Bruce Robertson, head of education services with Aberdeenshire Council for the past two years, is to be the new director of education in Highland.
Mr Robertson, aged 47, has been in the directorate for seven years after he moved from depute head of the Gordon Schools in Huntly to a senior education officer post with Grampian Region. He moved steadily up the ranks, becoming depute director in Grampian during the last seven months of the regional council.
His particular responsibilities in Aberdeenshire have been the planning of curricular strategy, staff development and quality assurance.
Mr Robertson beat off competition for the Pounds 64,000-a-year job from two other directors of education, Bernard McLeary of Inverclyde and Kevin Gavin of Moray, as well as the sole inside contender, Jim Stevenson, Highland's head of educational resources.
He said he was "privileged and delighted" to be moving to Highland. His main challenge would be to "deliver national initiatives but ensure they are tailored to the unique context of Highland".
Mr Robertson's career has been spent entirely in the north-east, beginning at Bridge of Don Academy in Aberdeen in 1974. He moved to be principal teacher of history and modern studies at Aboyne Academy and then head of social subjects at Kemnay Academy. He was appointed assistant head of Westhill Academy in 1983 and left four years later for the Gordon Schools.
He succeeds Allan Gilchrist, who retires as Highland's director next Thursday after 24 years in the education directorate.