About Us

Our Governors

Alison Beckett

Chair of Governors

Alison Beckett joined the Governing body in 2013, and has been Chair of the Education Committee. She was appointed Chair of Governors in 2020. She attended the City of London School for Girls, read Geography at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and gained an MBA at London Business School.

Alison has had a career working in consulting firms and industry. She joined Ford Motor Company in European Supply as a buyer. After her MBA she joined the strategy consultants Arthur D. Little and then worked in the upstream oil industry for Conoco in Aberdeen and London in Finance and Commercial leadership roles. For almost 20 years, she was a consultant with Egon Zehnder, the global leadership advisory and executive search firm, before finishing her executive career at the sustainable packaging company Ardagh Group as Group Talent Director. Now she is engaged in non-executive work and alongside Sevenoaks School, she is an independent director for a Canadian mining company and is a volunteer Assistant Ranger at the National Trust. Alison lives in Kent and has two grown-up daughters who studied at Sevenoaks School. Her passions are education and biodiversity.

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Christopher Gill


Chris was educated at Dover Grammar School for Boys and Loughborough University where he read Economics and Finance. He was appointed to the governing body in 2017.

Chris spent much of his career in banking at HSBC, primarily in risk management, in London and New York. In 2011 he helped lead the management buyout of InfraRed Capital Partners, an investment management business specialising in infrastructure and real estate. As Deputy Chief Executive, Chris oversees both the day-to-day operations of the business and the investment process for its various funds. His three sons were all pupils at Sevenoaks School.

Kirsteen Allen

Kirsteen Allen joined the governing body in 2019. A graduate of Leeds University, she studied Mathematics and Management Studies before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in practice in London.

Kirsteen was a partner at Arthur Andersen and worked on external audit clients in the financial services sector, latterly specialising in Internal Audit consultancy and partnership. After spending some time living in New York and Tokyo with her family, Kirsteen founded and co-ran a successful recruitment and flexible working consultancy agency in West Kent. During this time Kirsteen was also a board member on the Sevenoaks Chamber of Commerce. Since selling this business in 2020, Kirsteen has been working as Finance Manager for a local bespoke tea-blending business. Kirsteen lives in Sevenoaks and both of her daughters attended Sevenoaks School.

Charlie Barda

Charlie Barda joined the governing body in 2023.

Roger Best

Roger Best joined the governing body in 2018. He is a member of the Governance and Education Committees and also serves as the school’s nominated trustee for Sevenoaks Almshouses.

Roger was educated at The Judd School, Tonbridge, and the University of Durham where he gained a BA in Economics and Law. He qualified as a solicitor and was a partner in an international law firm. His professional work focused on contentious issues and cross-border investigations. Roger has held various management and oversight roles at his law firm including managing partner of the office in Hong Kong where he lived for seven years. Externally, Roger is active in a number of anti-corruption organisations, he has chaired international arbitration tribunals and, in 2021, was appointed as an Alternate Complaints Commissioner to investigate complaints against the UK’s financial regulators.

Roger has a long association with Sevenoaks; his sister joined the school for the Sixth Form and his four children were pupils between 1992 and 2017.

John Davies

John Davies joined the governing body in 2017. He was educated at Monmouth School and the University of Bristol and is a solicitor specialising in competition law. He is a partner in the international law firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, where he has held a number of management positions. He advises clients on the international regulatory aspects of transactions and investigations.

John is a Non-Governmental Adviser for the European Commission at the International Competition Network and the Chairman of UKLegalFuture, a group of lawyers advising on the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe. John was named Competition Lawyer of the Year by Global Competition Review in 2016. He has three children, all of whom attended Sevenoaks School.

Eliza Ecclestone

Eliza Ecclestone, who joined the governing body in 2010, studied for the International Baccalaureate at Sevenoaks School. A graduate of Southampton University and the London College of Law, Eliza practised as a solicitor specialising in family law.

Now she is the managing trustee of St Clere Estate, where she lives with her husband and three children. She launched and runs a successful events business from St Clere alongside the property management and farming businesses. Eliza is also a Family Mediator specialising in succession issues. She is on various boards of Trustees, including the Sevenoaks Almshouses, and received a BEM in 2022 for service to the community in Sevenoaks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Charlotte Houghteling

Charlotte Houghteling joined the governing body in 2023. Charlotte was educated at Harvard University (BA), the University of Cambridge (MPhil), Columbia University School of Law (JD) and the London School of Economics (LLM), and is currently completing her PhD at the University of Buckingham.

Charlotte began her career as a lawyer in New York City where she was a founding partner at a boutique litigation firm and was named a New York Super Lawyer Rising Star. She then moved back to the UK and co-founded A-List Education UK, an educational services firm offering guidance on the US university process. Charlotte worked with thousands of students and numerous independent schools, and she helped establish a programme to send pupils in the ARK Schools network to the US on scholarships. She is active in the non-profit community in Boston, where she is from, and has volunteered with Year Up, an organisation specialising in career development, for nearly two decades.

Guy Innes

Guy Innes was educated at Eton College and the University of Bristol, where he read Geography. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he worked in London and Paris advising on corporate mergers and acquisitions. He was also Chairman of St John Ambulance Kent from 2010 to 2012.

As well as running a diverse portfolio of his own and family businesses, he currently serves as Governor (effectively Chief Executive) of the Titsey Foundation and serves on the boards of several companies in the building products and bio-technology sectors. He has two daughters and two sons.

Paul Luxmoore

Paul was the Executive Headteacher of Coastal Academies Trust, consisting of five state schools in Thanet, four secondary and one primary.

Paul is now retired. He was a National Leader of Education and a co-opted member of the IBSCA Steering Committee. He was also a member of the Kent Association of Headteachers Executive and the Kent and Medway Teaching Schools Association. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital School and University College, London and is married with three school-aged children.

Melanie McInerney

Melanie McInerney joined the governing body in November 2019. She holds the Diploma in School Business Management and brings a wealth of experience, having served for 17 years as governor of a large local primary school, latterly as Chair.

A pharmacology graduate from the University of Bristol, Melanie qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant in 1992. During her career she undertook a range of management accounting roles at Glaxo Wellcome plc and was Regional Commercial Finance Manager of Asda plc. Melanie has had some success with fundraising for the primary school and a local sports club, enjoys running and has an interest in wellbeing. Her daughters attended the Sixth Form at Sevenoaks School.

Mark Merson

Mark was educated at Warwick School and New College, Oxford, where he studied English. He was appointed to the governing body in 2018.

A chartered accountant, Mark was a partner at Andersens and Deloitte, specialising in consulting to banks and financial services. He subsequently spent 15 years with Barclays in senior roles in finance, including Group Financial Controller, Head of Investor Relations through the credit crunch, CFO for the Corporate and Investment Bank, and latterly Deputy Group Finance Director. Widely travelled through work and personal interest, having lived in Japan and worked through Europe, India, Africa and the US, he is director of Petershill Partners PLC and founding partner of Veritum Partners Limited, a consultancy to European Banks. All three of his daughters attended Sevenoaks School.

Dr Andrew Timms

Andrew Timms joined the governing body in 2015. He read music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and completed a PhD at the University of Bristol.

He has worked at The Queen’s College, Oxford, since 2006, and in 2014 was appointed Bursar. His post carries responsibility for the College’s finances and the management of its endowment.

Anita Yuravlivker

Anita Yuravlivker joined the governing body in 2018, having previously worked at Sevenoaks School as Assistant Bursar. She studied for her International Baccalaureate here and went on to gain a degree in Chemistry and Business Management from Imperial College.

In 2005 she qualified as a Chartered Accountant, worked in practice at Ernst & Young and prior to returning to Sevenoaks School, had a stint as the Finance Director of Greenpeace USA in Washington DC. Anita currently lives in Eton with her family and serves as a trustee to the local preschool.

Contact our Governors

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