Ipswich Town and in his spare time he enjoys building props and costumes for his children and playing Ultimate Frisbee at Holbrook Sports Centre on Thursday nights.

Alex Williamson

Alex is a community governor and joined us in 2021.  She is originally from just over the border in North East Essex and now lives on the peninsula with her husband and two children of primary school age.  Alex has a degree in law from Durham University and is a qualified solicitor specialising in commercial law.   She is currently working as General Counsel and part of the leadership team at Adnams in Southwold.  Having previously spent over ten years working in the maritime industry she is the link governor for the maritime curriculum.  She founded BLC on the Run, a running club on the peninsula which recently joined England Athletics and whose beginner’s running course is signposted by GPs in Suffolk for those looking to become more active.


The Holbrook Academy Staff Representatives are:

Matt Le Marrec

David Sansom