Denbighshire Council has appointed an interim corporate director of lifelong learning while another senior official is on sick leave.
Cyprus-born Dr Mohammed Mehmet, 47, currently working for Peterborough City Council, takes up his post this month.
The post holder, Huw Griffiths, has been on sick leave since early October.
Education Minister Jane Hutt had told the council she might direct an appointment if Mr Griffiths was not back at work by 20 November.
The authority said it could not say how long Dr Mehmet, a Turkish speaker and former education director at the London Borough of Islington, will be in post as it was uncertain when Mr Griffiths would return.
The appointment comes days after Councillor Hugh Evans, 46, became the new leader of Denbighshire Council, taking over the education portfolio himself.
Mr Evans replaces Rhiannon Hughes, who was ousted as leader following a no-confidence vote after damning reports into education services in the county by Estyn.
The body's 35-page report said children's educational performance was below average at the ages of seven, 11 and at 16 when they take their GCSEs.
Earlier this month, Denbighshire's chief executive, Ian Miller, delivered a 40-page action plan aimed at raising standards and school attendance rates within the next five years.
Council leader Mr Evans said: "I look forward to working with Mohammed in improving education in Denbighshire, in line with the council's priority of school and educational improvement."
"I have been kept fully informed of the progress in making these interim arrangements, and they are supported by the cabinet."