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Governor Biographies


David Evans – Ex Officio - Headteacher

I have been a Teacher for 19 years, 17 of which have been at Asterdale Primary School where I trained as GTP student in 2002. I have taught predominantly in both Year 5 and 6 classes and have a keen interest in reading and maths with science and geography being specialisms.

I graduated from Derby University with a BSc Hons degree in Geography and followed a career progression path from student job to a Manager with Sainsburys plc.

I feel very privileged to be the Headteacher of Asterdale Primary School, a role I have held since September 2021.

In any spare time, I enjoy reading, gardening, DIY and following the exploits of DCFC. I enjoy supporting my home nation of Wales in any sporting pursuits.  In October 2022 I had the pleasure of extending my family with a Beagle Basset cross puppy called Bertie.  He lives with me but will be working at school as a Well Being Dog.  He is loved by all already.

My vision is for the school to be the best it can be, offering a supportive earning environment for all the children in our care.  I want our children to thrive and have high aspirations for the future, whilst succeeding at school and beyond.  Working with stakeholder partners, promoting the school ethos of ‘together we can …’ will create a valuable partnership between staff, pupils, families and the wider community to empower our young people to be the best they can be.    

Simon Higginbotham – Co-opted Governor

My name is Simon Higginbotham and I have been a Co-opted Governor for the last two years.  I have four boys, all of which have been pupils at Asterdale.  I work as Head of Development at Bionical, delivering software solutions to pharma and NHS clients. 

When I am not working I enjoy spending time with my family or heading out for a run or walk in the countryside. I also enjoy live music and sport. 

I am passionate about supporting and helping the school to be the very best it can be. I firmly believe that the Teachers and Parents all want the same thing at Asterdale: for our children to be happy and to provide an education which ensures all pupils reach their full potential.

Kerry Knowles - Staff Governor

My name is Kerry Knowles and I am the Nursery Class teacher at Asterdale Primary School. I am currently on the Personnel and Curriculum committees. In school my other roles also include: Designated Senior Leader for Mental Health, Subject Coordinator for Art and Design, Design and Technology, School Link Teacher, School Readiness Lead and Mental First Aider lead for Adults and Children.

I have been at Asterdale Primary School for almost 30 years in various roles. I am now looking forward to also taking a School Governor role. 

My vision is to continue to give every child the best possible start in life, providing personalised learning as much as possible. I hope to continue to enable the children to have a love of learning and reach their aspirations and achievements. I aim for the voice of the children and adults to be continually and consistently heard and listened to.

My ambition for the school is to continue to provide a safe, happy, calm and enriching, high quality learning environment for the children that attend our school. We will continue to consider and care for each child’s needs, both physically and mentally, preparing them for life beyond school.

I have two grown up children. My interests include: Reading, yoga, spending time with close family and friends, walking in the Derbyshire countryside, visiting National Trust properties and the coast and renovating and up-cycling furniture.

John O’Leary – Co-opted Governor

My name is John O'Leary and I am the Deputy Headteacher at Asterdale Primary School (Sept 2022).

I am excited to work alongside the Senior Leadership Team and Governing Body to further improve Asterdale through fostering our shared 'Together we can' vision and supporting all stakeholders to uphold excellence in all that we do.

I have experience in curriculum development, assessment analysis and an interest in using recent research to further improve teaching and learning strategies including metacognition in the classroom so that all learners achieve their absolute best.

My teaching passions including reading for pleasure, being active and outdoor learning to enrich experiences wherever possible.

I have taught across all year groups and believe that all children can achieve personal and academic success in a welcoming and supportive environment. Asterdale's ethos and vision for education matches my own beliefs that all learners can strive for success.

I look forward to working in partnership to bring further successes to Asterdale in the future.

Sue Pringle – Co-opted Governor

My background is linked with the Military as a Serving Officer and a Service Wife. I was a Civil Servant in the Ministry of Defence (Army) for 30 years until I retired in 2008.

Soon after retiring I moved to Derbyshire to be near family, particularly my granddaughter, and became a Governor at Asterdale in September 2009. I have served on all the Governing Board Committees and for the past 10 years have had responsibility for SEND and Safeguarding.

As a Governor my aim has always been to support our staff and pupils in ensuring that Asterdale continues to be a positive and supportive environment where all our children can thrive.

I enjoy being in school every Tuesday morning, reading with KS1 pupils. It gives me the perfect opportunity to talk to both staff and children and to keep abreast of what is happening in school.

In September 2018 I was appointed a Trustee of Odyssey Collaborative Trust and am a member of the Resources Committee with responsibility for HR and Safeguarding.

I am proud to be part of this new and exciting venture for our school and feel privileged to be able to share in shaping its future.

Joanne Partridge – Parent Governor

As a Parent Governor I have a vested interest in helping the school achieve success in all areas. My children Wilf and Connie both attended the Nursery and are currently in Year 1 and Year 2.

I am very fortunate to also work at the school both as the Librarian and as a Midday supervisor and am proud to be the Chair of the school’s PTFA where we aim to put the ‘Fun’ in Fundraising.

My background is primarily Hospitality and although I have varied experience in a number of customer facing roles including management, since having children and becoming involved with their school, I have found a passion for working with children. I am a strong believer in the power of a smile and alongside the like-minded others on the Governing Board hope to create a happy, safe and nurturing environment where children can thrive.

Gabrielle Hulse – Parent Governor

My name is Gabrielle, I am a Parent Governor at Asterdale Primary School. I work as a hair stylist and have been in the profession for over 15 years in numerous roles including Salon Management and mentor to apprentices, now successfully running my own small business.

Since my two children began attending Asterdale, I have become an active member and now treasurer to the PTFA, having a large part in organising events and fundraising for the school. It’s a role I thoroughly enjoy and find the impact that it has on the school and the children very rewarding.

Being on the Governing Board I hope to help our children and staff excel and succeed throughout their journey here at Asterdale by helping and supporting them to achieve their goals, and by being an approachable member of our school community.