Mpls. superintendent says she didn't know about missed reference check on Washburn principal

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  • Updated: August 14, 2013 - 8:38 PM

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson said Wednesday that she was unaware when she hired Patrick Exner as the short-lived principal of Washburn High School that the district hadn’t spoken with his previous supervisor.

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shefearingAug. 14, 13 8:12 PM

It wasn't the Board who screwed up. Patrick Exner was and is the perfect choice for the position. The writer of these stories is just someone trying to rile things up to make the school look bad and better his career as a great "investigator." He doesn't care that he's ruining the career of an innocent person. If these stories wouldn't have been printed before they could have done an investigation, Mr. Exner, no doubt, would still be in the position. Once the story hit, the media had already condemned him. The school had no choice but to keep the peace, even if it meant making him out to be a terrible person. It takes years of dedication to get to where Mr. Exner got to. It is shameful to take one man and use him as a pawn, not even realizing that the allegations are false, made up by a disgruntled ex-employee, who was too cowardly to sign his or her name. If this person who made these allegations really believed an injustice was done, wouldn't they want to be a superhero and sign their name? Do you think if I went to the Pioneer Press and told them that I saw the author of these articles doing something illegal, would he just be fired and condemned and his career ruined because of some made-up allegations that have no bearing? The real injustice here is that Washburn lost a real asset because one person made a false allegation and everyone wants to believe what is printed must be the truth.

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bluedevil101Aug. 14, 13 8:22 PM

With 23 applicants and the process they used (which was extensive in their demands for essays and school student data interpretation) I find it hard to believe that this was the only candidate worthy of an interview. This smacks of nepotism of some sort--someone knew someone who wanted Mr. Exner. And therefore he was the only qualified candidate to get an interview. BTW, Star Tribune, please stop putting Mr. Exner's photo in the paper. The mis handing of his application is not his fault. He's been on the griddle and lost his job. He doesn't need to be continually on the hot seat when he's not in the role he was hired for.

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staredAug. 14, 13 8:22 PM

Why is she still Superintendent? Another bonus in the works?

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bluedevil101Aug. 14, 13 8:24 PM

The only thing we know for sure is that four students had their test scores invalidated at Mr. Exner's school. There are questions about that. But the bigger question is the process and why of 23 applicants the district only chose one to be interviewed. Mr. Exner should be out of the paper and the HR department and Superintendent should be forced to hold a press conference and answer some questions--not about Mr. Exner, but about the process.

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cluke2Aug. 14, 13 8:29 PM

This is a recurring thing with the Minneapolis School Board & Superintendents... Do we need to remind people that this happened with that Superintendent Rowanda Peebles or whatever her name was.... several months after she had been hired the board discovered that she did NOT have the proper credentials to fulfill requirements of the position... Next fiasco, she was enrolled at the U of M in a class to meet those requirements. What was the matter with the panel of people who made up the hiring board? THEN, it turned out she sent a subordinate to sit in the class she was supposed to be taking.. final straw was when she was relieved of her duties, she received a generous severance bonus of a half million dollars or a million dollars or whatever, PLUS she had received $1500 a month for a vehicle allowance and upon termination she turned in a smashed up Cadillac Escalade.. After that, didn't we have another Superintendent who was chased out for one reason or another. Now this fiasco where lack of investigation shows the person was either unqualified or had a history of inferior performance.... the story goes on and on..

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genny1Aug. 14, 13 8:29 PM

The first statements by the Superintendent on the matter smell strongly of blame-casting and buck-passing. Either she blindly relied entirely on a process that produced a single candidate without demanding more or asking probing questions of the candidate himself, or she was much more involved in elevating him as the single finalist than she will admit. She also apparently lacked the curiosity to ask the screeners what his supervisor had to say about him. I suspect she was more involved in elevating him as the single finalist than she is willing to admit, but either way her "leadership" on this important and high profile hire was sorely lacking, and the her unwillingness to accept responsibility as Superintendent for this farce shows similarly rudderless leadership. Washburn and the District deserved better.

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genny1Aug. 14, 13 8:39 PM

Unless the reports that his prior school reprimanded him, that the state invalidated test scores due to the concerns raised, that there were inaccuracies on his résumé, and that the hiring process failed to include basic reference checks through contact with his superior at his prior employer - among other issues identified - are all false, we are well-beyond the point where attacking the anonymity of the individual who brought the issues to light matters much. The allegations could be overblown, but much more will be required to dispel them than pointing to the anonymity of the original source.

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bgmach3Aug. 14, 13 8:42 PM

Oh, another so called "professional" missing the obvious.....shocking!

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tandabussAug. 14, 13 8:53 PM

I agree. The bigger culprits here are Dr. Johnson, her staff, and the school board. Let's stop running Exner's photo; let's start demanding more of the highly paid superintendant!

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kivirl4Aug. 14, 13 8:57 PM

its shocking the lack of basic capability among so called leaders in the public sector. Dayton didnt know Zygi was in a legal case, nor did he know the contract gave the Vikings seat license rights. This lady didnt know a basic thing about a reference check. No wonder they are in the public sector, they would get fired in the private sector for ineptness like that

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