A longtime educator in Hernando County is retiring.

Principal Joe Clifford took over at Brooksville Central High School in 2010, and now he is retiring, capping nearly four decades spent in education.  Most of his 38 years were spent in Hernando County as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator.

Clifford knows how to turn a struggling school around and can fix discipline problems with respect and dignity.

“I think it is important to listen and listen with compassion and patience with kids," Clifford said. "I think if they see that they will be more tolerant of differences. They will be more willing to be respectful.”

When Clifford took over Central High school it was a D school. He got it a few points away from an A school. Before that he turned West Hernando Middle School from a C to an A.

Clifford says he will miss the students and faculty and says much of his success comes from surrounding himself with good people.

He plans to do some education consulting in the future.