Our Board of Governors

The Royal Russell Board of Governors have oversight of strategic direction, maintenance of standards, legal and regulatory compliance and for ensuring the control of the School's finances.

We are fortunate to have the support of a well-qualified Governing Body, chaired by Mr Andrew Merriman, who each give their time, expertise and unique perspective to all matters regarding the effective running and development of the School.  Our Governors meet at least three times a year as a Board and in subcommittees.  

The Strategy, Appointments and Remuneration Committee oversee the recruitment of the Senior Management Team and consider the long term strategy of the School.  The Education and Welfare Committee and the Finance and Estates Committee oversee the implementation of policies and make recommendations in their respective areas of responsibility.

Parents can contact our Governors by email at: clerktogovernors@royalrussell.co.uk or by telephone on 020 8657 4433 x203.

What our Inspection Report says:

'The quality of Governance is excellent.

The governing body provides excellent oversight of the educational direction of the school as a whole in line with its aims. Nominated govenors take a special interest in particular areas of the school, including safeguarding and child protection, health and safety and boarding.

Govenors collaberate highly effectively with senior leaders to formulate a strategic plan, which is continuously monitored and evaluated.

The govenors have developed a highly effective system which enables them to have an excellent insight into the way the school operates. They make regular visits to boarding houses, to lessons, and to meet informally pupils and staff.

Communication with senior leaders in the school is excellent, and the annual review of achievements and targets, along with the formal arrangements for appraisal, provide highly effective support, stimulus and challenge.'

Independent Schools Inspectorate Report 

Andrew Merriman

Chair of Governors

Joined our Board of Governors in June 2005.

Member of the Education and Welfare Committee, Finance and Estates Committee and Strategy, Appointments and Remuneration Committee. 

Studied at Tonbridge School and then read Economics at Exeter University.

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant and has since held the CFO role at Alfred Dunhill, Thomas Pink, Sweaty Betty and currently at Anya Hindmarch.

As a Governor aims to contribute particularly in finance, risk control and tax.

Professor Ali Ansari

Joined our Board of Governors in April 2019.

Member of the Education and Welfare Committee. 

Professor and Director of the Institute of Iranian Studies, University of St Andrews

Ali Ansari is professor of Iranian history and founding director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews, as well as senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and President of the British Institute of Persian Studies. He is the author of numerous books, including The Politics of Nationalism in Modern Iran.

Ali is an Old Russellian.

Nicholas Cobill

Joined our Board of Governors in March 2018.

Member of the Education and Welfare Committee. 

Nicholas is a Barrister specialising in banking and financial legislation. His clients include banks, airlines, utility providers, insurers, manufacturers, franchises and UK and foreign government departments.


Peter Dawson

Joined our Board of Governors in June 2020.

Peter is currently the Bursar of the Royal Alexandra and Albert school, a non-competing maintained boarding school.  Peter has previous experience as a Bursar in the independent sector.

Originally qualifying as an accountant, Peter has spent the majority of his career in a wide variety of commercial roles, with experience in finance, marketing and strategy development through to operational management within the consumer electronics industry.

Dr Agnelo Fernandes

Joined our Board of Governors in October 2006.

Chair of the Education and Welfare Committee, member of the Finance and Estates Committee and member of the Strategy, Appointments and Remuneration Committee. 

Has been a local GP for 24 years. Also works is a GP Trainer, Supervisor and Appraiser and chairs a number of medical related Boards and Committees. Awarded the MBE for services to medicine and healthcare in 2004.

Former Royal Russell parent.

Lisa Jessup

Joined our Board of Govenors in August 2012.

Head of Group Support Services for an international marine fuels reseller business, based in Dubai UAE. General Manager experience in sales and marketing, project management, HR and performance management, IT and company secretarial.

Former Royal Russell parent.

Jennifer Smith

Joined our Board of Governors in December 2019.

Jennifer is CEO of the Girls’ Learning Trust and brings to the Board over 35 years of experience in education across a range of sectors.

She began her teaching career in Glasgow comprehensive schools. Since then she has been Head of English at Rosebery School in Epsom and at Wallington County Grammar. She was then Deputy Head for ten years at Wilsons School in Sutton and, most recently, spent seven years as Head of Brighton Girls’ School, GDST.

James Lacey

Joined our Board of Governors in March 2015.

Chair of Finance and Estates Committee, member of Education and Welfare Committee and member of Strategy, Appointments and Remuneration Committee.

James is the Head of Planning, Partner and LLP member at Vail Williams. Specialising in property Planning Consultancy and Real Estate, he is a Chartered Member of the Town Planning Institute with 16 years experience.

A former Royal Russell pupil, James remains actively involved with our Combined Cadet Force as Head of the Army Section.  He is married and lives in Guildford.

Andrew Lorie

Joined our Board of Governors in September 2016. 

Member of Education and Welfare Committee and Finance and Estates Committee.

Andrew has been a barrister for 20 years and specialises in all aspects of family law.  His association with the school goes back to 1977 when he joined the school as a pupil and continues today as a former parent.

Anne Martin

Joined our Board of Governors in July 2009.

Member of the Education and Welfare Committee

Anne Martin has 25 years experience in employment law, first as a Partner in a local solicitors practice and then working as a freelance solicitor and trainer for 14 years. Anne became a full time Employment Judge in 2009.

Anne is also a trustee of a charity aimed at early identification of teenage mental health issues.

Rohit Mathur

Joined our Board of Governors in June 2017.

Member of the Finance and Estates Committee.

Rohit is an ex-Management Consultant with Ernst & Young where he advised global firms on their strategy, operations and digital agendas.  He currently works in the Venture Capital team at Barclays and has previously been part of CEO's office, digital propositions and strategy.

He has an MBA from Manchester Business School (Director's List, AT Kearney Scholarship) and B.Eng (Honours) from India. Rohit is a current Royal Russell parent.

Sir Philip Moor

Joined our Board of Governors in July 2009.

Member of the Finance and Estates Committee, Member of the Strategy, Appointments and Remuneration Committee, Member of the Education and Welfare Committee 

A High Court Judge assigned for the Family Division; Family Division Liaison Judge for Wales, formerly a barrister and QC specialising in family law. Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford and Consulting Editor of the Butterworth’s Family Law Service.

Miranda Norris

Joined our Board of Governors in June 2020.

Miranda is the Head of Dulwich College Infants' and Kindergarten School and brings her leadership skills across the Junior and Early Years to the team.

Miranda has over 20 years of education experience including international leadership with the Dulwich group in China and Singapore. 


Dr Jin Park CBE.

Joined our Board of Governors in December 2019.

Special Advisor to the Board

Dr Jin Park CBE is an internationally recognised politician, educator and diplomat and currently leads the Asia Future Institute, an independent think-tank designed to conduct economic and strategic research in Asia. 

Dr Park has been a politician for more than 24 years, and for 10 years served as a Member of Parliament in Korea and was the Chair of the Foreign Affairs committee. Dr Park is a graduate of law from the University of Seoul, he holds an MPA from Harvard and gained his Doctorate (DPhil) from St Anthony’s College, Oxford.  He is a registered member of the New York State Bar.  In 2013 Dr Park was awarded the CBE by Her Majesty the Queen for Anglo-Korean relations. 

James Penny

Joined our Board of Governors in November 2007.

Chair of Strategy, Appointments and Remuneration Committee, member of Finance and Estates Committee and member of Education and Welfare Committee.

Managing Director and Head of UK International at Barclays Private Bank. A Chartered Banker and a Fellow of the Securities Institute.

His association with Royal Russell goes back to 1999 when one of his children became a pupil here.

Andrew Roach-Bowler

Joined our Board of Governors in December 2019.

Andy is Chartered Quantity Surveyor with experience in the delivery of complex infrastructure programmes.  He holds a BSc (Hons) in Quantity Surveying and an LLB (Hons) from the University of London.  Andy is a Fellow of both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation.