Deputy head Sarah Edwards was appointed after leading the school as interim headteacher after Peter Woodman’s retirement in December last year.
Mrs Edwards said on Friday: “After two days of very rigorous interviews and tasks, yesterday evening the chair of governors offered me the position of being permanent headteacher at The Weald School.
“Of course, with absolutely no hesitation whatsoever I was absolutely delighted to accept.”
There have been many emotions that have been passing through her head over the past few days, Mrs Edwards added. She said: “Excitement and relief, but now that things are starting to settle it’s really a huge honour and a privilege to be given this fantastic opportunity to lead our wonderful Weald community forward in a new era.
“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be doing that and how grateful I am to have this opportunity.
“I have a lot of thanks to give: to all of our staff for their support and encouragement, and to our students, governors and parents and carers for their lovely messages. I am truly grateful to everyone in our community. We rely on support from our amazing team around us to make sure that we can serve our community the best that we possibly can.”
A Weald spokesman said: “The role of a Headteacher is a demanding one at the best of times but leading a school through a pandemic has presented more obstacles and complications than most of us could have imagined. Sarah has dealt with these difficult challenges both effectively and in a calm and level-headed manner.”
Before being appointed Mrs Edwards was put through a rigorous interview process. The process included a student panel, governing board interview and a staff Q & A. Three candidates were put through their paces to determine who would be the strongest and most appropriate leader for the school.
Staff, students and parents have expressed their joy in hearing the news of Sarah’s appointment, the school said, with many parents have taking to Facebook to congratulate her.
One said: “Fantastic news!!! Congratulations, such a fantastic ambassador of wanting the best for students on all levels. The Weald is in safe hands.”
And another added: “Amazing news. Very well deserved and a relief to hear. Congratulations Mrs Edwards.”
Mrs Edwards joined The Weald in June 2014 as deputy headteacher. During her 14 years in senior leadership positions in schools, she has been responsible for teaching and learning, the curriculum, outcomes for students at all Key Stages, pastoral support provided for students, well-being for staff and students and behaviour.
She is a languages teacher by trade, having earned her degree at the University of Leeds and her teaching qualification at Cambridge.
Sarah recorded a video message to staff, governors, parents and students to inform them of her appointment and to express her thanks for their support.