Officers for the current year are:
Chair: Fiona Boulton - Guildford High School
Fiona has been Headmistress of Guildford High School since 2002, having previously been the Deputy Head at GHS for 5 years. She was appointed as a Housemistress of a girls Sixth Form House at Stowe School in 1989. In 1991 she moved to Marlborough College to become the first Housemistress of New Court. She graduated with a BSc (Hons) from Cardiff University. She completed her PGCE at Exeter College, Oxford and her MA and NPQH in London. Fiona is an ISI Inspector and a former Chair of the HMC South Central Division. Guildford High School became a Teaching School in 2013 and, as a member of United Learning, is the lead school in the Teaching School Alliance for the 42 Academies and 14 Independent schools across the country. She works closely with the Heads of all the schools in United Learning and is passionate about State/Independent collaboration. Fiona has been a National Leader of Education since 2013. Fiona is Chair of HMC in 2019-2020
Vice Chair: Shaun Fenton - Reigate Grammar School
Inspired by the life-changing education he received, Shaun Fenton has undertaken leadership roles in some of the UK’s leading independent and state schools. His practice is underpinned by a strong belief in the power of education to open doors of opportunity and the conviction that young people must be supported with the very best pastoral care to enable them to embrace and achieve academic and extra-curricular success. Prior to joining Reigate Grammar School (RGS) in September 2012 Shaun led Pate’s Grammar School, Cheltenham and Sir John Lawes School, Hertfordshire. For four years in a row, RGS has been named the top co-educational day school in Surrey by The Telegraph and The Sunday Times and was judged to be “Exceptional” by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2016. Shaun has been on the board of education charity and examination board AQA; a National Leader of Education; a Foundation Fellow of Gloucestershire University; a member of the UCAS Service Advisory Group; an Associate of Reform; and an ISI Inspector. Educated at The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and Keble College, Oxford, Shaun briefly worked in the commercial world before returning to Oxford in 1993 to complete a PGCE and gained the degree of Master of Education in School Leadership. In addition, he holds the National Professional Qualification for Headship. Shaun and his wife Anna have two young sons. His passion for education is equalled by his love of sport, drama and music.
Additional Vice Chair: Chris Wheeler - Monkton Combe School
Chris Wheeler joined Monkton as Principal in January 2016. He previously served as Principal and CEO at Hillcrest International Schools in Kenya, Headmaster at St Christopher's, Hove, and has variously been Deputy Head, Housemaster (day and boarding) and Head of English. Chris continues to teach English and Drama and is passionate about innovative and inspirational education whether seeking effective ways to use technology to enhance classroom practice, developing ever stronger ways to take a proactive approach to pastoral care or forging international links to ensure pupils have a genuinely global outlook. Chris is a Vice-Chair of HMC and an ISI Team Inspector. He has been an examiner at GCSE and A-level and often speaks at churches and chapels across the country. When not doing any of these things, he likes to take to the hills with his paraglider or head to the Alps to snowboard; in quieter moments he walks his dogs or reads a good book. He is married to Georgie and has three children at Monkton Prep.
Chair Elect: Sally-Anne Huang - James Allen's Girls' School
Sally-Anne Huang was educated at Bolton School, and is now delighted to be a member of their governing body, along with those of Tonbridge School and Sevenoaks Prep. She then read Classics and English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She has an MSc in Educational Leadership and Management and, more recently, also completed a Masters degree in Children’s Literature, which is a personal passion of hers. Sally-Anne is currently Headmistress of James Allen’s Girls’ School, which she joined in September 2015. Her first headship was at Kent College, Pembury where she also chair of the Methodist Independent Schools heads’ group for two years. Her previous appointments have included Housemistress at Sevenoaks School, where she taught the International Baccalaureate, and Deputy Head at Roedean. Her professional interests include the importance of cultural diversity within schools and the power of performing arts in pupil experience. Married to Alexis, Sally-Anne has two teenage sons and two dogs; her interests include young adult fiction, immersive theatre and Welsh rugby.
Treasurer: Brendan Wignall – Ellesmere College
Brendan Wignall has served as the Headmaster of Ellesmere College in Shropshire, a coeducational boarding and day school, since 1996. He grew up in Preston and has a BA in Philosophy from York University and an MA in Philosophy from Leeds University. He has a PGCE from Leicester University. He began his teaching career at Oakham School in 1984. After three years at Oakham and five and a half years at Christ’s Hospital, Brendan was appointed as Head of English at Denstone College in Staffordshire and subsequently added to that responsibility by becoming Registrar. After three and a half years at Denstone he was appointed to Ellesmere. In his time at Ellesmere pupil numbers have grown by 70% and there has been an extensive building and land acquisition programme. Brendan is coming to the end of his time as Chair of the HMC Membership Committee. He is also Chair respectively of North West Academies Trust; CReSTeD, the leading dyslexia accreditation charity for schools; and British International Education Association, a non-profit organisation with a mission to promote the best of British educational practice overseas. He is married to Anne and has two children, both of whom attended Ellesmere. His son works in finance and accounting and his daughter is a screenwriter in Los Angeles. Brendan is a keen Liverpool supporter and attends most home games with his son.
Executive Director: Mike Buchanan
Mike Buchanan is now the Executive Director of HMC, the English speaking world’s oldest association of Head Teachers. From 2005-2018 he was Head of Ashford School, part of the United Learning group, where he oversaw its transformation from a small girls’ school to a thriving all-age, co-educational day/boarding, independent school of over 1,000 children and young people. Mike has experience in secondary education, all-through schools and boarding, and has held a variety of leadership posts in London and elsewhere. He helped to establish two state-funded Academies in London and a Free School in Kent. He is or has been a Governor of several leading independent schools, a trustee of a children’s charity, a Reporting Inspector, a National Leader of Education and a qualified Executive Coach and plays at being a farmer. He was the elected Chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) in 2016/17.
Mike’s interests are in school culture and climate, coaching, leadership, inspection, character development, the use of positive psychology in education and the role of independent schools within the worldwide educational landscape. He writes periodically for national newspapers including the TES and speaks on all of the above at conferences and more.
Membership Secretary: Ian Power
Ian Power has been the Membership Secretary of HMC since September 2009. He was educated at Guthlaxton College, Leicestershire after which he read Natural Sciences at Girton College, Cambridge and completed a PGCE at Girton in July 1983. He taught Physics and Mathematics at Aylesbury Grammar School, followed by posts at The King’s School, Worcester (Head of Physics) and Millfield (Head of Science and Houseparent), before becoming Headmaster of Lord Wandsworth College in September 1997. After twelve years at Lord Wandsworth he became Membership Secretary of HMC. Ian has also been an ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) inspector since 1998. Ian is a member of the Royal Institution in London, a safeguarding officer and sidesman at St. Andrew’s Church, South Warnborough and a keen cyclist and squash player. He is married to Lynn (who teaches Religious Studies at Lord Wandsworth College) and has two daughters (one who teaches English at Bradfield College, and the other has just graduated from King’s College, London).