Leslie Manson, Orkney's senior assistant director of education, has been appointed director of education and recreation services. The post carries a salary of Pounds 49,400.
The council's post has been vacant since Jim Anderson stepped down last year. Mike Drever has been acting director pending his early retirement which will now take effect from January 1 when Mr Manson assumes command.
The new director inherits a post with a rapid turnover. The job was advertised twice and Mr Manson was chosen last Friday from a respectable leet of six.
A first-class honours graduate in maths from Aberdeen University, Mr Manson's first teaching post was in his native Orkney at Papdale primary in Kirkwall in 1977. He became a primary head and joined the education department as an adviser in 1986. He has been senior assistant director since 1991, and was responsible for primary, special and pre-school provision as well as finance and devolved school management.
One of his priorities is to establish quality assurance relationships with schools. "Being a small authority, we have a good knowledge of our schools but we need now to formalise the quality assurance role of the education department," he said.
Mr Manson, aged 44, is the third youngest director in Scotland, behind John Stodter in Aberdeen, (42) and John Christie in Borders (43).