BROCKENHURST College headteacher Di Roberts has announced she is retiring after 14 years in the role.
Mrs Roberts (62), who will be leaving in December, said last month it had been an “absolute privilege” to work there.
Speaking to the A&T, she revealed: “My husband is currently living in France so I’ll be joining him when I retire, where I’m really looking forward to having the time to do some serious drawing and painting, and maybe create a market garden.
“It feels quite surreal to be stepping down as principal after so many years, but I am so proud of what our staff, governors and, most importantly, our students have all achieved.
“It has been an absolute privilege to work with what are the very best teachers, professional services staff and managers in the sector.”
She added: “I know the governors will appoint someone who has the vision and expertise to build on my legacy, as well as those of other former Brock principals.”
Mrs Roberts, who lives in Milford, first joined the college in 2001 after teaching for more than 25 years across all ability levels, gaining experience in education, training and business. She also spent time as an Ofsted inspector.
In 2006, when she was college deputy principal, she succeeded Mike Snell on his retirement.
In 2013, as principal and a board member of the Association of Colleges (AoC), she accompanied then Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to China.
Mrs Roberts was deputy chair of the AoC from 2009 to 2015 and currently chairs its special educational needs policy group. She is a board member of the Principals’ Professional Council and in 2011 was made a CBE for services to further education.
Asked to name her biggest achievement, Mrs Roberts told the A&T: “In terms of successes, I feel most proud of the amazing contribution Brock has made to so many futures and so many lives.
“What a wonderful legacy, to have played even a small part in Brock’s proud history of helping people of all abilities achieve their very best.”
The college said she was leaving it in very good health, with excellent student achievement and progression, student recruitment on the rise and stable finances.
Brockenhurst College chair of governors Graham Beards paid tribute, saying: “We thank Di for her years of service and trust she will remain a lifelong friend of the college.
“Now we are looking to the future by working hard with individuals and agencies to recruit the best person for the job of principal.”
Brockenhurst College attracts more than 2,700 school leavers each year and supplies adult education and training across a comparably wide learning provision.