Meet the Governors

Jacqui Christian 

I am grateful for the opportunity to be involved once again in the life of Wren Academy: my children were students here and I was part of the team responsible for setting up the school.

I began my career as a primary school teacher in Southampton, before changing tack, moving to London and working in communications for a range of organisations across the not for profit, public and private sectors. 

I mentor a number of young people, supporting them, as they seek to find their place in the world of work.  I believe that in addition to creating a learning environment where our students can achieve their personal best academically, we must support the development of their character, confidence and social skills. 

There is an extraordinary range of expertise amongst the Governors and a tremendous commitment to the Academy.  As chair, I will endeavour to harness the strength of this team  for the benefit of our staff and students.  I also serve as a Director of the Multi-Academy Trust and commit to representing the interests of Wren Academy at the Board meetings.

Linda Turner

I have lived in Finchley for 38 years and been involved in all aspects of public service in the borough.  I chaired Barnet Community Health Council, Barnet Voluntary Service Council and was a non executive director of Wellhouse NHS Trust. I campaigned for improvements in maternity services and the founding of the Edgware Birth Centre, becoming a trustee of the National Childbirth Trust and a member on the Nursing and Midwifery Council. I am on the PCC at All Saints, Friern Barnet and a governor at a primary school. I work as a consultant in recruitment to the Metropolitan Police Service.

Reverend Philip Davison

I moved to Finchley in 2008 when I became Rector of St Mary-at-Finchley. My children attended Wren. Before ordination I worked in Local Government as a systems analyst though my initial university studies were in Classics and Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic. I have been a governor in church and non-church schools and am committed to inclusive high quality education. 

Rachel Korboe

I grew up in Ghana, West Africa and moved to England after my undergraduate degree in Psychology. I then trained as a public health practitioner and currently a Screening and Immunisation Manager at NHS England/Improvement London. In the past 13 years, I have worked in governance, quality assurance, commissioning, policy development and recently supporting the COVID response. I bring a range of skills to the governing board, eight years of experience in school governance, actively involved with Health and safety; resources committee; progress and attainment committee.

I am driven by my passion for developing lifelong opportunities for children from all backgrounds. Also, I have a solid understanding of the data used in assessing pupils' achievement, which gives me a sound basis for supporting and challenging the school leaders on core matters.

As a Christian parent, I have always been guided by Proverbs 22v6 'Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God's wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], even when he is old he will not depart from it. I love that Wren is a place where all young people develop moral and spiritual values to help them become dynamic and thoughtful citizens. I am also a member of the St Barnabas North London Congregation. It is a privilege to serve on the governing board.

Nathaniel Ogunniyi

I work as a communications consultant and recently graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Southampton. While at university, I was a trustee of the Students Union, part of a board managing £6 million in revenue and representing 25,000 students. I am delighted to join the Governors at Wren Academy.

Victor Selvaraj

With my Masters in Electronics Engineering, I have worked in research and development with global teams and leaders in the software and automobile industries.  With my career shift into work with young people, I was drawn to work with NGOs and charities in India who were in the frontline of pupil development in schools across the nation.  This led me to start teaching in an International British School in  Southern India - where I held various teaching and leadership responsibilities before joining my current role as a Mathematics Teacher and Head of Fourth Form in London.  I am a Trustee of TISCA - The Independent School's Christian Alliance and also part of LDBS Education Committee.

Karen O’Connor

I am currently the Headteacher of Berkhamsted Pre-Preparatory School in Hertfordshire having joined Berkhamsted Schools Group in 2015. I attended Saint Michael’s Grammar School in Finchley before going to Southampton where I studied English and History, completing my tertiary education with a PGCE. My first teaching role was in a Barnet primary school and I spent 10 years as Deputy Headteacher of a primary school in the London Borough of Camden.

As a Governor of Wren Academy, I am excited about being able to support the work of such a forward thinking school, but most importantly, it gives me the opportunity to support children and young people in my own borough. 

A good education lasts a lifetime, opens up opportunities and provides choices.  The philosophy of developing well-rounded young people, with attention to building positive relationships alongside academic excellence, ensures that Wren provides the very best start in life for every child.

It is an honour to be able to support this philosophy as a Governor.

Catherine Akingbade

Having attended the Academy, I am honoured to now, 6 years later, be a Governor of the School.  I joined the Academy in 2012 and completed my secondary and sixth form education in 2018.  While at Wren I studied Furthermaths for AS and Maths, Chemistry and Biology for A Level.  I achieved the grades I needed to attend my dream University (The University of Leeds) where I studied Neuroscience with a Year in Industry, where I worked as a Business Development Intern for a Beauty Company.  My placement year was very pivotal in my career as it gave me the courage to pursue a dyslexic diagnosis assessment (which came out positive).  As I did well in school I did not feel the need to get a diagnosis but in the fast pace nature of work, I felt it was needed to understand and learn more about my neurodivergence.

Once I graduated, I joined a consulting graduate scheme where I work in Big 4 Management Consulting and Consult on Operation Projects for Investment Banks.  Therefore, from attending Wren at 12 years old to now 12 years later I am shocked at my trajectory of life and grateful for what I have achieved.  As a result, I feel honoured to be a part of the Governing body as the Alumni Governor where I hope I am able to inspire some of the students.

Romil Depala

I grew up just around the corner from Wren and joined as part of the first Sixth Form cohort in 2013. Thanks to the exceptional mentoring and support from the school I went on to read Psychology, Philosophy & Linguistics at St Anne’s College, Oxford, and now work as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co., serving clients on strategic priorities in a range of sectors from banking and private equity to the public sector and education, both in the UK and throughout Europe, North and South America.

Over the past few years, I have continued to work on creative endeavours as a magician, putting on shows throughout the UK and India, and working on production projects in my free time. I am passionate about mental health, neurodiversity and social mobility. I look forward to helping the school in any way I can.

Sonia George

I grew up and attended school in Enfield and completed my degree at Demontfort University Bedford, achieving a BEd Honours in Physical Education. I am currently an Assistant Head Teacher at St Marylebone CE School in Central London and work within the Curriculum team.

Throughout my time at St Marylebone, I have been both a Head of Learning and Head of the Performing Arts Faculty. I achieved Advanced Skills Teacher status early on in my teaching career and then became a Senior Leader in Education as part of our Teaching School Programme. This role has seen me work extensively within the school’s outreach programme, supporting a variety of primary and secondary schools on themes from curriculum design and development to subject and whole school leadership.

St Marylebone School is a specialist Arts College. Having led the schools Arts specialism for a number of years I have worked regularly to support Arts Leadership in other schools and am a firm advocate of the importance of rigorously taught Arts subjects in schools. I became a Creativity Lead Practitioner for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and more recently I am an integral part of a new national initiative, ‘Creativity Collaboratives’, where St Marylebone will lead a network of schools across London to develop teaching for creativity.

I am excited to be joining the Wren Finchley’s Governing body and look forward to supporting the school in all aspects of its work.

Stephanie Ortelli

Having grown up in North London and educated locally, I have always been interested in local education matters. As an undergraduate in Psychology and as a postgraduate in Human Resource Management, I have always been very interested in human behaviour and in particular helping individuals achieve their full potential.

I worked for 15 years at an American Global Bank, my most recent position was as a Senior Vice President in Human Resources looking after the EMEA region. Working across different countries made me appreciate the huge differences in learning and behaviour. 10 years ago, I took a step back from my career to bring up my family and have held various roles in my local community. Over the last 10 years I have served as a Governor at two other schools and I am currently serving as a foundation governor at Bishop Stopford secondary  school in Enfield.

I truly believe that each individual should be able to reach their full potential with the right amount of support and guidance, particularly with the critical partnership of school, parent and child.  I am extremely proud and privileged to serve as a Parent Governor at this outstanding school, where I watch my own children flourish,  and I am keen to support Wren grow and go from strength to strength.

Diana Pinto

I was educated at La Sainte Union (North London), and then went on to complete a degree in French & Management, followed by a Masters degree in European Business. On completing full-time education, I went on to work for a number of Market Insight consultancies, including KPMG Nunwood and Incite Marketing Planning, where I was an Account Director advising clients such as Danone, Reckitt Benckiser, Vodafone and Samsung on their product and brand strategies.

In the last couple of years, I have tried to get a greater balance between family life and work, and as such, am now running my own freelance consultancy business, where I continue to work with big brands to help them use consumer data and insight to develop their future strategies.

I really enjoy the work that I do, and believe that every child should both enjoy their school life, but go on to do a job that they feel passionate about and get a buzz from. From a parent’s point of view, I am looking to help the school in ensuring that every pupil at Wren achieves their true potential, feels fulfilled, feels self-worth and is valued for who they are as an individual.

Amelia Hill

I was co-chair of Friends of Wren Academy Finchley from 2019 to 2021, the pandemic years!  During Covid, my team and I worked hard to maintain a sense of community both among parents and between families and the school. I feel proud that in incredibly difficult times, we helped to achieve that.

I am a Londoner born and bred. A Guardian journalist for over two decades and an alumni, and passionate supporter of the state school system. 

I wanted to become a parent governor because I am passionate about children's social mobility and equality of opportunity. I am also keen to support the wellbeing of our teachers in these turbulent times. I particularly wanted to step up because I have seen, as a parent and as co-chair of FWA, how hard and enthusiastically Wren works to build a solid academic and emotional foundation for its students. I felt it would be a huge privilege to help the school continue its amazing work.

Gavin Smith

My secondary education was divided between schools in Stockport and Poole before I completed a degree in Geography at UCL. This led to a teaching career which started in Croydon where I worked in a number of schools across the borough before heading back north of the river.  Prior to joining Wren Academy Finchley as Vice Principal in 2008 I was an Assistant Headteacher at East Barnet School for six years.

I have been at Wren since it first opened, taking a lead in developing the curriculum, assessment and reporting systems before then becoming Secondary Principal and then Executive Principal in 2017. In that time the school has grown from just one year group to become ‘all through’ with highly successful Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form phases. Exceptional academic results combined with the creation of a happy and supportive community has resulted in three outstanding Ofsted judgements and Wren Academy Finchley becoming one of the most over-subscribed schools in London. This success has led to the opening of Wren Academy Enfield, a new secondary school which is on track to matching the high standards set at Finchley.

John Keohane

I joined Wren Academy when it opened in 2008 and previously led on Teaching and Learning, Initial teacher Training and Early Career progression, and staff CPD before becoming Secondary Principal.  I am proud of the Academy’s outstanding reputation that I have helped to create, not least as a result of the excellent teaching that we deliver on a daily basis.

Prior to joining Wren Finchley, I originally studied Geography at the University of Manchester before completing my PGCE at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.  I started my teaching career in 1993 and have always worked in London schools.

As Secondary Principal I am determined to ensure that Wren Finchley continues to provide the best social and academic outcomes for our students.  I am excited by the growth of the Wren MAT and work closely with my counterparts at Wren Enfield, as well as building positive and collaborative relationships with other Barnet headteachers.

Louisa Taylor

After growing up in Mid-Wales, I left at 18 to study Psychology and Sociology at Brunel University. This was a four year degree which included two work placements. One of these placements was in a school for Autistic children which I loved and continued to work there throughout my degree and afterwards.  I moved to a school for children with severe emotional and behaviour difficulties which is where I completed my Teacher Training whilst also studying at Kingston University. I loved seeing the difference we could make to these vulnerable children’s lives. Once I completed my teacher training, I decided I needed some more mainstream experience and I worked in a school in Ealing and Croydon before coming to Wren. I was here before the school opened and felt so lucky to be able to design the building, curriculum and hand pick the staff. It has been such an exciting journey where we received an Outstanding all though Ofsted report and continue to achieve academically. I am determined to ensure the transition from the primary phase to the secondary phase is as effective and supportive for the children as possible.

Avital Shirazi

My secondary education was in London and I completed my Chemistry degree at UCL. In 2013 I worked as a Science Technician for a secondary school in London, which made me realise I wanted to become a teacher, and completed my PGCE qualification with the UCL Institute of Education in 2014-15. I also completed a Masters in Education in 2018.

I joined Wren Academy in 2015 and completed my NQT there.  I have since held the position of the Key Stage 3 coordinator in Science and I am now Head of Chemistry, a role I took on in 2019. I am looking forward to my term as Staff Governor, a position which will enable me to help ensure that the students at Wren Academy continue to receive an excellent and well rounded education.