Meet the Governors
Peter Norrie - Foundation Governor
Chair of Governors
Chair of Finance Committee and Leadership & Management Committee
Peter joined the Full Governing Body in 2004 and was elected onto the newly constituted body as a Rutlish Foundation Governor in July 2015. As chair Peter is a member of all the governing body committees. He is also a governor of the Ricards Lodge High School and Rutlish School 6th form, RR6, joint venture.
Peter is Chair of The Rutlish Foundation Charity and was President of the Old Rutlishians’ Association in 2010 & 2011. He is also a former pupil of Rutlish School.
Peter qualified as a teacher in Mathematics in 1980 & taught for two enjoyable years. Searching further challenges, he completed an MBA in 1982/83 and started a career in the City of London in January 1984 until retirement in September 2014. His final assignment for Rabobank was to manage down the Bank’s legacy portfolio arising from the financial crisis in 2008.
Laura Howarth - Headteacher
I began my post as Headteacher at Rutlish School in September 2019. I am a teacher of Physical Education and Science with 29 years’ experience, including 18 years as part of outstanding school leadership teams. I hold the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers and a Master’s Degree in Sport Science.
I have high expectations and encourage a climate that promotes high standards and mutual respect. Staff continually strive for excellence so that students have high quality learning experiences through a broad and balanced curriculum and enrichment activities.
This is a comprehensive and inclusive school that challenges all students to reach their potential.
Danila Leo Arde - Parent Governor
Chair of Personnel Committee
Danila Ardé was elected as a Parent Governor in 2022, the year her son joined Rutlish. She is a CIPD qualified HR Professional with a postgraduate UK qualification in Human Resource Management and extensive operational and strategic HR experience, which include education, higher education, charity, health, bankings and telecommunications. As a previous parent governor at a Primary School and most recently as an HR Manager in a local Merton School, her experience of the challenges schools face will be valuable in her role.
Danila is currently an independent HR Practitioner and is also a Project Manager of Merton Garden Streets at Sustainable Merton, the local environmental charity.
Danila has lived in Merton for more than 20 years and has two children in local high schools and believes in the importance of ensuring that all children have access to a wide range of opportunities, can pursue their interests and feel confident to work towards their goals, challenge themselves by building resilience while developing the skills to succeed in an ever-changing world.
Lauren Luke- Parent Governor
I was elected as parent governor in 2023, the year my son started at Rutlish. I have lived in Merton/South West London for 25 years and moved to Wimbledon 10 years ago. I put myself forward for the role of parent governor as I have recently re-balanced my workload to allow me to pursue opportunities that are important to me and my family and therefore I have the time to dedicate to the role.
I have 25 years’ experience working in the financial services industry, the past 13 years within Human Resources where I have operated at a strategic level, leading teams to deliver people strategies in line with the organisation's vision and goals. I hope this experience will prove useful in this role. I am a strong believer in equality of opportunity for all students and I look forward to supporting the school with its mission to provide that.
In my personal time, I enjoy being active with my son, the wide range of clubs on offer at the school is one of the things that attracted us to Rutlish. The school has a very broad and ambitious curriculum which is so important to ensure all students can pursue their individual talents and goals.
I look forward to learning more about the school in this role.
Philip Wilson - Parent Governor
I first moved to Wimbledon over twenty years ago and now have a son in year 10 and a daughter at Wimbledon Chase Primary School. I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature, and have a Masters in Chinese and Business from the University of Leeds.
My professional background is in finance and audit - I qualified as a chartered accountant, and worked as an audit manager for the National Audit Office and KPMG. I have since worked in a number of finance and risk management roles in central government. I hope that this experience will prove useful in my role as parent governor. I have previously served as a Board Member of QSI International School, Montenegro, and spent two years as a volunteer with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).
Stan Coats - Foundation Governor
Chair of Premises Committee
I have lived in Raynes Park for 25 years. I am a Project and Programme professional, and I have worked in the health, central civil government and the local authority sectors. I am currently a director of a health infrastructure management consultancy that I established with 4 ex-colleagues in 2017.
Previously, I worked for a couple of consultancies and prior to that I worked for the Ministry of Justice managing the portfolio of PFI/PPP projects established to provide court buildings. I have also been involved in a number of reviews of PFI projects.
I have been a Rutlish Foundation Trustee for just over a couple of years.
I have coached mini, junior, youth rugby at Old Ruts and currently co-manage the U21 team. My youngest child Rory attended Rutlish School until 2016.
Mazhar Ali - Foundation Governor
Vice Chair of Premises Committee
My name is Mazhar Ali and I am first and foremost a parent of a year12 pupil at Rutlish School. I have lived in Wimbledon all my life and am a former student of the school (1984-1988). I work for LB of Newham as an Associate Director in the Housing and Regeneration Team. I am a qualified Town Planner with a first Degree in Town Planning and Urban Design.
I would like to use my skills to help Rutlish to continue to build on its success as the school of choice for children and teachers- attracting top talent to work at the school, bringing ever evolving ideas on how to educate our children to prepare them for life after Rutlish.
I would like our children to have fun while they learn, to enjoy being at school, to make friends and have the opportunities to try a whole breadth of activities they would not normally have access to. If our children are not coping with school life or having difficulties, then I would like to be part of a governing body that ensures they are fully supported to enable then to learn or heal at their own pace whilst still being fully included.
I have 25 years’ experience in property management and development, I currently manage a portfolio of large mixed use projects across East London. I am passionate about sport and have been a member of the Old Rutlishans CC since I was a teenager and represented the first and second eleven for a number of years. Rutlish School provided me with wonderful opportunities in life and I would like to give something back to the school.
I feel my competencies would complement the school and my experiences in project management and asset management in particular would help the school develop future proofed buildings and ones which create wonderful space, health and wellbeing.
Mazhar Ali BA (Hons) PG DIP UP MCIH MRTPI (lapsed)
Kirsty Warwick - Foundation Governor
Vice Chair of Inclusion (B&A and PD) Committee
Kirsty Warwick joined as Associate member in 2022 and has been an active member of Rutlish PTA since her child started at Rutlish in 2018. She is a former Chair of Governors at a Merton primary school and also currently a governor in a Wandsworth secondary school.
Kirsty has worked as a PR, media and communications professional for 25+ years in charities such as Macmillan, Carers UK, CLIC Sargent, RNID, NDCS as well as the NHS. When not working, Kirsty is an active local volunteer in PTAs, charities, church and community groups and local events and former charity trustee and a keen cyclist.
Stella Croissant - Co-opted Governor
Vice Chair of Governors
Chair of Leadership & Management Committee
Stella was elected as parent governor in 2002 when her two children were students at Rutlish. After completing her 4 year term in that capacity she was co-opted on to the Governing Body. She is also a member of the RR6 Committee – the joint 6th form committee with Ricards Lodge High School where her child attended.
Stella worked in a bank before starting her family and has since then devoted her time to volunteering as a governor. She has served on the Board of several Merton Primary Schools and was the Chair of the Management Committee of the Pupil Referral Unit.
She is currently Chair of Governors at Liberty Primary School and works as a teaching assistant at a Kumon school in Wandsworth. Stella fervently believes that every child deserves the best education possible and is proud to serve as governor at Rutlish.
Graham Mills - Co-opted Governor
Graham was first appointed onto the Governing Body in 1999 and he was Chair of Governors from 2002-2007.
Graham has a long association with the School as he and both his brothers attended the School as did his late father. His father was also a Governor.
He is a strong supporter of the Old Rutlishians Association where he oversees junior cricket.
Graham has a BA in Economics and Econometrics from Newcastle University and was trained as an Internal Auditor. He is now semi-retired but was working for the DTI when he retired having previously worked in the retail sector.
Dawn Logan - Co-opted Governor
Chair of Inclusion (B&A and PD) Committee
Dawn joined the Full Governing Body in July 2021.
Dawn grew up in Scotland, before achieving a first class degree in Chemical Engineering and a masters with Distinction in Applied Process Control from Newcastle University. Her career that followed, in the energy industry, took her all over the world - living in the likes of Italy and America.
During a sabbatical in 2017/18, Dawn and her partner cycled around the world and raised enough money to build a school in Ghana. Since then they have settled with their daughter in local Putney. Dawn now works as a strategy and operations consultant with NHS Trusts and Local Governments across the UK.
Dawn is a sporting enthusiast, keen property developer and a passionate advocate for equality and inclusion.
David Collins - Co-opted Governor
Chair of Quality of Education Committee
I joined the governing body at Rutlish as an Associate member in 2022.
As a local family with my eldest son having started at Rutlish in 2021, I am keen to support the leadership team and staff at Rutlish as they continue to provide the strategic vision and exceptional opportunities and education for the local community.
I am currently Deputy Head – Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at an 11-19 Secondary school in Southwark and have over 20 years’ experience working in a range of London Secondary Schools. I have led on safeguarding, behaviour for learning, integrated financial management and curriculum planning.
Neha Raghavan Sarin - Co-opted Governor
I bring an extensive 23-year career that spans the realms of television, corporate communications, and teaching.
As a parent to a 15-year-old currently enrolled in Year 10 at Rutlish School, I have actively participated in the school community, gaining valuable insights into its dynamics. In the academic year of 2022-23, I took on the pivotal role of Secretary for the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), further solidifying my dedication to the school's ongoing improvement.
My educational background enhances my understanding of both the school and parental needs. My hands-on experience includes teaching middle school students in an international curriculum, specifically focusing on subjects such as English and History. This background provides me with a distinctive perspective on the educational process and underscores the significance of a supportive and nurturing school environment.
In addition to my contributions in education, I boast over two decades of leadership experience in various businesses, predominantly centered around media and communications. Holding key leadership roles, I have successfully collaborated with diverse stakeholders, ranging from government bodies to private sector entities. These experiences have cultivated my ability to make informed decisions under pressure and instilled in me a commitment to fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
My multifaceted career and involvement in the Rutlish School community uniquely position me to contribute to the school's governance and development.
Elizabeth Draper - Local Authority Governor
Authority governor since December 2023, brings over 15 years of educational experience. A graduate of Oxford University and a qualified teacher with a wealth of experience in both Primary and Secondary education, she holds an MSc in Educational Leadership, specialising in developing innovative cross-curricular frameworks.
Currently serving as a subject lead teacher at Willington School and a seasoned humanities GCSE and A Level examiner, Elizabeth plays a key role in contributing to academic excellence.
Elizabeth's role as an educational advisor to major entities like BBC, Nickelodeon JR, and SkyTv highlights her expertise in educational strategy and innovation. Her proficiency in this advisory capacity ensures a deep understanding of educational standards and strategies that can positively impact educational provision.
Nicola Thompson - Associate Member
Nicola joined the Full Governing Body in June 2015.
Nicola has lived with her family in Wimbledon for some 20 years. Her two children attended local state primary schools and Rutlish School and Ricards Lodge High School. She graduated in Spanish and French from Cardiff University, and is a journalist by profession. She has worked for news organisations including The Press Association, Associated Newspapers, News International and Hearst Magazines.
Nicola runs a digital content agency specialising in health and wellbeing, and delivers an award-winning healthy workplace consultancy service on behalf of Merton Chamber of Commerce and Merton Council.
Nicola is a keen cyclist, runner and home baker, and a passionate advocate for healthy lifestyles. Her areas of responsibility as a governor include school catering, and curriculum provision for Rutlish's high-achieving gifted and talent cohort.
Helen Ryan - Staff Governor
I have taught Physics for 15 years, with the last 12 of those being at Rutlish. I also teach Biology and Chemistry to GCSE and Computer Science A-level. I have responsibilities for the school timetable and as BTEC Quality Nominee. These roles have given me a broad understanding of the work that takes place across the school.
In addition to my BSc in Physics, I have an MSc in Science and a BA in History from the Open University. I am strongly committed to a broad and balanced comprehensive education system for all.