Meet the Governors


Name:  Mr Michael Hartnack

Position: Co-opted Governor & Chair of Governors

Background:  Michael is an experienced governor, having served as chair at Fulwell Junior School for 32 years.  He currently serves as the elected vice chair of Sunderland Schools Forum.  A former senior police officer, Michael served as Deputy Area Commander for Sunderland and such was his passion for joined up community safety, he developed the Police in Schools Partnership for which the Southwick and Monkwearmouth areas were key beneficiaries. He was elected as a Councillor in May 2020 for the Fulwell Ward and is proud to serve not only his ward, but the people of Sunderland.  He is a keen campaigner against sewage being dumped in the sea at Seaburn and continues to lobby Council and others to protect our environment. In School: Michael was invited to join the board of Grange Park Primary School as chair in July 2020. Michael is an experienced Restorative Practitioner, specialising in the Criminal Justice and Education sectors, and has worked as a trainer and practitioner in many schools and other establishments across England. Restorative practice provides children with the opportunity to identify and address behaviours and attitudes which impact on others and it works when undertaken effectively.   I am delighted that the ethos of our school is such that it promotes and practices restorative methods to a very high standard.Outside school: Michael is the father of two adult daughters and a grandfather ‘Pops’ to Jessica.  In his free time he is a keen traveller and above all loves caravan holidays and spending time with friends and family.

Name:  Mrs Yvonne Gray

Position: Co-opted Governor & Vice-Chair of Governors

Background: Yvonne was born and raised in Southwick, Sunderland. Now retired, she has been a teacher for thirty-eight years, the last fifteen of those years as Head Teacher of St Paul’s CofE Primary School, Ryhope, Sunderland. For a number of years she was a voluntary Independent Board Director of a local social housing group, Chairperson of Sunderland Schools Forum and a Head Teacher representative on Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board.

In School: Yvonne is interested in every aspect of school life. She is especially passionate about ensuring that our children and young people get the very best education in a safe, nurturing environment, learning life skills that will support them as they grow to realise their full potential. She serves as a Co-opted governor on our Governing Board.

Outside school: Yvonne has two daughters and two granddaughters living locally. She is interested in Restorative Justice and is trained in restorative approaches practice. Also very interested in medical research, she is a governor on a national medical research and support charity board. Along with this, she works as a volunteer with a local support charity.


Name:  Mrs Francesca Cowan

Position: Staff Governor (Headteacher)

Background: I have worked in education for 20 years. I started my career as a behaviour support assistant in a secondary school in Newcastle, before completing my PGCE in Primary Education the year after. I worked as a teacher and leader in Newcastle schools for 9 years, before moving over to Sunderland, where I have worked for the last 8 years. Working in a range of schools, including specialist schools, has given me a clear understanding of what I feel is right for the Grange Park school community. I am passionate about mental health and wellbeing and truly believe that healthy minds support our children to succeed. 

In School: As head teacher, I strive to ensure that our children receive the best education and experiences. I lead on mental health and wellbeing as well as being the Designated Safeguarding Lead in school. I love working at Grange Park; seeing our children develop and grow. I ensure that as a leader in school, I am seen and all stakeholders feel a part of our school and its journey. We aim to offer something special at Grange Park, driving to always give our best. Our school values are at the core of all that we do. We fully believe in 'putting children first' through offering a quality curriculum and focusing on all children's personal development so they can strive to be their own personal best.

Outside school: I love to walk my dog, Jasper. I value the importance of balance; being outdoors and exercising helps me balance being a busy mum and head teacher. Living near the sea, I like nothing more that going to the beach with my family and getting an ice cream! 

Name:  Ms Lorna Miles

Position:  Co-opted Governor

Background: I left the North East in my early 20's to travel and work all over the World.  I was privileged to work for 2 years in Singapore and 3 years in Hong Kong.  I travelled in America and Canada also.  I worked with children in a variety of settings but unfortunately had to give it up due to my worsening MS but I don't let this stop me or get me down. 

In School: I was a parent governor for 4 years while my son was at Grange Park but when he left to go to Monkwearmouth I was kept on as a Co-opted governor.  I volunteer in school every week and enjoy supporting the children in their lessons. My highlight as volunteer was when I organised and took part in Grange Park's first school sports day wheelchair race.

Outside School: When I returned to live in Sunderland 6 years ago with my son Finlay the first thing I did was buy a SAFC season ticket - I love going to the home matches with my family.  Living in Sunderland is great and every week when the weather is good you'll see me down at Roker Park and Roker beach.


Name:  Cllr Alex Samuels

Position:  Local Authority Governor

Background: Alex was born here in Southwick and grew up in Sunderland attending St Hilda’s and English Martyrs Primary Schools and St Anthony’s RC secondary school. Alex has a broad range of experience, having worked for a local council, the charity PDSA and now a Trade Union.

Currently Alex is elected to represent residents in Southwick on Sunderland City Council and has held the role since May 2018.

In School: Alex is particularly interested in Early Years development and seeing the benefits a good education has on children and their future, starting with the best building blocks and nurturing environment from Nursery, Reception and up. Alex believes a good school can have a lasting impact on a child, throughout their life, and the wider area and wants to support the school in strengthening the bonds with the wider community.

Outside school: Alex loves trying new things, including learning to ride a motorbike recently! She enjoys visiting famous places in the UK from Land’s End to Loch Ness with her 8 year old and hopes one day to see Giant’s Causeway.

Name:  Mrs Jennifer Graham

Position:  Staff Governor

Background: I have worked at Grange Park for 16 years, having started as a newly qualified teacher. Throughout my time here I have taught Nursery through to Year 6: I am currently teaching in Year 2 and working as the Key Stage One Phase Lead. Before I completed my PGCE, I studied Early Childhood Studies and worked as a Nursery Nurse.

In School: I love my role working in Key Stage One and enjoy working together with the Key Stage One team to make sure our children are receiving the best possible, broad and balanced education.

In addition to this, I lead maths throughout school: this is something I love! I have worked with staff in all year groups to develop a games curriculum and feel passionate that maths skills can be developed in a variety of ways outside the main maths lesson. 

I have also been given the opportunity to develop myself as a Mastery Maths Specialist through training that I am currently undergoing with the NCETM and The North East Maths Hub. 

Outside school:  I love spending time with my family, taking days out together with a picnic: Beamish is one of my favourite places to go. When I get some time to myself, I love walking in the fresh air and listening to a comedy podcast. 


Name: Ms Fiona Tobin

Position:  Parent Governor

Background:  Fiona is from County Durham and has lived in Sunderland for the past 10 years, after going to Edinburgh University to study music. Fiona worked for 10 years at Sage Gateshead and has since worked for other local charities and now for UNISON. Fiona is a lifelong trade unionist, passionate about education, social justice, has high aspirations for everyone and loves being involved at the School. 

In School: Fiona is very interested in all areas of school, especially the broad and balanced curriculum and supporting with behaviour and attitudes. Fiona is passionate that music and the arts should form a core part of the offer in a school, as this shaped her own life, and is delighted that Grange Park offers so much to young people of our community. Fiona is also a volunteer Secretary of Thompson Park Community Centre near the School, and working at UNISON means that she brings skills around employment, supporting staff and community expertise to the governing body

Out of School: Fiona has two children at Grange Park and became Parent Governor at the end of 2021. Fiona has supported Sunderland her whole life and has always been involved in music and singing and loves swimming in the sea, camping and being outdoors.


Name: Laura Bell

Position: Co-opted Governor

Background: I currently work at the University of Sunderland as their STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine). I work in the Widening Access and Participation to promote pathways to Higher Education with a STEMM focus.

I have worked in Higher Education for 10 years, predominantly in Widening Access and Participation, but also have experience working in Careers Services facilitating placements and internships through business engagement and student support.

In school: I connected with Grange Park via my current job when I hosted a campus visit for Year 5 and then ran our Space Explorers programme with them in school last academic year. I was delighted to be invited to join the Governors and am really looking forward to getting to know the school better and being involved with all the amazing work that goes on here.

Out of school: I relocated to the north-east from Norfolk last year and have loved exploring the region with my cocker spaniel Lyra. I’ve recently started dog-agility training and hope to start competing in the new year.


Name:  Mr Joseph Puech

Position: Co-opted Governor


Name:  Mr John Broomfield

Position:  Parent Governor

Background: I was born in Sunderland and grew up in Grangetown. I attended both Hillview Primary and Junior schools. I attended Southmoor Comprehensive when I found my passion for all things practical and hands on. My favourite subjects included Chemistry, Physics, Art and Design & Technology.  After school I started my apprenticeship at Armour Plastics as a pattern maker.  My next role at Armour Plastics was electrical and machine assembly.

In my current position I use 3d CAD software to design all of our machines. We manufacture machines mainly for the vacuum forming and manufacture of baths and shower trays, this includes trimming and grp spraying robots. We can however design and make custom machines as requested. Our most impressive machine was a robot trimmer for the manufacture of helicopter training simulator screens.

Part of my current role is to travel and commission the machine in the customers factory’s. This has given me some fantastic opportunities to visit parts of the world such as America, Algeria, Europe and Vietnam that I likely would never visit normally.

In School: As I come from an engineering background I am particularly interested in all things practical. I have been a parent governor at Grange Park for almost a year now and one of my favourite things I have competed with my son at the school, was to try and build the tallest tower using spaghetti and mini marshmallows as parts of the schools open science day. I’m looking forward to next year and getting more involved with the school.

Out of School: I love all things Mini (the car) I enjoy working on my car both repairing and modifying it. I am currently working on a restoration project of a classic mini. I am also part of NEMC - North east Mini Club where I have been recently been voted as chairman of the committee and am responsible for the general running of the club. As a member of the club we regularly attend car shows which normally involve camping for the weekend.

I also coach my son’s football team, Washington NSG tigers and have been doing this for around two years. It have been great to be involved with the team as it is fantastic to see all the team enjoying themselves and how they have all learned and developed over that time.