Meet the Governors

Click here for a letter from the Chair of governors.


Pen Portraits

Paul Stewart
“Paul Stewart has been a Governor of Willow Fields Primary School for nearly 30 years and since 2013 our chair of Governors. Spending most of his career working for Local Government, Paul was a support officer for 12 years dealing primarily with school finances, before changing direction to become a Human Resources Business Partner. He brings with him extensive knowledge of employment law and initiating successful change management within organisations.
As a local Councillor he was previously Chair of the Port of Sunderland and the Portfolio Holder for Education. Most recently, he led the council move to become a “Co-operative Council” with the aim of promoting a closer working relationship with other local not-for-profit stakeholders. He is currently Chair of Bishopwearmouth Co-operative Nursery and a member of the Board of Gentoo.”

Liz Mayes

Liz Mayes is Director of the Common Room of the Great North, overseeing a £7mn development project to rejuvenate the assets and collection of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers at their Grade 2 listed facilities in Newcastle.

Originally from Lincoln Liz moved to the North East 20 years ago to study Economics at Durham University. Having fallen for the charms of the region’s community and heritage Liz began working for TBR Economics in Newcastle as a researcher before starting a 12 year career with the CBI “The Voice of Business”. Liz became Acting Regional Director for CBI in January 2014 before moving to be Regional Director of EEF, The Manufacturers Organisation, in September that year.

Liz had overall responsibility for growing the EEF’s membership base, and championing the manufacturing sector with regional stakeholders. In late 2016 Liz began involvement with the Institute, to look at how EEF’s industrial members might engage with the project into the future. Becoming inspired by the importance and potential of this historical Institute Liz moved over to become the Founding Director of the Common Room of the Great North in September 2017.

She lives in North Shields with her husband Steve and two young daughters. She is Governor of Willow Fields Primary School in Sunderland.

Richard Bell

I have been a Governor of Willow Fields for just over a year and am currently the vice-chair.
I am currently chair of Red House nursery school and have been so for over 12 years. In the last 8 years, have guided the school through 2 Ofsted inspections – gaining and maintaining the outstanding category we were awarded and which is becoming harder to achieve and maintain. In the position of Chair at Red House Nursery school, I have learned a lot about EYFS, which focuses on working intensively with children to improve their life chances, this is achieved by working with children has soon as you can in their education. At Red House we embraced the 2 year old provision and to improve Willow Fields, I would like to try and introduce this into school.

I am currently one of the Councillors for Redhill Ward, and have been since 2004, but I have represented other wards for 8 years. This includes St. Peter’s and Town End Farm Wards. I serve on the children and learning scrutiny committee and am aware of the problems education faces. I have attended courses on outstanding leadership in schools and I represent the council on Beamish Museum’s board. I have been one of the directors, running one of the best open-air museums in Europe if not the World, since 2009, being Chairman and vice chair for part of my time on Beam.

I am a member of UNITE the Union, a joiner by trade, being a trade union member for over 40 years with UCATT and my current union.

Cllr Richard Bell

Zoe Hepplewhite

My name is Zoe Hepplewhite and I have been a co-opted Governor at Willow Fields Primary School since 2015.  At present I am on the School Improvement Committee and link Governor for Maths.  I have worked in the Further Education sector for almost 20 years delivering various ICT, maths and English courses in the community as well as being a NVQ assessor for Business Admin.  Prior to this I worked for Sunderland City Council.  I look forward to working with the Head teacher and staff to continue moving the School forward.