Born in India and schooled in North Borneo and Singapore, Marina Gardiner Legge was educated at a GSA school before going on to read English Language and Literature at Somerville College, which inspired a love of poetry that still burns brightly today. On completing her Oxford studies, she went on to work for a decade in advertising and marketing in London and Miami, before assuming the role of president at a charity based in Paris.
It wasn’t until she moved out to Hong Kong, several years later, that she discovered her passion for teaching and education, and made the decision to study for a PGCE. Moving back to the UK, certificate in hand, she joined Rutlish School as an English teacher, rising through the ranks to become Head of Year, Assistant Head and Head of Careers.
Following three years as Director of Studies at Heathfield School, Marina became Headmistress in 2016 and joined Oxford High School as Head in January 2021.
A passionate believer in the power of girls-only education to change lives, Marina has been described by those who have had the pleasure of working with her as fiercely intelligent and a very capable and caring educationalist.
Alex read Chemistry at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and subsequently obtained her PGCE at the University of Bristol. Alex has over twenty years of academic and pastoral experience gained at leading girls’ schools, both day and boarding. Her previous roles include Head of Science at St Mary’s School, Ascot and Head of Sixth Form at Wimbledon High School. She joined Woldingham School in January 2015 as Deputy Head and became Headmistress in September 2016. She joined JAGS as Headmistress in September 2020.
Alex takes an active interest in sport and, having very recently retired from her local hockey team, enjoys cycling and walking, especially in the company of her husband, Chris and Scrumpy, the cocker spaniel.
Mrs Hanbury was educated at grammar school in Belfast, read Geography at Edinburgh University and then Land Economy at Wolfson College, Cambridge. She started her working life in the City of London, first as a market analyst, and then becoming a senior consultant with Touche Ross Management Consultancy. Her final role before becoming a teacher was as Head of Corporate Fundraising for VSO.
In 1996 she began her career as a teacher after completing a PGCE at London University. Her first appointment was at Blackheath High School where she progressed to Head of Sixth Form. From there, she moved rapidly via Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls to Deputy Head at Latymer Upper School before taking over as Headmistress at Wimbledon High School in 2008. She was Head Mistress of Lady Eleanor Holles School from September 2014 until August 2023.
As GSA Chief Executive, Donna is responsible for working with Girls’ Schools Association members and other stakeholders to encourage high standards of education for girls and to promote the benefits of being taught in a largely girls-only environment. She took up her role in January 2021, at a critical time in the education sector, supporting GSA schools as they navigated their way through the ‘new normal’ which the Coronavirus public health crisis necessitated.
Donna Stevens was previously Head of Research for the Independent Schools Council, where she was responsible for overseeing a wide range of projects each year, such as the ISC Annual Census, the economic impact of independent schools on the UK economy and the impact of independent-state school partnerships. As a result of this, and her knowledge of the ISC’s other work, she has gained considerable insight to the issues surrounding the independent education sector and the role it plays within the UK education sector as a whole, as well as internationally. She is a regular speaker at education sector conferences.
Donna has also worked in strategic consultancy, advising across a wide range of sectors on financial matters, communication and brand strategies. In addition, she has experience in the social sector, working with organisations such as The Challenge and Action Tutoring. Donna has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Oxford, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Educational and Social Research from UCL. Outside of work, she owns and manages a successful performing arts weekend school which caters for 100 youngsters – including Donna’s own three children – and offers means-tested scholarships to local pupils. Donna also enjoys jogging and spending time with her family.
After studying Modern Foreign Languages and History at Magdalen, Oxford, Sue did a PGCE in French and German before beginning her career in a state comprehensive in Peterborough. She went on to work at Marlborough College (where she was a Boarding Assistant, Head of Junior Scholars and then Head of French), Gresham’s School in Norfolk (as Head of Foreign Languages, temporary Housemistress, and Timetabler), the King’s School in Worcester (where she was the first female Deputy Head as well as the Acting Head during the Headmaster’s sabbatical term), before joining Bolton School as Headmistress of the Girls’ Division in 2011. During her time at Bolton, the School was given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and, in 2019, was TES Independent Senior School and Independent School of the Year. Sue was GSA President in 2019, having been Chair of the Education Committee for five years. Having completed her presidential year, Sue was Secretary of the North West region as well as the GSA representative on the ASCL Board and at ISC. Sue left Bolton School in the Summer of 2020 and has now returned to Worcestershire to look help care for her mother, who has Dementia. She is a Governor of two GSA Boarding Schools, as well as a Governor of Bolton University and a Trustee of the Bolton Impact Trust. In her spare time, Sue is studying for an MA in Art History with the OU, as well as enjoying singing, playing Bridge, and (covid-permitting), catching up with old friends in Worcestershire.
Jeven assists Donna Stevens in the fulfilment of her duties. She is responsible for diary management and agenda planning, as well as operational tasks within the office.