John Heald

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JOHN Heald, a former headteacher of Rodillian School in Leeds, has died aged 68. A much-loved teacher who was described by colleagues as “one of life’s good guys”, he suffered from Pick’s disease, an aggressive form of Alzheimer’s.

Mr Heald was made head of Rodillian in Oulton, south Leeds, in 1990, remaining in the role until his retirement in August 2002.

Sarah Smith, who was a student under Mr Heald at Rodillian and is now the school’s head of performing arts, said: “John gave me a job when I returned as a teacher in 1998. When I decided to go into drama and the arts, there were a few teachers who doubted me but John always backed me to do what I wanted in life.

“He really helped people give 100 per cent and he gave them 100 per cent in return.

“He was always the first person in school in the morning and the last out at night. He wasn’t a headteacher who didn’t get his hands dirty – his office was always open and his energy was infectious. He was passionate about education and knew all the students’ names.”

Mr Heald was born in Chorley, Lancashire, and was married to wife Evelyn for 47 years.

Before joining Rodillian he had been a consultant for the old Leeds Education Authority and had also taught at Foxwood School in Seacroft, as well as serving as headteacher at Silver Royd School in Wortley for four years.

He leaves behind wife Evelyn, children Paul, Victoria and Andrew, son-in-law Ian, daughters-in-law Julie and Zoe and grandchildren James, Beth and Matthew.