Governor Bios

Winston Michael (Co-opted Governor; Chair of Governors)

I am married and a father to four children with six grandchildren. I am a Borough Councillor for Boughton Aluph and Eastwell and  known for my passion to see the needs of the young members of the community properly addressed. I have had forty-eight years business experience, of which thirty-six was spent in top management. In 1972, I founded a world-wide IT consultancy to provide business solutions to top companies across a variety of industries. I am a good listener, take a positive approach to matters, I have a “can do” attitude, and an achiever, all of which are skills to support in my role as governor at Phoenix Community Primary School.​

Debbie Downey (Co-opted Governor; Vice-Chair of Governors)

I am a retired Teacher of 35 years from the Secondary sector in which I have held a number of senior posts. My main interests are Science, Mathematics and Teacher Education. I currently work as a sessional tutor for Canterbury Christ Church University.

As a co-opted Governor I will work to support the staff and pupils of the school.  I am passionate about helping young people achieve their potential and ensuring youngsters have the best opportunities, providing not only education but a safe, secure environment for teachers and pupils alike.

As this is my first experience as a Governor I will work to develop a better understanding of how Phoenix school operates and to support where possible.

Charlene Goodman (Parent Governor)

I am a Chartered accountant and have been a member of the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) since December 2011. I have worked in accountancy practice since 2007. I currently work part-time as an accountant at Ackland Webb Limited in Canterbury.

I became a parent governor because I think it is important to support the school in being the best it can be. I believe we all have a responsibility to ensure that our children achieve their maximum potential. I am keen to learn more about how a school is run and hope to use my skills to make a positive contribution to the school.

I am married with two children. In my spare time I enjoy days out with my family, walking our dog and going to the gym.

Sally Christian (Parent Governor)

I am a wife and a mum to three beautiful boys. I wanted to become a parent governor to help and support the school in delivering an education which provides all children with the best possible start in their early school years which lays the foundations for achieving their future potential. 

I have 15 years of retail management experience together with 12 years of finance experience. I am currently responsible for the finance and office operations for our business which enables me to work flexible hours so that I can support and spend quality time with my family. In addition to this, I am also re-training to further develop my skills with the ICB (Institute of Chartered Book Keepers).

Christopher Johnson (Headteacher Governor)

Following a career in finance,  I began working in education 14 years ago and have experienced a range of roles from teaching assistant in Reception, teacher training based in school, class teacher including mixed age classes, subject leader for a range of subjects, governor for over 10 years, Deputy Headteacher and Headteacher. During this I have felt it is my responsibility to find each child's interests and talents and recognise and support these.

At home I have the support of my wife and together we foster a range of children and young adults. Together with our own 2 children we usually have between 4 and 7 children at home at any one time. I have empathy for parents with problems of homework, getting children up and ready for school, the challenges of special educational needs or disability, behaviour or bedtime routines however, I also know that children can achieve great things that they (and others) don't think is possible with the right support and the right champion.

As Headteacher I recognise that the governing body are strategically key to running our school providing strong challenge and support to school leaders as achieving good outcomes for pupils does not come from resting on our laurels but from having high expectations.

Maxine Hills (staff Governor)

I am currently a year 5 teacher at the school.  Having completed my training at Phoenix, I ventured to a much larger school to develop my skills but returned last year.  Prior to re-training, I have worked both within the science and rail industries and have been fortunate to travel extensively across Europe and Asia. 

Becoming staff governor was important for me to help drive the school forward, to be the best it can.  I believe it is important for both children and staff to work and learn in a stimulating and safe environment and provide all with opportunities to encourage them to strive.  I like to consider myself a problem solver and therefore hope this ‘let’s find a solution’ style will help support my role as governor.

My family and I could be classed at the modern day ‘Waltons’, where my fiancée and I support both my grandmother and parents at home, along with our three children and small menagerie.   I also support our local village association, as their pub quiz caller.​

Hellen Ward (Co-Opted GOVERNOR)

I have had a passion for STEM Education, which began with a love of Primary science developed when I was a teacher researcher with the SPACE project in the late 1980's. Having taught children from Reception to Year 6, in a number of schools in Lancashire I moved to work with Lancashire local authority promoting practical science and assessment. I have an MSc in Management and Marketing and a doctorate in science education. During my time in the advisory service in Sussex I advised the BBC on the Revise Wise programmes and developed materials for on line learning sites.

In 2000, I left East Sussex Local Authority to take up a post in Science Education at Canterbury Christ Church University. In 2009 I took the role of Director of Kent and Medway STEM which changed to become the STEM Hub in 2016.

I now work with teachers and employers in Essex, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Medway, helping to:

  • enable young people make informed decisions about future career paths in and from STEM.
  • provide teachers with impartial information and support to enable them to deliver a STEM curriculum.
  • support industry in reducing the STEM skills gap.
  • raise the profile of science and engineering in the region.

My research interest is in primary science. I have written 5 primary science books and I am a frequent contributor to primary education publications including both national and international publications. I work with qualified teachers to help them to develop their science curriculum and present at conferences both nationally and internationally. My PhD focused on the Science knowledge held by teachers and their confidence to teach science. The findings questioned the commonly held narrative that there is a causal link between the two. 

Director of the STEM Hub of the South East of England


Contact Us

Tel: 01233 622510

Belmont Road, Ashford, 
Kent, TN24 9LS

  • Headteacher
    Chris Johnson
  • Office Manager
    Diane Davis
  • Finance
    Susan Burberry
  • Site Manager
    Shaun King
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