Loz Wilson knew the moment he set foot in the school for an interview that this was the one for him.
“As soon as I walked through the door, I knew it was right for me and that I would be getting the job on the day,” said Mr Wilson.
His prediction turned out to be true, as he has just taken up his first headteacher post at North Huddersfield Trust School, Fartown.
He added: “When I went round the school it was calm, the pride charter was on the wall, staff knew what they were supposed to be doing. It had the feel of a school propelling itself forward with purpose.
“I was told you will know when a school is right for you and this is it.”
He takes over responsibility for day-to-day running of the 444-pupil school from associate headteacher Janine Westmoreland, who retired in summer. Dr Andy Williams remains as executive headteacher of North Huddersfield and Holmfirth High.
Mr Wilson (the Loz is short for Lawrence) was born in York and has arrived in Huddersfield with a reputation of helping schools to improve rapidly. North Huddersfield have made no secret of the fact that they are on a mission to make the school Outstanding by 2016.
He had previously worked at two secondary schools in Hull, with what he describes as a ‘gap year’ a couple of years ago when he travelled the world with wife Tabitha and sons Albert, eight, and Alfie, 12. Daughter Grace, 24, joined for stages.
That year, during which he taught in schools in China, Ecuador and Nepal, gave him the opportunity to reflect on what he might have to offer as a headteacher.
He said: “It was phenomenal, a brilliant opportunity for me and my family. It gave me the chance to think about the things in leadership which are important to me, my ethics and morals and what I might bring to a school as headteacher.”
Mr Wilson, 47, was brought up in York and studied art at university in London. He said: “I think my creative background is one of my strengths and hope to bring more creativity into lessons. We will also be driving on with improvements in teaching and learning, which is how we are going to get to Outstanding.”
He added that he had received a true Yorkshire welcome at the school: “I have only been here three weeks, but it feels like forever.
“The staff have made me feel very welcome and the students are very, very friendly. They keep shaking me by the hand and asking me how it is going!”
Dr Williams added: “Our journey is clear, we know what we are trying to achieve. What Loz can do is to give us new and interesting ways to achieve it.
“He has a background steeped in helping schools to improve very quickly and he will be huge asset to our school.”
North Huddersfield is the fastest improving secondary school in Kirklees. It has just seen a 37% improvement in the Government benchmark of five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths, compared with 2011/12.