Academy Council

To contact a member of the Academy Council please email office@devinfacademy.org.uk or write a letter addressed C/o Devonshire Infant School Office, Auckland Road, Smethwick B67 7AT.

If you have questions for the Academy Council you can also contact your parent representative – see below.

Mr Marcus Bernasconi, Co-Chair

Marcus became an Academy Councillor after moving to nearby Cape Hill. In his professional life he works as an assistant to a Member of the European Parliament. He sees the role as Academy Councillor as an opportunity to ensure the school maintains high standards, and gives children the social and academic knowledge they need to succeed in the future. He believes it is so important that all children are given the same opportunity to have the best start in life and that is what Devonshire Academies provide. You can contact the Co-Chair using our office@devinfacademy.org.uk email address.

Mrs Harpal Tiwana, Co-Chair

I am an Assistant Service Manager for Community Medicine at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. ​ I have good leadership skills through managing a variety of specialities and am also employed as a Freedom to Speak up Guardian that allows me to listen and take action where necessary to ensure good outcomes for all. You can contact the Co-Chair using our office@devinfacademy.org.uk email address.

Mr Gurinder Josan

I have significant school governance, business and community experience. I am currently a Director of Victoria Academies Trust, a Governor at a local secondary school, and for a short time Chair of Governors at a Sikh faith free school in Leicester. I have also previously chaired an Interim Executive Board and been a management committee member of a Pupil Referral Unit. I am a Director of a long established family business - a plumbers merchants - and my community interests include chairing Sandwell Police Independent Advisory Group, and being a national executive member of Sikh Council UK.

Mr Donald Wright

I have had a long association with Devonshire Infant and Junior Academies. I was Headteacher of the junior school for 20 years, and obviously had close professional contact with the infants. Since my retirement, I have been involved in a variety of part-time and voluntary ways in the juniors. I hope I shall continue to be of service to the schools and their children, in what I am sure will be a very exciting future.

Ms Kathryn Lamb

I became an Academy Councillor at Devonshire Academies in September 2017, having visited the school in my professional capacity as a university lecturer. Previous to my current role, I was a primary school teacher and have taught in the Foundation Stage, KS1 and KS2, as well as being part of my then school's Senior Leadership Team. I was also a Staff Governor, so have previous experience of working on a board of councillors, albeit in a different capacity. I currently teach on a Primary PGCS programme. My particular areas of interest are mathematics and science, so I am hoping that these interests, in addition to my experience of schools and teaching, will be valuable in supporting the school to continue on its successful journey.

Mrs Elise Waldron, Head Teacher (Juniors)

I have been teaching for 16 years and prior to working here I was at a primary school leading and teaching Year 5 and Year 6. I joined Devonshire Junior as Assistant Head Teacher and Head of English in 2014 when the school became an Academy. I have always been passionate about reading and writing and have been English lead in the schools where I have taught. In 2018 I became Head of School and in 2020 I became Head Teacher. I am totally committed to providing the best opportunities for our children, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to be the best they can be; thus, I am dedicated to ensuring that my colleagues are developed professionally in their roles so they are happy and being the best they can be too. Outside of school, to help me relax, I enjoy reading and taking long walks with my dogs. I am a member of a large choir that performs at various events locally.

Mrs Sharon Gibson, Head Teacher (Infants)

I have been in teaching now for 33 years during which time I have worked in all phases of Primary Education. In 2008 I joined the team at Devonshire Infants as Deputy Head and took on the Head of School Role in 2014 when we became an Academy. In 2020 I became the Head Teacher. As an educator I am passionate about learning continuously and ensuring that my knowledge is up to date and informing professional development for those I work with. I am committed to building a strong, caring and happy staff equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to help our children be the best they can be. Personally, I also continue to learn by developing my interests in outdoor life, I have a full size allotment to grow most of my own fruit and veg and I own a horse. Being outdoors is excellent for my wellbeing and helps me to maintain a work life balance. I also love to draw and paint so currently attend classes with a local artist to improve my skills.

Ms Gemma Shelley, Staff Councillor

Ms Deborah Hunt, Staff Councillor