N.C. man named Irmo High principal

A North Carolina administrator has been named principal of Irmo High School.

Rob Weinkle, the current principal of T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, succeeds Eddie Walker, who is retiring.

Walker sparked controversy in 2008 when he announced his resignation rather than allow the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school.

Walker said then he could not condone the club because it conflicted with his religious beliefs and he feared it would promote sexual activity, a position that evoked a huge outpouring of community support and outrage.

Walker later rescinded his resignation and decided to stay. The Lexington-Richland 5 school board then approved guidelines that allow parents to opt their children out of any club, but the board did not ban the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Weinkle, who earned his undergraduate degree from Carson-Newman College in Tennessee and a master's degree and principal certification from Western Carolina University, began his career in the classroom. He has also worked as a coach, assistant principal and principal.

Lexington-Richland 5 Superintendent Herbert Berg said Weinkle has a "strong and proven reputation for positive communications with students" and for working to improve student achievement.

- Carolyn Click