Daniel Slinn, the Birmingham headteacher killed in a horrific crash on the M5 last Friday, was an “inspirational and dedicated leader” his school has said.
Birmingham’s head of children’s services described him as one of the city’s “most valued and respected headteachers” and tributes were also paid to the 44-year-old by his former school.
Mr Slinn - headteacher of Calshot Primary in Great Barr - was killed while driving his family back from a half-term break in Devon. A Volkswagen van carrying beer barrels ploughed across the central reservation and smashed into his Mitsubishi Colt.
Mr Slinn’s wife Lisa and 11-year-old daughter Carrie were injured in the accident which occurred on the M5 near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. Their injuries are not life-threatening.
Mrs Slinn and daughters, Beth, 16, and Carrie, all paid tribute to Mr Slinn through a statement. Mrs Slinn said: "Dan was a wonderful husband, father, brother, son, son-in-law and friend. A very positive person, he was a huge part of the lives of very many people, who have so many good things to say about him."
Beth said: "He was always a lot of fun, liked to think he was a great dancer and he made the best sandwiches for us to take to school every day. He was often worried that he embarrassed my sister and me, but of course he never did.
"We liked the same music and enjoyed spending time together as a family. I hope I can make him proud when I go on to study for my A-levels in September, as he would have wanted."
Carrie, who was airlifted to hospital after the accident, said: "Dad had been teaching me how to play cricket with him and he loved being in the garden and building sandcastles on the beach.
"He was in the middle of writing a children's book, which we are going to finish off for him. It could be the next Harry Potter."
The occupants of the van - Harbinder Singh Dosanjh, aged 36 and Manjit Kaur Dosanjh, 35, a married couple from Coventry - were also killed.
Suzanne Harris, chair of governors at Calshot Primary, where Mr Slinn took over as head two years ago, said: “The governors are devastated by the news and our thoughts are with Mr Slinn’s family.
“He was an inspirational, dedicated and motivational leader and was instrumental in the most successful Ofsted report the school has had to date.
“Dan was devoted to the children and could often be seen around the school. They enjoyed showing him their work and were very pleased when they received one of his Special Awards. He also enjoyed the lunchtime cricket games with the children in the playground and recently spent a day getting wet with Year 5 on a Woodlands residential trip.”
Ms Harris added: “Dan was always happy to take part in anything and few of us will forget him dressed as a pirate at the Christmas fancy dress party.
“We feel honoured to have known him. He will be sadly missed.”
Gloria Gain, who was chair of governors during Mr Slinn’s previous headship at Cromwell Primary, said she was “shocked and saddened” to hear news of his death.
“I had the pleasure of working with this highly respected headteacher during my time as chair of governors at Cromwell School.
“He made an invaluable contribution to the children at Cromwell. He was dedicated, hardworking and most of all fun to be around.
“I know he will be sadly missed by all of his friends and colleagues from Cromwell.”
Born and raised in Northampton, Mr Slinn was educated locally before graduating with a 1st class degree in English from Birmingham University.
Tony Howell, Birmingham City Council’s Strategic Director for Children, Young People and Families, also paid tribute to the Birmingham head.
“I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the sad loss of Dan, one of our most valued and respected headteachers, and my sincerest condolences go to his family and friends.
“Everyone in the Calshot Primary School community - the teaching and support staff, governors, pupils and parents - will be deeply saddened by this unexpected news, as will his fellow headteachers and colleagues who were privileged to work with him.”
Mr Howell said educational psychologists were currently at Calshot providing support to pupils and staff.