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Class Notes: Gainesville High gets permanent leadership
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On Tuesday, during the Gainesville City Schools Board of Education meeting, LaCrisia Larkin was named as the permanent principal of Gainesville High School.

Last April, Larkin was named interim principal after Chris Mance, the school’s principal at the time, passed away.

Larkin, who has walked the halls of Gainesville High since 1982, said the school’s open-door policy is something that makes the campus strong and she hopes for it to continue.

"As much as possible, we want our students to know that individuals are here to help with whatever they are struggling with — whether it be academic or something they need to see counselors about," she previously told The Times. "If the student, parent, teacher relationships are strong, then success happens, and that’s what I’m going to focus on this year."

Brenau names new senior VP

Brenau University has named a new senior vice president and chief financial officer.

David L. Barnett, a Watkinsville resident and Smyrna native, assumed the duties of Wayne Dempsey, who retired in 2012. The position reports directly to the university’s president, Ed Schrader. Barnett started Jan. 1.

"Those Dempsey shoes are big ones to fill," said Schrader, who brought the retired executive vice president and chief financial officer to Brenau with him from Shorter College in 2005. "But David Barnett is an accomplished administrator and academic leader who has spearheaded some of the university’s greatest growth and accomplishments of the last decade. He has full confidence of the faculty and staff, the board of trustees and the president."

Barnett, who has a doctorate in educational leadership and organizational development from the University of Louisville, served as associate dean of student life at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky., after other terms in that city as coordinator of clinical services at the University of Louisville School of medicine and associate vice president for student services at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also earned a master of divinity degree in Christian education.

He also worked previously at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., as an associate vice president, dean of instruction for regional campuses, and assistant professor of education, and at Union College in Barbourville, Ky., as assistant director for student support services. Barnett graduated from Mercer University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies. He also holds an education specialist graduate degree from the University of Louisville.

His wife, Kimberly, who teaches middle school in Gwinnett County, is also enrolled in the Brenau graduate education program

In the new role, Barnett immediately picks up the torch on overseeing the $6.5 million expansion in Gainesville that involves converting the former Georgia Mountains Center into Brenau Downtown Center, the home of graduate studies in physical therapy and other health care professional programs, as well as other big-ticket contracts for expanding all Brenau academic programs.

"The Brenau strategy and vision provide some unique opportunities and exciting challenges," said Barnett. "I am not at all worried about finding things to do to fill up my day."

Lee Johnson covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

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