Jenny Trapp has been appointed deputy principal of the University Technical College (UTC) South Durham, due to open this September.
Ms Trapp is the current assistant headteacher at Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham, and was previously an air traffic controller.
She said she was “delighted” to join the UTC as “this is a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the development of an innovative education establishment and to shape the culture of the organisation”.
Ms Trapp qualified as an air traffic controller with the RAF and was stationed in the UK and overseas controlling both military and civilian aircraft.
On leaving the RAF, she trained to become a training manager and since then, held a number of roles in adult skills and education as well as running her own business.
A spokesperson for the UTC said Ms Trapp’s leadership positions in schools had focused on learning and teaching management and the post-16 curriculum.
The role of David Jones, the current principal and chief executive at Coleg Cambria, is also set to change.
He will only be chief executive in future, and a new principal will be found.
Mr Jones said: “This recognises the nature of the senior executive role. We are a large and complex organisation with a significant external focus, particularly with business.
“The new position of principal will be responsible for all courses that are based and taught on our college sites.”
Mr Jones started his career in electronic engineering before moving to the education sector in 1987, when he was appointed as a senior lecturer at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff.
He was appointed principal in August 2013 when Coleg Cambria was formed, after Deeside and Yale colleges merged.
Mr Jones was awarded an OBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List for services to FE in North East Wales.
The board of governors at the college said they hope to appoint a new principal by early July.
Professor Tristram Hooley has also been appointed senior research advisor at the Careers & Enterprise Company.
His previous work has focused on career development, guidance and education, as well as social science research methods and learning technology.
Professor Hooley is currently also a professor of career education at the International Centre for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby, and an adjunct professor at the School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education, University of Southern Queensland.
He was also the specialist adviser to the House of Commons Education Committee inquiry into career guidance.
Claudia Harris, chief executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “Research is fundamental to the company, enabling us to pinpoint which areas are most in need and to identify the most effective ways of targeting them.
“Tristram’s extensive experience in this area will be a valuable addition to The Company’s progress and impact.”
Professor Hooley said: “The Careers & Enterprise Company places significant importance on the role of research in developing new solutions and approaches to the way we improve careers and enterprise provision in this country.
“It’s a really exciting time to be joining the team. I’m looking forward to helping the company continue in its aim of ensuring its interventions are rooted in evidence.”