Gwyneth Evans helped to develop the Blyth academy and recruit staff prior to its opening in 2009.
She went on to lead the education of more than 3,340 students, but left at the end of last term to return to her family in her native Northern Ireland.
Miss Evans was honoured at the school’s annual prize-giving ceremony, with chairman of the academy board Nigel Robson describing her as “extraordinary”.
He said: “She has steadfastly promoted and upheld the ethos of Bede. Under her leadership results have been delivered that, at the beginning, we could only have dreamt of. The impact on this community is immeasurable.
“She has led very clearly from the front and has never asked of anyone more than she herself has been willing to give many times over.”
Mr Robson added that Miss Evans’s headship was characterised by high standards, no excuses, no unnecessary compromises and sacrificial achievement.
The presentation day celebrated the achievements of staff and pupils, with more than 70 awards given in the areas of academic, community, sport and character, together with the House Cup, won by Cuthbert house.
The Outstanding Academic Achievement award went to Jake Watson, who displayed amazing motivation in his GCSEs and gained the highest grades in A-Level trial exams.
The Founders Award for Outstanding Student of the Year went to Samantha North, aged ten, who was recognised for her courage and smiles in facing challenges.
Miss Evans presented the first Evans Award as part of the legacy she has left behind. The honour went to Sana Tahir, a student who represents the core values of the academy in everything she does. Sana played a significant role helping in the academy library and supported five children who came to Bede after escaping conflict in Syria.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria Colonel Peter McCall was the guest speaker at the event, which was hosted by head girl Georgina Woods and head boy Jacob Glendinning. Guests also enjoyed entertainment from the academy orchestra, The Primary Beat drummers, Bede South Choir, the Cantata Choir and Jake Watson, who sang a preview of next year’s production of Evita.