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

  • 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.

“That’s a basic part of a reference check,” Johnson said in her first public comments on the incident.

The Star Tribune reported this week that school district personnel officials didn’t interview Exner’s boss at Ubah Medical Academy, Musa Farah.

District officials removed Exner after receiving an anonymous e-mail last week that said Farah told the Ubah board that he was planning to discipline Exner for allegedly changing answers on three student tests. Exner remains on paid administrative leave on the Minneapolis district payroll.

“I’m not sure what he’s going to do and what we’re going to do,” Johnson said about Exner’s job status.

She said she felt an urgency to fill the Washburn job before the school year starts. The district got 23 applications for the post after extending the application deadline in July. Only Exner was interviewed.

“We felt he met the qualifications for filling the job,” Johnson said.

District CEO Michael Goar said Tuesday that the district will revamp its hiring procedures because of the episode.

Steve Brandt

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