Academies are schools funded by the government with the freedom to govern independently – but all are accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. To share resources and best practice, many are part of multi-academy trusts – a network of schools under one legal body.

Helenswood Academy is part of Ark - a leading education charity and one of the country’s top-performing academy operators. Ark is non-denominational and does not make any profit from running its schools.

Ark’s relationship with the Secretary of State is set out in the master funding agreement. There are also supplemental funding agreements for each individual school in the network, including Helenswood.

Every school in the Ark network is the legal responsibility of the Ark Schools Board. This board focuses on statutory duties and delegates most day-to-day responsibilities to the Local Governing Body (LGB). This means that, unlike in most non-academy governing bodies, governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

PDF iconAmendment and Restatement Agreement

PDF iconHelenswood  Academy Supplemental Funding Agreement


Ark Helenswood’s LGB is made up as follows:

  • Six to 10 members appointed by Ark, including the Chair - usually people with a local connection or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area.
  • Helenswood Academy’s Principal
  • One  parent governor
  • One  teaching staff governor
  • One non-teaching staff governor
  • One local authority representative from the East Sussex County Council

Ark aims to create a balanced group that will have the right skills, connections and dynamic for the LGB to work well and support the school in achieving exceptional performance:

  • Good insight into the specific challenges at the school and the general challenges of operating top-quality schools
  • Excellent community links
  • Specific skills as needed by/relevant to the school
  • A link to the senior executive team of Ark


Governors can be contacted through the clerk, Charles Shaw (

If you are interested in becoming a governor, please visit If you have any governance-related queries, please contact


Tracy Dohel (Principal)


Karen Chang (Chair and Marketing Link Governor)

Born in Hawaii, I grew up in Los Angeles. I migrated north to the San Francisco Bay area to study political science at Stanford University. After getting a BA in Political Science, I did my grad degree at the Graduate School of Education. Following that, I briefly taught high school history, law and civics. I then went on to run a five school secondary system in the San Francisco Bay area.

I now serve as Chair for Stanford’s alumni interview and outreach programme in the UK and Ireland and am on the Stanford Women's Board. This reflects both my commitment to opening doors to higher education for all students and in encouraging high aspirations among young women.

I also teach courses on Chinese History and Culture. I have always been passionate about education and have volunteered and taught at all levels from pre-school to university.

I am very honoured this year to serve as Helenswood Chair of Governors.

Juliet Fisher (Parent and Safeguarding Link Governor)

I decided to become a governor at Helenswood Academy as I had experience as a parent governor at a local primary school (which recently became an academy) as my daughter moved from Year 6 to 7 I wished to continue as a parent governor at her Secondary school.

In my time as parent governor I have received training and gained experience in  child protection, Ofsted, health and safety, finance (understanding school budgets) and much more.

Being a parent I know what I would look for from a parents’ perspective when it comes to our children’s educational needs and am looking forward to how the academy is going to move forward and progress with the times and the effect this is going to have on our children.



David Hinton (People Link Governor)

David is Founder and Managing Director of The Work People, an award-winning social enterprise employment agency based in Hastings.
After leaving William Parker in 2003 David built a career in Human Resources with Hastings Borough Council. Since then he has worked for several public, private and third sector organisations delivering employment and careers services across East Sussex before eventually setting up The Work People in 2013.

He is a passionate advocate for social enterprise and regularly speaks at events across the UK and abroad. In 2013 he founded Social Enterprise East Sussex with the aim of supporting the social sector in the region.

He is Chair of the Hastings and Rother Adult Community Learning Forum and a founding member of the fundraising committee for the Seaview Project, a Hastings-based charity which tackles homelessness and supports vulnerable people.

Robert Lloyd (Sixth Form Link Governor)

Both of my daughters attended Helenswood and one is still at Parkwood 6th form.

I have a degree in Economics and History from University of Kent at Canterbury and so hopefully understand the importance of education in giving young people the best start in life.

My family moved to Hastings in 2006 having lived most my adult life in London.

I have had a variety of work experience; working as a Lloyds insurance broker in the city, an estate agent, in retail management, but mainly as a self employed builder and property developer.

I have traveled extensively, often overland, in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, South East Asia, China, USSR (as it was), Australia, as well as much of Europe. I enjoy photography, travel, and sailing as hobbies, and am an active member of the Hastings and St Leonards Sailing Club.

Fran Simpson

As ex Helenswood student, Fran is excited to be returning to the school which has many happy memories for her. With a keen interest in the arts which has continued to this day , Fran remembers fondly the many opportunities which Helenswood offered her. Fran has gone on to work in a range of schools supporting children from 0-11 and has 3 children of her own. With expertise in SEN and how to support vulnerable pupils Fran looks forward to building on the successes Helenswood Ark Academy has already had in offering quality teaching for all and raising aspirations within the local area.

Laurence Wells (Local Authority and Finance Link Governor)

As a management consultant, I bring experience of solving problems and improving standards in central and local government across different sectors including health, education, IT and the environment. My main area of expertise is in value management and evaluation, which translates as helping organisations focus on the right things and measure their success.

Prior becoming a consultant in 2008, I worked for the Home Office for two years and then as a manager in the NHS for seven, though my first real job after leaving school was the nine months I spent on the production line in a chocolate factory!

I have a varied educational background having attended schools in Kingston (Jamaica) and Kathmandu (Nepal) as well as Sandy (Beds), Welwyn, St Albans (both Herts) and East Dereham (Norfolk) in England. I gained a First class honours degree in International and Political studies from Coventry University and an MSc in International Relations from the University of Southampton.

My wife and I moved to St Leonards in Spring 2012 from London and our daughter was born a year later.


Emma Perkin (Ark Link Governor)

Emma has over fifteen years’ experience in the school governance sector and is the Founder and Lead Consultant of The Constant Group. Prior to this Emma was Head of Governance at Ark Schools and worked to transform the network's governance offer including establishing clear accountabilities, reporting, induction, training and communications for governors drawing on an extensive background and understanding of school governance. Emma has a background in senior school administration and has clerked for two of London’s ‘outstanding’ schools, Camden School for Girls and St Marylebone Church of England School. Emma has a History degree from the University of Leeds.


Liz North

A senior communications and campaigning professional, Liz has worked in the not-for-profit sector for almost 20 years, and since June 2017 has been Director of External Affairs at health charity the College of Podiatry. Liz’s charity experience includes senior roles at ChildLine and Macmillan Cancer Support, at pioneering online youth charity YouthNet and most recently as Director of Communications and Campaigning at children and young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent. Liz has a strong interest in leadership development and is a Board Member of the Chairs and Facilitators Executive of respected cross-sector leadership organisation the Windsor Leadership Trust, where she regularly facilitates on leadership programmes. Liz moved from London to East Sussex at the end of 2015 having built close ties with the area over many visits to close family in Hastings and annual holidays near Bodiam.


All Appointments are made by the Director of Governance for Ark Schools.  The term of a governor is three years, except for the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of her time in post.  The register of interests and attendance for LGB governors can be found here: PDF iconArk Helenswood LGB 2017-18 - DOI and Attendance