David Hampson, principal of the new Tollbar Academy in Lincolnshire, gave up most of his summer break to ensure his school was ready to be in the vanguard of new academies.
The former Tollbar Business and Enterprise College, which was an "outstanding" foundation school, will work alongside the former Lindsey School, now Cleethorpes Academy, which is in special measures.
Mr Hampson said: "I've had about two days' holiday. It was a bit traumatic, but we have managed to get everything in on time, so we are now an academy.
"We were able to consult with the parents and we went through all the necessary TUPE regulations with our staff, who were right behind the decision."
Mr Hampson said managing the conversion of Lindsey under the old academy process as well as transforming his own school enabled him to compare the two.
"We converted our school for #163;25,000, whereas converting a school under the old system costs hundreds of thousands of pounds," he said.
"The Department (for Education) has really streamlined the process. It is a far better approach."