Membership of Governing body following reconstitution.
12 members made up of LA representative, 2X parents, 7X Foundation (Parish members) 1 staff member plus the Head teacher.
Foundation Governors are appointed by the Parish Priest on behalf of the Catholic Diocese.
Parent Governors are elected by parents/carers in school
LA - Local Authority Governors appointed by the Local Authority.
Governor Pen Portraits
Helen Mulhearn - Chair of Governors
My name is Helen Mulhearn, I am part of the parish at St. Jospeh’s in Stanley. I have been a Foundation Governor at St. Mary’s since 2007 when my son Luke was only in year 2, he is now studying at University, how time flies! I work for an organisation that promotes the rights of children and young people and I am passionate about children and young people having a say in the services they receive, something which we hold dear at St. Mary’s by encouraging pupil voice through the work of the School Council. I also support the young people of our family of parishes through the Youth Deanery Development Group.
Melanie Barrett - Vice Chair
I'm a self-employed artist with an MA in Painting from Wimbledon School of Art (I did my BA in Fine Art at Newcastle and moved back up here after my MA because I love it up here). I have 2 children at St Mary's, and I fit my painting around them and school life. I have taught art in Mexico, Uganda, and Durham and am also a member of the SVP at St Joseph's. My hobbies are reading, knitting and baking.
Father Kevin Dixon
I was born in County Durham. I worked in catering and hospitality before training for priesthood. My studies took me to Gilles College Edinburgh and Scotus College in Glasgow. I graduated from St Patrick’s College Maynouthy, Ireland and was ordained in 1995 in St Cuthbert’s Chapel Ushaw.I have served in various school governing bodies over the past 20 years. In 2013 whilst serving at Sunderland, I graduated with a Fine Arts degree from the University of Sunderland. I am currently Parish Priest for St Joseph’s Stanley, St Patrick’s Dipton, and Sacred Heart Byermoor.
My name is Marcela Stokoe and I have been a Foundation Governess at St. Mary’s school since 2015. I am privileged to be part of this outstanding school where well-being and personal development of each child is at the heart of school community. I am an active member of the Friends of St. Mary’s school which organises fun activities for our pupils and all raised monies go towards additional school fun play equipment. My spare time is spent with my husband and our 10 year old son. I speak several foreign languages, enjoy mountain walking, skiing, reading, acting in a local theatre group and playing chess.
My name is Colin Nelson, I am a new Foundation Governor at St Mary’s. I have been a parishioner at St. Josephs since 1978 and during that time I have been involved in Children’s Liturgy, Marriage Preparation and as a Special Minister. In my working career I was always in the manufacturing sector starting as an apprentice and then later as a Production Engineer and Production Supervisor in a factory making Hydraulic Excavators (big diggers). My main hobby is cycling. I attended Catholic schools myself as have my two children (now adults). I am looking forward to working with the staff, governors and pupils at St Mary’s and helping them make the most of their potential.
My name is Margaret Arthurs. I have been a Foundation Governor at St Mary's s for about eighteen months.
Before I retired I worked at St. Bede's school in Lanchester for 29 years, teaching Religious Education for most of that time.
At present my parish is St. Joseph's in Stanley, but from 1964 until 1989 my family and I attended St. Mary's Church. When we were all at home we needed a whole bench! Worshipping in St. Mary's gave me a great appreciation the people and the school. It has always been a welcoming place to be. I love to hear, "Hi Margaret!" , when I walk along the corridor.
In addition to my governor's role, for the last five years I have been privileged to work with the children and their parents and aid their preparation for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. We are blessed by the support of Father Kevin, Mrs. Robson and Mrs Daniels and of course the parents, who accompany their children to Sunday Mass and the end of the sessions.
My name is Lorraine Murray; I am a new Foundation Governor at St Mary’s. I am also a parishioner at St Joseph’s Stanley where I have worshipped for nearly 20 years and within the parish I am a Eucharistic minister, part of the financial committee and a representative of the Pontop Partnership parishioner team.
Over my working career as a manager in business I have worked for a Bank, a University, and the third sector and now I work for a local hospice.
I have a HR qualification and I am also a qualified dance teacher.
It is a privilege to be part of the school Governors team and I look forward to working with everyone involved.
Councillor Mark Davinson
I am appointed by the local authority to the governing body of the school. I have lived in Craghead all of my life and I am currently both a county and town councillor for the local area. This is an extension of the various volunteering and paid employment roles I have undertaken in the community over the last 25 years to help improve residents lives. My nephew attends St Mary's and enjoys going to school.
Lindsey Soutar – Deputy Head and Staff Governor
My family is very important to me and I am parent to two boys.
I have worked at St. Mary's for approximately 9 years now and was appointed as deputy head. My previous employment background focussed on my first degree of agricultural science so I have a lot of animal and farming-based experience. I have also been a police officer and was posted in one of the local forces. I utilised both of these experiences in my role at Houghall College where I was responsible for working with vulnerable and permanently excluded young adults.
After having my family I gained other qualifications including the PGCE from Newcastle and attending a post graduate law diploma course at Northumbria University.
My interests are heavily football and science-based.
Allison Robson-Head Teacher
It is my privilege to be the Head Teacher of St Mary's, which is a family school where Gospel values are intrinsic in all that we do. I have been Head since January 2017. I am also a parishioner at St Joseph's, Stanley where I have worshipped for the last 10 years.
Previously I worked at St Oswald's in Newcastle for 23 years; I began my teaching career as Year 2 teacher then progressed to Key Stage Leader, Assistant Head then to Deputy Head. I have a passion for teaching and learning and I am committed to ensuring that every child is given the very best opportunities possible.
I like to spend my holidays and weekends with my Goddaughter and my nieces. We enjoy walking our rescue dog and spending time at our caravan which is sited in Weardale.