Meet the Governors

Pen Portraits

Paul Stewart
“Paul Stewart has been a Governor of Willow Wood Primary School for nearly 30 years and since 2013 our chair of Governors. Spending most of his career working for Local Government, Paul was a support officer for 12 years dealing primarily with school finances, before changing direction to become a Human Resources Business Partner. He brings with him extensive knowledge of employment law and initiating successful change management within organisations.
As a local Councillor he was previously Chair of the Port of Sunderland and the Portfolio Holder for Education. Most recently, he led the council move to become a “Co-operative Council” with the aim of promoting a closer working relationship with other local not-for-profit stakeholders. He is currently Chair of Bishopwearmouth Co-operative Nursery and a member of the Board of Gentoo.”

Zoe Hepplewhite

My name is Zoe Hepplewhite and I have been a co-opted Governor at Willow Wood Primary School since 2015.  At present I am on the School Improvement Committee and link Governor for Maths.  I have worked in the Further Education sector for almost 20 years delivering various ICT, maths and English courses in the community as well as being a NVQ assessor for Business Admin.  Prior to this I worked for Sunderland City Council.  I look forward to working with the Head teacher and staff to continue moving the School forward.


Iain Kay

Iain Kay has 33 years experience as a Governor across 10 schools in the city – primary, secondary and special. He is currently also an LEA Governor on the KS1 PRU. He was invited to join the governing body here in November 2018.

Between 1987 and 2012 he was involved a regional Education Business Partnership that assisted schools to make better links with industry and the world of work.

He has managed his own consultancy businesses since 1995 and is involved in areas such as supporting small business development, improving child mental health, working with homeless individual and those recovering from drug and alcohol misuse as well as supporting community and voluntary groups across the region.


Megan Thompson

My name is Megan and I have recently been elected as a parent governor. This is the first time I have been a governor and I am looking forward to the challenge!

I have a keen interest in education and I am a qualified primary school teacher, with my main interest being within Early Years education and more specifically in Special Educational Needs. I have worked within Early Years settings prior to completing my degree, however, I have spent the last few years working for charities supporting vulnerable people within the community struggling with drug and alcohol issue and, more recently, domestic abuse. I feel my time spent in these roles has provided me with a good understanding of the problems faced by some families and the impact this can have on their children’s education. I hope to use some of this knowledge within my role as parent governor.


Ronny Davison

My name is Ronny Davison and I have been a Co-opted Governor on Willow Wood Primary School since 18/07/19. Presently I am also a member of the school Standards and Resources Committees. 

My working career included being employed at Littlewoods where I became a union representative involved in supporting and negotiating on behalf of GMB members. My years of being an active trade unionist, I believe, gave me the confidence to become more active in our community. This resulted in me taking the decision to stand for Sunderland Council back in 2012, for which I was successful. During that time I have held a number of posts including vice chair of Sunderland North Area Committee.


Alison Smith

I am proud to be the elected Councillor for Redhill Ward in Sunderland North. I am married to David and we have four adult children and seven grandchildren. I was born and bred in Sunderland completing my education at Sunderland Polytechnic (now Sunderland University). I started my working life as a Home Economics Advisor and then went on to spend more than 20 years as an HR Officer with Sunderland City Council. For a number of years I was a registered Foster Carer and childminder for Sunderland City Council. I have been a volunteer in the youth sector in Sunderland, for over 30 years, with Girlguiding UK. I’ve also been involved with community groups such as playgroups, local schools and community coffee mornings. I am currently a member of the Friends of Bunnyhill; the Downhill Community Garden and Pond and a Trustee of The Parker Trust, a local charity which helps young people and their families.