Members of the College Board

Use the arrows to scroll through the various members of the College Board. The Board is also supported by two qualified accountant associate members and three co-opted committee members with human resources, audit and risk and higher education expertise.

David Pearson MBE, Chair

David has 49 years’ experience of working within the NHS and is currently Chair of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board and Joint Chair of the Integrated Care Partnership. Throughout his career he has held a variety of Clinical, Executive and Non-Executive positions including until recently the Chair of a large NHS Trust with an annual turnover of circa £380 million. David has extensive experience of organisational governance and partnership working. He brings a wealth of safeguarding experience, including managing complex safeguarding issues. Over the past 35 years, David has been involved in the transformation of health services including institutional closures and the development of a range of community, health and social care services. He has also held honorary appointments with Keele and Staffordshire Universities. He was made MBE for services to Staffordshire’s Mental Health Services in 2010. David has a lifelong interest in the countryside and agriculture and is married with three daughters and lives on a small holding in the Staffordshire Moorlands. He has served as a Parish Councillor for 20 years, serving as Chair during two terms.

David joined the Board on 1 August 2012. He is Chair of the Board and a member of the Quality and Standards Committee, the Search and Governance Committee, the Finance and General Purposes Committee and the Remuneration Committee. David is the designated governor for safeguarding.

Dr Elizabeth Harrison, Vice Chair

Liz is a marketing professional with expertise in customer insight and strategy. She provides consultancy to help grow businesses via strategic business planning and customer insight. Liz was formerly Head of Customer Strategy and Customer Relationship Marketing with the Co-operative Group and was Aldi Strategy & Insight Director at McCann Manchester. She is a member of both the Institute of Directors and the Market Research Society. Liz lives in Nantwich and has a strong interest in agriculture and the rural economy stemming from her own student days.

Liz joined the Board on 1 August 2013 and is chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and the Remuneration Committee. She is also a member of the Search and Governance Committee.

Karol Bailey

Karol has farmed sheep, poultry and pigs, based in Knutsford for over 30 years. She is part of the family arable and poultry processing business, producing free range turkey and geese for Christmas and specialising in processing organic, free range chickens for other leading providers. Karol also ran a successful farm shop for over 25 years, producing over 600 products from initial concept, to production and marketing. She is trained in Agriculture, has previously worked at Reaseheath in the 1980s and is a qualified food hygiene trainer.

Karol is a previous Board member of North West Fine Foods & Women’s Farming Union and a founder Board member of Food Standards Agency.

Karol joined the Board in December 2014 and is a member of the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee.

Malcolm Burns

Board Member - Malcolm BurnsMalcolm is a chartered surveyor, currently Portfolio Manager with Crown Estate:  England West and Wales.  He was formerly Land Strategy Manager (Estate Surveyor) with the Co-operative Group and is a Professional Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Malcolm has a strong interest in agriculture and the rural economy, with particular expertise in land and property management, investment and development. He is also a partner in a family farming business.

Malcolm joined the Board on 1 August 2012. He is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and chair of the Estates Development and Property Group.

Marcus Clinton, Principal

Marcus is the Principal and Chief Executive of Reaseheath College and University Centre, appointed from 1 August 2018. Marcus previously spent nearly four years as Principal at Northumberland College, with another five years as Vice Principal and Head of the College’s land-based provision at Kirkley Hall. Marcus has a wealth of experience in further education, apprenticeships and higher education partnerships, much of it spent in land-based and rural education. Marcus has represented Land-based Colleges on a number of regional and national groups, and currently sits on the Landex Board and the National Land-based College Board and Chairs the Land Based Learning Ltd Board. Marcus is also author of Horse Business Management

Marcus joined the Board on 1 August 2018. He is Principal of the College, a member of the Finance and General Purposes, Quality and Standards, Higher Education and Search and Governance Committees and a member of the Estates Development and Property Group.

Jane Cowell OBE

Jane Cowell was formerly a Director 16-19 Funding Allocations and Student Support with the Education and Skills Funding Agency. She was responsible for funding policy implementation and funding allocations to schools, colleges and other providers for 16-19 participation, post-16 High Needs Students and all post-16 Student Financial Support. Jane has spent her career in education and has held a number of leadership and management roles spanning colleges, HE, local authorities and the voluntary sector. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017 for services to the Department for Education. Jane is also a trustee for the Love Music Trust for the Cheshire East Local Authority area and a member of the Co-op Academies Trust Board.

Jane joined the Board as a member on 1 August 2019 and is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee.

Professor Gary Crowe

Gary Crowe brings expertise in commercial strategy, finance & risk management and business innovation to the Board. He was most recently a Professor in Innovation Leadership at the University of Keele Management School. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship and helping people achieve their potential and ambitions, he has experience in education governance as a previous main Board member at Staffordshire University and Chair at primary/secondary schools. Formerly Gary led enterprises as Managing Consultant at PA Consulting Group, an international management consultancy firm and in variety of senior positions in Retail and Commercial financial services. Gary is a fellow of a number of learned organisations and also holds other Board positions as an experienced advisor and Non-Executive director.

Gary joined the Board in March 2019 and is a member of the Audit Committee and the Higher Education Committee.

Andrew Fletcher

Andrew is a farmer and member of the NFU. He is Managing Partner at Grasslands UK, based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Operating across a number of counties, Grasslands UK specialises in contract managing dairy farms on behalf of landowners and Andrew has extensive experience in dairy and grasslands lean management. As an employer, Andrew relies heavily on the quality of skill and knowledge of those entering the farming industry and wants to support the college’s pivotal role in training the farmers of the future and in combining research and practise working alongside other leading knowledge transfer organisations in this area of the country. Andrew joined the Board in March 2018.

Andrew is a member of the Estates Development and Property Group.

Professor Chris Gaskell (CBE)

Professor Chris Gaskell has wide experience at senior executive level in the university sector, and advisory roles in science and policy in Government, specifically in agriculture and food, land and rural affairs, veterinary science, and governance and management. He was Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), Cirencester between 2007 and 2016 and previously at the University of Liverpool as Pro-Vice Chancellor.

Chris is a veterinary surgeon, experienced in the governance of a self-regulating profession through previous membership of the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, statutory visitation groups, education and disciplinary committees. He was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2012 for services to veterinary medicine and agriculture.

Chris is a member of the Higher Education Committee and the Search and Governance Committee.

Mike Gorton

A farmer, Mike is based in Macclesfield, Cheshire and has been part of the dairy industry since leaving school in 1978 to undertake an HND in Agriculture at Harper Adams. Mike is very involved in the industry and has been on the National Dairy Board for a number of years. He also has extensive educational and multi-academy trust governance experience, including at Chair and Vice Chair level and with specific responsibilities for safeguarding, audit and financial matters. Mike brings his passion for agriculture and education together in his role at Reaseheath. Mike was appointed as a member of the Board in July 2019.

Mike is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee and the Audit Committee.

Peter Green

Peter Green has spent most of his working life involved in land-based education and training. He started teaching in Sussex and then moved on to Reaseheath, where he has spent thirty-eight years in teaching and management, finishing as a member of the college management team having responsibility for quality and student support. During the last few years Peter has held roles working on behalf of Reaseheath in supporting improvement in two other colleges. Now retired, Peter continues to contribute, this time to the governing body, where he brings his extensive experience of quality improvement in further education and apprenticeships, as well as practical knowledge of the college, to support effective governance and oversight.

Peter joined the Board in March 2019 and is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee and the Audit Committee.

Angela Potter

Angela has twenty years’ experience in corporate banking, with 15 years in the education sector managing a portfolio of further education colleges and local authorities. She is currently Relationship Director, Education and Local Government, Corporate Banking Origination at Barclays, based in Manchester.  She has extensive experience of corporate governance, including further education governance, having served previously as a member of governing bodies, including in the land-based sector.

Angela joined the Board in December 2017 and is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Jackie Schillinger, Clerk to the Board

Jackie was born and grew up in Worleston, Nantwich.  She moved away to work in London as a solicitor and later in the Midlands as Director of Training and Development for a national network of law firms.

Jackie took on the role of Clerk to the Board in January 2013.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair has over thirty years’ experience of the learning and skills sector, originally training as an Agricultural Engineer. His career has included roles at Reaseheath and Hartpury, as well as experience as a full-time inspector.

Alastair has extensive experience of operational and strategic management, quality improvement across agriculture, horticulture, environmental and countryside, animal care, equine, floristry and land-based engineering subjects.

He is an Incorporated Engineer and Chartered Environmentalist and is active in supporting the development of careers in the Agricultural Engineering Sector.

Alastair joined the Board in May 2014 and is Chair of the Quality and Standards Committee and a member of the Search and Governance Committee.

Liz Watts

Liz is a CIM qualified marketing professional with a background in digital marketing and marketing communications. Liz grew up in Nantwich, with the college playing a huge part in her upbringing. She joined the marketing department after completing her Marketing Management degree in 2009.

Recently appointed as Head of Marketing, Liz is responsible for the marketing communications across the Reaseheath College group. She leads on the development and implementation of marketing strategies which engage with the college’s audience across multiple communications channels.

Liz joined the Board in July 2019 as a staff governor and is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and the Higher Education Committee.

Evelyn Davies-Jones

Evelyn qualified as a solicitor and spent much of her career in the private and public sector, in particular specialising in employment and commercial contract law. She also has extensive experience of further education senior management including company secretarial and compliance, governance, audit and risk management, at executive and board levels. She is committed to life-long learning and unlocking potential at both an individual and organisational level.

Evelyn joined the Board in August 2021 and brings her wealth of experience to support governance at the college. She is a member of the Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee and the Estates Development and Property Group.

Professor Eunice Simmons

Eunice is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Chester.  She is an environmentalist by academic background, with a BSc in Biology, an MSc in Conservation of Soil Fertility and a PhD in Forest Ecology. She has combined her interests in education and the environment throughout her career in higher education, which has spanned teaching and learning and education management in diverse institutions including University of London’s Wye and Imperial Colleges, UCLAN, the University of Cumbria and Nottingham Trent University before joining the University of Chester as VC. She brings this passion for education and the environment into her governance role and joined the Board in August 2020.

Phil Gibbon

Phil joined the Board as a staff member in August 2021. He has extensive teaching and learning experience both on full time and apprenticeship education programmes in the land-based and rural subject areas, particularly agriculture, as well as running his own farm. As well as his teaching, Phil is a member of the college’s work-based co-ordination team and this keeps him very much in touch with employers and commercial businesses within our vocational areas. Phil is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee.