- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ANNAPOLIS | The head of a prep school that helps improve students’ chances at an appointment to U.S. Naval Academy was relieved of duty Monday “for loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the prep school said.

Capt. Leland Hart Sebring has been the commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School at Newport, R.I., since July 2007.

An academy spokesman declined to comment on why Capt. Sebring was relieved, citing privacy reasons.

“I can tell you that there was no misconduct involved,” Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said.

Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, the Naval Academy’s superintendent, said Capt. Anthony Barnes, the academy’s chief diversity officer, who has also acted as a liaison to the prep school, has temporarily assumed the post.

The preparatory school is responsible for strengthening academic skills of about 300 potential candidates each year for the Naval Academy. A year at the school can improve a candidate’s chances of receiving an appointment to the academy in Annapolis and succeeding there.

The 10-month program, which lasts from August through May, emphasizes preparation in courses that tend to present the greatest hurdles to academic success at the Naval Academy, including English composition, math, chemistry, physics and information technology. The program includes preparation in fitness and an introduction to military life, although students include enlisted personnel seeking an appointment to the academy to become officers.

Located on Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island, the prep school is the Navy’s fourth-oldest school.

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