John Bentley School headteacher Gordon Trafford will bid farewell to staff and students when he leaves at the end of the summer term.
After 14 years at the school in Calne Mr Trafford is leaving to join his partner in Truro, Cornwall.
He plans to continue working in education there and hopes to spend more time with his daughters Alexia and Annie, aged 25 and 18.
Mr Trafford joined the school as deputy headteacher after teaching for seven years in Brislington. After seven years in this post he succeeded Mrs Anne Burrell as headteacher.
Since then he has led the school through two Ofsted inspections and the achievement of academy status and the opening of the John Lawrence sixth form centre in May 2009.
When he became head teacher he aimed to encourage pupils to engage with the Calne community and to bring a sense of fun to the school.
The school has more pupils working for the Duke of Edinburgh Award than anywhere else in Wiltshire.
Although he was an Oxford graduate Mr Trafford came from a council estate just outside the city. He was the first in the family to go to university along with his brother Niall and his sister Ethna.
He said: “I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to change children’s lives in the same way education changed mine. Education gave me a better life.
“The thing about working in this school is that wonderful and important things happen every day. When you work somewhere for 14 years it would be wrong to pick out something in particular.
“We’ve been an improving school which is vital, but I think for me what stands out is the quality of care that everyone shows to everybody.
“I have always wanted the school to be a fun-loving and humane school and I think I’ve achieved that.”
Martin Kelly, chairman of governors at the school, said many staff members and students would remember Mr Trafford’s starfish story.
The story features a man who spends his time throwing stranded starfish back into the sea despite the fact that there are thousands there because each one is important to him.
Mr Kelly said: “I have enjoyed working closely with Mr Trafford.
“I have particularly valued his calm, humane and thoughtful approach to running the school and I am sure many current and former students will have their own special memories.”