Jeremy Horsley, headteacher at Crofton Academy, died on Tuesday aged 54.
He was described as a kind and caring gentleman who had a passion for education by his colleagues.
A book of condolences has been opened in the village’s old community library entrance and bouquets of flowers have been left by staff and pupils from the school.
A statement from the governors at Crofton Academy said: “Jez had a finely tuned sense of humour and could always raise a smile.
“He was a kind and caring gentleman who was passionate about education.
“He was determined to do the best for everyone at Crofton Academy and he ensured that both the pupils and staff had the opportunities that would allow them to reach their potential.”
Mr Horsley led the school to an outstanding Ofsted inspection in 2011.
He helped create links between Crofton Academy and Wakefield College and supported the launch of Crofton Sixth Form.
And Mr Horsley also helped establish links with feeder schools in the district and encouraged staff from different secondary schools to share their resources.
The statement continued: “Jez ensured that every child felt valued as part of the school community and had the opportunity to achieve to the highest standard.”
“He created structures that have impacted on the education of the local community for children of all ages.
“Throughout his illness he worked tirelessly for the benefit of everyone connected to Crofton Academy and was well respected by pupils, past and present, staff, governors and parents alike.
“Jez will be sadly missed by everyone at the academy, as well as by people in the wider community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”
Former pupils and friends paid tribute to Mr Horsley on social networking sites.
Matthew Roberts said: “So sad to see that such a well respected and well loved man has passed away after his fight with cancer. RIP Jez Horsley.”
Naz Sadiq said: “Saddened to know my high school headteacher passed away. RIP Jez Horsley.”
Jade Elise said: “Rest In Peace Jez Horsley. Such a wonderful, kind and caring man xxx.”
Paul Bower said: “RIP Jez Horsley who lost his battle with cancer. A hero, an inspiration but most importantly a brilliant, brilliant bloke.”