The normal Scottish educational axis is east-west but the HAS has gone for a south-north transfer of power. Alistair Johnston, of Kelso High, has handed over the presidency to Derek McGinn at Culloden Academy. There was no more appropriate venue for the transfer than St Andrews since Mr McGinn launched his teaching career at Madras College in the physics and engineering department.
Mr McGinn, 55, has been head of the community school outside Inverness, his home town, for 16 years and has long experience of representing headteachers in the Highlands. He has been national vice-president for the past year and before that convener of the salaries and conditions committee.
As president, he hopes to make senior managers' pay a top priority, a key theme of the conference. "Salary settlements have not been welcomed but accepted. I do not think this can continue to be the case for ever. With devolved school management, we have responsibilities and accountabilities that were not there before," he says.
There will be few presidential extravagances. Colleagues say that as a former salaries convener he is more than economical with the budget. He also prefers environmentally sound rail travel and likes to work on the way - putting the association on track for what it regards as its rightful niche.