Former Sarasota Military Academy headmaster accepts buyout from school

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The founding headmaster at Sarasota Military Academy has accepted a buyout of over $100,000 and will no longer be involved with school leadership.

68-year-old Daniel Kennedy had been the schools headmaster since its founding in 2002 and has largely been credited with the charter school's successful growth.

Kennedy made history twelve years ago as the headmaster of the first operating charter school in the country. He was already close with the community as Sarasota High School's principal prior to taking over at SMA.

He proved to be proactive in 2004 as he allowed students and faculty to adhere to a random drug test to make sure his school was drug-free. "I hope it's the start of a trend, because this type of policy will definitely save lives and save futures. We don't know who those lives and futures belong to, but we know we're going to save some."

Two of his own students were in the surgery room in 2005 after a devastating crash in Sarasota. Andrew and Jerimiah Skafec were severely hurt. Both eventually survived.

He also was there for the recent firing of Capt. Jeffrey Daughtry for the unfortunate incident of pushing and yelling at a student. SMA officials nullified Daughtry's termination. Instead, he was allowed to resign.

Kennedy also spent last summer overseeing construction of a new section of his campus. The school has new science labs, computer rooms, and a room for the school band. In all, a three story building and 22 new classrooms.

A private donation from the Urfer Family in Sarasota paid for it.

Dan Kennedy was also instrumental in building SMA's upcoming new middle school, located east of Interstate 75. They'll be ready for opening day in August for the 2014 school year.