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Ousted Washburn principal denies cheating allegations

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The former Washburn High School principal who was removed from his position by the Minneapolis school district amid test-tampering allegations is speaking up about the claims against him.

Patrick Exner was the target of an anonymous email sent last week that alleged Exner changed answers for three students on the state's GRAD reading test while he served as associate director of Ubah Medical Academy in Hopkins.

"The allegation that I changed students' answers on state assessment tests is absolutely false," Exner said in an editorial piece obtained by the Southwest Minneapolis Patch.

Exner was hired to replace former Washburn Principal Carol Markham-Cousins, who was removed from her post in April after turmoil at the school surrounding the replacement of the school’s athletic director.

"I am saddened that I will not be the leader who restores harmony and excellence within Washburn's halls and the greater community," Exner wrote. "I reflect on the events of the last two weeks in utter dismay that under the veil of anonymity an individual was given the power to disrupt the plans for leadership at Washburn High School and leave me with an uncertain future."

Minneapolis Public Schools has not said whether Exner has been fired.

Assistant Principal Linda Conley is serving as interim principal. The district will launch a national search for a permanent replacement later in the school year.

The Patch has Exner's full editorial.

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