Friday marked the end of an era at Markethill High School as principal James Maxwell officially stepped down.
Tributes were paid to the popular head teacher, as he completed his last day at the Co Armagh school, ahead of taking over the reins at Carrickfergus Grammar School.
Governors, staff and pupils of Markethill High said farewell to their principal of eight years as he prepares for pastures new.
Board of Governors chairman Trevor Lockhart said: “Everyone connected with Markethill High School extends their deep appreciation to Mr Maxwell for his total commitment and exemplary leadership over the past eight years.
“During his tenure at Markethill, Mr Maxwell spearheaded a process of development and change in the curriculum and the approach to teaching and learning.
“The outcomes achieved by pupils have risen steadily, in particular, the standards achieved by boys.
“The proportion of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs or equivalent, including English and mathematics, at grades A* to C is now significantly above the average for similar schools.
“This improvement reflects the developments in teaching and learning, the highly effective analysis and use of data and the fusion of the school’s pastoral and academic work.
“Together with the support of all staff, Mr Maxwell has striven to ensure the school provides an educational environment suited to all of the pupils entrusted to its care and that all children are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills for life and work.”
Mr Lockhart hailed the “positive impact” made by the outgoing principal, and said it would endure in Markethill High School, as the Board of Governors wished him “every success in his future career”.