Capel Dewi primary has not had its own head since 2001.
The mid-Wales village school's last dedicated head left for a bigger school when pupil numbers dropped to 16. Anxious to prevent the school's closure, its governors decided to take up Ceredigion education authority's offer and share a head with another school.
Watkin Bundock, head of the 170-pupil Llandysul primary, serving the town of the same name three miles away, now also has Capel Dewi primary under his wing.
Tom Cowcher, Capel Dewi chair of governors, said: "I think we have possibly lost a bit of community focus because the previous head teacher related totally to Capel Dewi. Having someone based in another community is not quite the same as having your own head."
Because the schools are so different there is very little joint working.
Instead Capel Dewi has built links with another school of a similar size for joint science lessons. The governors had to advertise twice to find a "teacher in charge" who for a small bonus, would look after the day-to-day running of the school for the four days a week when Mr Bundock is not there.
Now with Mr Bundock about to retire at 60 they have had to go through the process again, with a disappointing three responses to a first advert and five to the second.
The situation is not unique in the area. Ceredigion council has already set up five such collaborations because of the dearth of headship candidates.