Dr Charles Freeman – Chair
Dr Stephen Wyn Williams – Vice Chair
Edgar WilliamsClerk to the Corporation

  • Mark Kent – Principal
  • Nicola Beech
  • Adam Clarke
  • Karen Clarke
  • Joan Durose
  • Geoffrey Eze
  • John Gething
  • Rob Hewitt
  • Julie Hulme
  • Kevin Onions
  • Kath Smith
  • John Gething
  • Diane Hopwood – Parent Governor
  • Aaron Green – Student Governor
  • Zina Ismail – Student Governor
  • Lacho Kralev – Teaching Staff Governor
  • Gemanie Hassall – Support Staff Governor

Co-Opted Committee Members

  • Ian Starkie (Audit Committee)

Members of the Public who are interested in becoming members of the Corporation are welcome to contact the Clerk to the Corporation, Mr Edgar Williams, for further information. (01782 854217 or 01782 843209)


 Nicola Beech

 Nicola joined the Corporation in July 2014 and is a member of the Audit Committee. She is a solicitor in local practice with Grindeys llp in Stoke on Trent and has worked locally in legal practice since 1997. She practices in general and commercial litigation, debt recovery and contentious insolvency.

She studied locally at Staffordshire University between 2006 and 2010 completing the Common Professional Examination and Legal Practice Course and has retained an interest in local education since then.


Adam Clarke

Adam is a Chartered Accountant and a director of a local accountancy business, Mitten Clarke. He has a top-four accountancy firm background together with six years industrial experience and has worked extensively overseas.

He holds the corporate finance diploma and advises corporate clients, UK subsidiaries of overseas companies and specialist audit clients.

Adam has been a governor since March 2006 and chair of the Audit Committee since November 2007.


Karen Clarke MA, ACA

Karen joined the Corporation in October 2006. Currently she is Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee.  She is Director of Finance and IT at Keele University, Staffordshire.  She commenced working at the University in January 2004 prior to which she worked in the NHS where she was a Director of Finance and IT for an NHS Trust.  She was originally trained as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG.


Joan Durose PhD, MSc, DMS

Joan Durose has been a member of Corporation since 1996 and in that time has served on each of the committees of Corporation. She currently serves on the Search and Governance, Remuneration and Finance and Resources Committees.  Her first introduction to the College was many years ago when her daughter was a student.

Joan is a Senior Associate of the Health Services Management Centre at Birmingham University. Her role includes consultancy, teaching and research in matters related to health service management. Previously she held several roles in health service organisations within North Staffordshire, particularly in the field of human resources, was a community worker in the area and began her working life in teaching.

Joan is also a member of the Trustee Board of Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice Bureau.


Geoffrey Eze

Revd Geoffrey E Eze was appointed to the Corporation in January 2013. He is the Sixth form College Chaplain and has been so since he was installed as Team Vicar of All Saints Church in Hanley in February 2012. Originally from the East End of London.  Revd Eze has established a number of educational chaplaincies in central Stoke.  In addition he has developed a number of community projects based around the strong links which he has with the local council and other community bodies in Stoke-on-Trent.  He is currently developing a project with Heritage Lottery Funding to develop the interior of All Saints Church so that it will be a functional community hub for residents of Joiners Square.

Revd Eze is also a keen jazz pianist and enjoys gardening and photography.


Charles Freeman PhD, MA(Ed), BSc

Charles has served the College as Governor since 2002 and has been Chair of the Corporation since September 2010, he is also Vice-Chair of a number of the Corporation Committees. From May 2000 to August 2008 he served as Headteacher of Wolstanton High School, Newcastle-under-Lyme which is an 11-16 mixed comprehensive school with 1100 pupils coming under Staffordshire Local Authority.  Previously Charles was Deputy Head in a similar sized school in Hampshire and prior to that he was Head of Year in two schools also in Hampshire.  Having studied Physiology and Biochemistry at Southampton University and then researched a Biochemistry Ph.D. (Mechanistic Aspects of Cholesterol Biosynthesis!!) it is not surprising that he taught Science as his main subject.  In September 2008 Charles retired from teaching after 32 years service but he continues to provide voluntary support to education in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire on various committees and panels.

In his spare time Charles is an avid gardener, wildlife photographer and all things practical. He is an expert rifle shooter having shot for the Great Britain Junior team in his younger days but ageing vision mean that he no longer reaches such dizzy heights of achievement.


John Gething BA, BTP, MRTPI (Rtd)

John has served as a co-opted member on the Corporation’s Audit Committee since 2010 and was appointed as a member of the Corporation with effect from 1 September 2015.  He is a Chartered Town Planner and is a graduate of the Common Purpose Programme. Formerly the Business Support and Investment Manager for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, John has worked in the public sector for over thirty years.  His experience includes master planning, community regeneration, housing renewal and leading major bids for external funding.

He is currently Chair of EPIC (“Empowering People, Inspiring Communities”) Housing Association and a board member of Urban Vision North Staffordshire.

John enjoys travelling, the theatre, swimming, and is interested in art and urban design


Gemanie Hassall

 As a former student of the Sixth Form College (2004-2006) Gemanie returned to work at the College as Quality Officer in February 2013 after completing an undergraduate degree in English and American Literatures, and a Masters in American Literature and Culture at Keele University.

Gemanie joined the Corporation in December 2015 as the Support Staff Governor. She is a member of the Audit Committee.

In her spare time Gemanie enjoys walking in the Peak District, reading and travelling.


Rob Hewitt

 Rob joined the Corporation in October 2011 and is a member of the Audit and Remuneration Committees.  He is a Chartered Member of the CIPD (HR professional body) and works as the Factory HR manager at Michelin Tyre plc in Stoke-on-Trent.  He has worked in a number of management roles within the manufacturing industry including strategic planning before moving into HR in 2007.  He has studied both business and management and completed several post-graduate qualifications at Staffordshire University including the CMS, CBA and DBA.  Since moving into HR in 2007, Rob has completed a three year post-graduate CIPD qualification also at Staffordshire University. Rob enjoys travelling, DIY, gardening, keeping fit and trying to maximise his family time with his wife and daughter.


Diane Hopwood BA (Theol), PGCE

Diane was appointed as Parent Governor in December 2014 and was also appointed to the Curriculum, Quality and Standards Committee.

After completing her A Levels at the Sixth Form College (1981-1983) Diane took a gap year, volunteering at the Douglas Macmillan Home, before studying Theology at Manchester University. She then worked in local businesses before training at Crewe and Alsager College to become a Primary School teacher. Having taught throughout the Primary age range, led evening classes at Stoke-on-Trent College, trained  as an NVQ Assessor and held various positions of responsibility for twenty years, she left the classroom to home educate her, triplet sons. During these years she also worked with the City Music School’s Songbirds Choirs and Youth Training Choir during what she describes as “a most rewarding time”.  At the age of 15 her sons returned to a more formal education, at the Sixth Form College and Reaseheath College.

She now works three days a week in a local Primary School where she teaches throughout the school and also provides additional literacy and dyslexia intervention classes.

In her spare time Diane enjoys gardening and walking her English springer spaniel with her family.


Julie Hulme PhD CPsychol PFHEA AFBPsS NTF

Julie joined the Corporation in December 2016 and is a member of the Quality and Standards Management Committee. She is a Reader in Psychology at Keele University, where her role includes quality management and oversight of all learning and teaching in the School of Psychology, as well as actively engaging in teaching and educational research. A National Teaching Fellow, she is recognised for her work on inclusive education and transitions to university, as well as delivering staff development to enhance teaching in schools, colleges and universities. She has been involved in a number of national consultations around education policy, including recent GCSE and A level reforms. Julie’s previous employers include the Higher Education Academy, Staffordshire University, the Open University and Stoke-on-Trent College.

Julie grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, lives locally and is an enthusiastic advocate of the city. She is currently writing a student text book, and enjoys travelling with her husband.


Mark Kent

 Mark joined the College as Principal in January 2016 from his previous post as Deputy Principal at King Edward VI College, Stourbridge.

This post is now Mark’s sixth post in a sixth form college and his thirty year teaching career has been spent exclusively in this sector. Mark began his teaching in Oxford and worked his way up gradually from teacher of Mathematics to Head of Mathematics, to Head of Faculty before re-joining King Edward’s where he had been Assistant Head of Mathematics for four years.

Mark originates from Liverpool where he studied Maths, F Maths, Physics and Economics A levels at King David High School (a part Jewish state school) and then went on to complete a Mathematics Degree at Leeds University, followed by a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and then a Masters in Statistics at Sheffield Hallam University.

Mark has served on Mathematics in Education and Industry’s Curriculum Committee since 2006 and has also carried out stints as an examiner (15 years), a trustee of an international publication and away from education as church warden of his local Anglican Church

In his spare time Mark leads worship in his church (playing 12 string guitar and mandolin), is a keen photographer and walker, enjoys reading and spends as much time as he can with his family, as well as following Liverpool Football Club


 Lacho Kralev

Lacho was appointed as Teaching Staff Governor in December 2014.

Lacho arrived in England in October 1987 from his native country, Bulgaria. He gained a Masters Sports Science (MSc) degree in 1983 at the National Institute of Sport in Sofia, Bulgaria. He worked in the leisure industry until 1994 as a skiing instructor and duty manager.  He moved into Further Education in 1994 and in 1996 obtained a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (FAHE) at The University of Wolverhampton.  He has taught a variety of academic and vocational subjects during his FE career – leisure, tourism, sport and public services.  Since 2004 he has been a registered assessment associate for Pearson Education, and currently has responsibilities with Pearson/Edexcel as Centre Quality Reviewer and National Standards Samples verifier.

Married and living in Lymm, Cheshire, Lacho is very keen in keeping fit through a variety of sports especially skiing, hiking, spinning, swimming and football.  He also enjoys reading, travelling and gardening.


Kevin Onions MSc CGeol FGS SiLC

Kevin was first appointed to the Corporation in 2009 as a parent Governor and since 2010 has served as an external Governor. He is a member of the Finance and Resources Committee. He worked for over 18 years as an underground mine geologist for British Coal in South Wales and North and South Staffordshire. He joined Technical Services of British Coal in the early 90’s and advised on remediating contaminated land left by the mining legacy. Kevin is largely retired but has worked locally as a consultant, leading teams of specialists and advising the public and private sector on the risks of land affected by the industrial past and its remediation in building a new future.

Kevin lives in Stoke-on-Trent and has a wife, three children and one grandchild. His interests include swimming, gardening, drawing, Bridge and, if absolutely necessary, the gym.


Kath Smith BA, PGCE, MA, MBA

 Kath joined the Corporation in July 2015. She has worked in the field of further education most of her adult life. During her time as a lecturer at Stoke-on-Trent College she began to specialise in in the field of special education and in 1987 co-founded an independent specialist college for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. She became a principal of the college in 1994.

The provision expanded to include long term social care. During this period as director and principal of the college, she spent two years as a board member of the Staffordshire Learning Skills Council until 2004 when she joined Ofsted as a full time HMI. Since retiring from Ofsted in 2011, she continued as a part-time inspector, whilst also providing consultancy support to general further education colleges and specialist providers.

Kath has now retired from inspecting, and has more time to devote to her own interests, which include travelling and volunteering for the CAB. Having been brought up and educated in the area, she is keen, through her role as governor, to support the College in providing the opportunities and raising the aspirations of students to help them succeed.


Ian Starkie

Ian joined the Audit Committee as a co-opted member in summer 2015 having previously been a member of the Corporation.

A history graduate who converted to accountancy, Ian was previously the Director of Finance at Staffordshire University and Director of Corporate Affairs for Foundation Degree Forward. Recently retired, Ian now acts as the National Treasurer of a small charity and is a Trustee of the Katharine House Hospice in Stafford.

Ian’s outside interests include travel, reading contemporary fiction and the increasingly despairing support of a Midlands football team!


 Steve Wyn Williams BA, PhD, FRSA, FRGS

Steve has been a member of the corporation since 2004. Currently he chairs the Curriculum, Quality and Standards Committee, is chair of the Search and Governance Committee and Deputy Chair of the Corporation. Steve has worked in the region for a number of years, initially in the Geography Department at Keele University and subsequently at Staffordshire University. In the latter institution he has held a number of roles including Head of Geography Department, Associate Dean Science, Head of the Academic Development Institute and currently Dean of Academic Policy and Development. Steve believes that it is vitally important to continue to be involved in the practice of learning and teaching and lectures in geography and also international politics (when permitted by colleagues!). He has also been involved in Academies developments in the City and is Vice-Chair of the Governors of the Co-operative Academy of Stoke on Trent. Steve is a member of the Executive Board of the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) which champions increased access to higher education.