Our Board of Governors

Rebecca Hempsell – Chair of Governors (Co-Opted Governor)

Becky has been a governor for 9 years. She is a parent of two girls who both attended Mary Deans and are now in Secondary School. Becky lives in the village. A passionate teacher (recently medically retired), she has refocused her energy into a Private Tuition business. Becky is keen on helping the school to move from 'good' to 'outstanding'

Claire Kean  (Co-opted Governor)

Claire has lived in Tamerton Foliot for over 20 years, with both daughters being taught at Mary Dean’s, and has recently changed from parent governor to a co-opted governor in September 2017. Claire is a manager at Derriford Hospital and her husband works locally in the village. As like other parents, a lot of her spare time is taken up with being a taxi service for her children, otherwise Claire enjoys socialising with friends and family.

Dawn Hickey (Co-opted Governor)

Dawn is a teaching assistant at Mary Dean's and is in her third four-year term as a governor. She has worked across all the age groups within school but now concentrates mostly on upper key stage 2. Her three children all attended the school, which she believes gave them an excellent start to their education journey. Having lived in the village for over 30 years she also appreciates the unique "village" aspect of the school and how this is important to the children. Dawn wants to see every child reach their full potential within all areas of their learning.

Geraldine Butchers - Staff Governor

Gez Butchers is the Head of Juniors at Mary Dean’s Primary School. She has worked at the school since 2004 and is the English subject leader. She has previously led the Key Stage 1 team. Gez supports other schools with their Key Stage 1 assessment as an external moderator for the STA and previously achieved her Masters Degree in Education specialising in English and Behaviour. She has two children who attend the school and enjoys running and being outdoors in her free time.

Simon Plunkett (Co-opted Governor)

Simon is just starting his second term of office as a Parent governor. He has lived locally for the last 16 years and has two boys, with one in Year 6. He works as a teacher at a local school and can often be seen struggling to cycle up Whitsoncross lane with a large queue of traffic behind him!

Rev David Gill (Foundation Incumbent)

David has been the Vicar of Tamerton Foliot since November 2005 and as such, under the Foundation Document of the School is the chair of the Foundation Governors at Mary Dean's. Prior to ordination (30 years ago) David studied Building Technology and Civil Engineering and worked as an engineering technician for nine years. He was a member of the school’s Building and Grounds Committee (prior to monthly full governing board meetings) and holds the governor brief for SIAMS (Statutory Inspections of Anglican and Methodist Schools) and R.E (Religious Education).

Dr Michael Forster Vice Chair (Co-opted  Governor)

Mike was appointed in November 2016. He has two children in school and is hoping to use his governorship to get involved in school life and serve the wonderful school that we all have in our village. He works as a senior doctor in Derriford Hospital and teaches at University of Plymouth. He lives with his wife and two children just outside the village. When not busy he can be found enjoying the Devon countryside and Dartmoor with his family or cycling.

Liz Golden (Foundation Governor)

Liz has had the pleasure of continuing her role as a foundation Governor for a second term. She was a Teaching Assistant at the school for 13 years, responsible for ICT, taking early retirement in 2016. Having seen her daughter, who is now at university, enjoy her primary years at the school, Liz understands how important the first years of education are.

Karen Williams – (Clerk)

Karen has been Clerk to Governors since June 2018 and has been working in an educational setting for over 20 years. She strives to ensure the smooth running of governance in school, providing effective administrative support to the governing body and its committees. This includes keeping up-to-date with current practice through training organised by the Governor Development Team and ensuring that there is a full complement of members on the Board of Governors.

James Elliott (Co-opted Governor)

James is in his second term of office as a parent governor and has the lead for finance and early years. He has lived in Tamerton Foliot for over 20 years and has had a long connection with Mary Dean's, including two children attending the school. His professional career is about governance, assurance and improvement which fits well with the role of a governor. James is passionate that being at school is more than just about academic results but about the whole child. When he is not doing something with his children you will find him on a sailing boat.

Jacky Stockman ( Foundation Governor )


Jacky has lived locally for many years. She was a secondary school teacher for 35 years initially teaching Religious Education and then specialised in teaching children with additional needs. She was SendCo at a large community college in Plymouth then taught in Brussels at one of the European Schools established for children of EU staff. Now retired she is involved in voluntary work and appreciates the opportunity to be part of the Governing Body at Mary Dean’s School as a Foundation Governor.

Debbie Mercer (Parent Governor)

Debbie was appointed as a governor in October 2017. She and her husband have lived in the village for over 8 years and have 2 children; 1 at Mary Dean’s. She was Chair of the school PTFA for 4 years, and views this as a rewarding experience, which has given her a much greater insight into school life (handing over in September 2017). She works as a GP in Plymouth, a GP Appraiser and in Medical Education at the University of Plymouth. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, running and walking on Dartmoor.

Martin Mills (Local Authority Appointed Governor)

Martin Mills was previously a governor at Mary Dean’s School between 1991 and 1999 when his two sons were pupils at the school. He has continued to support the PTFA over many years and co-runs the popular Quiz Nights at the school. He was a secondary school teacher for 31 years (21 in Plymouth) and was Assistant Principal with responsibility for Staff Development at a large Community College. He is now thankful to be fully retired and have time to return to Mary Dean’s as an LEA Appointed Governor from January 2018.

Andy Mann (Parent Governor)


Andy Says:

I have three children in the school, who have been there since nursery. 


I live in the Derriford area. I am currently a police sergeant in Plymouth for Devon and Cornwall Police.  My career of 20 years fits well with the role of governor, with experience in community safety and child safeguarding.  


We like to be involved in the local community and support the extra-curricular activities within the school. We have an active family lifestyle and enjoy time on bikes, at the beach and on the moors with the dog.

Tracey Jones (Head Teacher)

Originally from Suffolk, Tracey came to Plymouth in 1985 to attend university and never left. Since then, Tracey has been a teacher, Deputy Head Teacher and Head Teacher in a number of schools across Plymouth and Torbay and was appointed to Mary Dean’s in 2014. As both a Governor, and as Head Teacher, she is passionate about developing all children to reach the highest standards they possibly can and seeks to challenge and inspire in equal measure. Tracey says that it is a privilege to be Head Teacher of Mary Dean’s CE Primary School where she leads a hardworking and vibrant school community.


Board of Governors' Meeting Summaries

Please see below for a summary of our discussions at each of our meetings.




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A. Mary Deans School, Mary Dean Avenue, PL5 4LS



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