Mr Puchalka had fought a long battle against cancer and died yesterday afternoon (27 March 2013), surrounded by his family.
The current Headteacher of Bilton Grange, Mrs Judith Ratcliffe, paid tribute to him in a letter to parents today.
Mrs Ratcliffe said:
As a Headteacher, Stef was a charismatic figure who approached life with tremendous humour and warmth.
He loved his school and everybody in it, as we loved him.
Stef was not just a colleague, he was a very dear friend and the school as it is today is very much Stef’s legacy.
To the children he was Mr P who always enjoyed a joke and yet was highly respected.
Our thoughts, sympathy and love are with his family.
I hope they will take some comfort from the many people who held him in such high regard and share their loss.
He will be sorely missed.
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A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire County Council said:
Stef Puchalka was loved and respected by children, parents, staff and governors at Bilton Grange as well colleagues in the local authority.
He was a gentle man who was unfailingly warm and welcoming and gave of his best to help children and their families and to support staff.
Although he fought a long battle with his illness he was never heard to complain and always had the welfare of others as his priority.