Meet Our Governors

Phil Mitten (Chair)

Phil is a serving Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in the British Army and has spent most of his career in training, coaching, and mentoring roles. He self-studied an Honours degree and also a Masters degree in Education, through part time distance learning, the latter specialising in the leadership and management of adults who engage with learners. He has an in-depth knowledge of neurodiversity, wellbeing, inclusion and equity, and mental health. Phil spent two years as Assessment Governor at a primary school before relocating and proudly taking up the role of Chair at The Wellington Academy's Local Governing Board. He is highly motivated to use his knowledge, skills, and experience to influence positive changes in young people's lives so that they can be happy, healthy, and go on to have prosperous futures. 

Rupert Gregory (Vice-Chair)

Mr Gregory has been a classroom teacher, in Newbury, since September 1990. During this time he has held a number of responsibilities and for the past eighteen years has been second in Faculty being responsible for the teaching of Mathematics in the sixth form. In addition to academic studies he has been in the CCF since 1991. He is a Tidworth Town Councillor and represents the local community on the LGB. He has a liking for cars, in particular MGs, and likes to spend time in the garage. He lives in Tidworth, with his wife, and has done so since 1997.



Mark Freeta

Mark has been on the local governing body since 2015 and brings industry experience having had a long career in telecommunications both at a technical level and also global business management. Mark has lived in the area for the last 18 years and is a keen supporter of the local area having taken on a number of voluntary roles with the aim to make a positive difference and give something back.


Simon Culley

Simon Culley is still serving in the military, and has completed 25 years with the Royal Engineers, his primary role is in logistics and construction. He has deployed around the world in a variety of roles.  He has spent a total of 14 years in Tidworth between postings and has seen most of changes that have happened within local area and Wellington Academy. This is the first time he has been on the local governing body.


Steven Paddock

My career has been varied to date, with a period of time within the banking recruitment sector in London and New York, before eleven years at a comprehensive school in Croydon and four years as Deputy Head teacher at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy before joining The Wellington Academy. I look at the world as a sports person, life to me is about setting and chasing goals/dreams, my current adventure is to prepare for the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe race. I am married with two children and have a Springer Spaniel puppy. My spare time is spent competing/training and preparing for the sports I do which include, running, cycling, kayaking and triathlon. The latter sport is close to my heart as I have competed for GBR in the recent past.  I am a leader within Wellington as I believe wholeheartedly that education gives young people control and ultimately power over their futures and I want to embed this within each and every pupil at The Wellington Academy as we move forward together.


Isla Thorne

Isla has been a teacher for 12 years, having previously spent time working in business and retail management.  She has worked in several schools, all with different academic profiles, in London, Kent, Essex and Oxfordshire. She came to TWA after spending time in Brazil, where she had been with her spouse who was on Military posting. This is her first time as a school governor.


Jacqui Lord

Jacqui is currently the Senior Science Technician at the Academy and has worked there since 2015. She has also worked at Bishop Wordsworth School, St Joseph’s School and Westwood St Thomas School in Salisbury. Prior to moving to the area in 2000 Jacqui was an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve. She has previously been a governor at a local primary school including spending some time as the Chair of governors.


Major Robert Crean

Originally working as a Secondary Science teacher in Liverpool, Bob joined the Army in 2009, commissioning into the Educational & Training Services Branch. Bob has done a wide range of education-related roles, including assuring training courses, mentoring course designers, training instructors, working as a coaching advisor and teaching a plethora of subjects to soldiers at every rank (from Corporal to Major). 


Lisa Ashford-Smith

Lisa is a parent governor at TWA and currently has one child attending the academy. An experienced teacher of 16 years with previous school leadership and governing roles in different counties,  Lisa is able to bridge the parent / professional role and understand the challenges both parents and professionals face day to day. Lisa is driven by the importance of working in partnership in order to provide our children with the very best educational experiences and opportunities. 

Lisa also has a trauma informed background so student well-being is a focus. With being a forces family, Lisa also understands the nature of families moving and periods of parental absence during schooling and how this impacts on our children. 


If you would like to make contact with any of our Governors please email the clerk via: