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Washburn High School principal ousted after test-tampering allegations

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The recently-appointed principal of Washburn High School in Minneapolis has been removed from his post after being placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday.

A voicemail from Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson to students' parents said Patrick Exner would not return to Wasburn after being put on leave pending an investigation of cheating allegations raised in an anonymous email, the Star Tribune reported.

"I have decided that he will no longer serve as Washburn principal," Johnson said. "The issues surrounding Mr. Exner’s hiring have created an additional distraction that we cannot allow to continue."

Exner is accused of changing answers for three students on the state's GRAD reading test while he was associate director at Ubah Medical Academy in Hopkins.

The Minnesota Department of Education confirmed it invalidated test results for four Ubah students after it was notified in mid-July of a security breach, but no individual was held responsible.

The Star Tribune reports Exner's future as a probationary employee of the district is unclear and MPR said the district would not say whether he's been fired.

Assistant Principal Linda Conley will serve as interim principal, with support from Assistant Principal Nilo Guanzon and temporary assistance from Craig Vana, a retired principal.

Exner was brought in to replace former Washburn principal Carol Markham-Cousins, who was reassigned in April after turmoil surrounding the replacement of the school’s athletic director.

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