Just weeks before he is set to retire as head of Pontyclun primary school, near Llantrisant, Keith Davies was named primary school headteacher of the year in front of more than 200 people at the New Directions Inspirational Teacher Awards at Cardiff's Marriott hotel last Friday.
The awards, in their third year, recognise excellence in teaching and school support staff across South Wales. During his time at Pontyclun, Mr Davies, 60, has introduced a school council and the Eco Schools programme.
From Tumble in Carmarthenshire, Mr Davies intended to join the Army as a padre until he met one-time Wales rugby international Carwyn James, who taught at Llandovery College. "When I told him he said, 'no way boy'. I guess he spotted some potential as I had been helping younger pupils," he said.
Mr Davies became Pontyclun head in 1987. "We set up the school council seven years ago," said Mr Davies. "I am a great believer in giving children a voice."