Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School

Mathilda Marks-Kennedy
Jewish Primary School

Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School Life at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School
The Governing Body

Governors' Impact Statement

As school governors, we are responsible for the strategic direction and the financial performance of Mathilda Marks-Kennedy. We challenge and monitor the School’s Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team. Within this remit, we meet as a full governing body once a term, contribute to the school improvement plan and regularly oversee various aspects of the school through, for example learning walks, and meetings of four specific committees:

(i)    Curriculum, with a Jewish Studies working party;

(ii)   Finance and General Purposes (and premises and security working parties);

(iii)  Personnel; and

(iv)  Admissions.

The Governing Body comprises relevant skills and expertise; our governors work in fields such as law, accountancy, education and communication. Keen to improve and keep our skills updated, we also regularly attend professional governor training. We volunteer our time and energy to promote the School’s vision to the best of our ability, while adhering to our inclusive ethos. Indeed, we aim to drive best practices throughout the school in order to match our aspiration that each child receives the best education to enable him or her to fulfil his or her potential.

The Governing Body

The Governing Body is chaired by Ali Gurfinkel and the Vice-Chair is Aaron Livingston.  The Governing Body comprises seven Foundation Governors, including the Chair.   There is also a Local Authority appointed Governor, two Parent Governors (elected by the parents), a Staff Governor and one co-opted Governor.

Mrs Dunstan, as Headteacher, is a Governor ex-officio.  In addition, there are currently seven Associate Members of the Governing Body who lend their expertise to the School and attend Governing Body meetings but do not have full voting rights.  Mrs Wilkinson, as Deputy Headteacher, also attends Governing Body meetings in a similar capacity to an Associate Governor.

Please click here to view the Governors' Register of Interests.
Please click here to view the Governors' membership of committees. 

Ali Gurfinkel

Chair of Governors, Appointed January 2017


Ali Gurfinkel has over 20 years of experience working in the financial services sector, and until recently worked as an economic editor in the country-risk assessment department for a leading global ratings and business information company.

As Chair of Governors, Ali has a broad and strategic overview of the workings of the governing body and school thanks to her weekly meetings with Mrs Dunstan, her membership of each of the governors’ committees and her weekly visits to MMK to practice Hebrew reading with pupils.

She has two children: one daughter who attends JFS and one son at Rimon. 

 Aaron Livingston

Vice Chair of Governors, Foundation Governor, appointed May 2012

Aaron is a qualified chartered accountant and school finance director with a blend of professional services, business advisory and FTSE 100 corporate experience in transactions and change management.

Aaron is a member of the Finance and Personnel committees and is driven to support MMK's continuing ability to deliver a comprehensive provision combined with its unique nurturing and caring environment for all pupils, balancing delivery with value for money in an ever tightening financial environment for small schools.

Aaron grew up in Glasgow and has two children at MMK.  He is a long-time leader and supporter of the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade, involved with the training and development of young leaders.

Sara Gamsu

Foundation Governor, Chair of Curriculum Committee, appointed October 2013

Sara has been a secondary school English teacher for the past 18 years and currently teaches at North London Collegiate School in Edgware.  

Sara chairs the Curriculum Committee. As a mother of four children she is committed to supporting the school in providing every child with the best possible educational opportunities.   She and her family have been residents of Mill Hill for over a decade and are members of Mill Hill United Synagogue.

Martin May

Foundation Governor, Chair of Finance Committee, appointed March 2014

Martin is a Chartered Accountant with 30 years professional services experience working in his own practice in Hendon dealing mainly with audit, accounts and tax for owner managed businesses, charity clients and high net worth individuals.

Martin is married to Gillian who has worked as a TA at MMK for over 10 years. He has two adult children one of whom is a primary school teacher. Martin has served as a trustee and treasurer for New North London Synagogue where he is a member

Area of interest: Governance and finance, Premises
Areas of responsibility: Chair of Finance Committee

Kim Katz

Foundation Governor, Chair of Personnel Committee, appointed January 2012

Kim Katz is a Career Coach. She works at London Business School and London School of Economics helping students achieve their career and leadership aims as well as in the private sector, coaching executives and people in career transition. She also delivers workshops and presentations.​

Her area of interest is Personnel, staff recruitment and development.

Kim has lived in Mill Hill for 25 years and having experienced the benefits of Jewish education in her native South Africa, is a strong advocate for local Jewish schools. 

Richard Sultman

Foundation Governor, Chair of Admissions Committee, appointed March 2009

Richard Sultman is a solicitor at an international law firm, where he specialises in UK and international tax matters -- mostly for businesses but also for some not-for-profit organisations. 

He takes a keen interest in all legal matters affecting the School and he chairs the Admissions Committee.  He also has a particular interest in disability and special educational needs, and he supports the School's Special Needs Co-ordinator on certain matters. 

Richard currently has one child at the School, but at various times he has had two others at the School.  He is a member of the local community and sees the huge benefits to that community provided by a local school with the many qualities of MMK.

Deborah Cohen

Local Authority Governor, appointed October 2015

Deborah Cohen is an education consultant. She worked in Barnet for 26 years, latterly as an advisory teacher supporting schools across the borough and parents of children with special educational needs.

Deborah serves on the Curriculum sub-committee and has special responsibility for both Special Educational Needs and Safeguarding.

Deborah fully endorses the ethos of MMK as an inclusive school with high expectations of all children, both academically and personally.

Amanda Collins

Foundation Governor, appointed October 2013

After a long career in marketing, Amanda is now an author, coach and mentor, working with students and parents.  

She has responsibilities for strategy. 

Amanda has three grown-up children and became involved with MMK through seed, whom she worked with while a governor at Kerem School, to bring their adult education into a school for the first time. 

Katherine Coleman

Parent Governor, appointed September 2015

Katherine is a solicitor specialising in Employment Law.  She is 11 years' qualified and works for an international law firm advising on a broad range of employment law matters (both contentious and non-contentious) although has recently moved into a Practice Management role. 

Katherine is married to Elliot and they have two children at MMK (in Reception and Year Two) and are members of Mill Hill Synagogue. Katherine is a member of the Personnel Committee and also assists with MMK's fundraising initiative.

Julie Kangisser

Parent Governor, appointed October 2016

Julie Kangisser is Managing Director of Think Communications which helps purpose-driven businesses and charities to communicate ideas and campaign on the issues they wish to address.

In addition to bringing a parental viewpoint to the Governing Body, she also supports all the committees on communicating relevant updates to parents and is involved in a fundraising initiative to mark the School's forthcoming 60th anniversary.

Julie has one child at the school and another who will join in September 2017 and wishes to continue to see the school provide an enriching and supportive community for all its pupils.

Rachel Coleman

Co-opted Governor, appointed October 2015

Rachel is a teacher at MMK who specialises in Jewish Studies, music and PSHE. She has over 13 years' experience in formal education and has been involved in informal education since she was a teen. 

Rachel sits on the Jewish Studies committee and is responsible for communication between staff and governors of the school's provision for internet safety. She is also interested in performance and trains and accompanies the children for school shows and special events where they go out to represent our school. 

Rachel wishes to be a voice for staff and pupils at the Governance meetings and would like to present a clear, practical picture of the day to day running of the school, when the governors are discussing possible changes and ideas. 

Dina Sumroy

Staff Governor, appointed October 2015

Dina is a teacher at MMK. She joined the school in 2010 and has since carried out many roles and responsibilities, aside from class teacher, including science and maths subject leadership, Key Stage 2 coordinator and a member of the Senior Leadership Team.  Dina has been involved in informal and formal Jewish education for many years, long before joining MMK. 

Dina sits on the Curriculum committee. She ensures that she brings a staff perspective to the governing body, ensuring all staff have a voice.

Rabbi Malcolm Herman

School Principal, appointed September 2016

Rabbi Malcolm Herman
LLB (Hons) is the Associate National Director of seed - the leading organisation in the UK, specialising in Jewish family education. Malcolm spent almost ten years studying in Yeshiva. He also holds a law degree from the London School of Economics. His first position was as the Community Director of the Whitefield Synagogue in Manchester. He joined seed as Director of Programmes in 2001. He was appointed Associate National Director in 2014.

The goal of seed is to equip parents with the ability to raise children with self-belief and genuine Jewish values, and Malcolm’s arrival at the organisation in 2001 acted as a major catalyst for the organisation’s expansion. In particular, he designed and implemented seed’s pioneering network of educational programmes for parents in Jewish primary schools. To date, he has educated thousands through lectures, workshops and seminars, giving parents wide-ranging practical skills based on principles of Torah.

Malcolm is a highly sought-after speaker across the UK and beyond, adept at presenting authentic concepts in an accessible manner and known for inspiring audiences with both humour and wisdom. As well as devising and delivering unique and creative programmes, Malcolm’s down-to-earth style and expertise draws many parents to seek his personalised advice on a one-to-one basis.

Area of interest and responsibility: Jewish Studies

Rabbi James Proops

School Rabbi, appointed September 2016

Educated at City of London School followed by a year in Yeshivat HaKotel, Rabbi James Proops then obtained a BA (Hons) in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds. Upon completing his degree, he became the full-time Youth Director at Stanmore and Canons Park United Synagogue. After marrying his wife Sarah, he then spent five years living and studying in Jerusalem, in which time he received semicha and completed the two year Ner L’Elef Jewish Leadership training programme. He also holds a teaching qualification from the Agency of Jewish Education, as well as a certificate in Counselling from Birkbeck University. Rabbi Proops returned to England to serve as the campus Rabbi in Leeds for Aish UK. He was also appointed head of northern campuses for Genesis, a programme of Aish UK and the JLE, which included overseeing the programme in Liverpool, Manchester and frequent visits to Durham. After two years in Leeds, Rabbi Proops and his family moved to Mill Hill where he and Sarah are the Assistant Rabbinic couple helping to service the community of over 1200 families.