South Devon College

Inspiring our community through learning for all

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Governance Menu

Meet the governors

Please click on the photo to view South Devon College Governor biographies.


Karen StockhamKaren Stockham - Chair of Governors

Karen is the Head of Postgraduate and Professional Development at University of St Mark and St John. She has a PhD in Mountaineering Literature (1808-1960) and two Master's degrees: an MA in the Sociology of Leisure and an MEd in Post-Compulsory Education.

She is am also a member of the Federation of Small Businesses and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Karen has researched within the fields of leisure, women's mountaineering, women's higher education and disability, young people & school sport. Research grants have included a grant from the Hewitt-Driver organisation to research biodiversity differences in the Yorkshire Dales and Dartmoor National Parks. Karen has held National Lottery funding to jointly evaluate a project (bespoke clothing for disabled people) and been a Visiting Teaching Fellow at St John's College, Oxford (July 2011).

Karen has taught and worked in a range of universities in the UK since 1993. Her teaching interests encompass undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Management Studies, English Literature, Sociology, Youth Work and Leisure Studies. Karen currently manages and co-ordinates Continuing Postgraduate and Professional Development programmes at Master's level and work with SMEs and public sector employers to accredit employer focused training programmes.

Karen joined the Board of Governors in July 2013 and is the Chair of the Quality, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee.


Caroline LeeCaroline Lee - Vice Chair of Governors

Caroline is a specialist in Human Resource Management and is passionate about helping to improve employment opportunities for young people in the local area. She is currently also involved with Torbay Development Agency’s High-Tech Forum Education sub-group and ensures that Spirent is fully involved in STEM activities across the Bay.

Caroline has been HR Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Spirent Communications since 2008. Spirent are a leading Global Communications company with offices in the USA, Europe and Asia; at the Paignton office they specialise in test and measurement equipment for the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Markets.

Having gained Chartered Fellow accreditation through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in 2010 she also went on to qualify as a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner in 2014.

Caroline joined the Governing Body in October 2015 and is a member of the Resources Committee as well as Chair of the Search & Governance Committee. 



Lisa Keay - Clerk to the Governing Body

Lisa was appointed as Clerk to the Governing Body in April 2016 having clerked school governing bodies for more than five years. During this time she supported and advised governors in a wide range of settings including a church primary school and nursery, a special school, an ‘all through’ Academy, a community college and a pupil referral unit. Before taking up this post, Lisa was also Company Secretary for the SENtient Trust.

From January 2012 to January 2016, Lisa served a four year term of office as a parent governor for her local federated primary school. She therefore appreciates the world of governance from a governor’s and a clerk’s perspective. She is passionate about promoting good governance as she believes this is key to sustained improvement within the education sector.

Prior to developing a professional interest in governance Lisa was a Research Officer employed by the Dartington Hall Trust and before that she taught in the Philosophy Department at the University of Birmingham.

In her spare time Lisa enjoys reading, cycling, running, hiking and travelling. She is also the football manager for an Under 11s Girls team at Ivybridge Town FC, having played football for Leicester City Ladies whilst completing her PhD.


Heather AncientHeather Ancient

Heather is a qualified accountant and is the office leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Plymouth. Heather leads audit and assurance services for a range of companies and publicly funded organisations in the South West. Heather has lived in South Devon for over 20 years and now lives in Ashburton. Originally she was self employed with her own village shop in Stoke Fleming before qualifying as an accountant in 1998. She has a unique range of practical and technical skills understanding both the private and public sector.

Heather is a keen sailor and regularly sails in Dartmouth. Heather has two grown up children, one of which was educated in Torbay.

Heather joined the Board of Governors at South Devon College in March 2013 and is Chair of the Audit Committee.


Will BlackWill Black

Will Black is studying for a Level 3 in Public Services.  

He was elected as the Student Union President and will serve on the Governing Body as the FE Student Governor for a one year term of office, from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017.

In addition to attending full governing body meetings, Will is a member of the Quality, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee and the Resources Committee. 


stephen-criddleStephen Criddle

Stephen Criddle is the Principal of South Devon College. Stephen worked as Deputy Principal for 6 years as a keystone of the turnaround strategy seen through at South Devon College, taking it from a ‘Failed’ college in financial turmoil to an ‘Outstanding’ college (November 2008), strongly supporting its local communities and achieving Beacon status (July 2009). He is a passionate champion of educational opportunity.

Born in Birkenhead, he attended school there before studying Geography at Jesus College, Oxford. He then qualified as a Chartered Accountant and worked in industry before joining the Education Sector in 1992.

Stephen worked at Plymouth College of Further Education as Director of Finance and Administration and Deputy Principal, and has been a Strategic Education Consultant for the Tribal Group. In 2007 he received the College Finance Director of the Year Award.

He has three children all engaged at various levels of education from nursery to higher education. As well as family he also enjoys social sport, the countryside and living in Devon where he has been a resident for over 20 years.


graham-ficeGraham Fice

Graham has recently relocated to Exeter following his retirement as Clerk to the Governors and Company Secretary of St Mary’s University, London. Up until 2010 Graham’s career was spent in higher education administration including Exeter, Plymouth, Southampton Solent, Surrey and Chichester Universities.

Graham is familiar with South Devon College having worked in the Academic Registries of both Exeter and Plymouth Universities. Graham has had more than eight years’ experience of being a Governor in Further Education. This included chairing a Quality and Standards Committee and an Audit Committee. He is keen to serve as a Governor at South Devon College and contribute to its development and its vision for the future.

Graham joined the Governing Board in September 2016 and is a member of the Quality, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee, the Audit Committee and the Project Board.


Kelsey FlynnKelsey Flynn

Kelsey Flynn was elected by HE students as their HE Representative and will serve on the Governing Body for a one year term of office, from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017. In addition to attending full governing body meetings, Kelsey is a member of the Quality, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee.

Kelsey is studying for a BSc in Applied Animal Science having recently completed the Foundation Degree in Animal Science. She has been course rep for the past two years and is a founding member of the Student Society for Sustainability and Conservation. Kelsey has been involved in organising charity events and has made good links with industry and external organisations. Kelsey was part of the team which conducted conservation work in Madagascar, a country close to her heart, and she continues to fundraise for good causes within the country.

Kelsey has been involved in several public events including beach cleans, public education at Paignton Zoo and using virtual reality to highlight the plight of species. Kelsey is well travelled and experienced within the field of Animal Science and has worked on projects in Costa Rica and Indonesia, she has been happy to share these experiences with level three groups and championed progression to Higher Education at South Devon College.


philip-gibsonPhilip Gibson

Philip is employed at Plymouth University as an Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning) in the School of Tourism and Hospitality. Prior to joining the University of Plymouth as a Senior Lecturer in 2000, Philip was Head of Centre, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport at South Devon College.

Philip was awarded a PhD in Education from the University of Exeter in 2003 and an MEd in Professional Development from the College of St Mark and St John. He is the author of vocational textbooks and has published many research and conference papers.

Philip has served on a number of external bodies including ViceChair of the Cruise Research Society from 2009-2014. He has also been a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality since 2002 (and a member since 1980).

Philip has lived in Paignton since 1987. He raised his family here and is fully supportive of a College of Further Education that places itself at the heart of its community.

Philip joined the Governing Board in June 2016 and is a member of the Quality, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee.


Matt Green 2 webMatt Green

Matt is the Commercial Catering, Retail & Hospitality Manager responsible for the catering and retail outlets, and the events/lettings at the College. He has a wealth of experience in the catering and hospitality industry. After completing an advanced GNVQ in Hospitality & Catering at City College, Plymouth, Matt progressed to work at the prestigious Michelin starred Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon.

Prior to arriving at South Devon College he worked for a National Leisure Company as a Brand Manager where as part of a team he developed concepts across 50+ Leisure Centres in the UK and wrote standard operating procedures that were implemented across the group. He then took up the role of Regional Food and Beverage Manager in which he was responsible for key sites in different regions concluding in the South West.

Matt lives in Paignton with his wife Sarah, and son, Noah. He enjoys playing the guitar, water skiing & playing/watching sport. He is a keen Torquay United supporter.

Matt joined the Board of Governors in January 2014 and is a member of the Audit Committee. Matt is also a member of the Search and Governance Committee and the Project Board.


Elke Hayden

Elke has worked in the hairdressing industry for 40 years. Initially she worked as an apprentice for three years and gained four years shop experience as a qualified hairdresser before applying for her masters degree in Germany. Whilst in Germany, Elke belonged to a selected team of professional hairdressers who once a year demonstrated the latest hairdressing fashions to 700/800 professionals in the area.

After gaining her masters degree Elke opened her own business in Germany for four years before moving to England. When arriving in England she became a self employed hairdresser in the hairdressing industry and shortly after this purchased two hairdressing shops in Wiltshire where her staff successfully entered and won competitions on many occasions.

Elke now owns her own hairdressing salon in Totnes. She has a team of three qualified hairdressers, one apprentice and two day release students from South Devon College. Elke and her team are committed to providing a friendly and professional service to their customers.

Elke has always encouraged students and qualified hairdressers alike to build on their skills. Her passion for hairdressing lead Elke to belong to the National Hairdressing Federation where she is a delegate to the South West area, deputy delegate for the National Executive Committee of the Federation and a qualified hairdressing judge. Elke will be the president of the Devon and Cornwall Branch in the coming year. She is a committed member and as long as she has been elected has never missed a meeting. Elke very much enjoys teaching and guiding people to become good hairdressers and founded with another member of South Devon College, the "Artistic Team".

Elke joined the Board of Governors at South Devon College in December 2010. Elke is a member of the Resources Committee and the Search & Governance Committee.


Rob Newman

Having trained originally as a modern languages teacher, Rob was for many years a litigation partner with a Devon-based solicitors’ practice, specialising in criminal law, and in alcohol, entertainment, and gaming licensing.

Rob is Chairman of the Lynton and Lynmouth Lift company in North Devon, as well as Trustee of a number of South Devon-based organisations.

Rob joined the Board of Governors in December 2009 and is Chair of the Resources Committee as well as Chair of the Project Board. 


graham-rookeGraham Rooke

Born 1957, Graham is married with two boys and lives in Newton Abbot.

He was educated at Homelands Technical High School (now Westlands) in Torquay.

Having joined a major regional practice straight from school, Graham qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1986. He then moved to North Devon, gaining valuable post qualification experience. He returned to South Devon to work for Peplows in 1990, becoming a partner shortly thereafter.

Throughout his career he has gained extensive general practice experience, majoring on client relationships and practice development. He operates mainly out of Newton Abbot. He has a very hands-on role with select key clients, both corporate and non-corporate. His specialisms include Financial Services related clients, clubs and associations and his specialist industries include manufacturing, garages, and furniture retailers.

Graham is Managing Partner and also partner in charge of marketing and heads the Business Services Department. Graham is past Chairman of the Exeter & District Society of Chartered Accountants. He is also Finance Director of a local rugby club and past Captain of a local golf club, together with other current Treasurer’s roles.

Graham joined the Board of Governors at South Devon College in March 2013 and is now a member of the Audit Committee.



Holly Vaughan

Holly lives in Teignmouth with her husband Thomas, and joined the board in 2014. Holly is a Member of the Audit Committee as well as the Quality, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee. She is also the Lead Governor for Equality and Diversity. 

Holly is the Adult Training, E-Learning and Innovation Manager for South Devon College, and is responsible for managing the Adult Training and Development Centre in Torquay and for developing the College's E-learning provision.

Holly has worked at South Devon College for ten years and within that time gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and more recently a Level 5 Extended Diploma in Management and Leadership with Chartered Manager status. As a qualified teacher Holly has a wealth of experience teaching post 16 learners across a range of subjects including Beauty Therapy, employability and functional skills in English and mathematics. She is currently studying for a MA in Education.



Mark Waldron

Mark is a serving Police Inspector within Devon and Cornwall Police. He is a force incident manager and tactical firearms commander currently working within the force control room and the parent of a son at South Devon College. He leads on PREVENT for Command and Control, and has been a police hostage and crisis negotiator for over 10 years. He has 15 years experience working within the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) with previous roles including Detective Inspector on the sexual offences and domestic abuse investigation team. He has in-depth knowledge of, and experience of dealing with, such matters as cyber-bullying.

Mark joined the Governing Body in October 2015 and is a Member of the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee as well as Lead Governor for Safeguarding.


Rory Gilbert

Rory Gilbert has worked in commercial organisations since qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young 25 years ago. He has a wealth of commercial experiences and a clear understanding of sound decision making in a competitive environment. He has extensive experience of risk management and internal control as well as a sound grasp of the importance of good corporate governance. Rory completed an MBA with the Open University in 2007.

Rory is the Financial Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Spirent Communications plc. Spirent are a leading Global Communications company with offices in the USA, Europe and Asia; at the Paignton office they specialise in test and measurement equipment for the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Markets.

Rory is a keen supporter of vocational education for young people and adults and is keen to develop people within organisations and organisational growth within our local community.

Rory joined the Governing Body in June 2017 and is a member of the Resources Committee.


lee-sodenLee Soden

Lee Soden has recently retired from working at a strategic level in the NHS, private sector and in Higher Education. For the past eight years he has been the Director of Estates and Facilities for Canterbury Christ Church University and was responsible for developing over £150 million of new University buildings in addition to managing all support facilities services with a budget of over £19 million and an income of over £12 million. During this time he developed a “student first” focus for the student experience plan for all Estates and Facilities student facing services.

Lee is now a resident of Torquay and is keen to contribute to his local community in a voluntary capacity. He is particularly keen to support students in developing their skills.

Lee joined the Governing Body in June 2017 and is a member of the Resources Committee and Project Board. He is also the Designated Governor for Health & Safety.