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Governors of St Clare’s, Oxford

As an independent charity, we are overseen by a Board of Governors from a varied range of backgrounds. They are responsible for taking and validating strategic and financial decisions and are all intensely committed to the school’s continuing success.

Jens Tholstrup (Chairman)

Jens is Managing Director of Oxford Investment Opportunity Network, Development Director for SQW Group and Senior Advisor at Oxford Economics. He was previously Managing Director UK of Oxford Economics, Executive Director of Oxford Analytica and an Executive Director at UBS. He holds an MA in PPE and an MSc in Economic History, both from the University of Oxford. He is also a Visiting Business Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University and an external member of the Audit, Risk and Remuneration Committee of St Peter’s College, Oxford. He is a member of the Society of Business Economists.

Richard Dick

Richard has been the Executive Chairman & CEO of Lucy Group Ltd since 1990. Lucy was established in Oxford in 1812 as an iron founder. It remains a private company, and has diversified into electrical switchgear, street lighting and real estate The Group HQ continues to be in its original offices in Walton Well Road. Richard was High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 2009 when, together with W Lucy, he started the High Sheriff Young Engineer Awards – now an annual event. His active charity interests are in young people and especially those under-performing, education generally and homelessness in Oxford and re-training. He is married with four adult children and three grandchildren. His hobbies include skiing, sailing and gardening.

Ann Lewis (Deputy Chair)

After grammar school and university in Leeds, Ann spent four years in Finland, teaching and producing the News in English on Finnish Radio. She subsequently joined the Foreign Office and spent most of her diplomatic career on the Soviet Union until 1971. She served at Embassies in Helsinki and East Berlin and had a secondment opportunity in the Cabinet Office. Ann also worked in the Eastern European Department during the events of 1989 and the early running of the Know-How Fund for Eastern Europe. She retired as Head of Cultural Relations at the FCO. Ann is a founder-Governor of The English College in Prague, an IB school set up in the wake of the Velvet Revolution, serving as Deputy Chairman and then Chairman of Governors in 2017-2021. Since retirement, Ann has edited books on the EU’s relations with Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. She is also a long-standing Trustee of The BEARR Trust, which supports health and welfare NGOs in the former countries of the Soviet Union. 

Bart Ashton 

(Chair of the Finance, Personnel & General Purposes Committee)

Bart graduated from Birmingham University. Since 2003 he has been the Bursar at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow. His areas of expertise are people and team management, particularly in operational or developmental contexts, although he has also contributed significantly to estates management, refurbishment and construction projects. Prior to 2003, he enjoyed a varied career in hospitality, working with local and international companies. Bart is also involved with the town and gown communities hosting the University Colleges’ Sustainability Guild, and being a member of the Oxford Fairtrade Coalition and the steering group for Good Food Oxford.

Bart is  the Chair of the Finance, Personnel and General Purposes Committee and the Governor with oversight of Health & Safety at the College.

Ian Ashcroft

Ian, a graduate of Reading University, is CEO of Lucy Real Estate, a subsidiary of Lucy Group Oxford. He has extensive experience of management of a multi-million pound property portfolio, including acquisitions and disposals and spanning domestic residences to commercial property and agricultural land. This range and diversity, coupled with Ian’s lifetime experience in property in and around Oxford, give him a formidable level of knowledge and understanding of Oxford real estate and invaluable insights into Oxford’s construction industry. Ian’s interests include culture, sailing and supporting his sons in their various sporting activities.


John Church - Governor St Clare's Oxford

Libby Wood

Libby studied for her IB Diploma at St Clare’s, and graduated from the college in 2005. She subsequently read French with Management at King’s College, London, spending an intercalary year in Paris. Since leaving university, Libby has worked as an English teacher and higher education academic manager in Italy and Australia. Libby is Programme Director of the Masters in Finance at London Business School overseeing the strategy and implementation of the degree programme, which is consistently ranked number one in the world. Previously she was the Associate Director for Programmes at the Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Libby’s motivation to serve as governor stems from her passion for international education and the significant impact St Clare’s had on both her personal and professional paths. Currently, she lives in the beautiful village of Bladon near Oxford and is a keen traveller, cook, and linguist.

Lucia Nixon (Chair of the Education Committee)

Lucia’s education in Canada included a year at a French lycée in Montréal. She did a degree in Greek and Classical Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania. She holds two Master’s degrees (from the Universities of British Columbia and Toronto), and did doctoral research in Classical Archaeology at Newnham College, Cambridge. Lucia has been a Member of the Common Room of Wolfson College, Oxford and the sub-Faculty of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology since 1995. From 2005 until 2014 she was Senior Tutor and Tutor for Admissions at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Before coming to Oxford, Lucia taught at Queen’s University, Ontario and the University of New Brunswick at St John. Lucia has published extensively on Sacred and Economic Landscapes, and on other archaeological and classical themes as well as gender, equality, and education. She has done archaeological fieldwork in the UK, Italy, Turkey, and Greece, and co-directs the Sphakia Survey in Crete.

Lucia has a strong commitment to equality, inclusion, and diversity, and has been a member of the Oxford University Equality and Diversity Panel, and the Race Equality Steering Group; she was a mentor for the Oxford University Ad Feminam scheme. Lucia is also a governor of Oxford Spires Academy, a non-selective state secondary school in East Oxford. In her spare time, Lucia enjoys travel, cooking, choral singing, and opera.


Mary Louise Culpepper

Mary graduated from Brown University and received a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She also completed teacher training through the Program in Religion and Secondary Education at Harvard Divinity School and the Harvard School of Education. She taught English in an American high school and also English as a foreign language to adults in Germany and France. She served on the Board of Governors at the International School of Florence as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, member of the Executive Committee as the Board Secretary, and member of the Marketing Committee. One of her children was a St Clare’s student and she also has 3 other children who have attended schools in Oxford. Mary Louise has the responsibility to oversee our boarding provision.


Moira Darlington

Moira has been a Governor of St Clare’s since 2013 and is the Governor responsible for Academic Overview. Moira has also been appointed as Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. She studied Classics at St Anne’s College, Oxford, before taking a PGCE in History and RS at the University of London. She has worked for more than forty years in education, at senior and primary level, leading both academic and pastoral departments; she still works part-time at the Dragon School, where she was Deputy Head. She was an ISI inspector with responsibility for overseeing the Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural aspect of school life. She was a trustee of Emmaus (a charity for the homeless) for ten years, helping to establish the Oxford Community, and is involved with a range of local charities.

Paul Bright

Paul was born, raised and educated in Gravesend, Kent. On leaving school, he worked as a trainee estimator, draughtsman and salesperson for a large shopfitting company while studying part-time for a business degree and a postgraduate management qualification from the University of East London, eventually rising to manager and director positions. Paul led a management buyout of a company in 1991, and subsequently his business career has blossomed to include interests in steel trading, real estate, petroleum and financial portfolios. Besides his business career, Paul has a strong interest in human rights and international relations. In recent years, for instance, he has acted as an aide to the former President of Ghana to support his aims of promoting democracy, good governance and women’s rights in Africa. Paul is comfortable interacting effectively at all levels and with people of diverse cultural backgrounds. Paul is married with one daughter, and lives in London and Lugano, Switzerland. He speaks fluent Italian and his interests include rock climbing, mountaineering, running and visiting theatres, museums and galleries. Paul is of dual British and Nigerian heritage. Paul is the Governor for Child Protection and Safeguarding.

Peter Oppenheimer

Peter has since 1967 been a ‘Student’ (Fellow) of Christ Church, Oxford. Until 2000 he was Tutor in Economics (partly specialising in international finance and trade), thereafter President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, until his retirement (becoming ‘Emeritus Student’) in 2008. His business experience includes two years on secondment as chief economist with Royal Dutch-Shell, and various non-executive directorships, among them Dixons plc, Oxford University Press and the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, where he was Chairman in 2001-2004. Since 1991 he has been a frequent visitor to the Former Soviet Union, mostly Russia, and for a time represented foreign shareholders on company boards in Russia. He became a Governor of St. Clare’s in 1985 and was Chairman in 1993-2006

Committed to the school’s continuing success

We are proud to be an independent charity overseen by a Board of Governors


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St Clare's, Oxford