Chair of Governors
David Meadowcroft joined the Board in March 2015. David is Operations Development Director with Carillion, which is one of the largest construction and services companies in the country. David has a passion for supporting the development of young people and he is proud that Carillion is one of the largest trainers of apprentices. David grew up in West Cumbria, which is where he developed a passion for the countryside and outdoor pursuits. He lives in Old Stratford with his wife and two teenage sons. David is a member of the Remuneration Committee.
Dr Liz Marr
Vice Chair of Governors
Dr Liz Marr joined the Board in December 2011 and is Director of Teaching at the Open University. After leaving school and going straight into the workplace, she started university as a mature student. A BSc, MSc and PhD later, Liz began working as a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University where she eventually became head of widening participation. In 2009, she moved to the OU where she has been able to pursue her passion - the provision of higher education as a means of achieving social justice. Liz was awarded the MBA in Higher Education Management with Distinction at the Institute of Education, University of London, in 2012 and is co-author of ‘Identity Crisis: Working in Higher Education in the 21st Century’, published by Trentham Books. Liz is (joint) Vice Chair of Governors, a member of the Remuneration Committee and chairs the Curriculum & Quality Group. Liz is also Governor Champion for SEND.
Vice Chair of Governors
Lesley Donoghue joined the Board in January 2015. Lesley is a consultant in leadership development and culture change. She worked in further education for thirty years and retired as Principal of Reading College in July 2014. Her previous colleges included; Solihull College, City of Wolverhampton College and Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, where she held a range of senior management roles including curriculum and quality, teaching and learning and technology, student services, and HR. In her early career she taught English and drama in schools before moving into FE and teacher education. When Principal she was Chair of the Employment and Skills Committee of Reading UK CIC; member of Reading UK CIC Board; member of the Reading Chamber of Commerce Council; member of the Reading Cultural Partnership Board. She was also a member of the AoC Learning Technology Portfolio Group. Her main motivation has been the development and success of students and she is a passionate believer in the power of further education. Lesley is (joint) Vice Chair of Governors, a member of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Curriculum and Quality Group.
Festus Akinbusoye joined the Board in May 2016. He is a Senior Parliamentary Assistant for Mark Lancaster MP and Iain Stewart MP, and also runs a successful business that employs approximately 60 staff. Festus stood as a Conservative Parliamentary candidate at the 2015 General Election having grown up in Canning Town after arriving in the UK from Nigeria aged 13. Festus has mentored young offenders, led youth groups and believes that education is a powerful vehicle for social mobility. He is a regular speaker at schools in Milton Keynes and at graduation ceremonies of young people on the National Citizens Service (NCS) in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. He holds a BA in Business Communications, Pg. Diploma in Public Relations and a Master’s Degree in International Studies and Diplomacy. He is an avid sportsman and father of young children. Festus is a member of the Audit & Risk Committee.
Hugh Benjamin joined the Board in April 2012. Hugh has spent most of his professional life teaching in secondary schools, firstly in West Cumbria and then in Milton Keynes where for 16 years he was Vice Principal of Stantonbury Campus. Hugh is now retired but continues to work as an education consultant, leading a variety of projects for local and national organisations as well as maintaining some international links. Hugh is the Governor Champion for Safeguarding & Prevent and a member of Curriculum & Quality Group.
Peter Cox joined the Board in July 2014. Peter is a corporate partner in the Milton Keynes office of Dentons, a global law firm. Peter's particular expertise is in corporate finance transactions. His practice covers banking, mergers, acquisitions and disposals, establishing and reorganising businesses, joint ventures, venture capital and private equity investments. He also heads the Dentons Company Secretarial team. Peter is a member of the Audit & Risk Committee and the Search & Governance Committee.
Jane was elected as Staff Governor to serve for the period January 2016 to January 2019. Jane joined the College in March 2004 and is a Management Accountant and a member of the Finance Team. During her time with the College, in addition to producing monthly management accounts and annual budgets, Jane has been involved in process reviews, systems design & implementation and teaching.
Jean Gowin joined the Board in November 2015. Jean is a media professional with wide-ranging business experience in both domestic and international markets. She has more than twenty years’ experience in public relations and marketing, working both locally with Milton Keynes businesses and internationally within the global maritime industry.
Jean is passionate about Milton Keynes and is a Non-Exec Director of SEMLEP where she is Business Lead for Skills and a representative for the private sector. She is passionate about education, apprenticeships and offender learning; supporting educational meetings and committees. In maritime, Jean is also on the Advisory Board of international welfare charity Human Rights at Sea and works with the DfT as part of a maritime image working group.
Louise was elected as a Staff Governor in 2016 and having worked at the College for 11 years, starting as a Lecturer in Computing and IT, she is now Head of School for Digital Technologies. Louise previously had management responsibility for Student Services so has gained a good understanding of the wider issues facing students and their support needs, further reinforced by her role as Safeguarding Officer. Louise says she has a strong motivation to improve the experience of students through quality teaching, learning, assessment and support, and she is an advocate of eLearning and effective systems. Louise wants to provide an effective Staff Voice to assist the Board’s strategic decision making.
Governor/Principal & Chief Executive
Dr Julie Mills was appointed Principal & Chief Executive of Milton Keynes College in January 2011. Prior to her appointment, Julie was Deputy Principal for five years. Julie is an Open University graduate and was awarded a doctorate in 2005 for her academic research into the psychological contract of prison education staff. Julie is passionate about closing diversity gaps and challenging discrimination and is a mentor for the Black Leadership Initiative and the Women’s Leadership Network. Julie is a Board Member of MK Business Leaders, Vice-Chair of the Helena Kennedy Foundation and Director of MK Dons Sport and Education Trust and on the Board of CultureConnects. Julie also represents English Colleges on the FA’s Development Committee. Julie is a member of the Search & Governance Committee and Curriculum & Quality Group.
Giles Mullins joined the Board in April 2016. Giles is a partner at Grant Thornton working with a range of local businesses and leading the audit practice in Milton Keynes. His is also a business coach, helping leaders inside and outside of Grant Thornton realise their ambitions. Giles is passionate about the local area leading Grant Thornton’s annual Buckinghamshire Limited which showcases high performing local businesses and is also a non-executive director at the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce. As a father of three, Giles spends most of his free time as a taxi driver and standing in the cold cheering on his sons who are budding footballers. Giles is a member of the College's Audit & Risk Committee.
Stephen Norrish MBE
Stephen Norrish MBE joined the Board in October 2009. Stephen has lived and worked in Milton Keynes for 25 years and is Co-Director of the MK Christian Foundation, a local charity working mostly with young people, offering them learning opportunities through their engagement in a variety of social enterprises. He is also a Director of MK Community Foundation and a former chair of its Property Company. He has previously been involved in supporting and managing a number of regeneration schemes in the area. Stephen was made an MBE in 2001 for services to the community, especially young people. Stephen chairs the Search & Governance Committee, and is a member of the Curriculum & Quality Group.
Charlynne Pullen is the Head of Data at the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), and last year was on secondment at the Institute for Public Policy Research conducting research on apprenticeships policy so she is well informed on the national challenges facing the sector. As part of her role at ETF, she manages data on the Further Education workforce, and developed data on the offender learning workforce used in the Coates review of Prison Education. Charlynne was a councillor in the London Borough of Islington from 2010-14 and the Labour candidate for Milton Keynes North in 2017. She grew up in Milton Keynes, attended Ousedale School and from there she was accepted to study Modern History at Oxford University. Charlynne also has a Masters from the Open University and has recently been studying economics at Birkbeck College, University of London. Charlynne is a member of the Search & Governance Committee.
Gwynneth Tan joined the Board in September 2014. Gwynneth is a partner at Shoosmiths LLP where she specialises in employment law providing strategic and commercial advice to clients across a range of sectors including further and higher education and retail. Shoosmiths is a major UK law firm with a network of 12 offices. Gwynneth enjoys the outdoors and travel. Gwynneth is a member of the Remuneration Committee.
Silvia Vitiello joined the Board in June 2010. She is an accountant and a Partner in Kingston Smith LLP. Silvia is a general practice partner whose clients include owner-managed/entrepreneurial businesses and UK subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies. She has expertise in a range of sectors including property, technology, not for profit and professional firms. Silvia chairs the Audit & Risk Committee and is a member of the Remuneration Committee.