Governor Profiles

Please find below a brief profile of Arden Governors:

Geoff Harley-Mason (Chair of Governors/Community Governor)

A youth work tutor and consultant previously having worked at Knowle Parish Church.  A degree in Economics and an MA in Theology & Youthwork. He has been running residential trips for young people both in the UK and abroad for over 20 years. He has involvement locally with an organisation working to promote understanding among young people from different religious backgrounds. Living in the community, he was previously an LEA governor and has three children all of whom are at, or have been, at Arden.  Music, student welfare, wellbeing and progress and curriculum enrichment are areas of particular interest.


Martin Carter (Vice-Chair of Governors)

 I was elected as a Parent Governor in 2017.  I have lived in Knowle for 10 years and two of our children currently attend Arden.  I am a Chartered Engineer with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master’s in Structural Integrity and a Diploma in Advanced Executive Coaching. I worked in the oil, gas and energy industries for over 20 years before setting up my own leadership and risk management consultancy.  Previously I served as Vice-Chair of Governors at Aston University’s Engineering Academy and ran the training academy of one of the UK’s major energy companies, training several hundred apprentices.

Bill Bohanna (Community Governor)

Born a long time ago in Llandudno North Wales, educated in Blackpool, worked in the cinema, then 30 years at the BBC working in film and resources management in London, Glasgow, Belfast Manchester and Pebble Mill Birmingham. Formed Aquila Television (post-production company), currently Chairman of The Knowle Society and Member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Lived in Knowle since 1994.



Sarah Bloomer (Co-opted Governor)

I am a parent of three youngsters who previously attended Arden.  As a Governor I have responsibility for Child Protection throughout the Academy, which is an area that I have worked in, professionally, for the past 15 years.  Many of my friends within the local community have children who attend Arden, and the feedback is hugely positive. My interests at Arden are based around the pastoral care offered to our students.  The opportunities to gain life skills are immense; student voice, school council, leadership teams, various panels/groups.  I am proud to be a part of the Arden community and the provision we offer our students.


Kate Brennan (Teaching Governor)

I am delighted to have been elected by my colleagues this term as the teacher governor for Arden. As a full-time teacher, Head of Year and previous leader of a curriculum area, I live school life on the front line on a daily basis and hope to be able to share the realities of this experience with my fellow Governors. I’ve been a member of the Arden family for nearly ten years now and am so thankful for what I consider a great honour.



Ruth Brown (Co-opted Governor)

I have lived in Knowle and been part of the community for the last 20 years.  I first became a Parent Governor when my daughter, Emma was at Arden because she thoroughly enjoyed school and I saw it maturing and stretching her.  I am on the Teaching and Learning and the Personnel Committee.  I now chair the Audit Committee, which makes sure revisions and recommendations made by the auditors are carried out.



Dr Andrew Devitt (Parent Governor)

I joined Arden’s board of Governors in February 2013 as a Parent Governor and in March 2015 took on the role as Chair of the T&L committee at Arden Academy.  His professional background is in Higher Education, having worked at the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Edinburgh.  He currently teaches Microbiology and Immunology at Aston University (Pharmacy, Biology, Biomedical Science and Biological Chemistry programmes) and leads a research team addressing the fundamental biology underlying inflammatory disease (eg cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmunity).  Andrew is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, the Institute of Biomedical Science and the Royal Society of Biology.



Leslie Hough (Community Governor)

I have lived in Dorridge since 1996 and have had two daughters attend Arden Academy with a son currently in the Sixth Form. My participation is in the role of Chair of the Personnel Committee and a member of the Resources Committee. I always seek to represent the community and a key requirement of a Governor is to both support and challenge the staff to deliver in the best interests of the children. I am currently employed by a leading IT service provider in the role of Programme Director and have an MBA (Master Business Administration) and BEng (Hons) in Electronics & Communications with business experience in Finance & Human Resources. With all the current educational challenges and changes it is important that we focus on enhancing the performance of Arden Academy whilst keeping everyone safe and secure.


Wendy Jarema (Co-opted Governor)

Arden school governor since 2006; PTA member and primary school governor since 1996. Mrs Jarema has previously been UK sales and marketing manager; International Business Planning Manager; IPR manager for the Forensic Science Service; Senior HR, Health and Safety and also has risk management experience. Policy development, due diligence and the robust analysis of data are key strengths. Her children attended Arden in the past.



Martin Murphy (Arden Principal/Ex Officio)

Martin has extensive senior leadership experience over 20 years.  He has been the Principal at Arden since 2011.  He sits on the Solihull Young Peoples Trust Board, the LEP Skills Board/Committee, the Executive Committee of the Solihull Chamber of Commerce for which he is a Patron.  He is also an Educational Consultant/Advisor for the new UTC in North Solihull.  Martin has an extensive focus on Teaching and Learning, student progress and curriculum development and major estate strategy experience.  As a Head Teacher in Cumbria for 11 years, he led a major expansion from 450 to 1500 students in a decade.  Ofsted judged the 'quality of leadership provided by the Head Teacher as "outstanding"'.


Petro Nicolaides (Parent Governor)

I was elected as a Parent Governor in December 2014, and currently have a son at the school enjoying Year 8.  I run a small Financial and Business Consultancy practice locally.  I have previously served as a School Governor for just over ten years at a grammar school in Sutton Coldfield.  Along with that experience, I have studied for a BA (Hons) in History & Politics and hold a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in addition to other professional qualifications.  I have always been active in the community and also serve on the Board of Governors at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.


 Dr Celia O'Donovan (Community Governor)

I have worked in education for over 25 years as a University lecturer, Chief Examiner, secondary school teacher and Nursery Inspector.  Parent Governor at Arden, a position also held at Knowle Primary School until 2006. Major skills are team working, team building, leadership and management training.  She is currently Cambridge Inspector for Language-Literature, (Option International) French Baccalauréat.  Her child attended Arden in the past.



Tony Stonehewer (Co-opted Governor)

Elected as a Parent Governor in 2012 for a four year term which will end in 2016. I sit on the Health & Safety and the Teaching & Learning Committee. I am a Chartered Engineer and both my boys attended Arden School however both have now moved onto further education. I remain connected with students through my role in Explorer Scouts and rugby.



John Rice (Community Governor)

John works as a solicitor and is a partner in a large firm specialising in banking work.  He has been a governor for 7 years and is currently the Chairperson of the AMAT’s Finance and Resources Committee.  He is married and has 5 sons-all of whom have done or are doing their GCSE’s at Arden.  John is a big sports fan which includes playing hockey at the Old Sils Hockey Club (or watching his sons play and wishing he could run that fast…).

Jennifer Whitehill (Parent Governor)

As a new governor with a daughter in Year 8, I am delighted to have the opportunity to support our school through the challenges and opportunities of the next few years. The wellbeing of both students and staff is a priority and, as Link Governor for this area, I am honoured to support and champion the dedicated efforts of the school's Pastoral Care Team.  Following a Corporate HR career, I now have a coaching and personal development business working with individuals and groups. I am also involved as a volunteer with 'This Way Up', a local charity working with young people processing loss in their lives.