Chief inspector of schools and training Susan Lewis has been given an early retirement present - a CBE in the New Year's honours list. Ms Lewis received the accolade for services to education weeks before leaving Welsh inspectorate Estyn after three years in the job.
She was one of four Welsh recipients in a 2007 list that appeared to be celebrity dominated elsewhere and included an OBE for pop princess Kylie Minogue who fought breast cancer last year.
Ms Lewis, who retires from Estyn at the end of this month, started out as a science teacher 21 years ago. She went on to become a deputy head and acting head in England before joining Estyn.
Secondary headteacher Keith Atkins was awarded an MBE - one of two heads being honoured from Wales.
Mr Atkins, the forward-thinking leader of Gors Community School on Swansea's tough Townhill estate hit national headlines in 2004 for his belief that troublesome teenagers could avoid anti-social behaviour orders by schools providing nurture groups. Early intervention, he claimed, is the key to "nipping bad behaviour in the bud".
Former primary head Sian Jones was also awarded an MBE. Seen as a pioneer of the play-led foundation phase for under-sevens in Wales, Ms Jones, head of the Duffryn Infant School in Newport, retired at Christmas after 30 years at the helm. She said she was thrilled at the honour.
Hugh Pattrick, chair of Governors Wales, completed the awards line-up. Mr Pattrick, a social worker for 37 years, regularly visits young detainees in custody and is chair of governors at two schools. He was also awarded the MBE.
"I feel humbled at this recognition and privileged to have been able to work for the interests of children over so many years," he said.
More honours, page 10.