Name: Fiona Stagg
Role: National Leader of Governance – Chair of Governors and Clerk
Sector: Both maintained and academy
Region: West Midlands – North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent
Years Served in Education: 13 as a governor
I have been a Chair of Governors for almost 5 years and a governor for 13. I participated in the NCTL Chairs Development Programme in 2013. I was appointed as an NLG just over 2 years ago and whilst I have to fulfil a number of deployments as part of this role (majority of which are coaching and mentoring) I am keen to raise the profile of governance to middle and senior leaders in particular as they do not necessarily come into regular contact with the Governing Board. I am also a clerk to governors in a range of settings including a special school, nursery and academies. I have recently been appointed as a Women Leading in Education volunteer coach by the NCTL.
My mentor is another NLG and we have a strong friendship which allows us to both support and challenge each other. This might not be the ideal model but it works for us.
Twitter Handle: @dogpaws23
Blog: https://clerkselbowsite.wordpress.com – this is not leadership blog as such but strays there from time to time.
Why do you lead?
As a Chair of Governors the leadership role is a de facto part of the job description. Governors are increasingly focus on the strategic leadership aspect of governance. This is an arena in which I am most comfortable but it is also increasingly challenging. The DfE state that the purpose of governance is to provide confident, strategic leadership and to create robust accountability, oversight and assurance for educational and financial performance. Helping and supporting other governors and those staff within school with a governance responsibility to grow in confidence, to challenge where appropriate and to share the responsibilities of being accountable but not delegate that accountability is one of the reasons I am happy to remain in the role of Chair. Plus I love governance.
Why do you engage with grassroots and social media?
As an avid user of Twitter I find the immediacy of Twitter a really useful way to connect with people as well as an extremely valuable CPD or personal development tool. I am on several closed Facebook Groups which are an excellent way to share ideas, issues and frustrations with colleagues and friends.
How to do you nurture leadership talent in others?
By encouraging governors to take the role of chairing a committee, by encouraging staff to attend Board meetings and present reports.
How do you maintain a work life balance?
By putting a red dot on the calendar next to the meetings I am being paid to attend! This is an instant visual representation of my working life.
What are the values that your shape you as a leader?
Ability to self-reflect (being motivated), learn from mistakes (being accountable) and working as part of a team being brave.
What has helped you progress in your leadership career?
The support and encouragement of the Headteacher at the school where I am Chair of Governors and the network of like- minded NLG I have as support. Changing careers made a big difference to me.
You may well deserve it but you won’t win.
I have been determined to prove her wrong ever since.
Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg particularly Chapter 7 ‘ Don’t Leave Before You Leave’ resonated because at the age of 50 I can now see where I went wrong (well up a point!) I do not have background in education but worked in a local authority planning department – a very male dominated environment within a team fixated on cricket. I left to become self-employed in 2003 when our daughter started school. My career took a nose dive. I do not want this to happen to anyone else.
Lead. Push. Follow.