Meet the Governors

David Allsop

Corporation Chair

  • Committees - Search and Governance / Remuneration
  • Lead Governor for Safeguarding

David was appointed as Chair in December 2023.  He is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.

David is Managing Director of Ashtree Property Limited with a property rental portfolio in Derwentside. Until his 'retirement', David was Regional Director of the Audit Commission and carried out many corporate governance and audit reviews of public sector bodies. 

Married with two children and four grandchildren, his interests include football, holidays, DIY and volunteering. 

Chris Todd

Principal and Chief Executive

  • Committees - Search and Governance / Quality and Standards

As Principal and Chief Executive, Chris is responsible for the overall performance of the College in all aspects of its operations.  As a member of the Board of Governors, Chris leads on the development of the College's strategic priorities and ensures they are delivered.

Chris started his career as an NHS Graduate Financial Management Trainee, where he qualified as an accountant (CIPFA). Chris left the NHS in 2005 and moved into an audit role at KPMG specialising in the public sector and education, where he led a range of internal and external audits.  This is where his love of the education sector developed and since then, he has occupied a number of high profile roles in a variety of educational contexts.

Chris has worked at Derwentside College since 2014, firstly as Director of Finance and latterly, as Principal and Chief Executive.

Chris is married with three sons and enjoys spending time in the gym and getting outdoors for long walks.


Guy Brown

Independent Governor

  • Committees - Quality and Standards (Chair), Remuneration

Dr Guy Brown joined Northumbria University in 1999 having worked in the private and public sector in strategic marketing and economic development roles, including projects for BBC TV and RTE.

As a senior lecturer, Principal Lecturer, Programme Director, Head of Department and Associate Dean in Newcastle Business School, Guy led a number of corporate and trans-national education partnerships with organisations including BAE Systems, Nexus, Fenwicks, Newcastle Building Society, Northumbrian Water, Zurich Finance, BMS, Kaplan, QA Higher Education, NHS, and a number of local authorities across the North East.

In 2015, Guy joined the Northumbria University Senior Management team as Director of London Campus, leading Northumbria's London Campus, which is home to 5000 students. In 2022 this role was combined with the University-wide Dean of Students role. Guy has also led university wide strategic projects including distance learning, Covid teaching plans, work based learning, apprenticeship pedagogic principles, recognition of prior and experiential learning, VLE, and student cost of living.

He is Vice Chair of the University Education Committee and is externally the Chair of the London Higher Centres Network, and a local Primary school Chair.

Guy continues to teach on a range of leadership, leader identity, and organisational behaviour modules. His principle areas of research relate to learner journey, educational technology, and organisational innovation. his doctorate relates to aesthetics and their impact on organisational innovation.

Sarah Jones

Independent Governor

  • Committees - Search and Governance

Sarah was appointed to the Board in February 2024.

Sarah is the Director of Legal & Commercial Services and Company Secretary at NTW Solutions Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust. NTW Solutions provides non-clinical services to the Trust including estates & facilities management, procurement, finance and workforce support. As a qualified solicitor Sarah advises NTW Solutions and the Trust on governance & risk and contractual and commercial matters, as well as managing a portfolio of other operational and professional services.

Prior to working in the NHS Sarah was a partner at Ward Hadaway, a firm of solicitors based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Sarah worked with clients across the UK, from the public, private and voluntary sectors, advising on mergers & acquisitions, commercial agreements, governance and constitutional matters and procurement law.

Sarah is originally from the North West of England and has lived in the North East for 25 years. She is married and enjoys hill-walking, yoga & Pilates and trips away in her campervan. Sarah has a keen interest in local and wider history.

Matt Taylor

Independent Governor

  • Committees - Audit & Risk

Matt was appointed to the Board in February 2024.

Matt is Director of Finance and Business Development at Healthworks Newcastle, a registered charity supporting people of all ages to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Matt is a Chartered Accountant (FCA) and worked in audit before moving into financial leadership roles in first the public and then the third sector.

Matt has lived in the area with his wife and three children since 2010. He enjoys getting out and exploring the surrounding countryside, and while he hasn’t forgotten his home team down south will often be found with the family at Gateshead FC (Heed Army).

Carole Loader

Independent Governor

  • Committees - Quality and Standards

Appointed to the Board in January 2024, Carole brings with her more than three decades of experience in the further education and skills sector. Her extensive background encompasses adept leadership of diverse teams, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, and driving transformative change initiatives.

Having played a pivotal role as a co-founder of Mesma Limited, a North East-based company specialising in quality assurance, Carole has devoted her professional journey to enhancing educational and employability standards. Her unwavering dedication to excellence is evident in her commitment to empowering organisations to excel in their primary mission: delivering high-quality provision for their students.

In addition to her Board role, Carole actively contributes as a member of the quality and standards committee, further underscoring her commitment to advancing excellence in education.

Mark Short

Independent Governor

  • Committees - none

Mark was appointed to the Board in January 2015. Mark is Managing Director of Dysart Developments Ltd an estate management company based in Consett and operating throughout the northeast of England. The company actively manages the regeneration of the former Consett Steelworks site.

Mark is a qualified civil engineer and has been involved with civil engineering and building development in the northeast for over thirty years.

Mark is married with 2 children and enjoys reading, cycling, rugby and golf. Mark actively supports local sport through Shotley Bridge Cricket Club and Consett Rugby Club. 

Simon Howard

Independent Governor

  • Committees - none

Simon was appointed to the Board in August 2020. Simon is Operations Director for Pinnacle Re-Tec Ltd and KC Engineering Bearings Ltd. Both businesses are located within Consett. Pinnacle Re-Tec and KC Engineering Bearings are specialist engineering companies operating in the field of rotating equipment and hydro dynamic bearings.

Simon began his career as an apprentice Tool Maker progressing through various positions ranging from Production Management, Manufacturing Management/Engineering, Development & Design Lead, Business Improvement, Operations. The largest portion of Simon’s career was within BAE Systems, but he has experienced several other roles throughout the North East and wider UK.

Simon is married with two children. Any spare time is shared between rugby (watching / attending) and collecting antique machinery and vehicles - if it has an engine and it’s old, then it is of interest.

Kelly Miller

Independent Governor

  • Committees - Quality and Standards

Kelly has worked in further education for over 20 years and is passionate about education, training and learning and the opportunities they provide. In her career she has been fortunate to be employed by some outstanding organisations who’ve supported her to continue to learn whilst working full-time. Kelly started her education as part of her apprenticeship, and progressed to Master’s level. Since then she has studied teaching, Lean leadership and management, health and safety and organisational excellence. Kelly has also completed a Diploma in Organisational Risk Management.

In her current role as Head of Audit, Risk and Assurance at NCFE, Kelly has had the responsibility of implementing quality frameworks, risk transformation, and overseeing rigorous audit procedures to ensure compliance with regulatory standards. Kelly understands that education is not just about academic outcomes, but also about achieving value-added, personal development, and ensuring equality of access for all learners.

In her spare time Kelly enjoys spending time with her son, partner, two dogs and horse. She also enjoys spending time with her family in the Lake District.

Lesley Sewell

Independent Governor

  • Committees - Audit and Risk (Chair) / Search and Governance / Remuneration

Lesley was appointed to the Board in December 2022 as an independent member. 

She is now retired following a career in financial services and retail.  Lesley is an experienced technologist and has spent her career in senior and Executive roles where she focused on large scale transformational change and operations, notably at Northern Rock and Post Office.  More recently Lesley was a co-founder of a specialist mortgage company, Belmont Green Finance, where she was instrumental in launching the business as Chief Operating Officer. 

Lesley is married with two children (twins).  She enjoys travelling and is a very keen skier.  She is an enthusiastic F1 fan and enjoys researching ancestry.  

Carl Bozeate

Independent Governor

  • Committees - Audit and Risk / Quality and Standards

Appointed to the Board in October 2021, Carl is a Financial Controller for MHT Technology, based in North Yorkshire, and is responsible for all aspects of finance and purchasing. MHT Technology is a leading player in the UK Oil and Gas market specialising in software development for inventory management systems.  

Beginning his career as an AAT apprentice from school Carl has progressed up the ladder to a senior position and is an advocate for apprenticeships and education. With 20 years of finance experience across different sectors including distribution and manufacturing, Carl brings a breadth of financial experience to the Board and a continuous improvement mentality. 

Carl lives in Darlington, County Durham and has two young children. Carl has a passion for sports watching and attending and an interest in travel. 

Stuart Corbridge

Stuart Corbridge was Vice Chancellor and Warden of Durham University from 2015-2021. Before that he was Provost and Deputy Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Professor Corbridge started his academic career in 1981 at Huddersfield Polytechnic. Stuart later worked at Cambridge University (1988 to 1999) and LSE (2001-2015), as well as three times in the USA.

Stuart’s academic interests were centered on international development and state-society relations in eastern India. From 1997 to 2007 he worked in India and Nepal on several action-oriented research projects supported by the UK’s Department for International Development. Professor Corbridge now works on education policy development.

Stuart was once a keen and very average footballer. More recently, he has served on the Boards of BALTIC in Gateshead and Stray Aid in Coxhoe. From 2017-22 he was Honorary President of NEPACS. Current interests include road cycling, golf and trekking.

David McHugh

Independent Governor

  • Committees - Audit and Risk

David is Business Risk Director for HSBC Innovation Bank which provides banking services to the technology and innovation sector. David is responsible for the oversight and management of the control environment supporting the business.

David is a Chartered Accountant (FCA) who started his career in audit at PwC, before moving in senior risk, audit and governance roles across several financial service providers. David has held roles including head of internal audit, head of operational risk and head of frameworks and assurance.

In his spare time David spends time with his wife and two children. David also enjoys running and spending time in the gym.

Vicky McDermott

Independent Governor

  • Committees - none

Vicky joined the Board in February 2023.

Vicky has worked at a senior level across housing, employment, health and social care. She is the owner of her own consulting company, which specialises in providing management and governance support and interim services to organisations.

Vicky is currently working for the Regulator of Social Housing, as a governance specialist, focused on working with non-compliant organisations.

Vicky is married and has a daughter. She enjoys swimming, both in the pool, and in open water around the North East.

Helen Brennan

Staff Governor

  • Committees - Quality and Standards

Helen was appointed to the Board in December 2022 and she has worked at the College since 1999.  Helen is the College's Head of Quality and Standards, and is also a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

Helen is a qualified teacher who previously taught Beauty Therapy and leads on the College's quality strategy.  Helen is deeply passionate about teaching and learning, supporting College Lecturers and Training Consultants to innovate and develop their professional practice.

Helen is married with one son, and loves all things sport, exercise and outdoor related.

Nicola Dixon

Staff Governor

  • Committees - none

Nicola was appointed to the Board in December 2018 and she has worked at the college since September 2004. Nicola is currently a Wellbeing Practitioner. 

Nicola is a qualified teacher who previously taught PE/Sport at colleges, universities and football academies.  During this time she also managed a gym for 6 years.

Nicola previously worked as an Events Manager for a children's hospice and a Youth Project Leader, working with vulnerable children aged 5-19, as part of a project funded by Children in Need. She is a qualified Mental Health First Aider and a huge advocate of trying to help remove the stigma associated with mental health.   

Nicola has two children and enjoys most sports, especially football and loves walking and cycling.