Howard Lay – the chief executive of Samuel Ward Academy Trust – has announced plans to retire from the role.
He will continue to be part of the Trust but will move to a part time position to ensure a smooth transition with his successor.
Mr Lay was the former headteacher of Samuel Ward Academy before taking on the helm of the Trust, which currently has 10 schools across West Suffolk.
From January, he will move to three days a week which will enable him to continue to drive outstanding education as well as support the recruitment process which will begin in the New Year.
Mr Lay said: “I am very proud of playing my part in both the Samuel Ward Academy and the Trust which has built a strong reputation across West Suffolk.
“I now feel the time is right to start to step aside and introduce some fresh blood into the role of chief executive.
“It is a hugely exciting time for the Samuel Ward Academy Trust and I look forward to helping my successor going forward.”
Mr Lay became headteacher of Samuel Ward in 2000, leading it to ‘outstanding’ in two Ofsted inspections, followed by academy status and more recently teaching school status.
The Samuel Ward Academy is now one of the most highly achieving schools in the eastern region.
Mr Lay was named as Educational Leader of the Year in 2014 at the ‘Raising the Bar Awards’ and was made a fellow of the University of Suffolk a year later.
He also played a leading role in opening Churchill Special Free School, supporting children on the autistic spectrum, and creating the Samuel Ward Academy Trust.
Mr Lay added: “I see this as an opportunity to further strengthen what is becoming a very successful trust. Currently comprising of 10 schools, it has secured its first key objective of becoming a secure and sustainable Trust.
“By supporting a successor over a longer period of time, it will ensure a more coherent and orderly transition, helping the new person develop an understanding of the responsibility and skills required in quite a unique job.”
The Trust is made up of Samuel Ward Academy, Thomas Gainsborough School, Newmarket Academy, Sybil Andrews Academy, Churchill Special Free School, Coupals Primary Academy, Westfield Primary Academy, Glemsford Primary Academy, Wickhambrook Primary Academy and Laureate Primary Academy.