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March 25--  Many students at Montgomery County High School left the lunchroom at noon Friday and demonstrated against county school board decisions not to rehire principal Luke Smith and and three others.

{mosimage}Sophomore Christy Poole said, "He's really a great principal and everybody else got fired for no reason.  They're all great people, they support us and we don't think they should get fired for no reason."

{mosimage}Student Keyontan Washington told new school superintendent Randy Rodgers she is praying the school board will change its mind, "i pray that the Lord really works miracles on the board because those people really need those jobs."

The board firings prompted the resignation of interim school superintendent Dr. Charles Warnock.  A day later the school board named Montgomery Elementary School Principal Randy Rodgers to the job.  Rodgers was given a contract through June 30, 2012 and will also continue as elementary school principal through the end of this school term with the help of assistant principal Eric McDonald.

Before taking the oath of office Friday, he met with the demonstrating students.

"Rome was not built in a day.  Therefore, we've got to consider what your asking and will consider it with respect.  Certainly we'll try to do what we can to listen to your requests and act on them in the best manner that we can," Rodgers told the students.  After hearing from Rodgers, the students returned to the high school which is adorned inside with student protest signs.

Dr. Warnock told a reporter when he resigned that he refused to be a puppet for school board members whom he claims have a personal and political agenda.

Rodgers knows he faces a challenge in that regard, "The reality is now we have to find a way to move forward.  I don't think its reasonable to expect that everything a superintendent might say would be approved by the board, but at the same time, I have confidence I'm in a position that I can develop the relationship with this board so we can operate without the conflict we've experienced in the past few months." 

The school board had begun a search for a new superintendent before Dr. Warnock's unexpected resignation.  Board member Jackson Posey refused to vote for Rodgers because he said he did not want to be a part of the speeded up process which he said gave the appearance the board wanted a "puppet."

Rodgers said he interpreted the board's decison as a desire to restore continuity and stability to the school system.  He has been the elementary school principal for 12 years.