Message sent from:

Governor Pen Portraits

Leigh Blanchard (Chair of Governors)    

Leigh is enjoying an extensive career in Communication and Marketing Services. He has held various positions within Xerox Global Services currently being a Service Delivery Leader with accountability for managing the largest European Retail account.

Leigh was born in Lincoln in 1972 relocating to the Huddersfield area with his wife Nicola in 2001, they have 1 daughter in school.


Richard Coates ( Principal)   


I have enjoyed a career for over 15 years in the education sector, with posts ranging from Dewsbury to Slaithwaite. 

I am keen to make a difference to Kirkheaton and help not just the students in our care but the families also.

In my spare time, I manage an adult football team and enjoy going for long rambles, especially in the Yorkshire Dales. To help me relax I love to cook.

Adam McNeely (Vice Chair/Parent Governor)

I have been a manager in the leisure industry for over 17 years with a focus on facility management.  I am currently a senior operations manager working for Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) who are a charitable trust that manage thirteen leisure facilities accross the Kirklees area.  I manage the day to day operations of four leisure centres & I am responsible for all aspects of these facilities from health and safety to financial management.  

I believe that my work managing these facilities has given me some transferrable skills that could contribute to the school govenor team.  My centres promote a healthy lifestyle & create opportunities for people to get active.  My role also involves working in partnership with Kirklees council, sports clubs & schools for education swimming lessons. 

More than two thousand children attend the swim schools I operate at my sites each week and hundreds more attend public swimming sessions & coach led sports sessions.  Providing a fun, safe environment & safeguarding is at the forefront of everything I do.  Over the past few years I have helped to manage budget cuts, implemented new ideas to drive my business & create plans to improve efficiency.  I sit on several strategic boards within KAL to help guide the decisions about products, workforce & services.  I manage the performance of over fifty contracted staff and many more casual employees.

I have two children in school, and as such I have a vested interest in the performance of Kirkheaton Primary School for several years.  I would be happy to lend my time and experience to help the school in any way I can.

Hazel Mackay

I am Hazel Mackay and have been retired for three years. I have in the past worked as an Inspector of Taxes for the Inland Revenue and then in education. I became a head teacher at a struggling one form entry primary school in Greater Manchester in 2008 and retired from this position in 2018, leaving behind a successful team leading an oversubscribed primary with an excellent reputation, especially for working with children with difficulties. I am looking forward to working with the team at Kirkheaton Primary.

Faith Thomas- Parent Governor


My daughter attends Kirkheaton Primary School, which means that I have a vested interest in helping to shape and promote high standards of educational achievement at the school.


My experience at both corporate level and within government is an asset to the role. Having account managed large companies for a number of years, my ability to build and sustain strategic relationships with key stakeholders from divergent backgrounds has been paramount.


I am not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, while being open-minded towards new approaches to problem solving.  I believe in the need for continuous evaluation, and I’m not afraid to ask hard questions, nor am I afraid of being asked to answer hard questions.


My hobbies include reading, tennis,  and going on holiday to sunny climates!

Faithpic1 (2)

Charlotte Dodsworth 


I am a Parent Governor on the Local Academy Board.  My child attends Kirkheaton Primary School and have taken this opportunity as I have a vested interest in the school, its overall performance and the development of all pupils.  

I currently work at King James’s School (feeder school for Kirkheaton Primary) specialising in year groups from yr7-9, transitions from primary schools, safeguarding and managing student’s personal and educational needs. Bringing experience in education from secondary school onto the governing panel.  

I also volunteer my time within the school PTA, helping/arranging fun events for the pupils.  "

Charlotte Dodsworth pic

Gianna Shepherd – Staff Governor


I am originally from Massachusetts but I began my journey abroad in 2009 when I moved to Florence, Italy. During my 4.5 years there, I worked as an au pair and then moved into the American study abroad scene where I fulfilled a variety of roles.


Shortly after moving to England, I began my teacher training programme through WRPITT (Wakefield) and have loved being in the classroom ever since. I joined the Kirkheaton Primary School team in 2016 and have mainly been in Year 1 and Year 2. Since returning from maternity leave in January 2022, I have been working alongside Mrs Earles and Miss Webster in Year 1/2.

0C552E78-9AEF-4E94-89A4-B513C81E1DAE (2)

Emma Southwell - Staff Governor


After 17 years in retail banking I decided to take the leap into the education sector.  It was a career move I have wanted to make for many years but it was the lockdown that made me re-evaluate and take the leap.  I have worked at Newsome Juniors and now work at Kirkheaton Primary as a Special Educational Needs one-to-one support teaching assistant.

I wanted to become involved in the Local Academy Board for Kirkheaton Primary because I am passionate about the continuous improvement of the school as Kirkheaton is my home, work and my child’s education.  In my free time I am a huge advocate of sport, especially rugby and netball.

Hit enter to search