New Year Honours: Aberystwyth head teacher appointed MBE
A retired head teacher of a school that celebrates pupils' cultural and ethnic backgrounds has been recognised in the New Year Honours.
Menna Sweeney led Aberystwyth's Plascrug Community School, which includes 13 Syrian refugees, and was rated "excellent" in all five categories by Estyn in 2018.
Ms Sweeney has been appointed MBE for services to education in Wales.
She said: "It was a total shock when I opened the envelope in November."
"I couldn't believe what I was reading and it took a while to sink in.
"It was also very hard, as it said in the letter not to share the news with anyone, until the formal announcement.
"I'm sure it will be a surprise to everyone once the news is known."
Ms Sweeney spent 39 years at the school, where she was said to have "very high expectations and a resolute vision" for its development.
She has been praised for providing learning opportunities to pupils that "reflect and celebrate" the school's diversity.
Plascrug is one of 300 lead creative schools in Wales and was one of 14 across Wales to be given the International School Award for outstanding work in international education.
Ms Sweeney said: "At the end of this term I retired as head teacher and can truly say that it has been an honour to have had the pleasure to work at such an amazing school."
Ms Sweeney said she knows nothing of the honours ceremony except that it will be at St James Palace in February.
"I'm sure it will be a very special day," she said.