Meet the Governors

Julian Anthony

In October 2018 I was appointed as Chief Operating Officer for Berkhamsted School, a family of six schools combining both single-sex and co-educational teaching from Pre-Prep through to Sixth Form year groups, educating in excess of 2,000 pupils. Previously I enjoyed six years as Chief Financial and Operating Officer at Norwood – one of the UK’s oldest charities employing over 1,000 people, assisted by hundreds of volunteers, supporting vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and people with learning disabilities. As a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales I have held a variety of senior finance positions including those at BT, T-Mobile and Premier Foods.

I am married to Wendy, an Educational Psychologist, and I spend much of my time trying to keep up with the active social lives of my 3 children (aged 14, 18 and 21 at the time of the covid-19 lockdown). I am an exercise addict and an avid Arsenal supporter.

Andreas Christoforou

Born in Enfield, I attended Aldenham School in Hertfordshire for 13 years before moving to Wren Academy in 2013 to complete A-Levels in Maths, Physics, Further Maths, Politics and Design & Technology. After leaving Wren Academy I attended UCL to complete a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

During my time at UCL, I was appointed the head of the UCL Formula Student Team, a group of engineering students that design, build and race a formula car against other universities from around the world. I also worked during my degree at Mclaren Racing in Woking, designing components for the 2018 and 2019 Formula One car.

Having completed further education, I now work at EOF Partners, a London based hedge fund, where my time is spent analysing European equities and accessing various investment opportunities for the long term. EOF, which stands for the “Equal Opportunity Fund” has a social motive and donates a percentage of performance fees to help disadvantaged children receive an education. I look forward to sitting on the board of governors at Wren Academy Enfield and keen to add value to the students' educational career.

Gonul Daniels

I am married to Jon and we have young twins, Harry and Poppy. I am a working mum with a career in technology engineering having worked at The Bank of England and The Houses of Parliament. I am passionate about achieving the best outcomes for children. I am a founder member of an outstanding primary school and recently led the governance for the school’s first Ofsted review; the school achieved an Ofsted rating of Outstanding. I am also a trustee of an academy trust with two outstanding schools. Outside of education I am a women’s activist, actively supporting women into public life – I always say “I want my daughter to have the same opportunities as my son”. I have recently initiated a project to raise awareness and assist those fleeing crises.

The Revd Jane Markby

I moved to Enfield in 1989, taught Biology at Latymer for 10 year including roles as Head of PSHE, and Head of Year. I then trained to be an Anglican priest and served as Curate of All Saint’s Church, Edmonton and in that time I was member of Enfield SACRE.  My three children attended St Andrew’s Primary school before we moved to Berkhamsted where I am now Chaplain and Biology teacher. I am really pleased to be able to re-establish my links with Enfield schools and churches and I hope my love of biology, young people, climbing mountains and Jesus, enable me to contribute to the healthy development of the Wren Enfield community.

Allan McLean

I attended secondary school in Bramhall, Cheshire before completing a Bachelor of Education honours degree at Glasgow University. My teaching career started as an NQT at Bowes Primary school, Enfield. During that time, I held various positions such as SENCO and Assistant Headteacher. I was then seconded to Enfield Local Authority for 1 year where I worked as a primary strategy consultant. I took up my first Headship at St James’ Primary school, Enfield before setting up and establishing Grow Education Partners for the LDBS. I worked as a Director and adviser to schools for 4 years.

During the past 5 years I have been Executive Headteacher of Hampstead Parochial and St Luke’s (Hampstead) whilst continuing as an LDBS adviser, trainer and SIAMS inspector.  I have served on several Governing Boards, both primary and secondary schools, and have also been in regular attendance at LDBS board meetings. In my spare time I like to play the piano/guitar and run marathons!

Tim Sullivan

Born and educated in Stratford-upon-Avon, I worked in a variety of roles at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre leading to a degree in English and Drama.  I started my teaching career in Hackney and then moved to Ashmole Academy where I have worked for over twenty years. In that time,  I have progressed from Head of Department to Head Teacher and many roles in between.  I have held most pastoral positions available in schools including Head of Sixth Form and designated Safeguarding Lead; as well as timetable and curriculum development.

I am an Enfield resident and I am keen to see the quality of education available to young people at secondary level continue to improve.

Peter Warwick

I have been a resident in the London Borough of Enfield all of my life. During my school days I would have been classed as what we now call a pupil premium child growing up in difficult circumstances.

After leaving school I started my career in finance, spending over a decade dealing with credit and risk assessment for a Japanese computer company.

In the mid 90s I left this role to train to become a teacher and obtain a degree, something that when I was younger seemed inaccessible.  The reason I chose teaching was, like most people who join the profession, was to have a more fulfilling role; to make  a difference; and to help support children to fulfil their potential, regardless of any difficult circumstances they may encounter. 

Over the last 20 years I have worked in primary schools in the London Boroughs of Haringey, Barnet and Enfield, holding many different roles, including: being a subject leader for Religious Education in a  C of E School, an Inclusions Manager, an Acting Deputy Head and advanced skills teacher for a school  initially struggling but achieving and maintaining an outstanding Ofsted judgement.

For several years I worked for the LBE school improvement services as a primary Mathematics teaching and learning consultant before embarking on the same role independently.  I now supporting several London Boroughs as well as GROW Education Partners, the school improvement services for schools within the London Diocese. 

I am happily married and have 3 children who attend, enjoy, and thrive at Wren Academy in Finchley. 

Charles Okpalanwankwo

I completed my first degree in Geology at University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1997 and in 2004, I completed a Master of Information Communication Technology degree at UEL. I trained as an ICT teacher at UEL and was employed at Langdon School (now Langdon Academy) where I am currently the Head of Computer Science and ICT and in charge of the Business Studies department. My interest in education led me to complete a Master of Education degree at Middlesex University with greater focus on the use of Technology to actively engage parents in their children’s education. My quest for expert knowledge in this field further motivated me to complete a doctorate degree in Education.

I have been a churchwarden at All Saints Church, Edmonton since 2014 and being a churchwarden for over six years has enabled me to grow my faith with in the Church of England ministry. I believe that my experiences as a churchwarden in Edmonton, Enfield; secondary school teacher with leadership role and academic background will enable me to be an effective school Governor who will contribute immensely to the development and progress of Wren Academy Enfield.  

Jessica Cross

I am mother to Mollie and her younger sister and brother, Sienna and Jacob.  As a local resident, my schooling took place in Enfield.  I attended Merryhills Primary then Enfield County, finishing at Southgate School to study A Levels.  I believe that strong community links create nurturing learning environments in schools.  At Wren Enfield, this is further underpinned by the school’s strong ethos and Christian values. 

After completing my A Levels I went on to study Geography and Development Studies at the University of Sussex.  Upon graduating, I began work in human resources.  For the last twenty years I have worked with people; first in retail then for an asset manager in the City.  During the time I spent in my first job, I completed a MA in Human Resources Management at London Metropolitan University.  As my career evolved in the finance sector, I became interested and skilled in hiring across all levels of the organisation, learning and development, executive coaching, conflict resolution and mediation.

Clear communication and commitment to a shared vision are key to the success of any institution, along with successful recruitment and thoughtful, long term development of talented individuals.  During my tenure as Parent Governor I hope to offer the governing body at Wren Enfield friendly, supportive encouragement and challenge, if necessary; always seeking to be representative of the parents.  I will draw on my experiences as a pupil, parent and human resources professional to assist in developing an exceptional school for our children to learn and thrive as individuals in.

Ellen Twiddy

Originally born and educated in West Yorkshire, a passion for learning and exploration was embedded in my life at a young age. I completed my degree in Interior and Environmental Design at the University of Dundee in 2007, where I was given the opportunity to develop creative problem-solving techniques as well as practical construction skills. Following university, I travelled extensively across South America before working in the marketing and graphic design sector for four years.

Although I enjoyed my time working in industry, I have always been drawn to teaching, to help young people develop the passion for learning that I have always had. I started my teaching career as an English Teacher in South Korea in 2011, then went on to complete my SCITT training at the University of Cumbria. I have now been living and teaching in North London for over six years, and I am very excited to be part of opening and developing a new school, that builds on the success of the Wren MAT. I believe that a good education extends outside of the classroom, that we should provide opportunities for our students to become well-rounded individuals as well support their academic achievements. I am looking forward to serving as the first staff governor, for Wren Enfield and hope to make a valuable contribution, to ensure that we provide the best start in life for every child.

The Revd Stephen Coleman

Born and educated in the North East of England, I read Theology as an undergraduate and graduate at the University of Oxford, before training and practising as a corporate and financing solicitor at Slaughter and May and latterly Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, in the City of London.  Following training for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge, I served my curacy in the parish of St Paul, Winchmore Hill, and I am now Vicar of St Peter, Grange Park of the Diocese of London.  I also serve as Sub-Dean of the Enfield Deanery. I have a particular interest in ecclesiastical law: I am a member of the academic staff in the Cardiff University School of Law and Politics, and where I am reading for a part time PhD. I am also a trustee of the Ecclesiastical Law Society.

I am passionate about the opportunities Church of England schools offer, and I believe strongly in the relationship between such schools and their local churches and also the wider community. I am a trustee of the London Diocesan Board for Schools and I also serve as a member of the clergy team and as a governor of St Paul’s School in Winchmore Hill, where I am safeguarding link governor and chair the curriculum and school activities committee.

Having served as a member of the Wren Finchley local governing body since 2018, I am now excited to be a director of the Wren Academies Trust and chair of the Local Governing Body at Wren Enfield.

Kate Faxen

I am mum to twins Dexter and Sylvie, who joined the Wren Academy Enfield in 2021.  We moved to Enfield when our twins were tiny babies and I often relied on the kindness of other mums for support (many of whom are now among my closest friends).  By becoming a parent governor at the Wren, I hope to be able to give back to the Enfield community in a meaningful and productive way.

I work full time at University College London.  I love my job, which is evidenced by the fact that I have stayed with UCL for over 20 years.  I am currently Head of Employee Experience where I am responsible for listening to our 15,000+ employees to uncover insights about different populations within our sizeable community.  My role requires me to understand the perspectives and needs of different people so that we can consider a diverse range of viewpoints to inform our decision making.

I am a problem solver, coming to situations with solutions and preferring to take positive actions rather than dwelling on problems.  I like to listen and am often moved by the experiences of others.  My problem solving nature motivates me to help where I can, especially where those affected are from underrepresented groups.

I look forward to becoming a committed member of the governing body, taking on the role of critical friend by providing constructive advice and challenging where necessary.

Shabab Chowdhury

Growing up in Finchley, I had the opportunity to attend Wren Academy Finchley in 2012 as part of its 5th cohort.  I spent 5 years as a student at the secondary school and a further 2 years in the Sixth Form, becoming a prefect and a part of the Sixth Form Committee.  As of writing, I am pursuing a degree in Biomedical Sciences at St George’s University of London with the option of a placement year.  I spent my third year researching a new treatment with the Institute of Cancer Research in South Kensington, while working part time in retail.  I will be moving into my fourth and final year, with hopes to further my education beyond university.

Outside of working, I am an avid field hockey fan, playing with my university team whenever possible and took on the role of treasurer.  I also enjoy volleyball, tabletop role playing games and video games with the family.  For me, becoming a governor is a chance to give back to the community that made me who I am today.

Eric Gashi

I am training to become Chartered Accountant and Tax Advisor at one of the Big four accounting firms having studied for a degree in Economics and Finance at the University of Exeter.  After starting my education at St John’s C of E Primary School, I then became a Wren Academy Finchley student in 2011 and progressed through to studying A Levels in the Sixth Form.

I am passionate about supporting the school further and helping ensure that all current and future students have as great an education and experience at Wren Academy as I did.  My younger sibling is still a Wren Academy Finchley student and so I am inspired to develop the learning opportunities of all students and support teachers in empowering the younger generation to thrive in a modern world of change.

Gavin Smith

My secondary education was divided between schools in Stockport and Poole before I completed a degree in Geography at UCL. This led to a teaching career which started in Croydon where I worked in a number of schools across the borough before heading back north of the river.  Prior to joining Wren Academy Finchley as Vice Principal in 2008 I was an Assistant Headteacher at East Barnet School for six years.

I have been at Wren since it first opened, taking a lead in developing the curriculum, assessment and reporting systems before then becoming Secondary Principal and then Executive Principal in 2017. In that time the school has grown from just one year group to become ‘all through’ with highly successful Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form phases. Exceptional academic results combined with the creation of a happy and supportive community has resulted in three outstanding Ofsted judgements and Wren Academy Finchley becoming one of the most over-subscribed schools in London. This success has led to the opening of Wren Academy Enfield, a new secondary school which is on track to matching the high standards set at Finchley.