National Governance Professionals' Special Interest Group Members

The National Governance Professionals' Special Interest Group comprises representatives from each regional committee and co-opted members.

  • AoC Regional Member

    Anne-Marie Nixon

    North West Region

    I am the Director of Governance at Hugh Baird College and have seen significant changes in public sector policy and governance since I started my career in 1989 as a graduate trainee at Newcastle City Council.

    I spent over 20 years in democratic services, policy and training and development before joining Hugh Baird in 2010. I qualified as a Graduate Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in 1991 and obtained the Institute’s Post Graduate Certificate in FE Governance in 2011.

    I am proud of the amazing support I have received throughout my career, which has enabled me to help and support others in promoting and embedding Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life.

  • Chair of AoC Governors Council

    Stephen Barnes

    Chair of Nelson and Colne Corporation

    Stephen has over 20 years experience as a Governor in the FE sector- as well as being the Chair of the Nelson and Colne College Group, Stephen is also the Chair and North West member of the AOC Governors’ Council, a member of the AOC Board and Chair of the Nelson Town Deal Board.

    Stephen has over 20 years of experience in local government – previously being Chief Executive of Pendle Borough Council until 2015, after being Director of Finance and Treasurer at the Council. An accountant by profession, Stephen is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and past president of the North West region.

    Previous roles include acting as an Advisor to the Local Government Association (LGA) and Special Advisor to Ministers, and Stephen is also a non-Executive Director of East Lancashire NHS Hospitals Trust.

  • AoC Regional Member

    Melanie Halstead

    Yorkshire & Humberside Region

  • AoC Regional Member

    Jackie Eayrs

    South East Region

    I am a Governance Professional with 26 years’ experience in the Further Education sector and a proven track record of working in education management.  

    I am skilled in coaching, public speaking, administration and training delivery and achieved a Certificate in Further Education Corporate Governance from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) in 2006.  

    I joined the HSDC team as Clerk to the Corporation in July 2019 and was formerly the Clerk to the Corporation at Fareham College where I provided strategic, legal, advisory and administrative support to the Board for almost 18 years.  

    I am currently the Chair for the South-East Regional Clerks’ Network and, in this capacity, I am a member of the National Governance Professionals’ Group representing the South-East region.

  • Caroline Menadue

    West Midlands Region

    Educated at Leicester University (BA History), Caroline initially trained with KPMG Peat Marwick McLintock prior to becoming Graduate School Manager at University College Worcester responsible for research degree management, coordinating research weeks and the publication of the College’s research bulletin.

    Caroline was seconded to HEFCE as a national panel secretary for the Research Assessment Exercise 2001 and acted as Project Officer for the University Title Project Group for Worcester University.

    Caroline became Clerk to the Corporation at Warwickshire College in 2006 and has been involved in several Mergers, and Senior Postholder appointments alongside other exciting projects during this time.

    In her spare time, Caroline plays the cello in two local orchestras a string quartet and a cello quartet, loves gardening and has a busy family life.

  • South West representative

    Heather Cross

    Clerk to the Corporation, Bath College and Wiltshire College

  • AoC Regional Member

    Naomi Shoffman

    London region

  • Co-opted member

    Alison Lydon

    Specialist colleges

    Alison Lydon is Governance Director at Queen Alexandra College which is a specialist college for disabled youngsters.  

    In addition, Alison was a governor of her local FE college for a number of years where she served on the Audit Committee and Standards Committee.

    Before joining the sector Alison worked as Company Secretary at SEMTA the sector skills council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technology (Semta became Enginuity) and also served on the Audit Committee of Engineering UK.  

    It was in this role that her interest in the education sector really grew and a desire to help ensure all individuals are given the best chances in life blossomed.

    Alison career includes 17 years’ experience at Toyota UK as Company Secretary, also holding a number of concurrent roles with responsibilities including corporate planning, social responsibility, support teams and even a farm which she set up on expansion land.  

    This experience and the training provided allowed her to undertake a number of advisory and consultancy roles including in the use of the TPS and Kaizen.

    Alison is a Chartered Company Secretary and has also worked extensively as a consultant advising on business planning and strategy.


  • North West Representative

    Debbie Corcoran

    Debbie is the governance professional supporting the Board of the Nelson and Colne College Group, which is based in the heart of East Lancashire.

    Her 30+ years experience in skills and education includes roles with private training providers and local government, and prior to joining the Nelson and Colne College Group she led the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) intervention team working with colleges and key stakeholders to support Colleges and private providers in Lancashire, Cumbria and Liverpool City Region to improve their quality and financial performance.

    Debbie’s background in governance has included board level representation on a variety of public sector and partnership Boards, and as well as her College role, she is also a non-executive Director in the NHS.

  • Louise Hazel

    Director of Governance and Policy at Leicester College

    Louise was appointed as Director of Governance and Policy in 2016 having previously held a policy and planning role at the College.

    Before joining Leicester College she worked for the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC).

    Louise has many years’ experience as a school governor in both primary and secondary schools including as Chair of Governors.  

    She has also been Company Secretary for a Co-operative Trust school. Louise holds BA (Hons) and MA degrees from the Universities of Manchester and Essex.

  • Sarah Thompson

    Clerk to the Corporation at the Education Training Collective

    Sarah is the North East representative and is Clerk to the FE Corporations of the Education Training Collective (Etc.) (comprising Stockton Riverside College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Bede College and NETA Training Trust) and Darlington College.

    After an early career in translation, she has worked in education governance for 15 years and FE governance for the last ten.

    She is a proud Teessider and is married with twins (one of each). 

  • Wendy Stanger

    Director of Governance at East Coast College Corporation

    Wendy is Director of Governance at East Coast College which has campuses in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. She was formerly Head of Governance at Great Yarmouth College and acted as Clerk to the Shadow Board and East Coast College Designate Board overseeing all the legal requirements for the establishment of East Coast College.

    Wendy is Chair of the AOC East Governance Professionals network and has taken an active part in various governance working parties with ETF and AOC all with the aim of improving governance.

    Wendy has worked for the public sector in various roles including as a Housing Manager in Local Government, an Internal Auditor in the Health Service and as an VAT Inspector for HM Customs and Excise.

    Wendy has BA (Hon) in Politics and Law, a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management, is an Associate Member of Charted Institute of Management Accountants, was a Corporate member of the Institute of Housing and awarded ICSA Governance Professional of the Year in 2019.