Governor Biographies

Clare Christie
Parent Governor and Vice-Chair of Governors
I have a daughter at St. John's and have been a parent governor since the end of 2017.  I work at Ashley Down Schools' Federation in Horfield and lead years 4, 5 and 6 across our two schools.  I am also maths lead there and in this capacity have worked with colleagues from St John's over the last decade in local maths leader networks.  I am also a primary maths SLE (Specialist Leader of Education), supporting other schools in Bristol with developing teaching and learning in maths. I also do bits of work for various other national maths education bodies.
Merche Clark
Co-opted Governor
Having studied Maths, I worked in the energy sector before moving to Brazil in the early 1990s. For the last 18 years I have run a business which imports books and educational materials into the country. I was a Governor for 12 years at the school my children attended (and was on the PTA for 5 years before that!). I moved back to the UK at the end of 2014 and, whilst I still work full time for my Brazilian business, I have enjoyed getting involved in local organisations and issues.
Lt Col Steen Clarke OBE, RE 
Co-opted Governor

I was born in Bristol and attended St John's School in the 1950s, my secondary education took place in both the private and public sector in Glamorgan and Sussex.  I eventually returned to Bristol to complete my education prior to joining the Army in 1972.  My career included command up to regimental level, a flying tour, and overt and covert intelligence operations in Ireland, the middle east and Africa.  After leaving the Army I continued to work in Deference Intelligence until my final retirement in 2011.  Both my sons were educated at Clifton College and I have three granddaughters in Dorset.  My Black Labrador and I share our time between Bristol and France.  I have written a book telling the story of the 37 old boys of the school who lost their lives in the 1st World War and organised the restoration of their memorial outside the former St John's Church.
Caroline Davenport
Foundation Governor 

I have been a Foundation Governor since 2013, representing the school’s foundation parish church All Saints with St John, Pembroke Rd. I have lived in Clifton and Redland for over thirty years and have a lifelong interest in education. I retired from teaching in the secondary sector five years ago, but continue to work as a tutor in Adult Learning. My professional specialism is Modern Languages and I am a qualified translator. Other interests include music and the visual arts. I have three daughters and a son, all educated in Bristol, five grandchildren – and a chocolate Labrador.


Justin Hoye


I have been headteacher at St. John’s since February 2009, having initially been appointed deputy head and Year 5/6 teacher in 2006. Prior to this, I started my career in a large, 2 site school in Buckinghamshire, teaching across the age ranges. Having worked my way up to senior teacher, I then left to work in Thailand. I spent 4 fabulous years here and learnt from a variety of international colleagues. My wife teaches autistic pupils at a special school and I have 2 primary aged children myself. I thoroughly enjoy my role and working with such an amazing group of people, especially such a supportive group of governors.


Dr. Laura Lafave

Parent Governor and Chair of Governors

I have been a parent governor since 2013 and Chair of Governors since July 2016. Originally from Pittsburgh, USA, I came to Bristol in 1993 as a Marshall Scholar to study for a PhD in Computer Science. Today, I work in IT as co-founder of a tech startup. I was previously Chair of an Ofsted Outstanding pre-school and currently serve on the Marshall Commission.  I have two children at St. John’s.


Rachel Miller

Staff Governor and Teacher


Emma Moore

Co-opted Governor and Teaching Assistant

I have been working as a Teaching Assistant since 2001 and have worked with children with SEN as well as being a general classroom assistant across all year groups in KS1 and KS2. It is simply the best job, with all the rewards of working with children, without hours of planning and marking! Allowing time to cook, sing, occasionally paint and, until my third son flew off to university last year, be a mem. In a previous life I worked as a graphic designer and have a keen interest to promote and encourage children to have as many creative outlets as the curriculum will allow.


Heather Price

Parent Governor

I have a little boy in Year 1 who is absolutely thriving at St John’s. Where possible I am committed to supporting the school in any capacity, from supporting my son’s class teachers during curriculum time, helping with Forest Schools and, because of my professional experience, I am actively involved in running and setting up after school activity clubs. 

 In 1997 I commenced my career as Teacher in Charge of Girls Physical Education. I then went on to work as part of the National role out of the PE and School Sport Strategy for Wales, which involved raising and maintaining standards in PE and School Sport. It was in this role that I worked closely with the primary sector, to identify individual key areas for development, and the gaps in provision in PE and school Sport.  

 In 2007 I was fortunate enough to secure a position with the truly inspirational company – the Youth Sport Trust. It was here as Development Manager that I was responsible for managing the School Sport Partnerships (a typical partnership consisted of between 30 to 70 schools) across the South West. This role involved providing the necessary ‘check and challenge’, and reporting back on progress against the National Strategy standards (amongst a range of other role including CPD, Resource Development). 

I am a keen sportswoman, who currently competes for Great Britain in Age Group Triathlon. In the past I have represented Welsh Universities, and Wales in Indoor Hockey. I am also the U8’s Co-ordinator and coach at Westbury Hockey Academy.


Emma Smart 

Co-opted Governor 

I have recently moved to Bristol having escaped London, where I worked as an architect for nearly 20 years. I’m currently still working for a practice in London.  Many of the building projects I have worked on during this time have been within the education sector, from small play centres through to university research buildings.  I have always been interested in education and the role that architecture and good design can play in creating and supporting teaching and learning environments and general well-being; I also understand the challenges that primary schools in particular face.
This is my first governor role, so there is a lot to learn!
Having a son two years ago prompted our move and we are enjoying getting to know Bristol and becoming more involved in the thriving local community.

Fr Charles Sutton

ex officio Foundation Governor

I am the vicar of All Saints with St John, Clifton. For most of my career I have been a ‘self-supporting priest’, working as an organisational psychologist, and have recently come back, again, into full-time parish life. A significant and rewarding part of my ministry was as the Head of Centre for an Outdoor Residential Centre in the Yorkshire Dales. As a Centre we did a great deal of work that merged environmental studies, social geography, creative arts with co-operative working in groups and teams. I have two daughters, one still at school here in Bristol and the other is in London, on the staff of UCL.


Marguarita Tyne

Foundation Governor

My son spent 3 happy years at St. John's School before moving on to secondary education in 2014. My family and I have attended All Saints with Saint John Church, the school's foundation church, regularly for many years. I am keen, alongside fellow Foundation Governors, to help support and develop the important link between the school community and All Saints Church in all its aspects. I practise full-time as a solicitor in Bristol with Clarke Willmott LLP, specialising in the area of Medical Negligence.


Ali Vining

Associate Member and Deputy Headteacher

I am the Deputy Head Teacher at St John’s Primary leading on the Lower Redland Road site. I have worked at St John’s for a mighty 20 years, which is a testament to how committed I am to our school! I have worked with 5 different Head Teachers, worked through 5 Ofsted Inspections and taught too many children to count! During this time I have taken on a variety of roles including full time and part time class teacher, Year Group Leader, Assessment co-ordinator, Lead Gifted and Talented co-ordinator for the NW cluster of schools and recently appointed as a school Governor. Living in Portishead, I also find time to be mother to two teenage children.


Tony Weir

Associate Member, Deputy Headteacher, and SENDCo

I started working at St John’s as Y5/6 teacher and deputy head in 2009. Since then I’ve taught mostly in Y3/4, but have been known to teach PE and Music. As the school has expanded so has my role. I’m currently Deputy Head of our junior site and SENCo for the whole school. I also lead in PE (managing the Sports Premium spend), Safeguarding, Mental Health and the Curriculum. 

I love learning new things and I hope this enthusiasm rubs off on the children and those around me. I spend most of my time when not in school with my wife (who is teacher /SENCo in N. Somerset) and my two beautiful girls aged 1 and 5, who seem to keep me busy! I live in Long Ashton and enjoy keeping fit and attempting to play guitar. 


Keira Stobie

Clerk to Governors