Bernard O'Connell, whose college was judged the best-run business in Europe, has been knighted in the New Year's Honours.
Runshaw College in Leyland, Lancashire, was the first post-16 educational establishment to win the European Quality Award for its management approach, which rejects macho-style control in favour of shared values.
Sir Bernard joins FE notables honoured in previous years, including Dame Pat Morgan Webb, principal of Nottingham College and Sir George Sweeney, head of Knowsley College.
The list also acknowledges the contribution of David Gibson, who retired as chief executive of the Association of Colleges in August. He is awarded the CBE, as is Lynne Sedgmore, who resigns as principal of Guildford College in April to head the new Centre for Excellence in Leadership and Management.
Staff in colleges and the world of training are prominent in the list.
FE new year's Honours 32