Theresa says children need to see people like them in positions of influence.
“When I was at school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I grew up,” says Theresa Esan.
“I didn’t have many role models that inspired me.
“There were big international figures like Nelson Mandela and Oprah, but none that I could relate to locally.”
It was because of a lack of local black role models when she was a child that Theresa decided to become a governor at a sixth form college in the London borough of Havering.
Teresa, who has been a governor for nine months, is now helping to front a campaign by the charity Governors for Schools aimed at encouraging greater diversity on school governing boards across England.
The charity works to match skilled and committed volunteers with schools looking for governors.
Why is the charity encouraging diversity?
In a survey of 5,300 governors, conducted by the National Governance Association and the Times Educational Supplement in 2017, 94% of respondents gave their ethnicity as white.
The survey noted that this is “considerably narrower than the averages shown in the census (86% white) and the backgrounds of pupils attending state-funded schools (75% white)”.
Louise Cooper, CEO of Governors for Schools, said:
“Breaking down stereotypes and challenging preconceptions of what people think school governors are, is vital in encouraging diversity on governing boards.
Her view is backed up by Cecilia from Haringey in London.
“I wanted to give back to my former local community. I grew up in Haringey and wanted to contribute to a school that’s making great progress and doing amazing things for children in the borough.
By Katherine Sellgren
BBC News family and education reporter
10 October 2018