Robert Crain
Robert Crain has been hired as the new Sylva-Bay Academy headmaster and has settled into campus.  Photo/Heath Walley
Sylva-Bay Academy has a new headmaster on campus.  

Robert Crain, who recently retired after 33 years in the public school system, has settled into the position on campus and in the community.

“I am very excited.  I love it here.  Sylva-Bay has a beautiful campus, and I know they have good students and staff,” Crain explained Tuesday afternoon. "I cannot wait to get started.”

Crain was raised in Puckett, Miss., and graduated from Puckett High School in 1982.  He earned his BS degree from The University of Mississippi and later completed his Masters degree from William Carey University.  Crain has three children: Jackson (26), Bennett (21), and Camille (18).

Crain worked at Puckett High School for 29 years and Pisgah High School for four years.  During his education career, he taught science and was a head coach or assistant coach in every sport offered at the schools he worked.  Later during his career he served as an assistant principal for eight years and a head principal for nine years.  He recently retired from the public school system as the Puckett High principal.

While at Puckett High, Crain was named Principal of the Month two times, and he was also selected Administrator of the Year for the Rankin County School District in 2017.

During his time at Puckett, the school grew and was near the top of the school district in several areas.  Crain explained he wants to bring concepts implemented at Puckett to Sylva-Bay to help it grow more.

“While at Puckett, we finished near the top of the Rankin County School District in attendance, ACT scores, graduation rate, growth on state tests, and we were always a high B or an A rated school district,” he explained.  “When I took over as principal, Puckett had the lowest ACT scores in the district.  This past year Puckett had a 20.4 average for the entire school.  To put this in perspective, Brandon had a 20.6 and Northwest Rankin had a 21.  I plan to implement some of the same principles here that we used at Puckett.”

Crain went on to say that since private schools don’t have state testing like public schools do, he wants to focus hard on ACT test results.  

“The ACT is very important to these kids; it’s where a lot of (scholarship) money comes from to help further their education in college.  And, it helps them know where they are educationally compared to other students in the state,” he mentioned.  

Sylva-Bay Students will return to a traditional campus  setting for the 2020-21 school year on Monday, August 10, according to Crain.  

“We plan to have school as normal as possible.  The administration team has met several times to discuss the safety issues for our students,” he said.  

The following safety precautions have been tentatively set in place:

•All students and staff will wear a mask while in the building (if your child has a medical condition and cannot wear a mask, contact the school);

•Every student and staff member will have their temperature taken upon arrival at campus and temperatures will be taken again at lunch;

•Hand sanitizing stations will be set up in the halls near each room;

•Students will need to bring a water bottle for a water station;

•Lunch will be served in the cafeteria (subject to change)

•The building will be cleaned regularly throughout the day;

•Social distancing will be used as much as possible (student desks will be separated to meet this need);

•All students will need to take a backpack to school (lockers will be shut off for the time being);

•Students will stay in the same classroom as much as possible, moving only when they have to.

Crain said that all guidelines, some possibly updated, will be sent out to parents soon. 

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