Tony Ashley, Vice Chair of Governors

I have been attending the college since the mid-eighties, first as a Student in IT, which is my passion, and then for classes in guitar, keyboard and maths.  I was drawn to volunteering at the college and helped learners in maths and IT classes, which was very rewarding.  As the years progressed I wondered how I could further contribute to the college and the logical step was to join the Governing Body, which I did and eventually became Vice Chair. I will continue to do this for as long as possible, giving back to an organisation that has provided me with so much pleasure and satisfaction over many years and supporting others to get the most out of their unique learning journey.

Jane Vernon Smith, Co-opted Governor

Passionate about education and learning and the many benefits it provides, I have been a governor at the college since 2013.  I am a freelance journalist, writing for worldwide student recruiters about international education. My previous experience includes bookselling and library work, as well as a number of years as marketing services manager for a general book publisher.  I have served as a trustee of Citizens Advice Southend since 2009, and am also the media officer for my local residents’ association.

Natalie Solomons, Co-opted Governor

I run an Events, Marketing and PR company – Kiwi Productions – based in Southend.  My clients include The Royals Shopping Centre, Southend Business Improvement District (Southend BID), Southend Borough Council, and Havens Hospices. My company is firmly rooted in the local community and I am passionate about Southend and the opportunities that the town has to offer to the next generation of learners. A former presenter on the Radio Essex Breakfast Show and a TV Actress, I have coached many people through confidence building sessions and interview preparation techniques.  I am dedicated to using my experience and knowledge to support the college and its learners.  This is an exciting period for the college, with many innovative and ambitious ideas that will come to fruition in the coming years.

Cllr Anne Jones, Local Authority Governor

I moved to Southend, from London, with three young children.  When number four came along, I took the opportunity to refresh my IT skills and attended the Adult Community College…time well.spent!  My background is with the Department for Work and Pensions doing Training and Skills.  For the last two decades I have been an advocate for families with children with SEN/Disabilities. I have been a School Governor since 2002 and a Member of Southend Council since 2012 undertaking the Children and Learning Portfolio.

Laurain Zialor, Staff Governor

I am currently a tutor at the college and since October 2012 I have worked particularly with adults with learning difficulties.  During my time I have been involved in community-based projects, worked as a drawing and painting tutor and as resource coordinator for the college’s online platform, Moodle. I am currently studying for my TAQA Level 3 qualification to be a quality assessor.  My work with the college is classroom based and I took on the role of staff governor so I could learn more about why things happen at the college, the factors that influence them and the roles of other members of staff. I am interested in the dynamics of the College as an education provider and as a service provider within the community.  I have a Fine Art Painting honours degree and Librarianship and information management master’s degree. I am still an arts practitioner and continue to paint and draw.

Ros Parker, Principal Southend Adult Community College

As a returner learner myself I am passionate about the difference learning makes to young people and adults.  Having worked in a variety of settings including schools, colleges, prisons, businesses, galleries and councils I bring experience that has shaped the leader I am today.  As the Principal and Governor at the College I am dedicated to ensuring we have a vision that secures Southend Adult Community College as the Home of Learning.

Emma Cooney, Southend Borough Council Observer

I have worked at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council for over 10 years, with a background in Economic Development and am currently the Director of Regeneration and Growth.  My remit includes major regeneration projects such as a Better Queensway and the Airport Business Park; economic growth activity such as the BEST Growth Hub; and skills which now includes the lead relationship with the College.  While not from Southend originally I am passionate about the town and working with others to deliver projects which maximise individual and collective potential in Southend.  Outside of work I am a Girls Brigade leader and the trustee of a small charity which provides a pop-up youth provision.

Emma Harding, Clerk to the Governing Body

I have worked as a Clerk for a variety of schools and provisions across Southend and Essex since 2014.  I am passionate about social mobility and change management and the role education, learning and mentoring has in broadening opportunities and the fulfillment of potential.  I’ve worked in both the private and public sectors and enjoyed teaching and volunteering within the spheres of wellbeing and coaching.