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Board of Governors


Karen Kidd ~ Parent Representative

Karen Kidd

Karen’s daughter attended Ashgrove Nursery School during academic year 2016/17. She has worked for First Trust Bank for almost 20 years.  Her current role is Cluster Leader, managing four branches across their network.
Karen has a degree in Accountancy and spent a few years working for South East Regional College, as a part time lecturer for Degree of Business and finance students.

Michael Shannon (Chair) ~ Parent Representative

Chair Governors

Michael is Chair of the Board of Governors and has been associated with the Nursery School since his eldest daughter attended Mrs Parkinson’s afternooon session in the 2013/14 academic year.

Michael has worked in the Finance sector for 17 years and within Learning and Development for 15 of those years. He is passionate about learning at all ages and is enjoying the challenge of supporting Mrs Barr and all the staff in helping the children to be the best that they can be.

Debbie Williams ~ Education Authority Representative

debbie-governorDebbie is a busy mum of three children, all of who came through the doors of Ashgrove for their Nursery education. Debbie has been an EA representative on the Board of Governors since 2014.

Debbie has been employed for 15 years in Children’s Services within the local health and social care sector and is currently the manager of a local Family Support Team. She strongly promotes multiagency collaboration in her work to ensure best outcomes for children and their families.

When she is not working she enjoys nothing more than a picnic in the park with the kids ….. and this must include a large flask of tea!!

Gillian Parkinson ~ Teacher Representative

Mrs Gillian Parkinson

Mrs Parkinson is the teacher for the Morning and Afternoon Session children at Ashgrove Nursery School since September 2011.

She was previously one of the Nursery teachers in Whitehouse Primary School and Nursery Unit, having transferred from teaching in Key Stage One.

Mrs Parkinson has taken the lead role in accessing external funding and supports Mrs Barr in the daily running of the Nursery School. She also enjoys the opportunity of working with parents and families.

Joanne Barr (Secretary) ~ School Principal

Mrs Joanne Barr- School Principal

Mrs Barr is the Principal of Ashgrove Nursery School and as such, is the Secretary to the Board of Governors. Mrs Barr has been with the Nursery School since her appointment in January 2011.

In her previous position, Mrs Barr worked as Assistant Adviser for Early Years in what was the North Eastern Education and Library Board, providing training and support for both Pre-School and Foundation Stage teachers.

Mrs Barr was Principal of Dunclug Nursery School from 1997 – 2007.

She has also taught in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.

Helen Bowman (Vice Chair) ~ Department Representative

Helen Bowman

Helen’s daughter came through Ashgrove Nursery School a number of years ago and she’s been involved with the school ever since.

Helen is Communications Manager for Business in the Community, the responsible business charity where has responsibility for working with the press and broadcast media locally and nationally, promoting responsible business to all sizes and sectors of businesses across Northern Ireland. She is also responsible for liaising with government across three core areas of People, Planet and Place.

Helen has a passion for early years education and is keen to raise the profile of the school in the area.

Angela Macfarlane ~ Education Authority Representative

Angela is a mum to two young children and has been employed by the Health Service for 16 years. Angela currently works on a part time basis for the Northern Health & Social Care Trust.

Angela’s daughter became a pupil at Ashgrove Nursery in 2015 which gave Angela the desire to become a member of the Governor team to assist with promoting and improving the school and helping to ensure all of the children at Ashgrove enjoy their first learning experience.

Maggie Jamison ~ Education Authority Representative

Maggie is a mother and a grandmother who became part of the Ashgrove family when her grandson joined the Nursery School in 2015.

After 42 years in Special Education she retired as Vice Principal in 2013 and has been actively involved with her grandchildren since.

During her career she was part of a team who wrote units of work specifically for CCEA and has been an Associate Assessor with ETI.

She loves children and is passionate about the importance of making learning fun especially at this early stage of their education.