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Governing Body

The school is part of the Company of Mary Our Lady, a 400-year-old international charitable Order. Its governing body includes representatives of the Order.

Mr Gerald Russell - Chair of Governors

Gerald Russell is a Chartered Accountant and joined the Notre Dame Governing Body as Chair of the Finance Committee in January 2007. He became Chair of the Board of Governors in September 2012.

Mr Russell chairs the ICAEW Foundation; was a trustee of Action for Children, chairing its Finance Committee; is a member of the Finance Committee of the RNLI, and a trustee and chair of the Audit Committee of The National Maritime Museum.

Sr Ernestine Velarde ODN

Sister Ernestine was a founding Governor in 1998 and has been a Governor of the Charity since 2003.

Sister Ernestine currently lives in California and is the Coordinator of Ministries for the United States Province of the Sisters of the Company of Mary. In this position she oversees, and works closely with, the directors of the various ministries of the province: schools, retreat centres, university residence. A particular focus of her ministry is the formation of the personnel in the educational charism of the Company of Mary Our Lady.

Sr Anne Gill ODN

Sister Anne has been on the Notre Dame Governing Body since January 2003 and currently serves on the Finance Committee.

Sister Anne has taught at Notre Dame and in London, she then spent 25 years in South America in Paraguay and Colombia doing pastoral work and working in non-formal education. On her return to the UK she has worked in adult education teaching ESOL and adult literacy.

She is currently Provincial of the Order in Cobham and is on the General Team of the Order based in Rome.

Sr Nieves Escalada ODN

Sr Nieves Escalada served on the Governing body from January 2006 to June 2012. Sr Nieves and re-joined the Governing body in November 2014 and sits on the Health and Safety, Building, Finance, Lestonnac and Education Committees.

Sr Nieves has taught in and been Headmistress of Company of Mary Our Lady Preparatory and Senior Schools in Logrono and Tudela, Spain, and has many years’ experience of educating and accompanying young people in the context of the Company of Mary Our Lady’s Educational Project.

Sr Nieves now lives in Cobham and is a regular visitor to the School.

Fr Mervyn Williams SDB

Father Mervyn joined the Notre Dame Governing Body in January 2003. He was Chair of the Education Committee for eight years to Easter 2013 and from June 2013 took over the role of Chairing the Finance Committee.

Father Mervyn was the Head of a Catholic comprehensive school in Bolton and is now the Provincial Economer, Salesians of Don Bosco.

Sr Maria Quinn ODN

Sister Maria joined the Notre Dame Governing Body in in March 2012 and is Chair of the Lestonnac Committee.

Sister Maria’s teaching experience is in both the private and state secondary sectors teaching mathematics and physics.

Sister Maria has wide experience of working for the Company of Mary both locally and internationally. Her knowledge of the heritage of St Jeanne, our Foundress, is of real benefit to the Governing Body. Sister Maria has also accompanied a number of the Bordeaux Pilgrimages for students, staff and parents.

Mrs Wanda Nash

Mrs Wanda Nash joined the Notre Dame Governing Body in October 2011 and became the Chair of the Education Committee in June 2013. As Chair of the Education Committee Mrs Nash manages the performance reviews for the Head Teachers of the Prep and Senior Schools.

Mrs Nash has been a schools’ inspector for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Westminster. For several years she was the vice-chairman of the Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference.

A retired headmistress with many years’ experience in Prep and Senior Schools, Mrs Nash is now the Development and Alumnae Director at St Mary’s School Ascot. She is also a Trustee of the Institute of Development Professionals in Education.

Mrs Suzanne Ware (Practising as Suzanne Ornsby QC)

Mrs Suzanne Ware, an Alumnae of the School, joined the Notre Dame Governing body in 2000 and served as a Governor until 2012. Mrs Ware re-joined the Board in November 2014 and sits on the Building Committee.

Suzanne is a public, planning and environmental lawyer activing for utilities, multinationals, planning authorities, action groups and individuals and has a wide experience in promoting major proposals. Recognised as a leader in this special field of work, Suzanne will oversee special projects at the School.

Suzanne is a member, and previous secretary, to the Planning and Environment Bar Association, a member of the UKELA, the Administrative Law Bar Association, the Compulsory Purchase Association and the Health and Safety Lawyers Association. She is a trained advocacy instructor for the Middle Temple.

Mrs Susan Bailes

Mrs Susan Bailes joined the Notre Dame Governing Body in December 2012 and currently sits on the Education Committee.

A retired headmistress, with over 30 years’ experience teaching English in preparatory and secondary schools and an experienced ISI inspector, Mrs Bailes has undertaken an MA in children’s literature and has also been a GCSE examiner. Mrs Bailes joined the GSGAS (Good Schools Guide Advisory Service) team in 2012 as a prep school specialist and greatly enjoys visiting schools.

Mr Simon Frost

Mr Simon Frost joined the Governing Body in September 2017 and sits on the Building Committee.

He has worked for over 35 years in the commercial and the residential property sector, initially for a number of national retailers and, since 1986, as a property developer for a number of blue chip companies. In 2008 he established his own property company, Millbrook Land, specialising in the retail and care sectors. Working on the client side throughout his whole career, he has extensive experience of the property development process, including development management and the planning process, and he is a member of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Mr Frost has a passion for sailing and has a yacht based on the River Hamble near Southampton. He is a Yachtmaster Examiner, gained when he was the skipper of a Sail Training yacht with the Ocean Youth Club, and he has undertaken a number of trips as skipper on charter yachts on behalf of a local School. He has two daughters, both of whom attended Notre Dame