Find out more about your Governors

Andrew Patterson (Chair of Governors)
I have been Vicar of Whitley Chapel, and ex-officio a school governor and chairman of governors since 1996, as well as Chaplain to our local hospitals in Hexham and Haltwhistle. I know my community well, and have built up good networks through my service to the people of Tynedale these many years. This enables me to foster and maintain strong links not only between the school and the Parish Church, but also between the school and the wider community. This is also useful in my role as a critical friend, supporting the Head Teacher and staff. Among our current generation of parents at the school are people I knew when they were themselves children here some 20 years ago. It's been a great pleasure to take part in fortnightly collective worship in Church and to help foster in the children a greater understanding of, and a sense of ownership of, their Church.


Karen North (Head Teacher Governor):

I've been teaching for over 20 years, mostly in Berkshire, from Reception through to Year 8, in a variety of primary subjects and specialising in Art at KS3. Having grown up in Northumberland, moving away to attend University in Reading, I have returned to my beloved county and to the beautiful Hexhamshire area, and I am very much looking forward to starting my Whitley Chapel journey with you all. 


Victoria Rutherford (Parent Governor)

I'm Tori and I became a Foundation School Governor in 2019. Having lived in the area since 1999, where my husband and I married and are now bringing up our family. We have two small children, one of whom currently attends our school and another who will attend once she is old enough. 

After a BSc in Applied Marine Biology at Heriot Watt University, and an MSc in International Marine Environmental Consultancy from Newcastle University, I am now a Senior Environmental Consultant for the offshore renewables industry. 
I hope to bring some new ideas, my organisational and budgeting skills and contribute to the running of our school, something I am extremely passionate about as a key part of our community."

Christine Hilton (Staff Governor)

Following a degree in Italian and German at Bristol University I did voluntary service overseas in Kenya for 2 years as a volunteer teacher in a rural girls’ school.  On my return to England I worked for a diesel engine manufacturer and a company who sent service personnel to the oil exploration industry.

I did my PGCE at Aberystwyth University and taught in Birmingham for 13 years.  I moved to Hexhamshire in 2006 and have been teaching in local schools since then.  I have been a teacher at Whitley Chapel School since October 2015, and I love it.


Jane Wrighton (Foundation Governor)

I have lived with my family in Hexhamshire for over 27 years and am a retired teacher whose career began specialising in biology at a secondary level where I was head of department and had a pastoral role as a deputy head. After having three children I returned to teaching and became deputy head at Croft House School in Hexham. This was followed by 15 years of teaching, mainly at primary level, in Newcastle where I held senior roles of responsibility, including for the curriculum, science, special education and outdoor education. During this time I also gained an M.Ed in primary education, particularly studying special education, inclusion and the teaching of science. Since retiring I have enjoyed taking a more active role in the Shire and helped set up and continue to run the St Helen’s Baby and Toddler Group. I am strongly committed to the provision of a good education for all children and wholeheartedly support our school in the way that it provides a unique setting for our children to thrive and reach their full potential in a caring and happy environment.


Joni Williams (Foundation Governor)

I’ve been a governor at Whitley Chapel since 2020 and taught at the school for seven years before that. I was the early years class teacher and subject lead, as well as being maths lead and teaching regular maths sessions across the school. I bring two decades of school and teaching experience to my governor role, and have a deep understanding of the uniqueness of the children, families and community that this wonderful school serves.


Katherine Halliday Rowell (Parent Governor)

Hello I am Katherine a Parent Governor. My husband and I farm in the shire and both have called the area our home all our lives. My son is a pupil at the school.

I have a LLB Law degree and studied in Leeds. I have a background along with law in finance management, marketing and strategic planning. I currently work with in Animal Health Pharmaceutical industry.

As well as a school Governor I am also a community trustee and a trustee of the Schools Building Trust fund.

The school holds a very special place in my heart. With so much to offer the wonderful children in the area.  I have a strong commitment to ensuring the school offers the very best of education and a safe happy place for the children now and in the future.


Ewan Hunter (Parent Governor)

I was born and grew up in the Borders of Scotland, went to university in Edinburgh and have lived and worked in the North East of England since 1998, moving to Hexhamshire from Newcastle in 2017.  My wife and I have enjoyed seeing our three children getting a great start to their education from Whitley Chapel School, where I've been a Parent Governor since January 2020.  I work full-time for the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust as a Consultant in Infectious Diseases, where I am responsible for supervising the treatment and care of people living with HIV in the North Cumbria area, have previously been a Clinical Governance lead in the Trust, and since 2022 have been Head of Department.  As a Parent Governor I hope to use my experience and skills to make a positive contribution to our school and community.