Chelsea Academy has an experienced Governing Board (also known as the Trustees). The governors can be contacted via the PA to the Principal, Katie Courtley. For the Governor’s Declaration of Interests and committee membership please scroll to the links at the bottom of the page.

Lady Sarah Sassoon (LDBS)

Chair of Governors

Sarah has been a governor in the Independent sector for a number of years. Her first term of eight years on the Chelsea Academy board started before the Academy opened and she was part of the development of the Academy as it grew to be the vibrant and successful place it is today.  She was proud to be associated with the Academy when it received its first outstanding judgement from Ofsted. Sarah returned as Chair of Governors in October 2017.  She sits regularly on Admission and Independent Exclusion Review panels in the Tri-Borough.  She has lived in the borough of RBKC for most of her life and her three children have been brought up here. She loves the many amenities on offer locally and supports the Chelsea Society in their quest to protect them. Sarah also enjoys the arts, visual and musical, and she also travels widely.

Revd Dr Brian Leathard (LDBS)

Vice Chair of Governors

The Revd Prebendary Dr Brian Leathard was delighted to join the Governing Board of Chelsea Academy in the summer term 2014. Revd Leathard is Rector of the parish of Chelsea: St Luke and Christ Church so he lives and works in the middle of the community served by the Academy. He has been a school governor in various places, a parish priest and a university chaplain. St Luke and Christ Church’s Parish Primary School is one of the Academy’s feeder schools and Revd Leathard has enjoyed the opportunity to see the children he has known for years maturing into young adults at the Academy. When not working, the Reverend enjoys cinema and reads a lot of contemporary novels in English and German. He loves to eat new foods and to travel to new places.

Ms Kate Roskell (LDBS)

Chair of Students and Curriculum Committee

Kate has over 25 years’ experience as a secondary school teacher and leader in London, including 11 years as Headteacher of a Church of England secondary school. She is a Maths graduate and taught the subject to A level as part of her wider school responsibilities. Much of Kate’s work has been in church secondary schools within the London Diocesan Board for Schools (LDBS) family and therefore has a deep understanding of what makes an outstanding Church of England academy. Kate is now Secondary and Co-ordinating Adviser at LDBS. She works with senior school leaders and governors across the diocese supporting school effectiveness and improvement. Kate worships at St John’s Hyde Park and is a keen singer and walker.

Mr Julian Simmonds

Private Sector
Chair of Finance and Audit Committee

Julian Simmonds has just retired as Chair of Governors of Notting Hill and Ealing High school after 7 years where he played a key role in rebuilding and extending a major part of the school. He is also on the advisory council of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and a non-executive Director of one of the largest Russian banks, VTB Capital. He read Russian and Soviet Economics at the University of Surrey. In addition to Russian, he also speaks French and German. Julian’s entire 29 year career was spent at Citigroup from which he retired in 2001. At that time, he was the Executive Vice President responsible for all the trading businesses in the developed world. He is married with 2 grown up children and has lived in Chelsea since 2007. He enjoys running and working out in the gym.

Ms Anna Birkett (LDBS)

Chair of Remuneration Committee

After reading Modern Languages and Law at university, Anna qualified as a solicitor in the City and then went to business school to obtain an MBA. Her career combined a spell in management consultancy with many years of practising as a solicitor in the City where she specialised in commercial and environmental law.  For the last 10 years of her legal career as a Partner, she set up and ran the risk, compliance, ethics and knowledge management function of a large firm. She retired from full time practice in 2014.  She is Chairman of Governors of an independent girls’ secondary school and is on the Development Committee of the Royal Ballet School.  Her interests include travel, walking, football, Egyptology and ballet.

Mr Max Lami (RBKC)


Max Lami is the Chief Executive Officer of Oppenheimer Europe Ltd and member of the Management Committee of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.. Previously Max has worked at both Goldman Sachs International and Bear Stearns where he started his career in 1994. Max served in wealth management boards and he is an investor in social businesses in the UK. He graduated with distinction from the University of Florence with a BA/MA in Economics and a focus on Game Theory applied to Public Finance. Max lives in Chelsea with his wife Noelle, Head of News and Programming at CNBC International, with their daughter Margherita “Maggie”.

Ms Nicola (Nic) Lupton (RBKC)


Nic has worked in London Schools over the past 24 years and has experienced a range of school environments and cultures. She is currently Deputy Headteacher for Curriculum at Lady Margaret School in Parsons Green. Nic has a background in Teaching and Learning and CPD, including ITT and NQT provision, and is also a facilitator for the NPQML. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment at the Institute of Education, UCL. Outside of work, Nic particularly enjoys theatre, live music and the visual arts.

Mr Matthew Williams


Matt has worked in education all his life, starting his career in Reading and then moving to work in inner London schools in Waltham Forest, Camden, Barking & Dagenham and Westminster. Matt trained to be a teacher at UEA and specialised in Geography. Matt has a passion for technology and how it can be used to enhance learning and is committed to ensuring that every student both succeeds and is happy in school. Matt currently sits on the school forum as an Academy representative and is a member of the Independent Review Process into permanent exclusions.

Mr Tim Gilchrist

Staff Governor

Tim Gilchrist is a Physics teacher at Chelsea Academy. He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Physics. Before qualifying as a teacher in 2012, he spent 27 years as an IT and Management Consultant. He was a Partner at IBM and at Accenture, where he specialised in the automotive and finance sectors, leading multidisciplinary teams working with a range of global clients. He also spent two years as the Head of IT Strategy for National Australia Bank Europe. At Chelsea Academy, as well as teaching Physics, he indulges his interest in engineering by helping the students build an electric car.

Ms Susan Harris

Parent Governor

After graduating from Durham University with a degree in Politics and Social Policy, Sue spent thirteen years in Procurement roles, working in the furniture, travel, telecoms, and FMCG sectors.   The arrival of children in 2004 marked a change in direction, though negotiation skills are very much still required when dealing with her two boys, Jack and Luke.  When Jack started school, Sue decided to get involved in education as well, spending eight years as a Governor of a local primary school. She became a Parent Governor at Chelsea Academy in the summer of 2016, where she is keen to strengthen the links with the parent body and encourage parental involvement in school life.  As a fluent Italian speaker, Sue takes every opportunity to travel to the region of Abruzzo in central Italy, where she continues her quest to produce the perfect risotto.

Dr Mark Richards


Dr Mark Richards has a BSc in chemistry and a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He is co-founder of Imperial spinout Duvas Technologies, a technology business specialising in air quality monitoring and wireless air sensing. He is currently a Senior Teaching Fellow and Head of Physics Outreach at Imperial College London. In addition to research, Undergraduate and post graduate teaching, Mark has several years experience in industry and finance. More recently, he has set-up numerous outreach programs that aim to encourage more students from underrepresented groups to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) as viable study routes and career choices. To this end, Mark has contributed to several STEM-related engagement initiatives in the EU, US, and Caribbean.

Ms Laura Malkin

Safeguarding Governor

Laura’s career has been in education, beginning as a teacher in a bilingual classroom and eventually moving into management, administration, advisory and volunteer roles.  She currently holds various positions with institutions from primary through post graduate levels, in the UK and the US.  Laura is the recently retired Executive Chairman of the Thomas’s Schools Foundation which works with more than 40 central London primary schools and community centres, helping them to address a range of challenges. She is an experienced school governor and currently serves on the governing body of the Fox Ashburnham Primary School Federation, Alleyn’s School and Wellesley College (US) and on several advisory boards at Harvard University. Laura is married, has four children and has lived in Chelsea since 1989.  She holds a BA (Latin American Studies) from Wellesley College (USA).

Mr Dominic McCarthy


Born and raised in London, Dominic lives in Fulham with his wife.  After spending a year in the USA as an English Speaking Union Scholar in Pennsylvania in 1986, he then attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and graduated with a BA in Modern History in 1990. Dominic returned to the UK to work with Vogue and GQ for six years. In 1997 he joined Neville McCarthy Associates becoming Managing Director in 2000. In 2018 after nearly 28 years in the industry, he became Founding Partner of ANM Comms, an international communications agency and is a Director of the Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Company in Clare, Ireland where he spends time. Passionate about history and London, Dominic is excited to join the Governing Board.

Ms Cat Williams


Cat grew up in rural Sussex but now lives in Islington. Following a Masters in Engineering at Oxford, Cat pursued a career in Management Consultancy working across the UK and including a brief spell in Shanghai. Cat was then fortunate to be admitted to Harvard Business School, and enjoyed the 2 year MBA program in Boston followed by a year Investment Banking in NYC. She is now delighted to be back in London working in Operations and Strategy Planning for Facebook, and enjoys Netball and playing with her niece. She is delighted to be joining the Board of Governors.

Governors Declaration of Interests

Current Governor Committee Membership