Meet our governors


Chris Roberts 
Chair of Governors​​​​​

I volunteered as a governor at Ricards through the not-for-profit Governors for Schools organisation, back in 2017.  I've found my time on the governing body to be hugely rewarding and this will be my second year as Chair (having been co-chair in 2022/23).


I'm always inspired by the energy of the staff and students when I come into the school, and it's a privilege to be part of the Ricards community.  I came to the Ricards' production of Six earlier in the year and was blown away by the talent and hard work everyone had put into the show.

Cathy Newbury
Vice Chair of Governors

My life career has been in the public sector, both in health and education. I am ideologically committed to state education. Both my sons have been educated in the state sector, and I have worked in further education for the past 35 years.


I am passionate about quality assurance and I believe that governors have an important role in supporting the executive in achieving this.

Ricards Lodge is an Outstanding School which has been achieved by putting the learner at the centre of all we do, which resonates with my educational philosophy.


I am committed to equality and diversity, and it is doubly encouraging to see an ethnically diverse girls' school achieving so much, and I am pleased to be able to play a part in furthering this.


Gwen Jeans

I qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young in 2000.  I worked as a fund accountant, rising to Head of Finance and finally a Partner in several private equity and mezzanine finance companies in the City and West End, mainly running their investment funds and compliance functions.


Since September 2016, I have been working part-time as an accountant in a small, private pre-prep school in Putney.  This has given me an insight into areas of new governance relating to the education sector – in particular, child safeguarding training and GDPR as it applies in a school environment.


Ricards Lodge High School is an outstanding school, with a wonderfully committed staff and an engaged parent body.  My motivation is to work with the School and Board of Governors to preserve and enhance these qualities and to ensure that all girls continue to receive the same first-rate education that has become the hallmark of this school during recent years. 


Zoe Garshong

My name is Zoe Garshong, and I am the founder of a multi-award-winning careers development organisation for young women called Ms Independent Careers.

I was genuinely excited when the opportunity to be a part of The Ricards Lodge Governing Board was presented. Joining in May 2023, I was especially thrilled to be part of such a dedicated group of people and to bring the skills, knowledge and experience that I have to the table.

As a social entrepreneur, an ambassador for education and as a Ricards alumnus, I am truly passionate and determined to see the amazing young women at Ricards excel and thrive. In addition, I am most excited and enthusiastic to see Ricards Lodge as an educational institution reach new heights and contribute towards this journey.


Heather Ponsford


I was appointed as a Parent Governor in 2022 after having previously spent 6 years on the Board of Governors of a local primary school. I have two daughters at Ricards Lodge High School.


Outside of my involvement as a Governor, I work as a patent attorney in the field of Chemistry and Materials, a job which I love and which I have done at the same firm since 1999. I have, therefore, a particular interest in encouraging girls to pursue careers in science.


I have always felt very passionately about Education and the commitment that there should be high aspirations for all children in schools and that all children should be able to achieve the best possible outcomes. The aims, ethos and values of Ricards Lodge High School fully support this passion, and I am thrilled to be part of the team ensuring that we always have the highest expectations for ourselves and our children.


Ricards Lodge High School is an outstanding school, and I am committed to supporting and working with the school to retain its excellent reputation for academic success and happy, friendly children.


Julie Dreyfus



I was elected as a Parent Governor in 2022 and have two daughters in Ricards Lodge. 


In my professional life, I am a Senior Compliance Officer in the Financial Services Industry, and I recently returned to work after a career break during Covid to provide a better life balance for my family. During that break I also took the opportunity to take a certificate in mental health first aid. 


As a Parent Governor, I am passionate about supporting our school in offering a first-class education to all students, irrespective of their backgrounds and academic levels. I am a strong believer in levelling through education and that schools are more than just academic learning.


I am excited to be part of a school that values community, learning, wellbeing and creativity, and I am committed to work collaboratively with our school to support the continued high standards of teaching, learning and opportunities for all our students and their families. 


Sam Young

I work as the acting Assistant Head (Head of Sixth Form) at King's College School, one of Ricards' partner schools. My background is as Head of Classics and as Deputy Director of the Professional Development team. I am also heavily involved in the wider co-curricular life of King's, coaching rugby, football and cricket, and assisting with the Duke of Edinburgh programme. 


I am passionate about the ongoing professional development of teachers. Effective pedagogy can have a huge impact on the motivation and enjoyment of pupils towards learning and academic success. I am excited to be part of a dedicated governing team, and I am committed to sharing my expertise with the Ricards teaching staff. 


Ed Griffiths​​​​​​

I joined Ricards as a governor in January 2024. I am a passionate and experienced Sixth Form educator - currently working at Wimbledon High School as Head of Sixth Form - believing strongly that the final two years should represent the pinnacle of a student's time at school. 


As a Chemistry graduate, I am a champion for women in STEM, encouraging the next generation of Ricards' students to aspire to scientific pathways beyond school. In my spare time, I enjoy singing, running and watching my beloved Harlequins. 


Ricards is an outstanding school, and I am honoured to serve on the governing body.


Salina Haldane


I was appointed as parent governor in 2024. I am excited about being part of a school that values sport, dance and creative arts in equal measure to traditional academic subjects, enabling all students to find something that motivates and inspires them.


As an outstanding school, Ricards offers a well-rounded, balanced education to every student, allowing a wide range of choice and opportunity often only found in private schools. I am excited to be able to contribute my skills to ensuring this approach continues and at the highest possible standards, so that all students can access top quality opportunities regardless of their personal circumstances.


In a professional capacity, I have over 25 years experience in service improvement and development gained mainly in the charity sector with a specific focus on developing and improving mental health and wellbeing services. My experience spans working with youth offending teams, police, policy development organisations and, for the last 13 years, leading service improvement and safeguarding at a national mental health charity. 


Guy Parsons​​​​​​

I have spent over 30 years in the hospitality sector, working at director level for Accor and Whitbread before becoming the CEO of Travelodge and then easyHotel PLC. I have held a number of different NED and Trustee roles in education, finance and hospitality. I am currently an NED at PayPoint PLC and a trustee at Goodenough College, which provides a post-graduate community for students at London University. 


I have lived in Merton for 19 years and know the local area and neighbourhood well. With three daughters of my own, I have always felt passionately about the education of women, no matter their background. Ricards Lodge is an outstanding school, providing, in Ofsted's own words, "an exceptional education". I'm delighted to be a member of the governing body, to support the school in maintaining this very high standard of education for all of its pupils. 


Richard Young


For 30 years, I've earned a living as a writer, editor and presenter covering business topics - from private equity and corporate governance, to project management and market research. After editing magazines for finance directors, I went freelance in 2006, and now work with clients on internal and external comms, as well as contributing to a variety of journals.


Three things drew me to a parent governor role at RLHS. First, to be involved in my child's education, sharing my experience as a parent - and being a conduit for other parents' views. I'd chaired her primary's PTA, and I wanted to deepen my engagement as she grew.


Second, I completed a "secondary history" PGCE at the age of 52, and although I didn't get a teaching job, I'm still keen to apply the insights I gained into education as positively as I can. 


Third, to support Ricards as a beacon of excellent, compassionate, aspirational state education for local girls and young women. My wife attended Ricards herself in the 1980s, and clearly much has changed (anecdotally, greatly for the better!). Maintaining its "outstanding" status was a huge achievement for the leadership team, staff, and existing governors, and the opportunity to support that great work is extremely exciting.


Jon Lefley

It's an honour to be a parent governor for Ricards having had one daughter pass through the school already, one daughter currently attending, and one more due to join in a couple of years. It's my first appointment as parent governor, having spent the last 20+ years working in the advertising industry, and raising these three girls. 


My current role is Executive Creative Director for Publicis Groupe, after having spent 10 years at Saatchi & Saatchi. Based on this experience, I'm keen to develop creative opportunities for Ricards students and help them explore career options in the creative industry, where possible and of interest. 


The wellbeing, quality of education and experience that Ricards students receive is my utmost priority, and I look forward to working with the other governors to help deliver the very best in guidance and expertise that this wonderful school deserves. 


Claire McKenna

This is my 20th year working at Ricards Lodge. I started teaching here in the first year that Year 7 were introduced to senior schools in the borough of Merton rather than middle schools.


I was employed initially as Head of Music and have since moved to the pastoral team as a Head of Year. In the time that I have worked here I have seen the school gradually increase in size and introduce a Sixth Form.


I am the teacher governor and have been for five years. Having worked here for such a long time and seen the school through so many transitions and through so many students I felt that my experience and knowledge of the school could be beneficial to the governing body.


Kate Page


I joined the school as Headteacher in September 2022. I am also the co-chair of Teach Wimbledon and a member of the Strategic Board for the PGCE at Roehampton University. In the past I have previously held roles such as Specialist Leader in Education, Chair of the Kingston and Richmond Heads of Sixth Forum, Director of Richmond Teaching School, Chair of the National Association of Teaching Drama and editor of the journal. My special interest is in curriculum development and in growing expert teachers of their subject to inspire and empower learners. I am passionate about student leadership and empowering women and girls through education.