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Garner is named academy principal

Roy Garner has been named principal of Hernando Christian Academy, four months after assuming the post temporarily when longtime principal Robert Sampl was fired.

"I really wanted to serve the Lord, so I consider it a ministry and I feel that it's what the Lord wanted me to do," Garner said Tuesday afternoon.

"At first I told (the academy board) that I didn't want to be considered, but the more I got involved with leading the school, the more I was convinced that I was the one for the job."

Garner, 52, was a social science teacher at the academy until May when he temporarily replaced Sampl, who had been the only principal in the private school's 11-year history.

The only reasons the academy gave for the firing were contained in a letter sent to parents. It stated that Sampl lacked spiritual leadership, failed to maintain good relations with the community and was not responsible to the academy board as a professional representative over school operations.

Garner said one of his goals is to recruit more students to the Emerson Road school. It has 453 students, 47 fewer than at the end of last school year.

Garner said he tracked the students who left and found that some parents withdrew their children because of Sampl's dismissal. However, he said, the economy is largely at fault.

"We have lost 20 to 25 students to home schooling," he said. "Parents can't afford (private school) but they don't want to put them back into the public school system."

Garner said representatives of the campus will visit churches. Also, officials are planning a dinner next month.