Meet our Governors

Mrs April Grimes

Member Appointed Governor

Term of Office: 16/06/2023 - 15/06/2027

Mr Matthew Rickard

Appointed Governor

I attended the school many years ago as did my oldest son and oldest daughter. My younger son and daughter currently attend the academy, so I have a passion for the school to grow and keep it successful. I also used to work for the school as a site manager a few years ago. I am an on call crew manager / firefighter at Brandon Fire Station and have served 23 years at the station and my full time job is a watch manager / firefighter at a company in Stowmarket. With my years of work experience I have good knowledge and experience in the Building industry / trade and health and safety, so feel I have a lot to offer the school.

Term of Office: 28/06/2022 - 27/06/2026

Mrs Amy Coyne

Parent Governor

I have two children, the eldest of which is in KS1 at Forest Academy. My youngest will also complete her primary education at Forest Academy; therefore, I have a duty and commitment to support the school and feel I am in a suitable position to be able to offer a parent’s perspective in the role of Parent Governor to help contribute to ensuring the children at Forest Academy receive the best possible education.

I have been a secondary school teacher for 11 years, specialising in Business Studies. I feel my role as a secondary school teacher means I have a good background in and understanding of education and I would be keen to use my skills and knowledge to help support and collaborate on projects across the school.

Term of office: 05/10/2021 - 04/10/2025

Mrs Helen Mack

Co-opted governor

Originally from Lancashire I settled in Norfolk 30 years ago and have been living locally for over 20 years. I am passionate about young people and their right to a good education and a positive learning experience. I have three children, who have all attended local schools and are now in full time employment.

I attained a Chemistry degree before starting my career as an Analytical Chemist for a local Medical Device company. I have moved into Management in the latter years of my career and now work improving processes and setting Strategy for a Global Manufacturing Company.

I am enthusiastic and keen to get involved with Forest Academy, working together with the Teachers and Staff to ensure that our children have the best possible chance to reach their true potentials.

Term of Office: 07/07/2023 - 06/07/2027

Mr Phillip Richardson

Chair of Governors/Governor

I retired from active service as an officer, logistician and educator with the U.S Air Force in 1985. I served in Asia, Europe, and the USA at various levels including at a NATO headquarters and an aviation repair depot. I have taught a wide variety of subjects (business, logistics, management, technology, systems, mathematics, government, and others) for eight universities. I taught primarily adults in non-traditional (nights, weekends, in classroom, online discussion forums and video simul-cast formats) as well as traditional modes. I have also volunteered in various roles for local churches, scouting groups, and schools including a couple of years as a governor of a primary school in Thetford. I have published a number of articles, written and edited newsletters, and co-authored a book on research methods and statistics. My interest in education, technology and good governance has led me to volunteer as a community governor at Forest Academy where I hope to contribute on the teaching and learning subcommittee as well as focusing on math education in our primary school. My wife, who recently retired from some 50 years of teaching, and I have lived in central Norfolk for over 25 years and we have ‘retired’ here. Our two adult sons consider London home. While one works there, the other lives and works in China for a British company and has done for over 20 years.

Termof office 15/06/2020 - 15/06/2024

Mrs Margaret Crowther

Co-opted Governor/Member Appointed Governor

Forest Academy is close to both me and my family, Three generations of our family have attended the school.
In 1993 when my eldest daughter started in the nursery, I was co-opted as a governor.
I am grateful that the opportunity to join the governing body again has arisen. I bring my previous experience and support to help enable the pupils to have the very best education.
I work locally as an HR Advisor. I have 2 adult daughters and a grandson.
I regularly volunteer for EACH. I love spending time with my family, travelling, reading and gardening.

Term of office: 28/02/2023 -27/02/2027
Member appointed: 16/06/2023

Mr James Norton

Vice Chair/ Community Governor

After working in the education sector over the last several years, I understand the challenges schools face today and hope to support Forest Academy in their efforts to provide our community with a happy and aspirational place of learning. As an English Literature graduate, I believe in the importance of reading for pleasure and the impact that reading has on children from a young age.

I am looking forward to working with the school to promote a love of reading and using the knowledge I have gained through working in the education sector to promote the academic progress of the pupils, who will one day serve our local community.

Term of Office: 14/06/2021 - 14/06/2025
Resigned - 02/05/2023
Reappointed - 12/07/2023

Term of Office ended within last 12 months.
Mrs Francisca Podar

Parent Governor

Term of Office: 11/10/2022 - 10/10/2026
Resigned 11/10/2023

Mr Chris Egan

Parent Governor

Having a daughter who attends Forest Academy and a second daughter who will join her shortly, I'm keen to take on an active role that helps shape their education and that of their fellow pupils and give them the best start possible.

I come from a technical background where I currently work as Cyber Security Consultant on next generation technologies and have a keen interest in all elements of the STEM fields. In the past I have enjoyed collaborating with the school on several STEM projects.

Term of Office: 14/06/2021 -14/06/2025
Resigned 05/10/2023

Mrs Laura La Fond

Appointed Governor

I have always been very passionate about education and believe that all children are entitled to a fun and challenging curriculum that ensures that they are always able to achieve their best.
I am a mother of 4 and my eldest two children attend Forest Academy. I currently stay at home to care for my young family but prior to this, I taught in Primary schools for 16 years. As well as being a classroom teacher, I was also a member of the Senior Leadership team for 7 years and have a good understanding of how schools run.
Now I am a parent of a child at school, I feel I have gained a much more rounded understanding of education and would like to use this to help and support the school that my children attend.

Term of Office: 01/09/2022 -31/08/2026
Resigned 04/05/2023

Miss Helen Morley

Member appointed Governor

A sunshine smiley welcome to you all. My Name is Helen Morley and as well as being the Co-Deputy Headteacher at Forest Academy, I am also a staff Governor. I have 14 Years of Teaching experience - having taught all age ranges from Reception to Years 6. I gained both my PGCE and MEd (which specialised in the teaching of Maths) from the University of Cambridge and along the way have also trained as a specialist MAST teacher for Maths and undertaken my NPQ for Middle Leaders. Naturally - I love all things Mathematical! I am a passionate Geographer - having gained my BA in Geography whilst at Sheffield University and always love to learn about the world. I love working at Forest Academy and seek to ensure that our children's time at School really is filled with 'Golden' learning opportunities. I lead our School's Young Voices Choir - and in my own time belong to a local a cappella choir!

I am in a unique position on our Governing Board to be able to provide valuable insight into the day-to-day running of the School and can offer my education expertise to support our School's aims for high standards of teaching and learning.

Term of office: 06/11/2017 - 06/11/2021
Reappointed: 06/11/2021 - 05/11/2025
Resigned - 03/05/2023

Mrs Vanessa Hopes


I am a qualified and experienced Mental Wellbeing Life coach with a passion for raising awareness about Mental Health and Wellbeing in my community. I worked in the mental wellbeing field before having my son, then decided to start my own mental wellbeing blog where I campaigned and fundraised for various mental health charities. During the pandemic, the blog quickly became popular, and I was able to successfully add life coaching services to my business to provide further support for my readers and clients. I manage a small team of other qualified life coaches and mental health advisers. Though my educational background has been in psychology and the mental health services, I am an enthusiastic writer. With the inspiration from my daughter, I was able to write and publish my own children’s book that looked at childhood shyness & mutism. I continue to write, campaign, and offer my support through volunteering my time to make a difference wherever I can. Being appointed governor of Forest Academy means that I can use my experience to be a part of helping to achieve the mission of the academy through the defined aims that combines both the physical and mental wellbeing .

Term of office: 15/12/2021 - 15/11/2022