Governor Biographies

Sue Armstrong

Sellafield Limited Head of Enterprise Business Office

Sue is currently a Trustee at Seaton Academy and previously was a Trustee at West Lakes Academy with several years experience across the above roles.

With an Accountancy and Business background, Sue has chaired the Finance Committees at both West Lakes and Seaton as well as being a member of other committees and panels.

Sue leads the Business professions at Sellafield Limited, where she has worked for 18 years, holding a number of roles there, covering project, programme and portfolio management and has a passion for supporting learning and development for all.

Prior to starting at Sellafield, Sue worked at Iggesund Paperboard for 22 years and was Mill Controller which focussed on improving processes and one area was project managing a significant new IT system.

Sue has two grown up daughters and her youngest daughter has 2 sons, one has just started school and the other has just become a teenager so she enjoys watching them grow and learn.  Also, she is looking forward to the arrival of her eldest daughter’s first baby who is due at Easter.

Rob Barton

Headteacher Seaton Academy

I am the Headteacher of Seaton Academy, a post I started in September 2022.  Since the start of this role, I have had many opportunities to enhance the setting.  The key development areas centre around ‘Leadership and Management’ as well as ‘Quality of Education’.

I have facilitated a drive for improvement which has centred around the importance, and prioritisation of Early Reading, Phonics implementation and consistent, high-quality delivery.  Furthermore, I have a wealth of experience in ‘Governance reform’ and associated CPD.

I have experience in Curriculum reform, implementation, delivery and impact.  Ensuring an engaging and high-quality curriculum for all.  Staff CPD, well-being and welfare is a key priority of mine and I feel it’s of paramount importance in a successful organisation.

Ian Curwen

Sellafield Limited Corporate Affairs Officer and Stakeholder Relations

Ian is a former school governor with more than 12 years’ experience, in both primary and secondary schools.

Ian was a governor at Thornhill Primary School – another school in the Changing Lives Learning Trust, for eight years, including the time where the school federated with Arlecdon.  He was chair of governors for four years.  He then joined the governing body at West Lakes Academy and served for eight years until his son was born.  During his time at West Lakes Academy, he was a committee chair, and a member of a number of panels including staff and pupil disciplinary, admissions and others.

He was particularly interested in raising attainment and ensuring pupil premium funding helped close the performance gap.

Ian works in communications and stakeholder engagement in the nuclear industry.  Before that, he spent a decade working in local government.

He is a member of the Crab Fair organising committee and is passionate about West Cumbria, the outdoors, food and cooking and music.  He loves to spend time exploring the area with his partner and his son Teddy.

Greta Ellis

Headteacher Kirkoswald CE School

I have been a teacher in Cumbria for 26 years and the headteacher at Kirkoswald CE School for the past 17 years.  Before my headship I was seconded to the National Numeracy Strategy and spent time as a Numeracy Consultant delivering training to teachers and supporting schools.

During my headship I have been a strong advocate of collaboration and believe that we are stronger as a profession when we support one another and learn from each other – in short, we all have something to give and could all use help from time to time.

I have been the chair of the Primary Heads’ Assocation and most recently I have been the Chair of the Local Alliance of System Leaders North (LASL north) until local council reorganisation when I decided to step aside.

Emily Grima

Year 6 Teacher Dearham Primary School

Emily has been a teacher for 10 years, working previously in Flimby Primary School and Arlecdon Primary School.  Emily took up a permanent post at Dearham in June 2023.  She leads PE in school and has been involved in three Ofsted inspections during her career, undertaking deep dives with Inspectors in two out of the three.  Emily currently is the mentor for the Early Career Teacher in school.

Tom Hailwood

Headteacher Solway and Beacon Hill Schools

I was trained as a Primary teacher in 2006 but decided to take a role as a secondary Maths teacher following the completion of my PGCE and a degree in Mathematics with Statistics.

Since then, I have worked as part of Solway Community School and Beacon Hill Community School in progressively more senior roles.  I worked as the deputy head of Solway for approximately five years, then head of school/headteacher for both Beacon Hill and Solway Community Schools for approximately three years.

I have led the primary transition work in school for 10+ years supporting transition from KS2 to KS3.  I have good links with all 10 of our current feader schools and recently was appointed as a governor at Silloth Primary School.  All good experience to support the Academy Board.

Sophie McCabe

Headteacher Mayfield Special School

Sophie trained in Cumbria and then went on to teach in Sheffield before returning to Cumbria.  Sophie is a leader with significant experience having held numerous senior posts across both the primary and secondary sectors and led a number of schools as Executive Headteacher.

Sophie’s wide experience in teaching across the primary sector, secondary sector and within specialist provision has strengthened her commitment to high quality ‘community education’.  She believes passionately that every young person should experience an outstanding education throughout their entire school career, where strong relationships for achievement are the norm and where each child’s successes are recognised and celebrated.

Sophie also worked for the Local Authority as the SEND Manager supporting all schools in Carlisle and Eden.  In her spare time, Sophie loves to spend quality time with her family and enjoys long walks with her dog.  Sophie is delighted to be Headteacher of Mayfield, stating it is an honour and a privilege.

Mary McCormick

LLW Repository Limited, Procurement Officer in the Commercial Function

Mary is currently a School Governor at St Beghs Catholic Junior School where she has been part of the Governing body for 11 years, having previously been a Governor at St Benedicts High School for 4 years.  Mary’s main focus is the Staffing, Finance and Assets Committee that she chairs, although she is a member of some of the other committees as well.

Mary has 30 years’ experience in Procurement, initially at Sellafield Limited, and latterly at LLWR, with a period in between those working as a SAP consultant.  Having studied Business and Accountancy at college she has always had a keen interest in Finance so looking after the school budget and the procurement work she does fits hand in hand.  Mary is the Safeguarding Officer for Whitehaven Cricket Club and has vested interest in the wellbeing of the under 18s.

Mary is a local Prospect Union rep for LLWR and works not just with LLWR but across the NDA group and is currently involved with the skills and education subgroups, which sits alongside her Governor work and trying to help and develop all our young people.

David Sibbit

Support Officer Western Secondary Headteachers

David was a Headteacher of a scondary school in West Cumbria from 1997 until 2012.  He had previously worked as a Deputy Head in a community college in the City of Nottingham.

Following his retirement in 2012 he now works in a consultancy role as the Support Officer for the Western Secondary Heads and as the Chair of the West Inclusion Panel.  He has been employed as a leadership facilitator by a number of providers, both before and after retirement, and has worked on NCSL Head for the Future and Primary Executive Head programmes, as well as on NPQH, NPQSL, and NPQML programmes.

Jon Stewart

Headteacher Cumwhinton School

As the Headteacher of Cumwhinton School, I bring a wealth of educational leadership experience to our vibrant learning community.  With over two decades as a Primary school teacher, I have dedicated my career to fostering a nurturing and dynamic environment where students thrive academically and socially.

My commitment to professional development is evident through my previous held role as the NPQ (National Professional Qualification) and ECF (Early Career Framework) Lead Facilitator for the One Cumbria Teaching School Hub, where I actively contributed to the growth and success of educators across the region.

I am passionate about cultivating a culture of continuous improvement and excellence, ensuring that both teachers and students reach their full potential.  My journey in education is driven by a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of quality teaching and learning.

Ross Weir

Samantha Busigny